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A Dramatic Before & After Bonsai

B&ACruz

An impressive Sierra juniper(Juniperus occidentalis) transformation by Valentín Cruz. It was originally dug by Ned Lycett  

Before we start, we’ve got an update on yesterday’s post, thanks to Bill Valvanis (see below).

Here we go again with another exceptional before and after bonsai. I found it on the artist’s timeline. His name is Valentín Cruz and a couple hours ago I had no idea he existed. My guess is you didn’t either, but if you spend some time looking him up you most likely won’t forget him. By the way Valentín’s bonsai teacher is Jim Gremel, an artist we’ve featured several times over the years.

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before

Before. It helps to start with a powerful trunk and lots of natural deadwood

after

After. Not bad

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M1

Yesterday's Japanese maple, which, thanks to Bill Valavanis, we now know more about than we did 24 hours ago. Here's what Bill wrote... "That maple is from SEIJI Morimae’s web shop. S Cube Bonsai. 70 years old. $2,300.00" Great price btw.

Is There a Best View for this Exceptional Japanese Maple?

M1

One possible front view of a freshly leafing Japanese maple. But this is not just any Japanese maple; it's an exceptional one and it's in an exceptional (and probably very expensive) pot. I borrowed this photo and the others shown here from Michael Bonsai. Michael doesn't mention the artist or owner, but we'll give him a pass as he is a very good source for professional quality photos of excellent Japanese bonsai.

If you’re a bonsai enthusiast, spring starts when buds begin to swell. Here in northern Vermont, trees in the ground aren’t quite there yet, but my trees that are just out of winter storage certainly are. Time to start repotting

We won’t go too far into the optimal time to repot, as variables abound, though many bonsai artists say the best time is when the new buds are just starting to swell, while others don’t hesitate to repot when the leaves are already opening. And then there are those who transplant even later. I guess it depends on your confidence, knowledge and how much root pruning is necessary.

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M2

The other side and other possible front. Because the pot is oblong, right now there are only two possible fronts (best views) for this tree. However if it were in a round pot (or if you want to repot it), then we might change our mind on best view (speaking of, there are differing opinions on the whole notion of front and back and so forth, but we won't get into that here)

 

M3

Because of the pot, you'd call this a side view, But could this be the front if you repotted?

 

M4

The other side and perhaps another possible front

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M7

Great nebari. The work of a top flight bonsai artist/technician
 

 

M6

Tender new leaves

 


Great Close Ups and other Bonsai Wonders

RYAN

It's not that often that you'll find a tree with with the top half of the trunk deadwood. When you do, and in the right hands, the result can be striking. It's a Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa) that belongs to Ryan Neil (Bonsai Mirai). All the photos in this post are from Ryan's facebook photos.

One of the things I like about Ryan Neil’s photos are his close-ups. It doesn’t hurt that his trees are phenomenal and so well photographed in the first place. But then to show such vivid close-ups invites you in further. Like you are there in the studio.

ryancloseup

Close up. Here's Ryan's caption: "Sub alpine fir, Abies lasiocarpa collected in the Washington Cascades. The dead top and contorted branches tell of the rugged alpine environment."

 

ryanbluespruce

Ryan's caption: "Colorado Blue Spruce. Picea pungens. Collected from the Rocky Mountains. | This tree is nostalgic for me, having grown up in Colorado. Spruce are part of the landscape of my childhood."

 

ryansprucecloseup

A piece of trunk a piece of pot. A different kind of close-up. Here's Ryan's caption: "Bon-sai means "tree in tray" in Japanese. The container is just as vital to a composition as the tree itself. When a tree and container are well-matched, the union is transformative, as with this pot by Austrian ceramicist Horst Heinzlreiter and its Colorado Blue Spruce."

 

ryandougfir

This one is a Douglas fir. Ryan's caption is below.

 

ryanfircloseup

"The Douglas Fir is hypothesized to have been the tallest tree in the world, even taller than the Redwood. But no one knows for sure because the old growth Douglas Firs were all cut down before anyone had the tools to accurately measure. This stunted Doug Fir likely lived back when those Giants stood tall."

 

ryanwhorn

That’s Ryan posing for a professional photo with a one of the most amazing root-on-rock plantings I’ve ever seen. Here’s his caption: “In the studio today with @hornbecker shooting for the Artisans Cup promotional material.” He doesn’t say what the tree’s are.

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Bonsai Close Up

HH4CUHarry Harrington's dramatic closeup of a Trident maple root-over-rock by Ian Cuppleditch.

Sticking with Harry Harrington. But this time it’s photos he took of other people’s bonsai at the Expo Bonsai UK 2018 Show. Here’s what Harry had to say about them… “After many hours of editing my favourite images from yesterday’s Expo Bonsai UK 2018 Show in Harlington, London, England. The show had an incredibly high standard of trees and I was lucky to get some great photos!

We’re featuring some of Harry’s closeups here.  If you’d like to see photos of the entire trees, you can visit Harry’s bonsai4me website

Note: If you’re wondering why we’ve put yesterday’s post up again today, it has to do with defective links in yesterday’s newsletter. Stay posted for today’s post…

HH1CUI took the liberty of cropping Harry's photo of this Trident maple that belongs to Mark and Ritta Cooper. You can see the original photo of this tree and the other trees shown here on Harry's bonsai4me website

 

HH2CU

Closeup of a Forsythia bonsai with its early spring flowers. The tree belongs to by Ian Warhurst. The pot is by Walsall Ceramics

 

hh9cu

Mugo Pine by Mo Fagan. The pot is from China

 

HH6CU2

Scots Pine by John Turner. Japanese bonsai pot.

 

hhcompcu

I cropped this accent planting to see if we could get a more abstract feel that emphasizes the colors. It's by Corin Tomlinson. Like all the photos here, you can see the entire bonsai (or accent plant) on Harry's website

 

HH5CU

Hawthorn bonsai by Warren Radford. Japanese bonsai pot.

 


Bonsai Up Close – Fertilizer Special Ends Tonight

HH4CUHarry Harrington's dramatic closeup of a Trident maple root-over-rock by Ian Cuppleditch.

Sticking with Harry Harrington. But this time it’s photos he took of other people’s bonsai at the Expo Bonsai UK 2018 Show. Here’s what Harry had to say about them… “After many hours of editing my favourite images from yesterday’s Expo Bonsai UK 2018 Show in Harlington, London, England. The show had an incredibly high standard of trees and I was lucky to get some great photos!

We’re featuring some of Harry’s closeups here.  If you’d like to see photos of the entire trees, you can visit Harry’s bonsai4me website

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HH1CUI took the liberty of cropping Harry's photo of this Trident maple that belongs to Mark and Ritta Cooper. You can see the original photo of this tree and the other trees shown here on Harry's bonsai4me website

 

HH2CU

Closeup of a Forsythia bonsai with its early spring flowers. The tree belongs to by Ian Warhurst. The pot is by Walsall Ceramics

 

hh9cu

Mugo Pine by Mo Fagan. The pot is from China

 

HH6CU2

Scots Pine by John Turner. Japanese bonsai pot.

 

hhcompcu

I cropped this accent planting to see if we could get a more abstract feel that emphasizes the colors. It's by Corin Tomlinson. Like all the photos here, you can see the entire bonsai (or accent plant) on Harry's website

 

HH5CU

Hawthorn bonsai by Warren Radford. Japanese bonsai pot.

 


Que Hermoso Bonsai!

Pavel

I believe this pine (variety unidentified) belongs to Pavel Slovák (see below for links). I assume it's yamadori (bonsai collected from the wild) and the lower trunk's curve is the result of countless years of snow load.

Monday morning, so we’ll make it quick with a one tree post. I found it on Magdalena Chiavazza’ timeline. The caption reads Que hermoso ejemplar! (What a beautiful specimen!*) – Pavel Slovák, so my assumption is that it belongs to Pavel.

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trunkcu

Trunk and guy wire

 

deadwoodcu

A closer look at all the deadwood

 

crowncu

The crown. I think John Naka would like way it is opened enough for a 'bird to fly through.' And so we can appreciate all the movement in the upper trunk and branching

* Que hermoso is easy enough, but perhaps some of you might take issue with the machine translation’s ejemplar as ‘specimen.’

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A Bonsai Artist on a Mission

v creeper

This rugged beauty with its luminous fall foliage is a Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Like most of the photos shown here, it's from Harry Harrington's bonsai4me website

It has been a while since we visited our friend Harry Harrington, a bonsai artist on a mission to style ten thousand bonsai in one lifetime (or so it seems). In addition to being one of the most prolific and visible bonsai artists we know (Harry’s timeline and his website provide ample evidence on both counts), Harry often specializes in bonsai that come from humble origins…
Continued below…

celmA dramatically lit photo that shows off this old Chinese elm's (Ulmus parvifolia's) lush foliage

Continued from above…
…If you are interested in quality bonsai, and don’t have the resources or inclination to spend a lot of money, Harry Harrington’s approach might be just what you are looking for. Most quality bonsai starts with quality (usually expensive) stock. Harry starts with whatever he can find (or what people sometimes bring him). If you’re like most of us, you can learn a lot from this approach. And you can save some money.

B1FOUND

The Foundations of Bonsai
a good place to start if you want to see how Harry does it

baccata

English yew (Taxus baccata)

 

privet2

Privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) hedgerows are common in England and provide a great source of exceptional bonsai material (though you can bet this one didn't look quite like this when it was dug)

 

B1INS

Harry’s Bonsai Inspirations 1
if you’d like to keep exploring how Harry does it

acer

Japanese mountain maple (Acer palmatum)

 

sawara

Sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera)

 

B1-2HARRY

Or you can save a bit if you’d like both

Privet

A raft style Privet

 

B pubescens Downy B

A weeping Downey birch (Betula pubescens). I don't know if it came this way or if Harry wired the branches down (though I suspect a bit of both)

 

elm

The artist with one of his famous English elms (Ulmus minor)

We when said Harry is prolific, we weren’t kidding… the trees shown here represent just a the tiny tip of Harry’s bonsai



 


Three Magnificent Trees & the 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition

bill

Bill Valavanis air layered these three Koto Hima Japanese maples from the same tree back in 1986.
A couple things happened when I discovered the photos above on Bill Valavanis’ timeline. First, I was impressed with the trees and their history and thought you might enjoy them, and second… I realized that it’s time to remind you about the 6th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. It’s the premier North American celebration of bonsai. The one event you don’t want to miss and it’s only five months away. I look forward to seeing you there!

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6th-2

If you would like to submit any bonsai, the deadline for entries is June 1, 2018 (or until the exhibition is filled). If you're like most people and just want to be there, it's not too soon to make your plans

 

bill1
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.”

September 8-9 of this year. Mark your calendar!

bill2

 

bill3


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A Brilliant Before & After Bonsai from Humble Beginnings…

B&A

Before and after Japanese maple. Another magical transformation by Suthin.

We’ve been enjoying some excellent before and after transformations lately. Particularly ones by our friend Suthin Sukosolvisit, one of our most prolific and brilliant North American bonsai artists (Suthin is originally from Thailand, but he has been here long enough to to have American children and grandchildren, so I think he qualifies as North American). This time it’s an almost obscenely lush Japanese maple from humble beginnings.

before

Humble beginnings. Not a very good photo and not a terribly promising tree. At least to an untrained eye.

 

after

After! Suthin doesn't say how long it took from there to here but my guess is less time than you might imagine

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Messages from Our National Bonsai Treasure

NBMain

John Naka's famous Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been in training since 1963. It was donated to the North American Collection at the U.S. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum by Alice Naka in 1990. There's something about a quality bonsai displayed with a beautiful scroll. Our thanks to Alexander Voorhies for this and the other photos shown here.

Our friends at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum invite you, as a fellow lover and supporter of bonsai, to sign up for Museum Messages today. Once you join the mailing list, we hope you will see and appreciate all the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum has to offer and consider making a financial contribution to support the National Bonsai Foundation.
See below for more…

NBM10

This rugged old Toringo Crab Apple (Malus toringo) is mirrored by its shadow. It was donated to the Japanese Collection by Shu'ichi Ueda in 1976 and has been in training since 1905.

 

NBM7

I like the way the shadow highlights the fine branching on this root-over-rock Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia). It was donated to the Chinese Collection by Yee-sun Wu in 1986 and has been training since 1956.

 

NBM6stone

This Imperial Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum) was donated to the Japanese Collection by Prince Takamatsu of the Royal Household in 1976 and has been in training since 1895. The stone paired with it is a Mountain Stream Stone collected in Kamogawa Japan, and donated by Kunizo Motoki. We originally showed this tree with shadow several years ago, but this is the first time with its companion stone.

 

cu1This close up emphasizes the shadows and provides a better view of the movement in each branch and the full reach of the nebari

maincu

Close up of John Naka's Pomegranate

NBF

Click on this live link to learn more about this national treasure and to sign up for the mailing list

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