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Bonsai: Fronts, Backs & Sides (or maybe just a round pot)


One possible front view of a Japanese maple. We borrowed this photo from Michael Bonsai. We don't know who the artist or owner is, but our best guess is that it lives in Japan

One of the first things most of us do when we style a tree is find a suitable front, or best view. With some trees this is easy, especially if the tree has a significant feature that must be seen, like a shari that tells a story of age and hardship. Or a nebari that struts its stuff best from one angle 

But the most important feature is the trunk. Which view best shows its movement or taper? Or better still, both? With many trees, this is obvious and easy. With others, not so much, including this one that has at least two that jump out at you, and more if you're willing to do a little restyling

But least you start thinking this is a simple matter, there is more to it of course, and to further complicate the issue, there are differing opinions on the whole notion of front and back and so forth. But we won't get into that here. If you're interested check our Newsletter (you can sign up to just to your right or below). It's Free


The other side and another suitable front. Because the pot is oblong, right now there are only two possible fronts for this tree. However if it were in a round pot, or if you want to repot it, then you might change your mind on best view 


Because of the pot, you'd call this a side view, But could this be the front if you repotted and perhaps played with the apex a bit?


The other side and perhaps another possible front. though this one is perhaps the most difficult ot the four, with the apex leaning so far to the right (for some reason the lean isn't as severe in the photo from the opposite side)


Not all trees can develop strong nebari, but most maples can and this on is no exception. When a strong nebari is present, it can influence your choice of a front


Tender new leaves



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