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Making Bonsai Pancakes with Peter Tea

If you don't know Peter, one of our most accomplished young bonsai artists, you're in for a treat. And if you do know Peter, you're still in for a treat.

Korean Hornbeam bonsai by Peter Tea in aqua pot

One thing that jumps out for me with this remarkable tree, is the well developed ramification all the way out to the tips of the twigs. Here's Peter Tea's caption, "The deciduous work begins! Defoliated this Korean Hornbeam and a slight thinning and cut back."

Ramified Seiju Elm bonsai in a Sara Rayner pot

Another one with good ramification. Here's Peter's caption, "Ramified Seiju Elm in a Sara Rayner pot! It’s going to get a repot in February."

Chinese quince bonsai by Peter Tea in teal pot

Here's what Peter wrote about this tree, "Chinese quince getting more refined! The roots are also starting to fuse and we’ll show more of that in the next repotting. Graft I did in early 2023 up top is growing and looking forward to fill the hole there. Pacific Bonsai Expo 202?"

Japanese flowering apricot bonsai by Peter Tea in teal pot

I'm looking forward to seeing this tree in few years after Peter has worked some of his magic. Here's what he has to say about it, "Japanese flowering apricot is blooming at the garden! We’re going to graft a few branches closer to the interior in March and dense this guy up!"

Peter Tea and friends gathered around a bonsai planting in Golden State Bonsai Federation's bonsai garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland CA

We'll let Peter do the talking, "Eli, Max and myself headed down to the Bonsai Garden in Lake Merritt and repotted this 1500+ year old California Juniper. It took three of us to lift the tree out of the pot and we were able to get the tree into a smaller oval pot."

By the way, Lake Merritt in Oakland CA is the home of the Golden State Bonsai Federation's bonsai garden. 

Peter Tea and friend slicing a bonsai rootball with a Sawzall

Here's Peter's story with one, "Eli and I making some pancakes! Repotted a number of Black pines in big nursery containers. Whipped out the Sawzall to take slices of the rootball away to save time. Once we got close to the roots we planned to keep, we went at it with hand tools." 

Seiju elm bonsai with moss covering some of the trunk by Peter Tea in grey pot

Peter's caption for this one, I purchased this Seiju elm back in 2017 at an auction and the first thing I did was cut all the branches to stubs and repotted it into a smaller pot.  I did this because the branches were very leggy and pot was huge! After a few years of branch development I sold it to a client of mine and has been under his care for the last 5 years. He has since decided to downsize his collection and now the Elm has retuned to the garden! The tree is now just starting to bud out due to warm days in Sacramento last week. I plan to continue its branch development and hope to show it in the future! 🤩
The tree stand right at 17inches tall."

Black Pine bonsai curved into a spiral by Peter Tea in small brown pot

One more by Peter and it's a doozy. Here's what he wrote, "Rebuilding this funky little Black Pine! Looking forward to a good 2024 and the continued refinement of this tree. 

"I feel like I should give this tree a name. What do you think?"


Peter Tea on FB
Peter's website
GSBS Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Peter Tea on Bonsai Bark

Our Three Favorite Photos from UBE Expo in Madrid

Michael Hagedorn, a highly respected American bonsai artist and author of Bonsai Heresy and Post Dated, just posted some excellent photos he took at the recent UBE Expo in Madrid. I've picked three of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Itoigawa juniper bonsai

Itoigawa juniper. There's a lot going on here, with such a wild, free play of fluid movement. I think the artist was fearless, not to mention skilled, when he or she set about to transform so much living tissue into dead wood.

Chinese juniper bonsai

This one, which Michael calls simply Chinese juniper, is another tree where the deadwood demands our attention..


Aha. Bunjin. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think you see that many great bunjin (literati) style trees outside of Asia. I like both the fine deadwood touches as well as the way the whole tree hangs together, with the downward sweep of the branches and trunk's strong upward movement (at times like this, I wish I were a poet).

Michael's books are here and links to Michael's site and blog are below. 


Michael Hagedorn's Crataegus Bonsai site
Michael's blog
Michael on Bonsai Bark

Bonsai Roundup with Bonsai Mirai, Eric Schrader and more

We've got a New Bonsai Roundup for you today. Enjoy!

Silver Fir at Bonsai Mirai

We found this sterling Silver Fir at Bonsai Mirai. Here is their description: 
Pacific Coastline - age: 100-250 Years - size: Large - collector: Jason Eider - potter: Byron Myrick - initial creator: Eric Shikowski - availability: Private Collection.

Redwood bonsai by Eric Schrader

This magnificent Coastal redwood in an upright weeping style was styled by Eric Schrader. We found in on FB at Bonsai Society.

Acacia with imported Chinese pot

I've seen full grown Acacia along some highways in costal California, but I don't think I've ever seen one quite like this. It was posted by Pete Inglis on FB. Here's what he had say about it: "Friday night Bonsai. It's been a while. Acacia Howitti, Sticky Wattle. Imported Chinese pot. Loving the early spring weather."

Moss cypress by Peter Tea

Here's a highly stylized Moss cypress by Peter Tea. And here's what Peter wrote about it: "The yearly cut back and thinning of this Moss Cypress has occurred! Tedious work but well worth it. We’re planning on repotting to tree into a different pot next Spring."

root over rock Trident Maple bonsai by Peter Tea

Another one from Peter Tea. "2nd defoliation for this root over rock Trident Maple.  Most of the time I defoliate this tree twice a year though sometimes just once depending on the strength of the tree that year.  It’s nice seeing the Winter silhouette in the middle of Summer.

鳳鳴盆栽 bonsai

This one was posted by 鳳鳴盆栽 on FB, and here's their comment:
"For all of you "WTF"? It may be considered "imitation", but it is a treasure to me. I've gotten much better after a couple of years since I was shaking. I love the shape of this tree 🤣 cleaned and measured. Fall leaves are just around the corner. My energy is number one 👍"

鳳鳴盆栽 bonsai

Another one by 鳳鳴盆栽. Are you detecting a pattern?

鳳鳴盆栽 bonsai

The other side. 

Bonsai Mirai

Here's another one from Bonsai Mirai. This time from FB. It's about their Summer Tree Mercantile. 


Gallery Sources:
Bonsai Mirai website
Bonsai Society on FB
Bonsai Barn on FB
Pete Inglis on FB
Peter Tea on FB
鳳鳴盆栽 on FB
Bonsai Mirai on FB
2023 8th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition

Bonsai - Rough and Ready

We've got some rough and ready bonsai and some others that are a bit more elegant. All by Walter Pall. 

Japanese maple by Walter Pall

I love everything about this tree. The lovely spring leaves, the pleasing shape of the crown, the profusion of rugged and distinctive trunks and and visible lower branches. And of course the powerful nebari. Here's Walter Pall's caption, "Japanese maple #30. About 65 cm high (26"). Pot by Walter Venne. Tree is originally from a cutting in a nursery in South Korea. It was imported to Germany in May, 2021."

Oriental hornbeam by Walter Pall

Here's a beefy Oriental hornbeam by Walter. No leaves so you can see the profusion of small branches and twigs. This wild natural look is one of Walter's trademarks. 

Oriental hornbeam with leaves by Walter Pall

Another Oriental hornbeam, but with leaves and a bit more pleasing to the eye. What a difference a few months make

Hornbeam bonsai by Walter Pall

Another rough and ready hornbeam. But this time a cascade. 

Trident maple bonsai by Walter Pall, pot by Walter Venne

Aha, a little less rugged and a lot more elegant. It's Walter's Trident maple #11. About 50 cm high (20"). Pot by Walter Venne. The tree was imported from Japan in 2001 and was styled by Jurg Staheli of Switzerland until Sept 2019 and then by Walter. 

Japanese maple by Walter Pall, pot by Walter Venne

Another colorful Japanese maple. It's Walter's #17. height 40 cm (16"). Pot by Walter Venne. Tree originally imported from Korea. 


Walter Pall's Bonsai Adventures blog
Walter Pall Bonsai Bark Archives
Walter Pall on FB

Bonsai Roundup with David Benavente, Francesco Santini, Ed Trout and more

We've rounded up a few trees by various artists for your viewing pleasure and hopefully inspiration. If you'd like to explore any on your own, there are links way below. 

David Benavente bonsai studio garden

David Benavente seems to present an endless train of brilliant bonsai. Most set in his perfect (yet relaxed) Bonsai Studio garden wonderland. 

David Benavente Wild olive bonsai restyled by Pablo Comesaña

Another one from David Benavente. Here's the caption, "New available. Wild olive, wild bonsai. Just restyled by Pablo Comesaña.

Potentilla fruticosa bonsai

Here's one that was posted by Moyogi Chris at the Bonsai Club Eda Uchi Kai on FB. Here's the caption, "A species not seen every day as a bonsai, this Potentilla fruticosa. But this specific tree from one of our club members, as shown during our recent exhibition, is not only extremely well developed, the tree/pot combination is just as stunning as well. Sometimes good things come together ...."

Itoigawa Juniperus chinensis bonsai by Francesco Santini

After and Before. Itoigawa Juniperus chinensis by Francesco Santini. 

Itoigawa Juniperus chinensis bonsai by Francesco Santini

Pinus parviflora bonsai by Francesco Santini

Pinus parviflora by Francesco Santini.

bonsai tree against wall in oval bonsai pot

This one was posted by Kuanghua Hsiao. Here's the caption, 分享自 Komunitas Bonsai 的的相片。And here's the machine translation, Shared photo from Komunitas Bonsai.

Buttonwood bonsai by Ed Trout

Here are a couple crazy Buttonwoods by Ed Trout who lives in Florida. 

Buttonwood bonsai by Ed Trout

Here's Ed's caption. "I grew up climbing Buttonwoods during my youth in the Florida Keys. I clearly remember the odd shapes of these incredible trees, and how beautiful they are as giant specimans. The “crazy” ones stuck in my brain, so that’s probably why I style many of my trees in those contorted shapes. Not sure if the shapes are crazy, or it’s me that’s crazy 😂? Then again maybe I do know…."

Bougainvillea bonsai by Ed Trout

And finally a Bougainvillea, also by Ed Trout. 


David Benavente on FB
Myogi Chris on FB
Eda Uchi Kai on FB
Francesco Santini on FB
Kuanghua Hsiao on FB
Ed Trout on FB
Ed Trout on Bonsai Bark

Seasonal Bonsai Trimming with Michael Roberts

Michael Robert Cork Bark Elm winter

We're featuring just one tree again today. It belongs to Michael Roberts, a Southern California bonsai artist. Here's Michael's caption, "30+ year old twin trunk Cork Bark Elm prepped for the Baikoen “winter Silhouettes” show this January 13th & 14th from 10-5 at the Los Angeles Arboretum.  Hope to see you all there."

twin trunk Cork Bark Elm summer trim

Before and after trimming from back in August when it had leaves. You might notice how much light comes through in the after shot. John Naka's axiom about enough space for the birds to fly though was well heeded.


Michael Roberts on FB
Bonsai Bark

Simple Bonsai Beauty by Mark Arpag

We've got a four photos today from American bonsai artist Mark Arpag. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Chojubai dwarf flowering quince by Mark Arpag

Chojubai dwarf flowering quince by Mark Arpag.

Beech bonsai by Mark Arpag

I know this Beech belongs to Mark Arpag and that I got it on FB, but now I can't find what Mark wrote with it. Anyway, I like its natural feel and simple beauty. 

bonsai tree display by Mark Arpag

Mark doesn't mention the variety, but he did offer this message on Dec 25th.  
Peace, Joy & Harmony
Today & every day
Merry Christmas 
I guess we're a little late with this, but it's a lovely photo and the sentiments in the first two lines could extend beyond the holidays. 

colorful leaves in the woods

One more by Mark Arpag.


Mark Arpag on FB
Mark on Bonsai Bark

Visited By The Bonsai Muse: Harry Harrington

Time for our old friend Harry Harrington. Still one of the most distinctive and industrious bonsai artists we know. I'd like to call him a genius because of just how unique and seemingly uncontrived so many of his bonsai are, but I think he might take offense. 

Can you see this...

... when you look at this?

Or how about this? All the same tree reimagined and styled by Harry Harrington. I think maybe Harry has been visited by the great Bonsai Muse. 

Here's what Harry wrote about it. "Sometimes I’m forced to make room in my personal collection. It’s just not possible to keep everything when I have so many other trees coming through at a reasonable quality.
This is an English Elm bonsai I collected in 2004 (see image from 2005), that has brought a lot of pleasure but will soon be on its way to another garden.
I have heaps of progression and instructive images of the tree from over the years and will be in a book/magazine at some point in the future!"

Have you gotten your copy of Harry Harrington's Foundations of Bonsai yet? It is a must-have for bonsai beginners and long-time practitioners alike. Harry Harrington is a unique force in our world bonsai community. What he accomplishes with inexpensive, undeveloped and sometimes unattractive material is nothing short of impressive. We can all benefit from Harry evolution as a bonsai grower and artist of considerable dedication and skill.

You can get your copy here


Harry Harrington on FB
Harry's Bonsai4me website
Harry on BBC
Harry on Bonsai Bark

Wonderful Bonsai by Andres Alvarez Iglesias

We've got some super trees in perfect settings by Andres Alvarez Iglesias. The photographs are courtesy of Santi Lorenzo Borda, and according to Andres, "They are wonderful as always."

No IDs are provided for the trees, so you'll have to enjoy them nameless. 


Here's that little companion piece in the photo above. 

Another of Andres' trees. Everything about it suggests Ginkgo. 

Muscular! We could guess, but we won't. Can't quite make out the little complimentary piece....

... but this might help.

Here's Andres' caption with this one, There are trees that are engraved in our retina once contemplated. This is definitely one of them.. let's walk together, reinventing ourselves and reinventing ourselves.


Gallery Sources: 
Andres Alvarez Iglesias on FB
Andres on Bonsai Bark

The Best Bonsai How-To Book We've Seen in a Long Time

We've got a treat for you today: a few trees by Dave De Groot and a few teaser pages from Dave's Principles of Bonsai Design (still the best how-to bonsai book we've seen in a long time).

Japanese winterberry bonsai by David De Groot

This colorful Japanese winterberry belongs to David De Groot. Here's his caption, My little JAPANESE WINTERBERRY (Ilex serrata) is still very much in development but is showing some Holiday Cheer.

Mugo Pine bonsai by David De Groot

Here's Dave's caption with this one, My Mugo Pine is getting into the act with a "Three Friends of Winter" display of the Mugo with a small Ume in a Bamboo container.

Principles of Bonsai Design book cover by David de Groot

Dave decides to promote his most excellent book. Speaking of the holidays, if you still haven't gotten a gift for that special bonsai someone, there is still time to order my book "Principles of Bonsai Design" from Stone Lantern. Covering not only design, but container selection, display and evaluation, it's a book they will refer to again and again.
I'll second that!

windblown Chinese elm by David De Groot

In Dave De Groot's own words, I just finished the WINTER WIRING of my "Windblown" Chinese elm. I have shown this a couple times before, but the reason I'm showing it today is that after several years of training, I did not have to move any large branches, and as a result can show it with no large wire. I used only a few pieces of 2 mm, and the rest was all 1-1/2mm and 1mm. Parts of some branches could simply be trimmed, with no added wire. This is a good time to wire as the winter buds are tight and undamaged by handling small branches in congested spaces.

page preview of David De Groot's book Principles of Bonsai Design

This one and the next two are pages from David De Groot's Principles of Bonsai Design.
We'll let the images do the talking. 

page preview of Dave De Groot's book Principles of Bonsai Design

page preview of Dave De Groot's book Principles of Bonsai Design

Dave De Groot standing in a vest beside Mauro Stemberger with a bonsai tree between them

Dave De Groot (in the vest) with Mauro Stemberger, who visited Dave recently. You might imagine Dave and Mauro worked that elegant Juniper together. 

Gallery Sources: 
David De Groot on FB
David on Bonsai Bark