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Do the Best Bonsai Always Win the Awards? Some Questions from this Year's Kokufu Show


Kokufu Award winning (from Part 1 of the Kokufu Expo) Sargent juniper (looks like a Shimpaku variety). No argument on my part with this choice. To my eyes it expresses power, dynamism, balance, great points of interest (eg the big twist, the little see thru holes, etc), age, just the right pot... everything you might want in a bonsai.  I cropped Bill Valavanis' original photo for a closer look (see below)

When Bill Valavanis goes to Japan you can except great photos. Lots of them! Especially when he's there for his annual Kokufu tour. We just picked Part 1 prize winners for today, but we'll have more soon. Still, they'll only be a fraction of the ones Bill posted. You can to visit his blog for the rest. It's a click well worth making (scroll down for your link)

No matter the show, sometimes the prize winners make sense to me, but sometimes I don't quite get it.* In this case, two of the four fall into that 'don't quite get it' category. Stay posted and I'll feature some of my favorites soon

*No insult intended to the artists, owners or the wisdom of the Kokufu judges, I take full credit for any fault in judgement

Part 1 Kokufu Award winning Trident maple. Though there's a lot to like here, especially the ramification, still this one doesn't quite knock my socks off. At least in this photo (I cropped it for a closer look, Bill's original is below).


I like the full, flowing feel of this Japanese white pine, but it's not one I'd choose (it's another Part 1 prize winner). Primarily because the foliage hides the most of the tree's bones (aka trunk and lower branch structure) and most of the rock as well. I always thought this was a no-no in bonsai, but I'm still learning and conventions and tastes don't stand still
I cropped the photo above for a closer look through the gaps in the foliage. Now you can better see some of the branching and a piece of the trunk. You can almost see the rock a little better too


Winner of the best Shohin Display for Kokufu Part 1 


Close up of the right part of the display. No argument here, though I  also liked the other Shohin shots Bill took

Bill's original shot of the prize winner (with companion) that's at the top of the post


Bill's original of the prize winning Trident maple


 I'm not sure if this Suiseki is a prize winner, but it looks good to me


Bill's close up

Here's you link to Bill's blog where he numerous of great photos from Kokufu and elsewhere


Bill again. The time it's his 7th U.S. National (North America's Kokufu). Coming this fall. Time to make you plans!


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