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One Finger Bonsai and Other Tiny Treasures

You don't see too many one finger bonsai. When they're this small they can't support much in the way of branches and leaves. Just a little trunk and three leaf stems in this case. And then there's the colorful little pot, which is so tiny that it doesn't overwhelm. Large pots with bright designs like this are few and far between

Today's photos are borrowed from Michael Bonsai. A near endless source of quality photos of Japanese bonsai. No species or owner are given


I like this little Japanese maple with its perfect pot, moss and fresh new leaves. It's tiny too, but just a little too big for one finger 


Bigger still and a whole lot more trunk, branching and leaves. It's amazing what just a little more soil can provide for


I'm still in the throes of repotting (mostly larches and nothing nearly as small as these), so we'll keep this post short and sweet, just like the trees



Transplanting Tips for Healthy Bonsai

A freshly transplanted Black pine. The photo is from our Masters’ Series Pine book

For most of you spring transplanting has come and gone, but here in northern Vermont we're in the thick of it 

I've read and heard different opinions on top pruning when transplanting. Some Japanese growers don't recommend much if any; top pruning can add stress to a tree that's already stressed from transplanting. Conversely, I've read that taking equal amounts off the top and bottom lessens the load on the roots while they are recovering. 

Mostly I try to err on the light side (or in some cases none at all), though some trees that are freshly dug from the ground are so overgrown that top pruning is essential 


We recommend these two items with every tree you transplant. Myconox, which is mixed into the soil, helps replace the all-important mycorrhizal fungi. Dyna-Gro K-L-N is a rooting compound that is formulated to reduce stress and encourage growth. I apply it with the first watering and about once a week for the next couple months



Pieces of the pie. From Bonsai Today issue 39
(we'll show the 'after' photo in tomorrow's post)

The technique shown here is particularly good if you want to replenish the soil while leaving some of the roots undisturbed. Doing this lessens stress and hastens recovery and is often used in the fall when recovery time can be short. Especially in cold climates

This technique is useful when you want move a tree from a larger to a smaller pot, or into a pot that has a different shape. It also works when you want to replenish some of the soil and then put the tree back into the same pot and is particularly useful for repotting forest plantings.

If the roots aren’t well enough established to hold the soil together when you take the tree out of the pot, then this technique won’t work


Before. A well developed Satsuki azalea in the wrong pot

Cutting corners. Because you’re going from a rectangular pot
to a round pot, you start by cutting off the corners


Removing the bottom roots

In almost all cases, you want to remove the lower roots. This encourages roots to spread out rather than grow down and because the tree mirrors the roots, it encourage the above ground growth to spread, which is what you usually want with bonsai, especially if you want a good nebari. Another reason to remove the bottom roots is to make more space to replenish the soil

Stay posted for the second half of this transplanting story...


Kokufu Bonsai Forest & Other Multi Trunk Plantings

 Close up of a forest planting at this year's Kokufu Exhibition. The original photo is just below. This is the only photo in this series where the species  is not listed

It's Kokufu time again. This time it's four multiple trunk plantings. All were posted on fb by Kazematsu Bonsai


This first planting is a true forest planting where each tree is separate (no shared root systems). The dominant tree is planted toward the front which in contrast to the much smaller trees further back and to the sides gives a feeling of great depth and breath. You might imagine that the first tree once stood alone in a large meadow and over the years seeded the others 


At first glance I thought this Needle juniper (Juniperus rigida) was a sinuous root planting, but I can't tell for sure, as it's possible that the trees are all on their own roots like the planting above. The large piece of deadwood which appears to be part of the main tree is an unusual feature in a multi trunk planting



 We'll call this rugged Trident maple (Acer buergerianum) a single tree with a three trunks, though it's possible that they were originally two or three trees that were fused together (there's a suspicious line between the two on the left)



This Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora) looks like a sinuous root style, though it's possible that a single tree or two were added for interest (the little one on the far left looks like it could have been)   


Delicate Bonsai Beauty Through the Seasons


I don't know what this delicate beauty is. Nor do I know who it belongs to or who posted it (though we do have  photos and a link to his fb pages below). Let me know if you can read it


Here's a screen shot from the the top of the fb post 
where these photos came from.
The machine translation was no help at all

Just got the following message from Jim Gracie 3 hours after posting... "my Korean language understanding is very limited but the individuals name is Bong Sung Tae. I can only make out the last two words in the description - Jeju (island?) cherry blossom. 





Spring Bonsai Flowers by Haruyosi

We don't usually show trees in growing pots, but these four quince in bloom are too good to pass up. Haruyosi will remove the flowers before he puts them in bonsai pots (see below)

We haven't visited Haruyosi for a while. He's one of our favorites and there's no better time than spring to reintroduce him. All the pots shown here are also his. 


The evidence


 Four more quince almost ready for potting


Here's an already potted quince in display at a spring bonsai show in Japan. Nice pot too, also by Haruyosi. I don't think he makes his own stands and slabs, but I wouldn't be surprised


You don't see that many Forsythia bonsai


 Flowering cherry. An iconic tree in Japan (but you already knew that)


Another flowering cherry


One of Haruyosi's pots. As with his bonsai, his pot production is impressive. In numbers and quality

Want more? You can find Haruyosi on fb

Bonsai Perfection and a Tenuous Connection

Bonsai perfection. Luis Vallejo provides the following information with this tree... "Fortunella hindsii Kumquat, By Nobuichi Urushibata

Still at the Mid Atlantic Bonsai Spring Festival, and too busy to do much right now, so we'll treat you to a one from our archives that has a connection with the Festival. Nobuichi Urushibata, the artist owner of this lovely Kumquat is the father of Taiga Urushibata, one of the headliners here at the Festival. I know it's a bit tenuous, but it's 5am and we've got a long day in front of us...


The Mid Atlantic Bonsai Spring Festival - It's not too late to point your car in this direction

A Marc Noelanders composition that he and friends put together during last year's Bonsai Namaste Convention in Pune India. Marc is a headliner at this weekend's Mid Atlantic Bonsai Spring Festival

Today is the day. In a few hours the Mid Atlantic Bonsai Spring Festival (April 12th – 14th) will open its doors. If you're anywhere within a few hundred miles of Hershey/Harrisburg PA, it's not too late to point your car this direction. An occasional spontaneous act is good for the psyche anyway, with the added bonus of some stunning spring scenery on the drive over. 

We'll be here all weekend with our famous Roshi Bonsai Tools, Tie Pots, New and out of print books and magazines, plentiful Bonsai wire and a lot more. We look forward to seeing you!

When was the last time you saw a man in a bonsai tree?  It's Marc Noelanders by the way, and the tree is a Taxus baccata (European yew) that was collected from a hedge. The photo on the right is the same tree after Marc styled it


What Do You See When You Look at a Bonsai?

Though it's a little embarrassing to admit, this is the only pot I clearly remember from the Artisans Cup (fall 2015). It and its well matched tree belong to Michael Pollock. Here's Michael's caption from his Bonsai Shinshei blog... "My lone Hinoki cypress after a quick fall cleanup. Falling deeper in love with this pot that Ron Lang and I collaborated on.” 

This post is the beginning of a series on bonsai pots... 

A few years ago I attended a major American bonsai exhibition (Artisans Cup) at a time when I had the leisure to go through the entire show three times over two days. The first time was a swirl of bonsai and people - It was packed and unless you wanted to create a traffic jam, it was best to just go with flow. I left that evening energized by the power of the event, but feeling that I had barely scratched the surface

The next day I went twice (morning and afternoon) and though each time I was more able to slow down and appreciate what I was looking at, I realized later that I had fixed my attention mostly on the trees and in many cases, couldn’t remember that much about the pots, let alone the stands.


Not only is this pot unique, but it's completely suited to the tree. The caption on this one reads "For Sándor Papp the best picture of my Sabina photo Willy Evenepoel, Pilsen 2é11." The artist is Milan Karpíšek


Red on red. Red glazes are expensive and not that easy to do. The tree is an Elaeagnus pungens (Siverthorn in English, Kangumi in Japanese). The potter/bonsai artist is Haruyosi


Is this pot made of bamboo or is it ceramic made to look like bamboo? The little tree is a Camellia japonica 'Unryu.' The photo is from the Omiya Bonsai Museum


It's almost like the tree is conforming to the shape of the pot, but I think it's the other way around. The tree is a famous Yew by our friend Harry Harrington. The pot is by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery



Here's a pot you won't easily forget. The tree is a Dwarf Kumquat and the photo is from Bill Valavanis's Bonsai blog


I'm not sure I've ever seen a pot quite like this one. I don't remember where the photo came from. The tree is a Rosemary



Bonsai that Could Stop Traffic...

Today's feature tree would stop traffic if it could walk down the street. I imagine it was carved rather than simply found that way, though I've been fooled before 

Couldn’t resist there two magnificent bonsai. Both express mastery when it comes to carving deadwood and both belong to David Benavente, a long time favorite here on Bark. David doesn’t mentioned the varieties and I won’t bother to guess (I've been burned one too many times).

Here’s a link to David’s fb timeline, and here’s one to his website. Enjoy!


Close up for a better look at the trunk with its remarkable deadwood and its all important living vein


Another tree and more impressive deadwood


The original photo

A Rising Star in Our Bonsai Universe

One of a kind. This dynamic Juniper may not be yet fully refined, but it already demands our attention. Here's Jennifer's caption "Great weekend with Mauro Stemberger. Learned learned a ton, laughed a lot and had a great time. Thank you Mauro..."

Need a little more incentive to get off the couch and head over to the Mid Atlantic Spring Bonsai Festival this coming weekend (April 12-14)? Jennifer Price, a rising star in our bonsai universe is one of the headliners. Take a look at the schedule, it's not too late to make your plans

Here's Jennifer's caption for this rugged old yamadori ... "Ponderosa pine after first styling in my collection. My friend and artist Mariusz Folda made this pot (below) - super combination. Thank you Mariusz and Walter Pall."


For more on Jennifer and here bonsai here's a link to her timeline 

Mariusz Folda's pot


I borrowed this photo of Jennifer from ABC Do Bonsai