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The Beginning of Bonsai Time

1harry9A study in simple beauty. The tree is a European beech (Fagus sylvatica) that belongs to Harry Harrington, and the well chosen pot is by Erin pottery.

The title of this post might be a little misleading, so we’ll call it poetic license (or maybe a metaphor?). Anyway, continuing our Harry Harrington theme, we’ll take a journey back to our first two Harry posts. The first is from March, 2009, Bark’s second month in existence, and the second is from August, 2011.

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Hfield

This Goldflame Japanese Spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Goldflame’) was originally dug from a  garden in the UK. It was styled by Harry Harrington. It's from our first post on Harry's bonsai, March, 2009, back in the day when we often featured just a single photo per post. You can view it and numerous other noteworthy bonsai at Harry's bonsai4me.com

– 

Raft style privet. Originally collected from an old hedge.

 

1Harry11Hetzii juniper. Pot by Erin pottery

B1-2HARRYHarry's excellent books provide numerous examples
 of how-to transform inexpensive (or no cost) stock
 into quality bonsai
 Both are available and discounted at Stone Lantern
1harry8Downy birch (Betula pubescens). This one was over 20 feet (6 plus meters) tall when Harry collected it. Now it's 21" (53 cm)

 

1harry6The ultimate in simplicity. It's a Himalayan juniper (Juniperus squamata)

 

harry10-Close up of a Tamarix.  This tree started as a taperless stump (see below)

 

Earlier stages of the Tamarix just above

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A Rare Bonsai Occurrence – Harry’s Flowering Privet

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This flowering Privet belongs to Harry Harrington (as does the wristwatch). I took the liberty to crop the original photo (see below) for a closer view

Our talented and prolific friend Harry Harrington is at it again. Here’s his caption for the tree shown here (from his fb timeline)…
I think this is quite a rare occurrence, one of my Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) bonsai not only flowering, but in scale with the tree itself! Collected in 2009 from a hedge growing in West London, this has always been one of my favourite Privet.
Height 14″/34cm, 5″/12.5cm trunk diameter. Pot by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery. A progression series for this tree, going back to 2009, can be seen on my website

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PB2

A bright spot

 

PB3White of white

 

B1-2HARRYHarry's books provide numerous examples of how-to transform
 inexpensive (or no cost) stock into quality bonsai
 Both are available and discounted at Stone Lantern

 

PMAINB

The original shot provides a bit more scale. That's Harry's arm, artfully  adorned

 

P4

This is what it looked like freshly dug back in 2009. Impressive eh?

 

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Same tree, different angle. From a post we did in April of last year

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Stupendous Bonsai – a Good Place to Start

budisStupendous is a good start in the search for words to describe this old full cascade Pemphis acidula by Budi Sulistyo. Ahh, to live in the tropics where stuff like this grows everywhere (well, not exactly like this, but still...). I first saw it in facebook in an album entitled My bonsai by Budi. By the way, Budi lives in Indonesia

I’d venture that we’ve seen as many astounding Pemphis acidula as almost any other bonsai variety. Especially if we’re talking tropicals. Yesterday we featured three (along with some other tropical wonders), which got me thinking. Why not take a journey back to our original Bonsai Bark Pemphis? So here it is, from April, 2010. It was titled, Budi’s Stupendous Bonsai. The closeups below were added today

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budiscu

Two closer looks at the details. Apologies for the fuzz

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A fruiting tree from Budi's album. I don't know what it is, but I like it
Budi600xBudi with his monster

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Bonsai Waterfalls & Strange Beasts

cool

Not technically a cascading bonsai, but the foliage does cascade down along the trunk. Almost like a waterfall. Speaking of the trunk, not only does it express more than enough power and grace, but the way the grooved deadwood at the base of the trunk twists around behind and pops out again toward the top adds a nice touch. The tree is listed as Pemphis which is a genus of tropical plants. The species isn't given but when it comes to bonsai Pemphis usually (always?) mean Pemphis acidula

Today’s featured artist, Trang Jira lives in Bangkok, Thailand. His trees are unique and unlike most of the trees we show, they don’t owe that much to the Japanese bonsai tradition.* They may be closer to Chinese Penjing, but to my eye they stand on their own

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simple

Though I like all of what I've seen of Trang Jira's trees, this one, with its clean simple lines is a winner. The tree is a clump style Casuarina with a very impressive nebari. Casuarina is a genus. No species is given

 

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Reclining bonsai. It's another Pemphis

 

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A little more conventional* than the others, but the strong undulating trunk with its textured bark is still pretty impressive. It's one of the numerous species in the Diospyios genus. Trang Jira doesn't say which

 

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Stacked. The trunks and the foliage pads seem to mirror each other. It's another Pemphis

 

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Close up of the pads and strange beast sticking out on the right. Can't decide if it's a snake or baby bird with a long neck

 

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Is this one tree in two pots? Or do you need new glasses? Until right now, this was the only Trang Jira tree we’ve shown here on Bark. It’s from a post we did last August titled ‘Is This Really One Tree in Two Pots?‘ It’s another Diospyios

*In North America and much of the West, the art of bonsai is heavily influenced by the Japanese bonsai tradition

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A Magnificent Celebration of American Bonsai Coming Soon

b1nat5winnerWinner of the Finest Bonsai Masterpiece at the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. It's a Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga Mertensiana) that belongs to Eric Schikowski. The photo is by Joseph Noga as are all the photos in Exhibition Albums 2-5.

Just a friendly reminder…
It’s time to make your plans. The 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition is the premier North American celebration of bonsai. The one event you don’t want to miss and it’s only a little more than two months away. We look forward to seeing you there!

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6th-2

Time to register and make your accommodations plans and Bill Valavanis has all the information you need right here

4-5This Colorado blue spruce won the All American Award (Finest American Species in an American Container, Displayed on an American Table) at the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. It belongs to Jason Eider.

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Another Colorado blue spruce. This one won the ABS North American Bonsai Award at the 5th U.S. Exhibition. It belongs to Todd Schlafer

The following is from Bill Valavanis’ Exhibition website
“The world bonsai community will once again be enriched by the display of bonsai gathered from across the United States at the 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition, September 8-9, 2018, in Rochester, NY

“Like Japan’s Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, people from around the world attend the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions to appreciate and study the diversity of the unique and distinctive species displayed by accomplished bonsai artists from across the United States.

“Towering bonsai from the Pacific Northwest, rugged bonsai from the Rocky Mountains, and tropical bonsai from the Southern swampy regions will be displayed alongside weathered bonsai from the Southwestern deserts and refined deciduous bonsai from the Northeast.”

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Immigrant species are welcome. This Japanese black pine is also from the 5th U.S. National Exhibition. It belongs to John Kirby. You can find it and over 200 other distinctive bonsai in the 5th Exhibition Album. We still have some albums from the 4th Exhibition as well (1,2 & 3 are sold out, and according to Bill, there are no plans to reprint)

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About 6 weeks ago I dug about 70 field grown trees (mostly Larch) from my land and put them in training pots. My plan is to offer some of them at the upcoming 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in September. Almost immediately after digging they started rooting and pushing healthy new foliage. Now, it’s time to fertilize, so today they’ll each get a handful (more or less depending on the tree’s size) of Green Dream Fertilizer pellets, with an application of Micro Total to follow next week.

OR-SET5HOYOKU-2

I’ll continue to use Green DreamDyna-gro Bonsai Pro liquid and Micro Total through the summer, tapering off in August to just a couple light applications of Green Dream and Micro Total in order to slow growth  and hopefully end up with nice tight foliage for the show.
We look forward to seeing you there!


Bonsai Boon with and without Flowers

satbefore

This powerful old Satsuki azalea belongs to Boon Manakitivipart. The shot was taken just before spring pruning. Boon's caption with this shot and the one just below is... "Satsuki azalea Debloom and thinning"

Boon Manakitivipart (Bonsai Boon) is one of our favorites and has appeared numerous times here over the years. In addition to being a highly accomplished and prolific bonsai artist, Boon is teacher to many of the best American bonsai artists. The photos shown here were taken from Boon’s timeline. Three of them are first timers here.

You might notice that flowers were removed during spring pruning on this Satsuki azalea (see photo just below). Heavy pruning is often done in the spring when plants are most vigorous. This helps insure speedy recovery and allows plenty of time for next year’s buds to set. In this process, it’s not unusual to remove this year’s blooms. Hopefully after you’ve had a little time to enjoy them.

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after

After pruning. It almost seems a crime to remove the beautiful flowers, but sometimes the long term wins out.

 

sat2

Another of Boon's Satsuki azaleas. I borrowed it from our archives. Here's our original caption... "This Satsuki azalea’s trunk reminds me of some of Antoni Gaudi’s sculptural architecture that graces the great city of Barcelona. Though in truth, the tree resides in Boon Manakitivipart’s impressive bonsai collection in the great city of Alameda, California" (Boon has since moved to Hayward, another Bay Area City).

 

boon

Boon at work. He doesn't say what the tree is. The leaves look like they might be Katsura, but there are other type trees with heart shaped leaves, so don't take my guess to the bank

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Elevating a Root-on-Rock Bonsai

Jquince2

With bonsai, it's almost always the tree that dominates, even though the pot, (stone, slab or whatever) is considered a critical part of the whole. In this case however, it's the rock that elevates the planting to extraordinary. Or, you might say it's the rock and the way it's adorned by the old tree along with the moss and ferns, that makes this planting extraordinary. The tree is a Japanese quince (Chaenomeles japonica). The tree, rock and moss belong to David Benavente.

Staying close to theme, we’ll move from root-over-rock bonsai to root-on-rock bonsai. This post is from July, 2015, with some value added today

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closeup

In this close up the bark speaks of great age and the tree's precarious position and gnarled shape tell a story of hard times and survival.

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rock

The rock!

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pineHere's an equally impressive and improbable Benavente planting. The main tree seems so relaxed and natural given its precarious position. It's a Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestris) and the others are Japanese quince (Chaenomeles japonica). As with the planting above, there are also ferns and moss. I'll guess the convex slab is man made. Speaking of convex, how does that fern underneath ever get enough light?

 

B1KIM2-61-500x6411

As long as we're talking about root-on-convex slabs, here's a famous Japanese white pine planting by Masahiko Kimura that graces the cover of our also famous Kimura (aka The Magician) book.

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A Different Kind of Root-over-Rock

tfront

A strange sort of root-over-rock. You might imagine that it started more or less like other root overs, but because the rock is so small, the roots grew under it and pushed it up, while also growing around one side and creating a firm grip on the rock. Though I originally thought the result might simply be an happy accident, upon reflection I think it was the intention of the original artist 40 to 50 years ago.* It's just too perfect the way most of the rock, particularly the bowl is left uncovered and even emphasized. 
Like so many root-over-rock bonsai, the tree is a Trident maple

Continuing with our Root-over-rock theme from the last two days. The photos and some of the text featured here are from Peter Tea’s blog ( August, 2012). Peter has been featured several times here on Bark

Peter Tea is a very good story teller and the story that goes with this tree is no exception. We’ll offer a taste here and if you’d like you can read it all and see some more photos on Peter’s blog
Continued below…

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tcu

Close up. Such a unique look. The rock is well chosen with it's mini pond (for small birds and other critters to grab a drink?) and the nebari might be best describe as gnarly. Or maybe gnarled? Or both.

Continued from above in Peter’s own words …
This Trident Maple came to the yard about 3 months ago and is one of the trees I water on a regular basis.  It belongs to another professional and is being kept at the nursery for the time being.  As I walk by the tree, I always admired the strange stone that the tree is growing around.  One day I asked Mr. Tanaka about the stone and if it’s the reason why there is some value in this tree and he quickly pointed out that this was a great tree and that the stone had little to do with it.
Continued below…

tccuu

Closer up

Peter continued…
I was a bit surprised when he said that and it got me to examine the tree more closely.  As I sat in the workshop looking at the tree, I started to realize why this tree is quite nice.  Mr. Tanaka pointed out a few things and then went on to say, “Only crazy Bonsai people can understand this tree, this tree has Great Taste!”  Wow, I really needed to examine what this tree is all about.  I went ahead and took some photos of different areas of the tree so you too can see what makes this tree special.  We are in for a treat because a tree like this is not easily duplicated or found.
Continued below…

totherside

The back is pretty impressive too and quite similar to the front at a glance. Though looking a little closer, the differences begin to stand out.

Peter continued…
The main reason why this tree is prized is the age.  Looking at the characteristics of the tree roots, trunk and branches tells us that this small tree is actually 40-50 years old!  The stone then adds that extra bit of charm that makes this entire tree interesting and desirable.  Lets take a closer look at the little things that tell us this tree is old…
For the rest of the story, visit Peter’s blog

tupinto

Looking up into the branching. This branching plays into Peter's story about the age and worthiness of this tree

Rock swallowed by roots. Another Trident maple from Peter's post.

*40 to 50 years old according to Mr Tanaka, Peter’s teacher

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Great Root over Rock Bonsai & Great Roshi Tools

bssat

No source is given for this colorful 'Seki-joju' Azalea. My best guess is that the tree and photo are originally from Japan; it's not uncommon for Japanese trees to remain unattributed (this is often the case in the Japanese gallery section in Bonsai Today magazine back issues). We found the photo on Bonsai Addicted's timeline.

Yesterday we featured a magnificent root-over-rock bonsai by Marvin Besa from the Philipines. Here’s a post devoted completely to Root-over-Rock bonsai that we originally featured a year ago

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putz61This Trident maple root-over-rock by Wolfgang Putz has to be on my top 100 bonsai photos list (if I had such a list). It originally appeared in a 2014 Bark post.

 

sh41 Here's one that started as a root-over-rock and slowly morphed into a root-swallowing-rock (not an official designation, just an observation). It's another Trident maple (the most commonly used species for root-over-rock) originally from Kaede Bonsai-en.

 

W2746 - 2013 Exhibits BrochureYet another Trident. You can imagine that if you removed the branch on the right and cut the one on the left back to where it emerges from the crown, this strange tree would look a whole lot more like so many other conventionally designed bonsai. But don’t do it!  Who wants a conventional bonsai when you have a tree so strikingly unique and impossible to forget? The photo is from the National Bonsai Foundation’s 2013 calendar.

 

BT24StewartiaMona3 This unusual root-over bonsai with its dramatic gongshi type stone appeared in a post we did on Stewartias back in 2013. The photo is originally from Bonsai Today issue 24. Photo by Kindai Bonsai, courtesy of Bonsai Focus.

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“One Quick Glance at this Tree Brought Me to a State of Nirvana”

rootoverrobertCU

A close up of a rather spectacular root-over-rock bonsai (the entire planting is just below). Here's our original caption (from May, 2016) with some changes made today... Robert Steven (my mistake, see below) has done it again. This time it's a perfect root-over-rock bonsai. Here's what Charles Bevan has to say about it: "This is unbelievably perfect. One quick glance at this tree brought me to a state of nirvana."

I was looking to continue our forest theme when I ran across this post from last year (and the year before). There is a forest (below), but it’s the feature tree and the title of the post that caught me. As usual, I’ve done a little adding and subtracting. 

When we originally found the three trees shown here on Robert Steven’s timeline we assumed they belonged to Robert (always assume assumptions are mistaken). Here’s the real story sent to us by Tab Aquino. “These trees are from the Philippines. The rock-grown tree is a Vitex trifolia owned br Marvin Besa. The “juniper” (see below) is actually a Pemphis acidula owned by Alexis Perez.

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rootoverrobert

There are root-over-rock bonsai and then there are root-over-rock bonsai. I think it is safe to say that you will seldom see one quite as spectacular as this one. Nor one with such long thin roots supporting the tree.

 

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Tab didn't say, so we don't know what the trees are. However, we do know that this is a very large, powerful and well done forest planting. And we might assume (there's that word again) that such a huge pot costs a small fortune.

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This is not a juniper in spite of what you might think and in spite of what I thought until Tab Aquino set me straight (see his comments above). It's a Pemphis acidula

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