Purple Rain & a Stupendous Bonsai Book Sale


Purple rain. From an early Bark post (September 2010).

I’ve got a climbing Wisteria on my front porch that never blooms. Our northern Vermont winters are too cold (it dies back to the ground each winter) and our growing season is too short. Still, one can hope…

Meanwhile, here are three wildly blooming Wisteria bonsai for your viewing pleasure. Continued below…

Bonsai Books August 2016

Stupendous Bonsai Book and DVD Sale
25% to 32.5% off* all our of our Bonsai Books and DVDs (other books too)
discounts are off our already discounted prices
Plus FREE Shipping on U.S. orders 49.00 or more
*Just in case percentages give you trouble… this is a great deal



This wildly expressive Wisteria is from Bill Valavanis‘ Classical Bonsai Art (out of print). The tree belongs to Robert Blankfield, who originally styled it at a workshop with Bill. Speaking of Bill, the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition is rapidly approaching.



This one belongs to Dan Dolan. It's from a post we did last year on Dan's backyard bonsai.

If you only visit one bonsai event this year, make it the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition


I borrowed this famous cascading Juniper from he 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition website (cropped to better fit a certain social media's format).

If you only visit one bonsai event this year, I suggest you choose the 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. Rochester NY, September 10th & 11th.

Rearrange you life if necessary so you can be there. Each one is better than the last and the last one (two years ago) was mind-stopping. The buzz was palpable and from conversations with dozens of others, the feeling was universal.

And it wasn’t just the bonsai, though they amazed more each time I wandered through the displays. But the vendors sections was the best I’ve ever seen and the events were outstanding. And then there’s a large collection of some of the friendliest people you’ll encounter anywhere (a shared passion doesn’t hurt).

I could say a lot more, but I’ll defer to Bill Valavanis, the man behind (and in front of) this spectacular bonsai tradition. You can visit Bill’s blog and if you haven’t signed up yet, or need more details, here’s your link to the Exhibition website.

I hope to see you there. If we do run into each other, don’t be afraid to tell me your name for tenth time (we’ll blame it on age).


This one is from Bill's blog.



The next best thing to being there...
The first and second albums are out of print, but you can still own the 3rd and 4th. And the time is right (see below).



We've shown this spectacular Maple several times already, but it's always worth another look. I just plucked it off the Exhibition website.

And now a word about the
Biggest & Best Bonsai Book Sale
we’ve ever had, from the company that makes this blog possible
Bonsai Books August 201625% to 32.5 % off all Bonsai Books & DVDs*
(Japanese garden books too)
off our already discounted prices

*25% off books plus 10% off orders 100.00+ = 32.5% off

FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00+
* sale does not apply to Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees

An Awesome Adventure Awaits…


The 8th World Bonsai Convention is a big deal in our world. So were 7th, 6th and so forth, though I’m not so sure I remember that much about the earliest ones. Anyway, they’ve got a website waiting for you and they’ve got an awesome bonsai adventure waiting for you too. I’d like to say ‘see you there‘ but we’ll see about that.

As long as we’re promoting something, we might as well do a little of our own. Take a look at our Bonsai Book Sale. 25% to 32.5% off our already discounted prices (see below). It’s great opportunity for you to save and for us to stay busy.

All the bonsai photos shown here are from The 8th World Bonsai Convention website.





25% up to 32.5% discount on all Bonsai Books
plus FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00 or more
Bonsai Books August 201625% off Bonsai Books & DVDsJapanese Garden Books too
plus an extra 10% off all orders 100.00+

FREE Shipping on U.S. orders 49.00 or more
New lower shipping rates on all other orders

The Time Is Right…


One of the over 150 bonsai by Walter Pall that are featured in the gallery of Modern Bonsai Practice, a ground breaking New Bonsai book.

Learning the art of bonsai from the best bonsai books is an essential way to upgrade your bonsai skills. Second only to taking live courses from expert bonsai teachers. Many of us have advanced our bonsai skills by relying on books and our willingness to just jump in and learn as we go. You might even say trial and error, though we hope it’s more trial and less error.

This post is a reminder about two great New Bonsai Books (Modern Bonsai Practice & In Training) and our popular Masters Series Pine book (now back in print). Other bonsai books too. Some still more or less new and some venerable classics.

The time is right… we just launched a 25% off Book Sale, with an additional 10% off for orders 100.00 or more for any Stone Lantern products (and FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00 or more).


Here's a great photo of an extraordinarily powerful bonsai that is no doubt familiar to many of you. It is one of numerous brilliant photos in Stephen Voss' amazing new masterpiece, In Training. It’s a book that started generating buzz way before it even went to the printer, including at Slate magazine in an article titled, Zen & the Art of Bonsai Maintenance. Since then it has been featured in a number of places in and out of the bonsai world.
B1PINEcascadeThis powerful and well balanced cascading Japanese Black Pine is from our best selling bonsai book ever: Pines, Growing and Styling Japanese Black and White Pines. Now back in print (third printing).
B1MODERNThe cover of Modern Bonsai Practice, a new and up-to-date bonsai book by Larry Morton that features the latest in bonsai horticultural practices and a bonus gallery of 165 photos of some of Walter Pall's best bonsai.


A Sargent Juniper bonsai (in training since 1905) at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington, DC.

A Sargent Juniper bonsai (in training since 1905) at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington, DC.

Another photo from In Training and a quote from Ryan Neil (Bonsai Mirai) about this remarkable book, “There’s an intimacy to bonsai that is largely invisible. It exists in those sacred moments between artist and tree in partnership; an understanding of what is and can be as it unfolds over seasons and years. Stephen’s photographs shed a quiet, respectful light on these wonderful moments. I feel fortunate to see such beauty being put into the world with the careful intention these trees deserve.


Our famous Masters Series Pine Book is back in print

B1PRIN1Principles of Bonsai Design. Here's another great book. It's no longer new but it's still one of the best how-to bonsai books ever. Indispensable if your one of the self taught types, or really anyone interested in improving your bonsai skills.

These and a whole host of other bonsai books are now
25% off at Stone Lantern

Plus an additional 10% off for orders 100.00 or more
and FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00 or more
as well as new lower shipping rates for all other orders

Black Pine Bonsai – Before & After (Seriously)


A Japanese black pine after some serious trimming. If you look at the photo just below, you might notice that there has also been some serious needle reduction. The tree and the photos in this post belong to Boon Manakitivipart (aka Bonsai Boon).

The first two photos shown here provide a simple before and after on a Japanese black pine. As you can see it’s a remarkable tree. I was especially taken with the deeply striated bark and the way it flows into the nebari.

Another thing that struck me about this tree is just how far American bonsai has come. It wasn’t that long ago when a Black pine of this caliber could only be Japanese.

If you want to see the entire progression you can visit Boon on facebook (here and here). The photos and text (revised) shown here originally appeared on Bark in June 2014.


Just before trimming and cleaning up.

Photos and text continued after this reminder…
25% off Roshi Tools Sale ends tonight
Roshi Banner25% off Roshi Tool Sale
ends at 11:59pm tonight (Sunday, August 21st)
plus an extra 10% off all orders 10.00 or more
and FREE Shipping on U.S. 49.00 or more


This one is labeled August 2001, before. We'll assume it's right after Boon got the tree from Lone Pine Gardens (you'll have to ask Boon for the details).
boon12005Shaping up. This one is labeled January 2005. At the risk of stating the obvious, you might notice the two sacrifice branches. They are there to strengthen the apex by drawing energy up.



May 2013. Almost there. It has been over eight years and one of the sacrifice branches is still there. I suspect it has done its job and is about to be removed.


boon2015Back to the future. Boon labeled this August 2015. But upon cross examination he admitted that he was rushing the future.



If you'd like to know a lot more about Pines, this is the book for you. 

A Snake, A Monster & A Well-Groomed Black Pine Bonsai

Ideue-Kikko-en1This has to be one of the most unique Japanese black pines anywhere. I can't help but think of a monster with two gnarled feet lurching along. Now, if you can put that image out of your mind, you might enjoy the ancient bark and wonderfully confusing movement of the trunks.

All three Japanese black pine bonsai shown here belong to Fumio Ideue, owner of Ideue Kikkoen Bonsai Garden in Shikoku, Japan.

We borrowed most of this post from a post titled King of Bonsai that originally appeared here in December, 2013.

kuru2Snake. Looks like this was taken in the spring after Mr Ideue had plucked some candles and left some others where he wanted growth.


kuruThis is what a well-groomed Black pine looks like. Well balanced too, especially considering the strong lean to the left.


25% off Roshi Tool Sale ends Sunday

Roshi2This Stainless Concave Branch Cutter is one of
40 different Roshi Tools and Tool Sets we offer
Now all 25% off
plus an extra 10% off for all orders 100.00

FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00+
NEW lower shipping rates for all other orders

B1PINE-680-500x665Considering the topic of this post, we'd be remiss 
if we didn't remind you about our Masters' Series Pine Book. 

Tiny Bonsai Master?


Bright yellow flowers and a light yellow pot makes for a soft contrast. Haruyosi doesn't identify this little gem, but the flowers look a lot like Potentilla. Though the yellow Potentilla I have in my yard has much smaller leaves relative to the flowers.

We’ll continue with tiny bonsai today, though not all are by Shohin master Haruyosi, who we’ve been featuring lately (I originally wrote tiny bonsai master Haruyosi, but that doesn’t work so well).


Yesterday we featured freshly trimmed Shimpaku juniper by Haruyosi, now it's a freshly trimmed Ezo spruce (aka Yezo spruce), also by Haruyosi. I love how much age is expressed in such a small tree. I think it's a lot about the rugged bark, but the thick, well-tapered little trunk and the little jin sticking up also lend to the effect.


Here's rugged little juniper that does not belong to Haruyosi. It's one of Morten Albek's fine collection of Shohin bonsai. 


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 four, if not five times here Bark. I don't know who the artist is.
harushimHarkening all the way back to yesterday, here's one more freshly trimmed Shimpaku. And though I know you don't need me to point out what is plain to see, still, that fat twisted trunk is quite impressive on such a small tree. What is less obvious is the jin that's just barely sticking out from under the foliage.

25% off Roshi Bonsai Tool Sale ends Sunday
plus an extra 10% off all orders 100.00 or more
end this Sunday, August 21st at 11:59pm EDT
TM-Roshi BannerNot only do Roshi Tools cut like butter…
they are beautiful to look at and a wonder to hold in you hands
25% off Sale ends Sunday at 11:59pm EDT
as does the extra 10% off all orders 100.00 or more

reduced shipping rates
and FREE Shipping on U.S. orders 49.00 or more

Freshly Trimmed Tiny Trees


At a glance, this is a sweet little freshly trimmed Shimpaku bonsai. But if you let your glance linger, you might see just how much age and character this tiny tree expresses. There's that relatively massive little trunk and its rugged twists and scars. There's also the impressive branch development for such a small tree. Altogether a masterful little bonsai. The photo and tree belong to Haruyosi, as do the other photos shown here.

We’ve been featuring small bonsai lately and yesterday it was a few of Haruyosi’s particularly charming small bonsai. So, for the sake of continuity we’ll just keep going. This time it’s Haruyosi’s freshly trimmed tiny Shimpaku junipers.

Just in case you don’t know who Haruyosi is… I think it’s safe to say he is a a master of Shohin (small) bonsai and equally, a master bonsai potter. All the photos shown here are from Haruyosi on facebook.




As long as we're featuring Junipers...
B1JUNIPER770The only book on Juniper bonsai you'll ever need
list price 29.95



Enough for now, though there are plenty more where these came from

Kilo Bonsai Wire Sale ends tonight
Order now… you can never have too much wire
Wire32-500x159120% to 25% off Kilo Bonsai Wire Sale
ends tonight at 11:59pm EDT

FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00 or more
reduced rates on all other shipping

Tiny Trees, Brilliant Flowers & Wild Horses


This sweet little quince with its brilliant flowers belongs to Haruyosi. It's a safe bet that he also made the pot.

It has been several years since I first stumbled upon Haruyosi. Every since that fortunate day, we periodically return to him and his delightful tiny trees and pots. In this case, it’s a rerun (we last showed these photos a little over a year ago), but it’s a good one, so I don’t think you’ll mind.

I happen to believe that quince flowers are as brilliant and pure as any flowers anywhere. So we’ll stick with quince this time – all the little trees shown here are flowering quince from Haruyosi’s facebook photos. They represent a small fraction of his shohin bonsai and bonsai pots.



If you spend some time looking at Haruyosi's bonsai you'll notice how attentive he is to harmonizing (contrasting?) the pot and flower colors.



Haruyosi makes his own pots and doesn't always need flowers to create a colorful (and masterful) effect.



Wild horses and a wild little tree.



It's not that often you see a flower that dwarfs the pot.



Though you don't see that many yellow bonsai pots elsewhere, Haruyosi often uses them. Same goes for red.



Quince flowers and buds.

25% off our large selection of high quality & affordable
Roshi Bonsai Tools


Roshi Bonsai Tools
are famous for precision, durability, beauty & reasonable prices

25% off Roshi Tools
is an especially great deal when you consider
FREE Shipping for U.S. orders 49.00 or more
and new lower rates for all other orders

High Quality Bonsai (& Photos) in Hand…


It's not unusual to see a photo of someone holding a small bonsai in one hand. However, you seldom see a photo with two hands. This two-handed approach gives the feeling the tree is being offered. This photo and the others in this post are from Japan Shohin Bonsai. The tree appears to be a Shimpaku juniper. 

One of the problems with photographing bonsai is conveying size. The easiest and perhaps best way is to provide something familiar for contrast.

It used to be fairly common to see bonsai with cigarette packs before smoking fell out of favor. You also sometimes see soft drink cans, though soft drinks are slowly falling out of favor too. Either way, the effect is distracting and shows a lack of respect for the natural beauty of the bonsai.

One of the great things about hands is they are always available (close at hand). Also, they tend to look good and there’s a natural relationship between hands and the art of bonsai.

We originally posted these exceptionally high quality photos in July 2014. They were borrowed from Japan Shohin Bonsai.


Another two handed offering. This one looks like a Needle juniper (Juniperus rigida).


 This little Japanese maple only needs one hand. I like the trunk and of course, there's that sweet little pot.


Another lovely little Japanese maple.


No hands here, but I couldn't resist. The tree (a boxwood?) is exceptional and the pot, well... you can see for yourself.

It’s a great time to upgrade your bonsai tool & wire selections
25% off Roshi Bonsai Tools
20% to 25% off Kilo Bonsai Wire


FREE Shipping on U.S. orders 49.00 or more
Reduced Shipping on all other orders

Masters' Series BooksSpecial only 55.00
for our set of 3 Masters Series Bonsai Books
list price 89.95