Solid Gold Money Tree & Two Big Bonsai Events


A little tacky for sure. But how often do you see a 'solid gold' money tree? It's from Bill Valavanis' bonsai blog. He discovered at a Chinese restaurant while in the Philippines in March.

Bill Valavanis has two exciting bonsai events coming up. First and foremost is his 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in September. Second is his tour of the 2017 8th WBFF Bonsai Convention in Saitama (Omiya) Japan. Details and links for both are below.

In addition to Bill’s big bonsai events, you might like to know that we have 4 New Sales at Stone Lantern, including 25% off our vast bonsai book selection. These sales, like the two events shown here can enhance your bonsai experience. After all, who doesn’t like good products at great prices?


This is an event that all of us here in North America (and beyond) should put on our calendars. If you've never been to an major bonsai exhibition like this, prepare to be blown away. Here's your link to learn more and sign up. See you there.


Can you imagine? Can you go? Here's your link

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Two Pines, an Honest Effort (& Something New for You)


I like this tree's fluid movement with its strong changes of direction. I also like the pot, though if you're showing a tree like this, it could be a little smaller. Here's our rough translation of the caption with this photo: "This charming and elegant image that we're sharing is from Bonsai Albar (does someone knows who it belongs too? Thank you)." The original Spanish is below.*

Today we’ve got two pines for you. A little digging unearthed the tree above as a Mugo** but the artist is unknown. The tree below is the reverse; the artist, Kevin Willson is identified, but we’re not sure about the tree.

Thanks to Bonsai Maydalit for both photos shown here. It seems they make an honest effort to attribute artists and identify trees. Not everyone on social media bothers.



We know this pine was styled by Kevin Willson, but we don't know what kind of pine it is (I'll guess that it's also a Mugo, though my guessing powers leave something to be desired).

*”Este bellisimo ejemplar lo compartí de: Bonsái albar (si alguien sabe a quien pertenece? Gracias)”

**Sorry, no link… it was found then lost (in passive voice)

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Brilliant Bonsai Pots – Site Wide Sale Ends Tonight


This brilliant bonsai pot is by Satomi Terahata, as are the other pots shown here

There are two ways to look at bonsai pots – with and without trees. Pots with trees are often overlooked, especially by less experience bonsai enthusiasts, who may not yet fully grasp the importance of the relationship. How a bonsai isn’t a bonsai without the pot. Or, in the eyes of some, ‘without the right pot.’

In this post it’s pots without trees. This offers a chance to appreciate the art of bonsai pottery simply as is (no tree required) and an opportunity to imagine what kind of tree might be suitable for a particular pot.

All the pots in this post are by Satomi Terahata. I found the lead pot here on facebook. The rest were here and there on the web, including on one of my favorite sites, Japanese Bonsai Pots.

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Fans are a recurring theme in Japanese art. And though it speaks for itself, this pot is, to my eye, a total delight to behold


Close up of the lead pot



A little more understated than the other two so far...



Scenes that tell stories are a recurring motif in Japanese ceramics





Back to the lead pot. This time a close up of a corner shot that shows the fine cracks in the glaze

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Old Bonsai Beauty – Site Wide Sale Ends Tomorrow

azalea4-1This old beauty is one of hundreds of quality bonsai that was featured at the 2nd U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. It's a Nikko Satsuki Azalea that belongs to The Kennett Collection. It originally belonged to Kunio Kobayashi who started it by planting small Nikko's next to each other. The 5rd U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition will take place September 10th & 11th in Rochester NY. See you there!

Running a little behind schedule, so we’ll dip back into our deep archival pool once again. The photos and some of the text in this post are from May 2012.

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It's not a bonsai, but it is a sweet photo. It turned up on the New England Bonsai Gardens facebook page a while back.


Restyling a Mugo pine. The Bonsai Journal has an excellent step-by-step photo article by Wolfgang Putz on his award winning Mugo pine. This photo was taken in October 2002 at the Euro Bonsai Gala. The tree was selected among the fifteen best trees of the show by the two special guests from Japan, Mr. Harunobu Tokita and Mr. Yoshihiro Nakamizu.


Paolo Gai sent us this digitally altered version of an ancient looking Ezo spruce that we featured two weeks ago. At the time I wondered what would happen if you removed the shari. Now, thanks to Paolo Gai, we have an answer.


The old Ezo with its eye-catching shari
Bonsai Tourists. We featured Chase and Solita Rosade's Bonsai Studio yesterday, now here they are again. From Bonsai No Satori, the Rosade Bonsai Studio Newsletter.


You don't see that many Birch bonsai. Let along quality Birch bonsai. This one is from the Maros Bonsai Blog. Apologies to Maros for playing with the image in order to get a clear background. You can go here to see original photo.


This looks intriguing. I've often thought that residential retreats are one of the best ways to enhance your bonsai skills. You can check it out here.


Excellence in Bonsai for Over Fifty Years


Massive trunks and extensively carved deadwood aren't the only way to go. Delicacy, grace and color work too. This photo and the others in this post are from Rosade Bonsai Studio. The tree looks a lot like a Virginia creeper.

It has been a long time since we visited Chase and Solita’s Rosade’s Bonsai Studio. If you’re old enough, you might even remember when it first opened. I don’t know the exact date, but I do know that it was over fifty years ago (proof is just below).

Which must make Rosade Bonsai Studio one of the older Bonsai nurseries in north America. For sure one of the two or three oldest in the eastern U.S. (some of the nurseries on the west coast go back to late 1940s or early 1950s and if it weren’t for the internment camps, might have gone back even further).


Proof! Well, even though it doesn't say Rosade Bonsai Studio anywhere, you'll just have to trust me (or check for yourself)


Looks a lot like a Ficus


I like the long gentle curve on this juniper


It's easy to appreciate the unusual shape of this old juniper

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Beating a Dead(wood) Horse


Flowing graceful lines with a minimum amount of foliage and a copious amount of masterfully carved deadwood. And though some people may take issue with this abstract, highly stylized type bonsai, to me this is sheer beauty. A delight to behold.

One misconception about highly stylized bonsai with extensive carved deadwood is that they violate some basic principle of bonsai and nature. The famous John Naka line “The object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai, but to make the bonsai look like a tree” is sometimes used to reinforce this view.

I think Mr Naka’s quote works for most people, but for me it might work even better if we took a little liberty and changed the “look like a tree” to “suggest a tree” (in nature). With this view the tree above works to perfection, and if you’ve ever hiked at high elevations, you just might agree.

There’s more to say about this topic but there’s no point in beating a dead(wood) horse.

I found the photo above here. No attribution and nothing about the tree either.

kimjun1This sculpted Shimpaku juniper is by Masahiko Kimura may lack some of the graceful simplicity of the tree above, but there is something outrageous and daring going on. Especially if you consider that at the time (about thirty five years ago) this type bonsai was revolutionary and that Kimura was the original master of the revolution. The photo is from our Masters’ Series Juniper book. There are also numerous examples of Kimura’s bonsai in The Magician, another Stone Lantern Masters’ Series book.

Given that we just mentioned two of our bonsai books, this might be a good time to also mention our Site Wide Sale (15% to 20% off everything) and our Free Shipping on U.S. orders 49.00 or more and reduced shipping on all other orders (more below). Just saying…


nakaJohn Naka, the dean of American bonsai. Mr. Naka was revered as a great bonsai pioneer and philosopher, and beloved teacher to numerous aspiring bonsai artists. I found this photo the same place as the one above.

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It’s a stunningly gorgeous Vermont day and good sense dictates that it’s time to get out and work on our bonsai and pull some weeds in the garden, but first, take a look at this!


Harry Harrington's latest iteration of his English yew. Here's what Harry said about this tree : "Finally, work on my Taxus baccata/Yew bonsai completed with the branches wired and laid-out. Height 25"/61cm, trunkbase (inc root jin) 12"/30cm. Pot by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery." 

It’s a stunningly gorgeous Vermont day and good sense dictates that it’s time to get out and work on our bonsai and pull some weeds in the garden. So rather than taking the time to put together a new post, I’m going to show you one of my favorites from our archives (last November). It’s titled Evolution of Remarkable Bonsai.

I’ve been watching the evolution of Harry Harrington’s bonsai for a long time now. In fact, one of our first posts is from Harry’s bonsai4me (March 2009). Now, seven years later we have the (you can supply your own adjectives) tree shown here. It’s an English (aka European) Yew (Taxus baccata).


Here's the earliest shot of whole tree I could find. From July 2013. Harry writes: " Update of my Yew bonsai, 57cm in height. Carving is finished for the time being; I'll carry out more refinement work on the deadwood along with branch placement in the autumn."


july2013cuIn this July 2013 before and after close up, Harry finds a solution to some extraneous roots (taken just before the shot above).



Sept 213. Most of us would stop here. New pot would be good and a little time for the foliage to fill out, but otherwise finished. At the time, Harry agreed (only to change his mind later): "Fully styled Taxus baccata/Yew bonsai. Height 25"/61cm, trunkbase (inc root jin) 12"/30cm I'm very excited to see what pot Victor Harris at Erin Bonsai can come up with for it!"



May 2014. In Harry's own words: "I finally photographed my Yew in its new pot by Victor Harris of Erin Pottery / Bonsai on Sunday; Taxus baccata/ Yew bonsai, styled during September 2013 and repotted last month. Height 25"/61cm, trunkbase (inc root jin) 12"/30cm."



November 11, 2015. Harry again: "Update on the carving of my Yew bonsai (Taxus baccata) that I started last week. I've now refined, aged and lime-sulphured my initial work.
"The tree has settled down from its styling of 2 years ago, I have been able to establish the narrow live vein that meanders up the front of the trunk and carved the large panel of deadwood at the front of the tree.
All that remains now is to finish wiring and styling the foliage mass."



Another close up from November 11th, 2015.



November 20th, 2015 again. The broken pot effect provides an elegant solution to the lopsided nebari.


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Keeping the Bonsai Vibe Cool in Rising Summer Heat


Here's what Bjorn Bjornholm wrote about this impressive root-over-rock (root-swallowing rock) bonsai. "Trident Maple after defoliation and subsequent second flush. The leaves are all pinky nail size or smaller."

Given all the publicity lately, you might think Bjorn Bjorholm is a rising bonsai superstar. A couple weeks ago we featured a post about Bjorn Bjorholm’s Online Bonsai Course and so far we’ve featured about a dozen posts on Bjorn and his bonsai.

All the photos in this post are from Bjorn’s facebook feed. You might also like to visit his website and Bonsai Empire’s site on Bjorn’s intermediate online bonsai course. And then there’s how we pay the bills…

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BJORN2Here's Bjorn's caption with this strongly tapered maple. "Chuuhin Japanese Maple keeps the vibe cool in the rising summer heat."
BJORN3Here's Bjorn on this higly stylize Hinoki: "For eight straight years I have had the privilege of adding to the evolution of this Hinoki Cypress at Kouka-en, however slight those changes may have been. This is truly what bonsai is about - consistency, foresight and an eye towards incremental increase in quality and aesthetic."


Bjorn presents quality bonsai and quality photos. A big plus and a tip for aspiring bonsai artists.



Just for a second I thought that was the bright blue sky. I like these type shots a lot. They enhance our appreciation of detail and of Bonsai as art.

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Black Pine, Red Wine & Suthin’s Great Bonsai Event


Black pine, red wine. The essence of a good bonsai life.

What if Suthin Sukosolvisit was selling most of his magnificent bonsai collection and you weren’t there?

Well, Suthin is selling most of his magnificent bonsai collection and fortunately, you can be there. Royal Bonsai, Stoughton Mass, this coming weekend, June 25th & 26th. Buy your ticket. Gas up your car. Get out your bicycle and fill up the tires. Hitch up your horse. Put on your walking shoes and stick out your thumb. Whatever it takes.

As long we’re promoting our Suthin’s business
we might as well promote our own…

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Here are some photos I lifted from Suthin’s facebook feed. Just a taste of what you can expect this weekend.












That's the famous Walter Pall, European bonsai maven, holding the mike for Suthin

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A Melancólico & Gracioso Walk Among the Bonsai


This powerful and complex bonsai is the handiwork of Nacho Marin. It's a bit of a long story, but Bonsai Do* provided famous quotes in Spanish with photos of bonsai. The quote with this tree follows: El otoño es un andante melancólico y gracioso que prepara admirablemente el solemne adagio del invierno - Fall is a sad and graceful walk that admirably prepares for the solemn walk of winter. (George Sand).

Yesterday it was all Nacho. So we’ll keep the ball rolling in the same direction. This post originally appeared here in January 2015. It was titled ‘Un andante gracioso entre el Bonsai.

All the bonsai shown here are by Nacho Marin, as are the photos. For some reason, we haven’t featured South American bonsai artists much here on Bark (one exception being Nacho). Maybe you have some suggestions to help us remedy the situation.

*Bonsai Do’s facebook link seems to be defunct as does the link to Nacho’s original website (you can find Nacho on facebook)

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Nice tray. Great tree. Perfect planting. It looks a lot like a juniper variety, but I can't be 100% sure. BTW: There are no junipers native to the Southern Hemisphere. This is surprising considering just how many types of junipers there are.



A potless pot? Or...?



A front and a back? Or just two fronts?

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It's very helpful to be able to draw bonsai before you start styling. And though it's nice to be able to draw as well as Nacho, even primitive drawings are better than no drawings at all.



Though powerful Ficus bonsai are not that unusual, this one really jumped out during my daily facebook scroll.



Here's a brief Nacho-bio I lifted from his website:
 Designer of civil works
 Professional photographer and teacher in the Venezuelan Photographers Society, recognized by the Professional Photographers of America
 Plastic artist
 Student of master Salvatore Liporace (2009)

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The wire and tool photo above is by Morten Albek, author of
Shohin Bonsai, Majesty in Miniature
published by Stone Lantern