The arrival of a new season is acknowledged and enjoyed, almost like a holiday, in the Japanese culture. In the colder regions of North America, the arrival of autumn and the “fall color” is likewise prelude to the unique beauty of the hardwood forests. In both regions this is a tourist attraction all its own.
Here in the Central Valley we can enjoy the gorgeous color display of a handful of deciduous tree species. Some of these trees are selected for bonsai simply because of their spectacular fall colors. The gingko, for example, will show us intense yellow-gold autumn foliage. The Bald Cypress will present both gold and orange foliage. We may see bright yellow hornbeams.
After the Fall Color display has passed, bonsai show us another image entirely; the Winter Silhouette. When deciduous bonsai have shed all their leaves, we see the artistic skill that formed the structure of the tree. Only now can we appreciate the angularity and refinement of the branch structure. This is like the study of architecture or anatomy. Some bonsai exhibits are exclusively devoted to showing the trees in their Winter Silhouette, particularly for the appreciation of the patience and skill required to develop a beautiful skeleton, as it were.
Falling into Winter will be the next bonsai exhibit at the GSBF-Clark Bonsai Collection. The exhibit will open October 13, 2018 and run until February 17, 2019. The bonsai for this display will be selected for their fall color and winter silhouette. The collection will be open to the public weekends and holidays from 10:00am until 4:00pm. Private tours may be arranged through the Shinzen Garden website.