Creating a cascade bonsai with Tony Bebb

The focus of Tony Bebb’s demonstration (SA Bonsai July 2022) was on the cascade style which happens to be one of his favourites and one that he took to heart early in his bonsai journey. To better understand how the cascade originates he recalls when he first had his driver’s license and ventured to a mountainous area to see how the cascade appears to grow upside down due to the conditions forced on it by cliffs and difficult weather conditions.

To challenge our thinking Tony drew on a riddle or zen koan. He asked us to name what it was he uses to create a cascade that we will never see.
Of course, he didn’t provide the answer immediately as this would have defeated the purpose of the koan which is designed to encourage the student to think laterally in solving a problem and thereby absorb the concept more strongly.

(Think about this before you scroll down for the answer)

He then explained how critical it is to consider the mountain when designing the cascade:

Cascade and semi-cascade

Other important points :

Tony’s zen koan: What is it he uses to create a cascade that we will never see. The answer – the mountain.

2023 Bonsai Show