Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ by Missouri Botanical Garden

Chaenomeles “Toyo-Nishiki” by Rob’s Plants

Chaenomeles “Toyo-Nishiki” (Japanese Quince) by Gardenia

Flowering Quince ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ by Dave’s Garden

Toyo-Nishiki Flowering Quince* by Plant Finder

I lucked out and found a “Toyo-Nishiki” quince at Home Depot of all places. It really was not much to look at as it had 3-4 skinny trunks on it. I decided it was going to be a cascade after bring it home. The price was really cheap, so much the better. The next thing to do was select one of the trunks and chop off the rest. So I selected the best trunk and cut the rest of them off. I allowed the tree to continue to grow unchecked and kept cutting off the suckers as they popped up.

I took the tree to a local workshop (2009) where one of the new returning Japanese Bonsai Masters gave it a free tree analysis. The gentlemen spent the next 13 minutes explaining to the group that my idea of a Quince cascade was a complete waste of time and that they had never seen a cascade Quince. Quince were meant to be a clump style Bonsai and anything else would be pointless and future owners would not want to bother with the tree. Well he spent the time about clump quince etc. When he was done the person sitting next to me asked what I was going to do with tree. I leaned over and whispered to him that I was going to make into a cascade! They just laughed, my mentor asked me what I was going to do and I gave him same answer.

Sometime after the tree analysis I potted the tree up in a very tall dark green Sara Rayner pot. It was quite challenging to to secure the tree in the pot with the intention of turning it into a cascade. I was going to have to wire the single trunk with very heavy wire and would need to keep the tree from being pulled out of the pot by the force being placed on the wires. I decided to use a chop stick placed under the pot and attached bailing wires to the chopstick and fished the wires up through the drainage hole. The bailing wires were then attached to the root ball and secured. The chopstick was also large enough to extend beyond the sides of the pot, so I could use them to attach pulley wires and pull the main branch down. This idea worked out pretty good except for one thing, the wire kept slipping of the end of the chop stick. I solved the problem by using a small heavy piece of wired wrapped around the end of the chopstick. This prevented the pulley wire from slipping off. All the trunks were wired and the main trunk had 2 rounds of my heaviest aluminum wire. The rest of the branches were wired. I wanted the tree to slant down and to the right of the pot.

The tree was left alone for the next few years and allowed to grow where ever it wanted except for suckers which were cut off. More and more branches started to develop and these new branches were allowed to grow. I removed all of the original wiring in 2015 and the main trunk bounced up a little, but pretty much stayed where it was, not a true cascade, but a semi-cascade now. I rewired all of the smaller branches and placed them where they are today. I am continuing to let the tree grow and am trying to get it grow up over the main branches. My intentions are to develop a nice apex of these branches if I can.

I am so glad I did not listen to the visiting Japanese trained Bonsai Master and stuck to my original plan! I tell new Bonsai students they are going to be told to do a lot of things on their trees by different people of all abilities. It will be up to the new student to decided what they want to do with the their tree. The great thing about Bonsai their can be any number of ideas on what to do with a tree and they can all be correct, but you cannot do them all. Pick wisely or just might be making a mistake that you cannot take back.

Flowers are typically white-pinkish in color on this tree. Toyo-Nishiki quince are famous for having three different colors of flowers on the same tree. Red is the most difficult to find on them. I have not seen Red on this tree yet. Some published reports say it takes many years for Red to appear if at all.

Here is a photo of the tree in 2014:

Here are some photo’s of the tree taken 4/17/2016, quite a difference:

Here are some photo’s of three taken in March 25, 2017:

Internet Tree Gallery: