Monday, May 31, 2010

Bonsai tree: Developing Ramification on Deciduous Bonsai

It’s the first of a five page series on ramification that we are running over two posts.
Ramification literally means branch development, or how branches growing. However, when it comes to the art of bonsai it has come to mean branch development that displays a couple key features: taper and fine branching. These features are critical when it comes to developing quality deciduous bonsai.
… but they also lose their shape rapidly. In other words, with the application of some precise pruning and pinching, you can create excellent fine branching on deciduous trees in just a few years. But it’s an on going process that requires continued precise pruning and pinching to maintain.
Pinching back. Notice that is it says the pinching back is done “from the end of March to the end of April.” Exactly when this should occur where you live, depends upon your climate (the original article is from somewhere around Tokyo, Japan; which is about the same latitude as Charlotte, NC). Here in northern Vermont it’s more like from mid to late May until mid to late June.
We’ll run the second installment sometime in the next few days. It includes a work calendar for deciduous trees.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bonsai tree: Dale Cochoy’s Bunjin Pot

“Started electric kiln tonight, and unloading gas kiln in morning and immediately reloading and starting to fire it again. Both kilns being fired at same time Saturday. I guess it will be a good weekend to clean the pond. No bike riding this weekend! Finally rested up from my all night firing ( after all day working) a couple days ago.” From Dale’s wall photos on facebook.
We’ll, we don’t sell pots, but we do sell things (books, tools, fertilizers, wire, kenzans, netsuke and more) at whooping big discounts.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #15

Greg Madson submitted this photo along with these comments: “This is part of my own study of the geometrics of presentation. It’s a three year old Rosmarinus officinalis, Prostrata cascade 16.5 cm from top to btm (6.5 inches). I love the arc structures of the long branches that this particular variety produces. Creating a presentation that shows off the curves, angles, and depth of a tree is worth the effort.”
The contest is closed and all the entries have been posted, save for the very last one (tomorrow!).

Stay posted for information on how you can help judge this contest and maybe win something in the process.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bonsai tree: Nothing Compares to Shin-Boku

Shin-Boku Nursery from the air. You can’t tell, but almost every one of the plants in this photo are specimen quality Japanese garden trees. Some are ten or fifteen feet tall, others are potential bonsai. All are old and range from excellent to amazing.
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Monday, May 24, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #14

Amy Palmer says: “I found and shot this manzanita (Arctostaphylos) clinging to the rocky outcropping in the chaparral biome just before entering Yosemite Valley, while scrambling about and dodging rattlers.”

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #13

Don Erickson’s entry. “Found this group or forest while driving Highway 99W north of Eugene, Oregon. I tried several times to count the number of trees but never came up with the same number twice. Isn’t it odd that nature can break the rule of trees lined up behind each other, why can’t we?”

I don’t think there are any rules for bonsai. There are however, some very helpful guidelines. And of course, plenty of opinions.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Bonsai tree: Osaka…again

In Osaka working for Mr. Fujikawa for the next few months. Below are some shots around the nursery of new arrivals. I’ll continue to update information and pictures more frequently. Enjoy!
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bonsai tree: The Wiring Game

The photos below show how to wire a primary branch and five secondary branches without crossing wires; presented as an interesting and instructive game. BTW: if you need any wire for your own wiring games…
Wait! Before you go any further, see if you can figure out how to wire all five secondary branches (a-e) without crossing any wires.

Step one. Start with b and d. Top view.
Step one, bottom view.
Step two. Wiring c and e in process.
Step two, c and e finished
Step three. What about branch a? How would you do it?

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #12

Martin Cheung submitted this photo. He writes that “it was taken in Tokyo, Japan in 2008. It’s a black pine grown in the garden with an informal upright style. The diameter of the truck is about 18 inches and the tree is more than 6 feet tall.”

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Bonsai tree: Trident maple bonsai – spring cutback

Trident maple bonsai grow quickly. It’s a characteristic that can yield great ramification in a relatively short amount of time. Daisaku Nomoto, a very talented Japanese bonsai professional and student of Kihachi En, suggested a mere three years can be enough to prepare trident maple bonsai for Kokufu. I asked how this could be possible. Simple, he replied in a matter-of-fact tone. Cutback and detail wiring three times a year for three years provides plenty of ramification. Easier said than done, I thought. Especially in the warm weather of Miyazaki Prefecture where Nomoto lives.
In Northern California, I can partially defoliate trident maples 3 times a year. And while I can’t expect the new shoots that warmer, more humid, weather can produce, I can expect fairly vigorous growth. This year, a cool spring kept growth in check. Here is what the tree looked like in early May.
Ready for the first cutback of the season
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #11

This photo was submitted by Aaron Khalid, who says about it: “I love this picture because, to me, it is a great example of a natural saikei or landscape planting. The engelmann spruce learning out over a blue lake in Banff, Alberta with their gentle movement and definite age creates a wonderful image. The geese add to the perspective of the image.”
Don’t be shy. Send us your photo. Best case, you might win. Worst case, well, there really is no worst case, though you might not win. Entries must be received by Monday, May 24th.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bonsai tree: Denny Susila’s Bonsai of the Day

This one caught my eye a while back. I’m not sure what it is (Phemphis?), but I do know that it’s by Denny Sulisa. Bonsai Mania posted it on facebook.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #10


Almond tree by Rodrigo Sousa. In his own words: “This photo it was taked by me in winter of this year in the month of February, at my region Algarve-Portugal. The species, Prunus Dulcis/amigdalus, normally known as Almond tree. About this species, they haven´t many followers, but have a little bit in their ,native regions, where they make very beautiful Bonsai. Her “strong point”, just like many Prunus, is in the end of Winter, with your white flowers in the naked branches.”

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Bonsai tree: Stone Lantern’s Spring Sale Is Rolling Along

The Magican is one of the over 275 discounted items in our Spring Sale. Its discounted price is $12.00 (retail is $29.95). With volume discounts it’s price can be as low as $9.60.
With purchases of $50 or more, all 275 plus items are doubly discounted. This makes for some very good prices.

Source: Bonsai Bark
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Bonsai tree: Developing Japanese winterberry

Spring work for this small ilex serrata is straight forward. I want the primary branches to thicken so I let them run. Aluminum wire helps them set in place.
Japanese winterberry – before
Japanese winterberry – after
If you look closely, you can see that the apex is much smaller than the main part of the trunk. It will take several years for the apex to catch up, so I expect to let it run for some time.
I’ll need to pay close attention over the coming weeks to ensure the wire doesn’t cut in. Scars heal slowly on deciduous hollies and the branches can swell quickly. Read more!

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #9

“I shot this photo in October 2008 in Stony Mountain park near Atlanta. The sole pine growing on bald rock was very dramatic…” Alex Shapiro.
Contest details

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bonsai tree: A Wonderfully Eccentric Bunjin by Budi

We’ve featured bonsai by Budi Sulistyo before, and for good reason; his bonsai are innovative and daring. Budi isn’t afraid to try new ideas and break with convention. I’d say on balance, that this has served him very well.
In addition to being an innovative bonsai artist, Budi is a photographer and the author of an excellent gallery book on tropical bonsai.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bonsai tree: Accent Photo Gallery

A few of the blooming accent plants, one stone and a shoe on my benches outside:

One of the Northwest native (and legally collectable) orchids, Giant Helleborine. In a pot it only reaches a few inches, and the flowers are about 3/4". Lives near rivers. Easy to grow.

One of the Saxifrage family, Heuchera.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bonsai tree: Bonsai Seasonals with Michael Hagedorn

You could spend your whole life collecting bonsai and never find one as impressive as this. From Michael Hagedorn’s Crataegus Bonsai Seasonals. Here’s what Michael says about this photo… “Initial potting of a large Rocky Mountain Juniper, Winter 2010 Seasonal.” Just a little understated. If this is any indication, it’s worth noting that Michael has his students working on trees of this caliber (and caliper).
My guess is that three days with Michael will be worth months or even years of fumbling about in your backyard in hopes that trial and error will see you through. Not that you shouldn’t fumble around a bit, that’s part of how we learn. But time with a genuinely accomplished bonsai artist and teacher can do wonders for your fumbling, and your bonsai.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bonsai tree: So You Think Winter Is Over?

Icy larches from my back yard this morning (May 11). 25 degree Fahrenheit (-4 celsius) last night here in the lovely, underpopulated Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. I left a mist on all night to protect these newly dug and newly sprouted larches. It worked, the ice has melted and all is well
An ugly little Eastern white cedar (Cham thyoides) made beautiful by icing. Eastern white cedars (not to be confused with Northern white cedars ‘Thuja occidentalis’ which are abundant around here) don’t do very well here, it’s too cold. I’ve had three or four that I’ve been trying to grow for years, but all they do is struggle and barely stay alive.
I don’t know what this is. I dug it along side the road where the town keeps cutting stuff down, just to see if it has any possibilities. I doubt if it will ever be a bonsai, but it might fit in as a landscape plant.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Bonsai tree: Zelkova Demo in Seattle

Here are a few photos from a Zelkova serrata styled during a demo. The photos show the progression from ‘pre-broom bush’ to ‘not-quite-broom but no longer bush.’ These are the highly technical terms for the grey areas after the vigorous use of a saw but while we’re waiting for new growth… It will, eventually, be a broom style Zelkova. Thanks to the excellent Peter Chapman for the use of these photos, and the Puget Sound Bonsai Association who sponsored this event on April 26, 2010.



And after. Further developments will be shown as we go along in this several-phase demo in Seattle.
Read more!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #5

Susan Richards submitted this entry to our $100 Bonsai Art Photo Contest. The photo was taken at 7-mile Lake in Colorado.
We’ll keep the contest going until we have at least ten entries, maybe many more if interest remains high. So don’t be lazy, send us your photo. It’s a good thing to share your inspiration.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bonsai tree: Grow Your Own Moss

Moss Milkshake. Just add water. Grows up to 20 square feet of just the kind of moss you want for your bonsai.
We haven’t had a new product for a while now, though there is a new Japanese gardening book that’s on its way (stay posted).

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #4

James Miles submitted this entry to our $100 Bonsai Art Photo Contest. It’s a juniper somewhere in the high Sierras. That’s granite that is appears to be growing on. How do they do that?
Even though we always seem to have sales, this one is particularly good, with a range of items double discounted.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bonsai tree: World Class Bonsai Shear

Many people don’t know about Okatsune tools. Those that do, love them, though many of those people don’t know that Okatsune makes a bonsai shear. I’ve been using mine for over ten years and I’ve never had to sharpen them. To be sure I use other shears, but I always return to my Okatsunes.
These Okatsune shears are discounted right now.
Here’s another Okatsune shear that I use all the time. It’s a wonder for heavier bonsai cuts and for around the garden. Ikebana branches too. Comes in two sizes. 7 inch and 8 inch (17.8cm and 20.3cm). We’ve featured it before, but it’s worth featuring again (and again).

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #3

There was no description with Christian Hansen’s entry. The photo does speak for itself; still, it would be good to know what and where.

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bonsai tree: Photo Art Contest: Entry #2


Here’s what Mike Viljak has to say about his entry: “I found this tiny ‘planting’ while poking around in a river bed in Wyoming, near the Tetons. I don’t know what type of plant it is, but I was more intrigued by its choice of a beautiful, yet tiny driftwood planter. I call it ‘Microsai’. Formal upright style perhaps? I like how the red stem pops out against the background, asserting its presence.”

Source: Bonsai Bark Read more!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bonsai tree: Setsu-goyo White Pine

Below is a White Pine ‘Miyajima’ (grafted/aka setsu-goyo) that I recently restyled for a client. The tree had a few flaws that I was able to hide by rotating it a few degrees clockwise in the pot. After a few short hours of wiring, I think it’s much improved. Of course, there’s always room for improvement…how about air-layering the top third of the tree off and making a nice chuuhin bonsai?…guess we’ll save that for another day.
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Bonsai tree: Sacramento Bonsai Club – 64th Annual Show

The Sacramento Bonsai Club held their 64th annual show this past weekend at the Sacramento Buddhist Church. The event left quite an impression. The exhibit showed how fun a spring show can be. The suiseki displays were a super addition to the show. And the 40 or so happi-coated club members were one of the nicest bonsai groups I’ve run into. Sacramento Bonsai Club is doing great after 64 years.
Boon Manakitivipart provided demonstrations both days and the event was well-attended. As the Sunday demonstration cleared most of the exhibit, I had a chance to to take some pictures.
The juniper below is one of two Members’ Choice Award winners at the show.
Members’ Choice Award – Juniper
The trident maple bonsai display below is a good example of some of the well-thought out displays. I like the addition of the pale-blue – almost Kokufu-felt blue – screen behind the display. It’s a nice way to highlight the relationships among display elements and it does a good job of obscuring the backdro support.
Trident maple
A number of trees were in full-bloom for the show. The satsuki azalea below was the brightest.
Satsuki azalea
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