Bougainvillea. Borrowed from Andolfo Bonsai Studio. Two things stand out; the flowers (actually they are bracts, the little white things are the flowers) and the trunk. You might also notice the how small the pot is relative to the tree. If the purpose of this tree is to show off its colors, then you’d have to say it’s a screaming success. But what if you take away the flowers? Is it still a noteworthy bonsai? Or does that even matter?
Are flowering bonsai different?
In Japan flowering trees are often designed in ways that show off the flowers first and foremost. Normal bonsai guidelines don’t always apply. In some cases (think flowering cherries and the like) where the flowers come and go almost overnight, the trees are moved front and center for that brief moment and then stuck in the back of the bench for the rest of the year. Bougainvilleas have an advantage; they can flower for months at a time.
Finding virtues and faults
I’ve been thinking about offering more critiques (gently, of course). It’s a good way to learn and advance our skills and it doesn’t just have to be about me telling you what I think; I’d also like to invite you to participate. You can write as much as you want in the comments, and going a step further, you could even offer your own bonsai for critiques.
Would another pot be better?
My biggest question about this tree is the pot. I think a glazed pot would be better. It could also be a little wider and shallower. The depth of this pot takes a little away from the powerful girth of the trunk.
I like the root on the right, because it expands the base of the trunk and lends stability and balance, but it looks funny all jammed up against the pot. The other root in the center of the pot looks blueish and strange in the photo. Ideally there could be a root on the left side of the trunk which would counter balance the tree’s lean to the right. But ideal roots are hard to come by.
Andolfo Bonsai Studio. A clean, well-ordered workspace makes for better bonsai.