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This tiny Shimpaku juniper belongs to Yoshiyuki Kawada.
Staying with our little trees theme, but moving from Haruyosi to another Japanese artist who also makes their own small pots and plants them with small trees (even smaller than Haruyosi’s). His name is Yoshiyuki Kawada, and though I’m just becoming familiar with his trees and pots, so far I’m impressed (this post originally appeared here in November, 2016 – with some changes today).
Another little Shimpaku. This one has a powerful feel for such a small tree
Tiny Pyracantha with smoke
Is this a Crape myrtle?
This little Japanese quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) looks old and yet is so small. I know I've mentioned this before, but there's something about the brilliance and purity of quince flowers.
Time to visit Haruyosi, one of our all time favorites, especially when it comes to very small bonsai. Some of these photos were just taken in the last few days and others are from years gone by
This photo was take two days ago (March 3rd). Here's Haruyosi's caption... "This cherry tree 'Okame' bloomed half a month earlier than last year. (Prunus incamp cv. Okame)"
Prunus mume. I like this shot with just a touch of the pot showing
Here the whole tree in its brilliant red pot. Red pots are unusual in bonsai. The glaze is expensive and such a strong color can distract from even the most brilliant tree.
More delicate spring beauty. This time the pot is yellow. It turns out that, like red pots, yellow pots aren't all that common. The tree is Malus halliana (Hall's crapapple).
Another Prunus mume
I think this one qualifies as Mame ('bean' in Japanese), a common word for the smallest bonsai. Both the tree (Pyracatha) and pot are by Haruyosi.
Just another of Haruyosi's masterpiece pots. Red and yellow together, but I guess you probably noticed.
Japanese maple, borrowed from Bill Valavanis' blog. Bill took this photo at this year's Kokufu (the World's oldest and most prestigious bonsai exhibition) along with several dozen shots of other remarkable trees. But there's something about this one that keep me coming back. Part is the way the massive trunk almost fills the pot, something you don't see every day and almost never with Japanese maples. And there's more, including the tree's unusual movement and direction that might make you wonder what it would look like shot from other angles.
With the exception of the tree above, all the bonsai shown here belong to Tomohiro Masumi. All, including the tree above have the full-pot look in common. And by the way, I have no real problem with this, but I do wonder if the relatively small pots are for show, and if the trees spend time in pots that are more conducive to long term health.
Time to repot? I'm not sure I've ever seen a tree with a nebari that fills the entire pot. Tomohiro Masumi doesn't say what the tree is with any of these photos
Another case of the stuffed pot syndrome. Looks like a Japanese black pine
You can see just a little soil around the trunk here. And check out the taper!
Another Japanese black pine?
The sky blue pot is the perfect compliment to the light pink flowers on this powerful Satsuki Azalea that resides at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington DC. There are a multitude of cultivars in the Satsuki group of azaleas. This one is a ‘Nikko.’ It was donated to the museum by Masayuki Nakamura.
Continuing with our National Bonsai & Penjing Museum theme from yesterday, here are some photos and text from three of our original Museum posts (dating all the way back to March, 2010).
Meanwhile, I would like to encourage you to support the Museum
by casting your votes at these two links…
“Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner” (People & Places)
“Best Museum off the Mall” (Arts & Entertainment)
115 years in training! This dignified old Zelkova serrata lives at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. It was donated by Yoshibumi Itoigawa and has been in training since 1895.
A bright autumn moon –
in the shade of each grass blade
a cricket chirping
Yosa Buson (1716-83)
Chrysanthemum Stone from Neodani, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. On loan to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum from Thomas S. Elias (this is from 2010, so I don't know if it's still there). Woodblock print illustration is BAIREI’S ONE HUNDRED CHRYSANTHEMUMS (Bairei kiku hyakushu). Designs by Kono Bairei (1844-95). Woodblock-printed book, 1891.
A truly distinctive tree showing off its fall colors and much more. Here’s Capital Bonsai’s caption… “Trident Maple, Donated by Stanley Chin, Age Unknown.”
Sotdae. Kusamono: Pygmy bamboo (Pleioblastus pygmaeus) & Wild Ducks. Artwork created by Sam-Kyun Yoon. Inspired by a traditional Korean folk art called sotdae. Placing large sotdae at the entrance to a village is a very old Korean tradition still practiced today. The carved ducks atop tall wooden poles are thought to guard against calamities and disasters.
If you are not already a friend and supporter of the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, there’s no time like now to start.
What follows is a letter from the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum that I am very happy to pass along to you…
Dear friend of NBF,
As the home of the nation’s most historic bonsai collection and a center for education and culture, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum is a destination for lovers of nature and art worldwide.
Like you, we at the National Bonsai Foundation share a love for this beautiful space, and we are hoping you can help us spread the word about the Museum to the Washington, D.C. community.
Voting is now open for the Washington City Paper’s 2018 “Best of D.C.” awards, and you can help us by casting your vote for the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in the following categories:
To vote, click on the above links and enter “National Bonsai & Penjing Museum” in the correct categories. These are two distinct links, so to vote for the museum in both categories, you will have to visit each link separately.
Voting is open until March 4 at 11:59 pm Eastern. You do not have to be in D.C. to participate, so please share this email far and wide.
Thank you for your continued support of the National Bonsai Foundation and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.
The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
This brilliant Japanese Maple was donated to our National Bonsai and Penjing Museum by Ryutaro Azuma. It has been in training since 1906. The photo is from Capital Bonsai.
Bonsai perfection. Luis Vallejo provides the following information with this tree... "Fortunella hindsii Kumquat, By Nobuichi Urushibata, Taishoen. Luis Vallejo Bonsai Garden, Photo Miguel Krause." Taishoen is Nobuichi's bonsai nursery in Japan. Luis Vallejo is an accomplished bonsai artist and the owner of Museo de Bonsai Acalanes in Spain. Fortunella hindsii Kumquat, is of course the type tree, with the Fortunalla hindsii being the smallest of the Kumquats.
Just one tree today, but it’s a good one. I found it on Luis Vallejo’s timeline. If you’ve been following Bark for a while, or if you’re someone who appreciates European (particularly Spanish) bonsai, you’re no doubt familiar with Luis.
You’re also likely familiar with Kumquat bonsai, though they are not all that common outside of Asia. They’re often shohin, though this one appears a little larger (no dimensions are given)
Great nebari with multiple trunks.
Closeup of fruit and leaves
I like this shot. All the space and the dark background accentuate the fruit and the tree's simple beauty
Got pieces of broken pots laying around? No problem. Robert Steven's caption for this photo... "Dedication of the broken pots"
Time to visit our old friend Robert Steven again. Robert has been on the cutting edge of Indonesian and world bonsai for a long time and judging by his recent endeavors, you might conclude that he intends to stay there. All the text in italics are direct quotes from Robert.
Roberts writes... "Front' is simply a viewing angle where we want our bonsai to be seen from..."
"Premna, a wonderful species for bonsai but not easy to take care of from the white scale's attack !" Coincidentally, we just put up a post on scale the other day.
"Happy Chinese New Year! Selamat Tahun Baru Imlek!"
"Happy Chinese New Year! Selamat Tahun Baru Imlek!"
Ben Oki's famous Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis). Mr Oki donated it to the Pacific Bonsai Museum where it now resides and stands as one of the crown jewels in this amazing collection.
RIP Ben Oki, respected and loved American Bonsai pioneer, teacher and friend to countless bonsai enthusiasts. Here’s part of a post on from Verso, the blog of the Huntington Botanical Gardens where Mr Oki was curator of the bonsai collection (written before Ben Oki’s passing)… “When Ben Oki first saw a bonsai tree as a curious youngster of six, he asked his father what bonsai was. “It’s something people do when they retire,” his father explained. Luckily for the world of horticulture, Oki didn’t wait that long to start.
“The curator of the bonsai collection at The Huntington, Oki is one of the world’s leading masters of the art of bonsai. Trained under the tutelage of legendary master John Naka, Oki has devoted more than four decades to the art and has received so many honors as a teacher himself that several prestigious awards bear his name, including the Ben Oki International Design Award sponsored by the Bonsai Clubs International…” Here’s the rest of the article
Here’s something Ted Matson a bonsai artist and student of Ben Oki wrote… “Sorry to announce the passing of Ben Oki this Friday from a heart attack. We lost a great American bonsai master who faithfully served in the shadow of his sensei, John Naka, but was a top artist in his own right with a sense of style and technical skill that made huge impact in more ways than we all realize. I know that he was very influential in my bonsai career and it’s a personal honor to help carry on his legacy at The Huntington.”
These little critters with their protective helmet-like shields are just one variety of the approximately 8,000 species of scale. Though not all are harmful to your bonsai, the ones that are, need to be taken seriously.
Here’s what Michael Hagedorn has to say about scale…
“They’re here again*…scale are emerging from their eggs underneath their shields, and beginning to crawl.
“This is the time to control them. If we sprayed during the winter we wasted insecticide on protected eggs. In June they mature and begin moving around the plant, and can be controlled with oils. All-season oil or Neem oil work. Early summer through the warm months they are active.
“It’s very important to identify when to control what. If we spray with the right insecticide or fungicide in the wrong season, we waste time and money and maybe give a beneficial organism a hard time.”
*February is a little early for this article, early summer would be better but you can still prepare
For more bonsai advice from Michael Hagedorn, be sure to check out Bonsai Heresy.
A female cottony cushion scale with offspring.
Here’s a small piece of what Wikipedia has to say about scale
“Scale are small insects of the order Hemiptera, generally classified as the superfamily Coccoidea. There are about 8,000 species of scale insects. Scale insects feed on a wide variety of plants, and many scale species are considered pests. Scale insects’ waxy covering makes them quite resistant to pesticides, which are only effective against the first-instar nymph crawler stage. However, scales are often controlled with horticultural oils, which suffocate them, or through biological control. Soapy water is also reported to be effective against infestations on houseplants.” As is Neem oil.
Was this foliage pinched in order to achieve that dense, perfectly refined shape and texture? The answer, according to Michael Hagedorn is an emphatic NO! Except when it isn't. The image is borrowed from our Masters' Series Juniper Bonsai book.
Thought you might enjoy another round of Micheal Hagedorn‘s bonsai wisdom. Most of this post was borrowed and updated from a 2012 Bark Bark Post titled "Pinch! Don’t Pinch!" We added some content and posted it again in 2015. Because it offers an important lesson for anyone who grows junipers, especially those of us who are in the habit in pinching to control growth, it’s worth another look.
Michael Hagedorn's famous Post-Dated Still the best bonsai read in the English language
Back in 2012 Michael featured a post on his Crataegus Bonsai blog that was titled Never Pinch Junipers. Here’s en excerpt in his own words… Basically, we don’t pinch junipers. We cut new long extensions with scissors…and I know that will raise some eyebrows. I think the idea of pinching junipers with fingers started long ago in translated Japanese articles written by those who did not specialize in or have much experience in junipers. And then we bought into the idea of pinching because it seemed like a way to have fun with our junipers. But pinching, especially over-pinching where every growing tip is removed, has been killing junipers for decades. There’s more here.
Don't pinch! Michael Hagedorn's hand showing off healthy juniper foliage that he'll never pinch.
But what about Japanese articles that encourage pinching? When Michael mentions “the idea of pinching junipers with fingers started long ago in translated Japanese articles written by those who did not specialize in or have much experience in junipers” I thought uh oh, could it be Bonsai Today that hes’ referring to?
The early issues of Bonsai Today were translated from Japanese to Spanish to English. The person doing the Spanish to English knew nothing about bonsai and, at that time, almost no one else in the West did either (possibly including the person translating from Japanese to Spanish). So it’s easy to see how misconceptions could be passed on and be interpreted as bonsai gospel.
Which brings us to an article in Bonsai Today issue 28 (1993) where Kunio Kobayashi (he’s a famous bonsai artist and teacher and his fame is well earned) where he is quoted as saying (translated twice mind you) “The objective of pinching is to remove the leaves in areas of strong growth, so that you keep the strong branches from growing too long and, at the same time, bring into balance the vigor of the tree’s strong branches (which are pinched) with that of the weak ones (that are not pinched).” There’s more, but you get the drift.
Pinch? If you look at this photo (from a Kunio Kobayashi article in Bonsai Today 28), it looks like he's showing us how to pinch juniper foliage. When you combine the photo with the text (even considering the possibilities of poor translation) it looks like he advocated pinching.
I’m loath to disagree with Michael on any bonsai topic (Michael apprenticed in Japan for three years and is extraordinarily meticulous and thorough when it comes to bonsai), but equally reluctant to disagree with Mr. Kobayashi. Fortunately, I think there’s a way out (beyond the old saw about reasonable people disagreeing); it’s when Michael says “But pinching, especially over-pinching where every growing tip is removed, has been killing junipers for decades. So, maybe you can still pinch your junipers, as long as you don’t over-pinch. Or maybe just take Michael’s advice and use you scissors and avoid pinching altogether.
Of course all this might cause you to question if it’s also possible to over-trim new growth.
Was this tree pinched? Shimpaku juniper by Kunio Kobayashi from Bonsai Today issue 28. (image courtesy of Bonsai Focus).