Fairy Tale Bonsai 2/20/14

This wild and wooly Honeysuckle belongs to Walter Pall. Here’s his caption: “Tatarian honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, collected in Norway in 2010.. This species is quite interesting and very rare as bonsai. It throws hundreds of shoots in early spring. But after wiring most of them die – in my garden at least. Anyway, slowly but gradually the tree starts to look decent. This may be classified as Fairy Tale Style.”

We usually go for a more finished look, but these rough lightly-styled collected trees are too good to pass up. They are from Walter Pall’s Bonsai Adventures. I’ll just mention a couple things (you can visit Bonsai Adventures for more).

Fairy Tale Bonsai is a term that was introduced into our bonsai lexicon by Walter Pall. Walter readily admits that he isn’t the first to work with these untamed looking collected trees that tend to look unstyled or only lightly styled (he credits the Chinese for this), but he is, to best of my knowledge, the first to call them Fairy Tale Bonsai (here’s a Case Study on Fairy Tale Bonsai video with Walter on ofBonsai).

Styling deciduous trees in the winter. In most cases, it’s okay to pull deciduous trees out of dormancy in the winter and do some wiring and pruning, and then stick them back into a cool, well-protected spot when you are finished (32F  – zero celcius – give or take, is good). There are few things you need to know however: Let them thaw out before you do anything. Don’t keep them warm for more than a couple days (you don’t want them to start waking up). Finally, because they are going to be somewhat stressed, put them back into a cool well-protected spot (see above) for the duration of the winter. If you if live in a very cold climate and your trees are wintered way below freezing, and you don’t have a cool spot for them, then best to not pull them out of dormancy at all. Or, you can wait until just before spring, when a cool protected spot shouldn’t be hard to find.


Walter’s caption: “Tatarian honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica, collected in Norway in 2010. This tree can only be appreciated if one understands the concept of Fairy Tale Bonsai Style. Otherwise it is ugly and grotesque. Well, it is supposed to. No kidding.”

And again, Walter’s caption: “European dogwood, Cornus mas, collected in Croatia in 2012, 35 cm high. This kind of tree can only be appreciated if one understands the concept of the Fairy Tale Bonsai Style. The living part will have to be developed considerably, of course. But it is not what makes this tree good eventually, it is all about the wild trunk which has to be enhanced.


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3 thoughts on “Fairy Tale Bonsai

  1. So, your next article can be giving an explanation of “Fairy Tale Bonsai”. Right?

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