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Mixed Bonsai Forests & Other Wonders


 This magnificent mixed forest is by Saburo Kato, who was one of the original old masters of Japanese bonsai. You can find it and other remarkable trees in his timeless classic Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai (see below). You can also find some of the most comprehensive how-to bonsai instructions anywhere. The trees are (more or less left to right) Japanese maple, Japanese beech, Dwarf Stewartia, Japanese red leaf hornbeam, Kyushu azalea and Desojo Japanese maple. The planting was about 30 years old when this photo was taken. Its height is 41 inches (104cm). In other words, it’s a lot bigger than you’d think just looking at this picture.

We’ve got four uncommon forests for you today, the first two are mixed forests and the other two are unique in their own way. Forests with mixed species can be a little tricky; not only does the planting have to make sense aesthetically, particularly when it comes to questions of scale, but the various types of trees should make sense growing together (would you find them growing together in nature?)

Not that you can’t experiment with trees that normally might not grow in the exact same locations, but the more different their natural habitats are, the more unnatural the planting might seem and the more difficult it might be to keep all the trees healthy.

This mixed forest/landscape is from Spain. The Museo del Bonsai Marbella to be exact (from Bonsais del Sur). It's too bad the pot is chopped off and the whole photo is cramped, but that's the way we found it. Still, from what we can see, it looks like a very ambitious project with numerous types of trees, smaller plants and other features to integrate. No mean feat to pull off.

When I first caught site of this planting on Quoc Viet Tran‘s timeline I was immediately struck by how powerful and realistic it is. I wish I could tell you more but no information is provided. I guess we’ll have to settle for simple appreciation of the artist’s mastery.

Bonsai Empire's caption says "Buxifolio Bonsai forest, planted on a rock, by Luisa Alfaro." The Buxifolio part is a bit of a mystery. Buxifolia (with an a) is a species name, but without the genus, it could be any number of things. The leaves look tiny, so we'll try Neea buxifolia.



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