Esprit Bonsai International – August 2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1
for beginners

28 - EspritBonsaiInternational #101

 If the cascade follows a single,
clear line, the viewer can follow it: this
dominance creates visual impact.

A crown, or not
Regarding the branches, first
and foremost a decision needs to
be taken as to whether there will be
a crown. Here, the shaping of the
branches starts with the crown – the
opposite of how styling is done on a
formal upright. The foliage pads are
meticulously pruned to form com-
pact masses and highlight the trunk.
The crown helps create a stable,
balanced effect.
Viewed from the front, the cas-
cade should be in the shape of a
squashed triangle, constituted by
one or several foliage masses. Take
care not to make any of the foliage
pads too tall, as they then risk com-
peting with the cascade’s overall
form rather than working with it.

Branches and
foliage pads
The first branch in the lower
part of the cascade is generally the
thickest and longest one. It springs
from the outside of a large bend in
the trunk. Sometimes it is a good
idea to create foliage masses on
this branch, which will cut across the
vertical lines of the pot for a more
interesting design.
Place each pad at the outside of
a bend. The front branches should
be short (like the rear branches of a
formal upright) and situated halfway
between changes of direction.
The lower pads as a whole
should form a triangle that extends
slightly towards the viewer, like the
crown of a formal upright. The ove-
rall silhouette is composed of two
triangles: one formed by the crown
pointing upwards, and the other
by the actual cascade, pointing
The pruning process to shape
the foliage masses is very important.
Seen from above, these masses
must be the same shape as those
of a formal upright, and the lower

A cascade oriented to the
right, in another style.

A cascade oriented
to the left.

The cascade’s overall
silhouette fits into
two triangles.

Cascades are
displayed to give
a three-quarter or
side view. Mirtus
communis, Pietro
Sampirisi collection.

part must be free in form; the pads
should be triangular, oval or pear-
shaped, the bulkiest part being
towards the trunk.
Cascades are rarely exhibited
with the lower pads pointing towards
the viewer, because that would hide
the line of the trunk. They are dis-
played to give a three-quarter or
side view.

Opposing forces
Ideally, the surface roots of a
cascade should visually balance
out the tree’s composition. Gravity
acts on the trunk, so compression
forces press down on the roots
on the side towards which the
trunk leans, and the trunk’s weight
tends to pull the tree upwards on
the opposite side of the cascade.
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