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Suthin's Blazing Bonsai - Six Trident Maples in Full Fall Color

Luminous multi colored leaves crown this powerful Trident maple. (I know I said we were through with fall color for this year, but I couldn't resist this and the others shown here)

We can't go too long without circling back to Suthin. He's one of our favorites, and in that sentiment we know we're not alone

Today it's six Trident maples with massive trunks. Tridents grow like weeds down south (not so fast up here in Vermont) so you can sometimes find ones with heavy trunks that won't break the bank. I don't have any sources right now, but google might help if you'd like to give one a try






Here's your link to Suthin's timeline 

Brilliant Bonsai Garden and Only a Touch of Envy

Here's the caption that came with the photos shown here...  "Visit to Hartmut Muenchenbach - Jennifer Price, Thomas Haering and WP (Walter Pall) visited Hartmut Muenchenbach - the legend. He lives in the very south of Germany in sight of the border to Austria."

Last year we featured a visit by Walter Pall and Jennifer Price to Hartmut Muenchenbach's bonsai garden. Recently Walter and Jennifer paid another visit. Most of the photos shown here are from this visit, though we threw in a couple from last year

Speaking of envy, it's best not to indulge. It only causes discontent. Still small flashes can arise and catch us unaware when we encounter something as beautiful as Hartmut's garden. No problem though, we'll take it as inspiration







Jennifer Price with camera





Hartmut, the legend 

All the photos shown here are from Walter Pall's timeline


Going Strong - Green T Mini Bonsai Work Stands

Green T mini and the ancient art of sword trimming. Looks easy, but your sword better be sharp!

Just in case you haven't heard, our new Green T Mini Shohin Bonsai Work Stands are still going strong. Their sizes are small, but their potential to improve the way you work on your little trees... and the results, are large indeed

The secret is the 3Axis technology with its tilting system that rotates on a sphere. For stability it comes with a mechanical lock and straps to secure your bonsai. This allows you to change the inclination of your small trees in ways you may have only dreamed of

The S Model has a firm suction base to attach to a table or other similar flat horizontal surface and the V Model attaches with a C-clamp

For specs, other useful info and prices, here are your links to our website; Green T Mini S model and Green T Mini V model


A Shohin Shimpaku resting on a Green T Mini V model Shohin bonsai work stand 


S Model with Shohin pine 




Hall of Fame bonsai artist, teacher, author, publisher, organizer, entrepreneur and everything in between and beyond, Bill Valavanis with his V model Mini Green T

This Green T Mini Work Stand S Model is a work of art on its own... is the V model


From horizontal to vertical and everything in between

V model on the left and S model on the right. If you don't do millimeters, we've got the specs in inches on our website



The contemporary art of trimming small bonsai on a beautiful Mini Shohin Work Stand (V model)

Last Gasp Bonsai Fall Color (where's Bill?)

One of Bill Valavanis' gorgeous maples

I know we've probably overplayed our fall color fixation this year, and I can't promise for sure, but this one may be the last for a while


Where's Bill? Another installment in the famous Where's Bill series on his timeline  


Same maple, different place


Not Bill's but most def beautiful. I wonder if it's from the Portland (Oregon) Japanese garden. It showed up on Bill's timeline the other day. It originally appeared on Rakuyo Bonsai, a Portland company


All four photos shown here are from Bill Valanis' timeline 

Bonsai Dreamscapes


This rock-juniper planting is reminiscent of some Penjing plantings we've featured over the years. Even the concrete tray with its look of marble fits the type (see below) 

We usually experience some excitement when we discover a new artist and this time is no exception. In this case it's Stan Cox of Bonsai Dreamscapes. I like the lack of artifice in Stan's plantings. Like someone playing around and having fun with rock/plant combinations. I know that Stan is a professional and there's more to it than that, but what is communicated has that enjoyable and inviting quality that might make you want to give it try. A successful outcome for sure


Stan's name for this desert stone-scape is El Dorado. Don't quote me, but I think the trees are boxwood


 This one is called Benevolence. The trees look like dwarf Alberta spruce

Karst. The plants look like Dwarf Japanese garden junipers (Juniperus procumbens 'nana'), as do the trees in the planting at the top of this post


Secret Falls. More of the same type junipers


Stan makes his own concrete made-to-look-like-marble trays. This might be the one under the planting at the top of this post


 By the way, Stan's plantings are for sale. Here's your Dreamscapes link


Juniper Bonsai - Before, During & After

 Before during and after Shimpaku juniper by Koji Hiramatsu

A great thing about Juniper bonsai is their abundance. Numerous species grow throughout the Northern Hemisphere, many of which are available at nurseries, garden centers, and of course at bonsai shops and nurseries

Of all the junipers, the Shimpaku with its beautiful dense foliage is the most prized. The only downside is they grow so slowly. However, you can speed up the process by grafting Shimpaku onto hardier juniper stock, like San Jose juniper, California juniper, Prostrata juniper or other thick trunked stock*


Before. Based on what you can see through the holes, it looks like there's a lot of action underneath the thick foliage canopy



Trimming the foliage back and discovering a trunk like this just might make your day


After. The flow of the crown to left balances the flow of the deadwood to the right, and the radical reduction in the foliage accentuates the power of the trunk 


. A closer look. A guy wire is an easy way to pull a branch down. If you use a Tie Pot, the knobs make it easier still (just below)

You can visit Koji Hiramatsu on Facebook


Tie Pots Are Available at Stone Lantern 


*Here's a link to a Bonsai Bark post on grafting Shimpaku onto California juniper


Bunjin Bonsai - a Happy Joining of Natural Simplicity & Human Appreciation

Before and after Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora) by Naoki Maeoka

Continuing with our Literati/ Bunjin theme. Due to its long somewhat narrow trunk with no low branching, many people might call this pine bunjin. The only thing that might give pause is the relatively heavy, robust crown. Most bunjin reflect hostile growing conditions and sport only sparse foliage

In a broader sense, some people see bunjin as the most perfect expression of bonsai. Completely natural and simple, even humble.  And of course, helped along with skilled human hands and eyes. So I think this one qualifies and even if it doesn't, well... maybe it does anyway

We'll continue this discussion on bunjin in our newsletter with a quote by John Naka (if you're not subscribed to our newsletter, just scroll down)


Before. The original photo


The original after photo. The trunk's strong base, irregular and understated flowing lines work to perfection. And the highly evolved refinement, give it away as Japanese rather than Penjing


The Heart of Literati

Lyrical and lovely, simple and uncontrived, aged looking and still fresh. The heart of Literati

The last few days we've been fumbling around trying to understand what makes a bonsai literati, or more accurately, what makes a penjing literati. Much of this fumbling takes place in our newsletter where we've been inviting others in to fumble along with us (you can subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this post - It's Free!)

All the photos shown in this post are from Zhao Qingquan's Literati Style Penjingthe benchmark book on the topic. Zhao is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on Penjing and also one of the world's foremost Penjing artists

We'll have more on Zhao, Penjing and Literati in our next newsletter (again you can subscribe below)


Literati penjing in an unglazed drum pot, something a Japanese bunjin artist might use


I like this one a lot. I think the pot gives it away as a penjing literati. I don't think a Japanese bunjin artist would ever use a pot like this. Other than that, I'm not sure I can tell the difference 


 This one has penjing literati written all over it


 Zhao's famous book is on Special at Stone Lantern 
as are all our books

 Feel free to email me if you have comments. Just be aware that we reserve the right to use your comments in our blog or in newsletter

Penjing Perfection One Year Later & the Upcoming 2020 Japan Bonsai Exploration


Putting a dead bonsai to good use. This and the other photos shown here were taken by Bill Valavanis

Our last post was from the 4th Zhongguo Feng Penjing Exhibition, now we've got some shots from this year's 5th Exhibition. All the photos in both posts are borrowed from Bill Valavanis' Welcome to My Bonsai World blog and they barely scratch the surface of the large number of exciting photos that Bill posted

 Because we want to encourage you to visit Bill's blog to see all the photos from Exhibition, I've pared Bill's photos down to just a few. focussing on individual Shohin bonsai and Shohin displays

Speaking of Bill and Shohin Bonsai, here's a reminder about his 2020 Shohin Bonsai Japan International Bonsai Exploration

I think I've seen this little Crabapple before. Or perhaps a close cousin?


The berries and leaves look like Cotoneaster


What a beautiful shohin display stand. The little trees aren't half bad either


Princess persimmon


Firethorn (Pyracantha) 


A rather unusual Shohin display stand. One of many distinctive stands that Bill features. Here's your link for them all and much more 


Penjing Perfection & Limited Edition Signed Bonsai Book

A near perfect penjing, bonsai or whatever you choose to call it. And the birds love it... John Naka is quoted as saying "Make your bonsai so the birds can fly through" The tree looks like a Shimpaku juniper. Perhaps it was collected in the Mountains of Taiwan where these are abundant

 All the photos shown here are from the 4th Zhongguo Feng Penjing Exhibition, courtesy of Bill Valavanis. Bill posted them on his Welcome to My Bonsai World blog, one of our favorites


A close look at the trunk and ground cover

Literati style Penjing. Literati dates back hundreds of years to when Chinese poets, artists and calligraphers were called Literati. Once you know this association with calligraphy, it's easy enough to see why (the Japanese word for this style is Bunjin - literati and bunjin are often used interchangeably by English speaking bonsai enthusiasts)


We just received the last 15 signed copies of
The Chinese Art of Bonsai & Potted Landscapes 
When these are gone, that's it!
Signed Copies Only 39.95
Unsigned Copies Only 19.95

 Three Authors, Three Signatures



I might be reluctant to call this one literati. It has the tall thin trunk with most of the branching toward the top that we associate with literati, but the abundance of rich foliage speaks of a life that's may be too soft for literati which are typically associated with the kind of hardship you might find on a cold, high mountain cliff or other inhospitable environs



Halloween tree. With a little imagination it might be scary. No variety is given


Bonsai candelabra with deadwood

 This Princess persimmon is Bill's favorite from the show

 For more photos and bonsai wisdom by Bill Valavanis, you can visit his Welcome to My Bonsai World blog