Out of the Ice Palace and into Redwood Country

Redwoodsmiths Off to a very good start. Though the branching is young and has a ways to go, the trunk, with its power and character bodes well for the future of this tree. You can find it along with other quality bonsai at Bonsai Smiths.

Out of the ice palace and into Redwood country. Bolinas, California. A coastal enclave just north of San Francisco, yet separated by rugged coastal terrain and about forty years. BTW: it’s 60 degrees and sunny right now (not to torment my Northeastern friends, but it just can’t resist being said).

As I mentioned, Redwood country. So why not some Redwood bonsai? All the photos shown here appeared in two early Bark posts (9/19/2011 and 9/28/2011).

 

rebsredwood3

This one is a lot like the one above. Great trunk with branch development to follow. From the 2011 Redwood Empire Bonsai Show (photo courtesy of Jonas at Bonsai Tonight).

 

rebsredwood2

This one has a complex story to tell. It’s also from the 2011 Redwood Empire Bonsai Show (photo also courtesy of Jonas at Bonsai Tonight). 

 

REBSredwood

Another complex story to tell. Given the vigor at the top, the bottom must be healthier than it looks (another Jonas photo from the 2011 Redwood Empire show).

 

bolinasBolinas lagoon. Crack of dawn this morning. It pays to have kids with connections.

 

Red on Red & Delicate Spring Beauty

har5There are few things more delicate and beautiful than fresh spring Maple leaves (Trident maple in this case). This exquisite tree and exquisite pot are perfect expressions of the artistry of Haruyoshi.

Up at 2:00am yesterday and slept fitfully on the plane. I’ll use the ensuing exhaustion as a excuse to dig into our archives once again. This one is from last April. It’s all Haruyosi, which ties in to some of our recent posts.

The only hard part with a post like this, is figuring out which photo to show first (the one that shows up on facebook and in our newsletter). We had the same problem with our previous two posts that featured Haruyosi pots and bonsai (here and here).

I won’t bore you much more, except to say that Haruyosi does a couple things that set him apart. First, he puts up a very large number of masterpiece shohin and mame bonsai and pots; and second, he puts up a lot of photos that reveal the process. For both trees and pots.

 

har6Red on red. In our last Haruyosi post (Very Red and Very Rare), we mentioned that red glazes are expensive and not that easy to do. Apparently, neither the cost nor difficultly deter Mr Haruyoshi. The tree is a Elaeagnus pungens (Siverthorn in English, Kangumi in Japanese).

 

harMore delicate spring beauty. This time the pot is yellow. It turns out that, like red pots, yellow pots aren’t all the common. The tree is Malus halliana (Hall’s crapapple).

 

har3This luscious little Japanese quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) looks old and yet is so small. As is the sweet little pot (small, not necessarily old). I know I’ve mentioned this before, but there’s something about the brilliance and purity of quince flowers.

 

har4Just another Haruyosi masterpiece pot. Red and yellow together, but I guess you probably noticed.

A quick word from our sponsor…

Wire3Free shipping and sales on a whole range of items makes for some very good deals at Stone Lantern. Including 20% off on 500 gram rolls of Bonsai Aesthetics wire.

Easy to Move and a Delight to Behold…

lessI think this one qualifies as Mame (‘bean’ in Japanese). Bonsai-wise, mame is a common word for the very smallest bonsai. When we originally posted this, I didn’t know who this lovely little bonsai belonged to. I’ve since been told that it is a Haruyosi tree.  Strange how once you know something it’s obvious. And btw, the sweet little pot was no doubt made by Haruyosi as well. Oh, and I’m pretty sure the tree is a Pyracantha.

On the road again (and out of the bone chilling cold for a precious minute) so we’ll go archiving once again. This one was originally posted in November, 2013.

“Shohin are small bonsai. When compared to large bonsai, shohin cost less, take less time to develop, take less space, are easier to move, and are less apt to be overwatered. Perhaps best of all, shohin-bonsai are a delight to behold.” From the back cover of Morten Albek’s Shohin Bonsai, Majesty in Miniature (copy written by yours truly back in the days when we used to publish books).

maple1I love the uncontrived free flowing feel of this little Japanese maple. I don’t know who it belongs to, so if you know anything about it, please let us know (in the comments).

 

One of Morten Albek’s wee wonders. Of all of Morten’s trees that I’ve seen, this has to be one of the very best. Perhaps Morten has a shot somewhere without any background noise (not to argue with Morten’s photography, which happens to be great… just that it would be nice to see a formal shot as well as this more artistic type shot).

 

I found this fat-trunked little Japanese black pine, with it’s excellent burnished Tokoname pot, in Bonsai Smiths gallery. Turns out we featured them a couple months in a post about Redwoods (and, the more I look at this tree, the more familiar it looks and the more I think we may have featured it in one of our approximately 700 other posts to date).

 

This brilliant little Persimmon (Daisuke variety, identified by Ryan Bell, Japanese Bonsai Pots Blog) is a bonsai that pops up all over the digital place. I think we’ve shown it at least three, if not four times here Bark. 

Two Very Large & Very Famous Bonsai

800-year-old-bonsai-tree

This remarkable tree is said to be at least 800 years old and may be one of the most valuable bonsai in the world. I borrowed the photo from Bonsai Empire.

Busy today so we’ll keep this short and sweet. Both Shimpaku junipers shown here belong to Kunio Kobayashi, one of the best known and most respected Bonsai artists in the world (it’s hard to argue with a four time winner of the prestigious Prime Minister’s award at Sakufu ten bonsai professional’s exhibition). Mr Kobayashi’s nursery, Shunka En, is located in Tokyo and is open to visitors. Be sure to drop by next time you are in Japan.

 

oldest-juniper-bonsai

Another of Kunio Kobayashi’s old Junipers. This one is also said to be in the 800 year old range. Like the one above, this photo was borrowed from Bonsai Empire.

A Soft Spot for Tiny Trees

ipunk2

This remarkable little tree has a whole lot going in a very small space: three trunks, great branching, good movement, taper, nebari (more or less) and a well developed apex (tiny leaves don’t hurt either). Altogether, no mean feat. It belongs to Ipunk Bonsai Pasuruan, one of our ten million facebook friends. Beyond that, the only pieces of information listed are: sancang ny (I’m guessing Vietnamese) and SOLD.

I have a soft spot for tiny trees. Especially tiny trees where scale is provided by hands and fingers.

Almost everyday I scroll through ten thousand photos waiting for something to jump off the page. On this day the little tree above jumped out full force. Only problem is it’s the only tree by the artist (Ipunk Bonsai Pasuruan) I could find. Fortunately, we can always count on our old favorite Harayosi with his vast selection of remarkable little trees.

 

haruFive of Haruyosi’s fingers and one of his seemingly infinite supply of amazing little trees.

 

haru2

Same fingers, different amazing little tree.

 

ipunk

The only other photo of the only bonsai provided by Ipunk Bonsai Pasuruan.

Paradise & Another Invitation from Toshio Kawamoto

5paradiseMy apologies for the fuzz. The original scan wasn’t that great and blowing it up so we can get a closer look has its advantages and drawbacks.

We might as well plow forward with our resurrection of Toshio Kawamoto’s Saikei masterpeices. He called this one Land of Paradise which is a reference to the Pure Land buddhist tradition. We originally featured it in April of 2010.

There are two things that jump right out about this one: First, the rocks. They are different than the wind and surf smoothed rocks in his other plantings and take us to a more rugged landscape, reminiscent of China’s Yellow Mountains or Vietnam’s abrupt coastal islands. Second the sense of space that he manages to convey in a planting almost completely filled with elements, and with so little actual open space, is remarkable. There’s more but you have your own eyes.

Land of Paradise, our forth in a series of plantings from Toshio Kawamoto’s Saikei classic. The trees are seven 5 to 7-year-old rock cotoneasters (4″ – 7″ tall) and seven somewhat shorter 3-year-old satsuki azaleas. Though you can’t really tell in the photo, the pot (Tokoname) is very large (48″ x 16″ – 122cm x 41cm).

5para2

Front view diagram.

5para3Bird’s eye diagram. This shows what looks like two rocks are actually fifteen joined together.

This planting is about how to create a saikei that depicts two wild rocky mountains that are dotted with beautiful old trees. The photo taken together with the drawings, create the impression that the author is inviting you to duplicate his work.

What looks at a glance like two large rocks are actually fifteen stones joined together (see bird’s eye diagram above). The original text says: secure the rocks with peat and sphagnum moss (this must be a muck like mixture) then fill in the spaces between the rock with soil. The remaining materials are green moss and river sand.

The Land of Paradise refers to the indescribably beautiful Pure Land that is described in some Chinese and Japanese Buddhist scriptures.

 

Watering Cans

Watering in style. We just added these beautiful high quality watering cans to our vast and wonderful selection of bonsai and Japanese garden related items at Stone Lantern. When you figure in FREE Shipping (U.S. orders 25.00 or more) and recently reduced shipping overseas, these cans are a great deal. And then there’s our extra 10% off for orders 100.00 or more.

Paradise & Another Invitation from Toshio Kawamoto

5paradiseMy apologies for the fuzz. The original scan wasn’t that great and blowing it up so we can get a closer look has its advantages and drawbacks.

We might as well plow forward with our resurrection of Toshio Kawamoto’s Saikei masterpeices. He called this one Land of Paradise which is a reference to the Pure Land buddhist tradition. We originally featured it in April of 2010.

There are two things that jump right out about this one: First, the rocks. They are different than the wind and surf smoothed rocks in his other plantings and take us to a more rugged landscape, reminiscent of China’s Yellow Mountains or Vietnam’s abrupt coastal islands. Second the sense of space that he manages to convey in a planting almost completely filled with elements, and with so little actual open space, is remarkable. There’s more but you have your own eyes.

Land of Paradise, our forth in a series of plantings from Toshio Kawamoto’s Saikei classic. The trees are seven 5 to 7-year-old rock cotoneasters (4″ – 7″ tall) and seven somewhat shorter 3-year-old satsuki azaleas. Though you can’t really tell in the photo, the pot (Tokoname) is very large (48″ x 16″ – 122cm x 41cm).

5para2

Front view diagram.

5para3Bird’s eye diagram. This shows what looks like two rocks are actually fifteen joined together.

This planting is about how to create a saikei that depicts two wild rocky mountains that are dotted with beautiful old trees. The photo taken together with the drawings, create the impression that the author is inviting you to duplicate his work.

What looks at a glance like two large rocks are actually fifteen stones joined together (see bird’s eye diagram above). The original text says: secure the rocks with peat and sphagnum moss (this must be a muck like mixture) then fill in the spaces between the rock with soil. The remaining materials are green moss and river sand.

The Land of Paradise refers to the indescribably beautiful Pure Land that is described in some Chinese and Japanese Buddhist scriptures.

 

Watering Cans

Watering in style. We just added these beautiful high quality watering cans to our vast and wonderful selection of bonsai and Japanese garden related items at Stone Lantern. When you figure in FREE Shipping (U.S. orders 25.00 or more) and recently reduced shipping overseas, these cans are a great deal. And then there’s our extra 10% off for orders 100.00 or more.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

monster

Beast of the Southern Wild. I don’t know the dimensions of this monster, but I do know its name. It’s a Pithecellobium unguis (Catclaw blackbird), a genus and species completely new to me (and probably new to you too). I also know that this particular bonsai is about as unique as they get with nature doing most of the work and Nacho Marin providing the finishing touches.

I surrender. Incessant sub zero temperatures (Fahrenheit folks), snow every other day and now a nasty head cold. But still, it could be worse. In fact, it is worse. In Boston that is,  where there’s no place left to put the snow, street corners are piled so high that pedestrians can’t see the cars and the cars can’t see them. And no recourse with hit or miss public transportation with lines shutting down daily. I suppose the good news is that it will end. But when?

One recourse might be to visit South America. Venezuela in this case. More specifically, the bonsai of Nacho Marin, an artist who has burst into bonsai consciousness with intensity, daring and large doses of creativity. At the risk of overstating my case (an old habit), Nacho is an artist who stands out in a world where new and exciting bonsai seem to appear daily.

 

bougA fascinating trunk with an almost grotesque piled-up-on-itself look. And then there are the flowers (actually bracts, a strange thing about Bougainvillea).

 

button

We did a post on Nacho’s Buttonwoods a while back but missed this one. I probably don’t have say this, but this is a truly remarkable tree. So much great natural deadwood and such fluid movement. Powerful too.

 

boug2

Though comparisons are often odious, I like this Bougainvillea more than the one above. In fact, it’s better in so many ways, not the least of which is the massive trunk with its perfect sabamiki and fluid movement. Not to overlook the crown with its ‘just so’ mix of flowers (bracts again) and leaves (we’ll blame it on the head cold this time).

 

fic

No variety given with this one (Nacho & several others have since informed me that it’s a Nea buxifolia). It’s massive trunk and especially the bark look Ficus, though the leaves are small for most Ficus. Maybe someone out there can help.

All the tree shown here belong to Nacho Marin. You can see more on facebook and on his website.

Flowering Bonsai – Some of Us Can Dream

ume23

Sabamiki and uro from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. Aside from this magnificent old Ume’s overall power and beauty, there are a several things that might catch your eye: the flowers and buds, the aged bark (Ume bark develops an aged look fairly fast) and the hollowed out trunk (sabamiki). If you look closely you can also see several uro (small hollows that are left on deciduous trees where branches have rotted and fallen off, though bonsai uro may well be man made).

This winter to end all winters seems like a good (if a little perverse) time to look at some flowering bonsai from the deep riches of our archives. This one is from July 2012 (with a little present tense editing). Some of you can look out your window now and see flowers everywhere. Some of us can dream.

What’s in a name?
Ume have several names: Prunus mume (or just mume), Japanese apricot (or sometimes Japanese flowering apricot) and Chinese plum to name the most common. In the bonsai world, Ume seems to be the name of choice.

Great bonsai
Ume is an Asian native and even though they make great bonsai, for some reason not many nurseries grow them here in North America (Muranaka Nursery on the California central coast is one exception). As far as I know, they aren’t that difficult to grow as bonsai and they have numerous positive traits: they show the appearance of great age while still fairly young (due mostly to rugged bark and rapid thickening), they combine graceful elegance and tough looking ruggedness, and offer a striking display of buds and flowers late each winter. Altogether a noble candidate for your bonsai collection.

Omiya Bonsai Art Museum
The trees shown here reside at the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in Saitama City, Japan. The photos are from Yoshitomo Ishizuka’s facebook page.

ume31

Shari. Though it’s a little difficult to see, this Ume features some deadwood (shari) on the trunk. You usually see deadwood on conifers, as it tends to rot fairly quickly on deciduous trees. However, on Ume deadwood rots slowly, so the shari on this tree appears natural. Note from the present: you can preserve deadwood for a very long time with lime sulfur. This is one reason you see bonsai hundreds of years old that still have prominent deadwood.

ume4

Fluid motion. Ume trunks and branches often display graceful, fluid motion. This distinctive feature is one more reason that Ume make such great bonsai.

 

Another State-of-the-Art Saikei by Toshio Kawamoto – This Time in a Completely Round Pot

toshio770Enchanted lands is another in a series of plantings from Toshio Kawamoto’s Sakei classic. The tree are 3 five year old ezo spruce, 16 five to eight year old Cryptomeria (6-8 inches tall), 7 three to eight year old Satsuki azaleas and 3 three year old Tsutsuji azaleas. The pot is a round unglazed tray, 28 inches (71cm) in diameter (it’s hard to tell from the photo just how large the planting is).

We’ve been resurrecting a series of plantings from Toshio Kawamoto’s classic Saikei, Living Landscapes in Miniature (long out of print), so let’s just keep going. And why not? Mr Kawamoto’s plantings are some of the very best anywhere and his diagrams are unrivaled.

Note: The images suffered a bit when we enlarged them to fit our current expanded format. On balance though, I think larger and slightly fuzzy is better than smaller. But you can be the judge; here’s the original (from 2010).

A tip from Toshio Kawamoto
Place the rocks so that the best looking surfaces are visible and their heights vary. Tilt the rocks slightly toward the center of the tray. Also note that the spruce trees 1, 2, and 3 (get out your magnifying glass) are planted so that their branches extend out beyond the rocks and toward the center of the tray.

 

toshio2This diagram is designed to give you a little better idea of the layout and relationship of the elements. The trees are numbered, but your eyes are much better than mine if you can distinguish them.

toshio3This bird’s eye view shows the placements of the rocks and footprint of the hills. Yes, the tray is completely round. Round tray-style pots this size are very unusual. You’ll see extra large ovals and rectangles for sure, but when was the last time you saw a monster round tray-style pot?

 

Two Big Sales end tonight

Wire3

Up to 30% off Kilo Rolls of Bonsai Aesthetics Wire
Sale ends tonight at 11:59 pm, EST

orgreendream4

20% off Bonsai Fertilizers, Tonics & Lime Sulfur
Sale ends tonight at 11:59 pm, EST