Flowering Bonsai & an American in Tokyo

quince1Not a prize winner, but still a mind stopper. Here's what Bill Valavanis has to say about this remarkable quince: "An unusual cultivar of Japanese flowering quince. This is NOT the Toyo Nishiki cultivar, but rather 'Takane Nishiki'. Beautiful flowers, unusual container, but I personally do not like the design of the bonsai, so enjoyed the blossoms."

Vacation time is archive time (with some new posts thrown in). This one is from July, 2011. I was looking for something more on Doug Paul’s Kennett Collection (see yesterday). The tree below is his, and the tree above has beautiful flowers and a strikingly ornate pot. So why not?

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 dougAn American in Tokyo. Sargent's juniper (aka Shimpaku) displayed by Doug Paul of Pennsylvania (The Kennett Collection). You don't see many American exhibitors at Kokufu; this is the second that I know of and both are Doug. The other, a hemlock, is from Isao Omachi (bonsai at Kokufu and other Japanese exhibitions are listed by own rather than artist). 

The two photos shown here are by Bill Valavanis, from his visit earlier this year (2011) to the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition in Tokyo, still the best bonsai show in the world. You can find Bill’s whole story (with comments) on the Internet Bonsai Club site.

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A Very Impressive North American Bonsai Collection

ken

Fantastic tree! It belongs to Doug Paul (Mr. Kennett Collection). This photo is from the famous Kokufu Exhibition in Tokyo. It's a great honor to have a tree accepted to Kokufu; only a handful of North Americans have had that honor.

Today we’ve got a few photos from Doug Paul’s Kennett Collection, no doubt one of the foremost bonsai collections in North America. The collection – with the exception of any trees Doug keeps in Japan -resides in Kennett Square PA.

Continued below…

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ken7

This impressive exposed-root tree is a Trident maple. The leaves are dead giveaway.

If you’d like to learn more about the Collection, you can visit their facebook timeline or their website. I’m on vacation, so I won’t bother to research the types of trees shown here (the facebook photos don’t say), but I will make some semi-educated guesses.

 

ken8

I don't know what this multi trunk beast is, but I'm very impressed by the nebari

 

ken6

This would be an impressive tree even without the brilliant leaves. Speaking of, have you ever seen such bright yellow and red leaves on the same tree at the same time? Some of the sugar maples around here (Vermont) do that in the fall, but maybe not quite as brightly contrasted as these leaves (almost looks shopped a bit)

 

ken5

Japanese maple. Another colorful display

 

ken4

How often do you see a formal upright Azalea? I think the trunk is the result of bundling a bunch of saplings (whips) together

One thing you can be sure of is
all the trees above have been well-fed

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Master Bonsai Potter Gyozan Nakano

nagano1

I don't know who styled this wild looking azalea (I don't read Japanese) but I do know that Master Potter Gyozan Nakano made the pot.

Here’s an old one from our archives (July, 2009) that I like. I’ve done a little editing – mostly cringe reduction – but the photos and most of the text are the same.

A few years ago I was given a remarkable book by the World Bonsai Friendship Federation, who had received it courtesy of Masahiro Tokuo (President of Kindai Publishing). Since then, it has spent most of its time sitting on my shelf, though occasionally I thumb through and marvel at the photos (see above about not reading Japanese).

The book is about Master Potter Gyozan Nakano and consists mostly of high quality photos of his pots. Most pots stand alone, but some are holding bonsai or companion plants. I wish you could see the whole book, but we’ll have to settle for a few photos.

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nakano162

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nakano

nakano8

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Two Trees, Quick & Easy

shim

The pot is cut off, but this lush Shimpaku with its strong shari and those expressive little jin, is okay without it... for the moment at least. This tree and the other shown here belong to Mariusz Folda. Mariusz' bonsai are becoming regulars on Bonsai Bark

I’m flying out West today, so we’ll make this one quick and easy. Just two trees with a close up of each. Both full sized photos are from Mariusz Folda’s facebook timeline. The cropping for the closeups was done by our crack Bonsai Bark staff (that’s me)

Continued below…

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shimpakucu
Speaking of being out of town, the next ten days is vacation time for two of us. For a company of three and a half, this means our office and our warehouse will be slowed down. How slow depends on how busy we are. We’ll keep you posted

 

2

Mariusz doesn't say what this elegant twin trunk tree is

 

2cu

 

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Dancing with Dragons

heromain

Peter Krebs calls this shot Azaleas-Virtual. I'm guessing this means he put the tree and the pot together on his computer and that in real time/space they exist separately. Beyond that... and how nicely they go together... that's all we've got to go on.

I’ve long admired Peter Krebs’ pots (here’s your proof) and it’s past due time to do some more admiring. These photos and Peter’s captions are from Peter’s facebook timeline. Peter also has a website where you can peruse and even buy his pots.

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heropot

I'm not sure if the dragons caused the break. I'm also not sure how you'd plant in this pot, though I suppose with a little imagination, it's possible. The "Life in the most beautiful form" might refer to the dragons. In Asia dragons are not considered evil... but rather representations of great natural power. Like thunder or strong winds. They are also associated with the wisdom that understands these forces. There's more to the story, but we'll leave that to you.

 

herojunAnother virtual bonsai. Peter's captions reads... Pots in May 054 Black Dragon Two - Virtual

 

heroxI suppose it's possible there are still a few prudes out there. If you qualify, please cover your eyes. Peter's caption says... Pots in May 054 YinYang - Virtual

 

heropot2Peter gets a whole lot more wordy with this one (I'll just give you a taste and this link for the rest)... Ginkgo biloba - the pot with the 96 leaves
  The Chinese and Japanese have been worshiping the ginkgo for centuries. He counts for a long time as a cohesive and life-prolonging, and he belongs to the sacred trees.
  Trees with an age of 1000 to 2000 years are not uncommon. They are found in temples and also in graveyards next to graves. In the province of Shandong, a 3000-year-old and 26-meter-high Ginkgo is to stand, and still grow...
 

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Fertilize Your Bonsai for Health & Beauty

junpg1612
Lush summer foliage and impressive deadwood on an old Shimpaku juniper.The lush foliage is the result of timely feeding. The photo is from our Masters Series Juniper book. I know the tree is from Japan, but don't know who the artist is.

Time for a reminder from one of our archival favorites (July, 2015). Nothing has changed since then, except our new lower fertilizer prices.

Many, if not most people underfeed their bonsai. There are many reasons why ample fertilizing is critical to developing healthy and beautiful bonsai…

1. It’s up to you. Most bonsai soils don’t contain nutrients. This means your tree’s nutritional requirements are completely dependent on you. If you do use a soil that contains nutrients* (organic matter), these will eventually get used up or leach out.

2. Healthy foliage is beautiful foliage. You want vigorous healthy foliage. The foliage on underfed trees will lack color and luster.

Continued below…

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maplewalterYou can bet that this luxurious crown is the result of generous feeding. This lush Kiohime Japanese maple belongs to Walter Pall, so I'm guessing that's his arm and hand. It (the tree not the hand) is 45 cm (18") high and more than 50 years old (again the tree, though if it's Walter's hand...). It was originally imported from Japan. This photo and the one below are from Walter's blog. They are part of a series of photos on the development of this tree.

Continued from above…

3. Rapid thickening. Fertilizing promotes rapid growth which promotes trunk and branch thickening (younger trees and older trees are treated differently**).

4. Ramification. Healthy growth (along with skillful trimming) promotes the development of fine branching (secondary, tertiary and so forth).

Continued below…

maplewalter2

Walter's maple after he reduced the crown and turned it around. Now the proportions are better and you can see the bones better too. This shape and crown will be maintained by proper feeding (more summer less spring) and skillful trimming. The pot is by Petra Tomlinson.

Continued from above…

5. Pest resistance. Healthy well-fed trees are better able to resist pests.

6. Stress resistance. Same goes for heat, cold, wind etc.

7. Human error. Healthy well-fed trees with strong roots can better resist forgetting to water or over-watering (but only up to a point).

MarioHB770

This hornbeam belongs to Mario Komsta. I lifted it from an old Bark post (2010). It's an great example of a powerful trunk and an extreme example of fine branching, the result of ample fertilizing and skillful trimming. Once the trunk and branching are well developed you can stop spring feeding but continue to feed in the summer.

*Organic matter in soil tends to inhibit aeration (aka drainage) and is not recommended by most bonsai professionals.

**With younger trees you want rapid growth so you start feeding in the early spring and keep feeding right through the summer. With older more developed trees too much growth can cause loss of shape, but you still want healthy trees with beautiful crowns. The secret here is wait until the summer to start feeding.

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Two Satsuki in Full Bloom & More Impressive Nebari

satsuki

Satsuki azalea in full bloom. Nice natural looking nebari too. Artist unknown (for the moment at least). You can find this photo and other great shots like it on Bill Valavanis' Bonsai Blog.

Here’s what Bill has to say about the photos shown in this post … “The Bonsai Society of Upstate New York is holding their 44th Upstate New York Bonsai Exhibition on May 27-28, 2017 at the Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester, New York. Some of the finest bonsai in New York state will be on display for the public to enjoy and learn from too.

“These photos are from past Upstate New York Bonsai Exhibitions, since this year’s has not even been set up yet. Since this is a society show, bonsai from all levels of development will be displayed from our membership.”

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mapleJapanese maple with a very impressive nebari. I don't think I've seen that many great nebari on bonsai that reside outside Japan. We're supposed to be taking a break from our nebari series, but somethings are hard to stay away from.

 

sat2

Another Satsuki azalea and another excellent nebari

 

tree-no-39-8

Shohin display. We've shown Mark Arpag's little Japanese maple before, so it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that this display belongs to Mark.

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Still Searching for the Perfect Nebari

stewartia

Stewartias often have strong nebari and this one is no exception. This photo is from a post we did back in July 2014. I didn't know who the artist was then and I still don't know. I tried Image Search, which recognized that it's a Stewartia, but didn't find this particular tree.

This post is a continuation of yesterday’s Bottoms Up! More Nebari How-to. which was taken in part from In Search of the Perfect Nebari – part four, a 2009 Bark post. (In Search of the Perfect Nebari parts four and five are from Bonsai Today issue 64). The tree that is being worked on here is a Japanese maple.

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bt64nebari-6

From the bottom....

 

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...and the top. After combing out and pruning the roots, there are still a few things to do before potting.

 

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A final washing with a concentrated stream gets rid of stubborn soil particles. When that's done, it's time to carve the base of the trunk. This allows for a lower, flatter planting and discourages roots from growing down.

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The carving is finished. Notice how Mr. Miau carved the bottom of the nebari in several places.

 

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Now it's ready to plant...

 

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...into a very low pot. Notice how shallow the soil is and how all the roots are lying flat on top.

bt64-nebari-final

Left: before the rest of the soil is added. Right: after all the soil has been added. Notice how the nebari is exposed but all the roots that extend from it are covered.

As long as we’re talking about a Japanese maple…

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thumb

Another impressive Stewartia nebari. That's Brad Pitt's Bjorn Bjorholm’s thumb. We originally featured this photo in a post from April 2015.

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Bottoms Up! More Nebari How-to

171

This natural scale nebari (surface roots and flare at the base of the trunk) stands in contrast to some of the more exaggerated nebari that we've been featuring (including the one at the bottom of this post). Bill Valavanis, who seems to spend half his life in Japan, took this photo at the Uchiku-Tei Bonsai Garden at S-Cube Bonsai Garden in Hanyu, north of Omiya.

Continuing our discussion of nabari, here’s another how-to post from our archives (with the exception of the photo above and the one at the bottom of the post which we borrowed from Bill Valavanis’ Bonsai Blog). It was titled In Search of the Perfect Nebari – part four and was originally posted in April, 2009.

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bt64-nebari-11

Bottoms up! This somewhat intriguing shot is from Bonsai Today, issue 64. This photos below explore how Mr. Harumi Miau arrived at this point

 

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Before. Close up of the uneven and unattractive nebari. The dark color of the exposed roots is a sign of poor vigor caused by lower roots stealing energy from top roots

 

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This shot clearly indicates the cause of the problem; too much energy has flowed to the densely matted lower roots

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After removing most of the lower roots, an iron root hook is used to untangle and comb out the top roots

 

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The combing is completed. The arrows indicate the direction of the roots

 

153Here’s what could only be discribed as a super nebari. Bill Valavanis took this photo at Hiroshi Takeyama’s Fuyo-en Bonsai Garden, Omiya Bonsai Village. Here’s Bill’s caption: “I noticed a well known famous Trident maple masterpiece with an unusually large wide surface root display. The bonsai looks like it was recently transplanted this spring and the widest ends of the surface roots were shaved back to fit into the container leaving a narrow edge of soil around the roots. There must be some surface area where water can easily reach the feeder roots. Bonsai with such a large surface root area must be carefully monitored for watering. Also, the surface root are of many bonsai with a prominent surface root displayed are protected with moist rags during the hottest summer days. Moist rags are simply draped over the surface root bark.

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Begin Work on the Nebari the First Time You Transplant

bt70-huge-nebari1

This Trident maple (Acer buergerianum) is sporting a rather impressive nebari. Does it look a bit like a clown's oversized shoe? Or does it suit you just as it is? The original appears in Bonsai Today issue 70 in an article titled "Transplanting to increase the feeling of age," by Kazunori Kamiya.

Continuing our series on nebari. This one is originally from April 2009 (with a few changes today). It was titled, In Search of the Perfect Nebari 3. For some more good how-to nebari tips, take a look at our last post.

No matter how you view the nebari in the photo above, most trees look older and more stable with a flaring base and exposed surface roots

The graphics below are part of an article entitled Improving a Nebari by Oishi Kazo, that appeared in Bonsai Today issue 32 and issue 102
Continued below…

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bt23-p045-06At first the roots are all beneath the soil
bt23-p045-07As they thicken, you begin to see their tops...
bt23-p045-081...until you have a fully developed nebari
However, example presupposes a perfect world
Normally, to get this kind of development
you need to begin to work on the nebari
the first time you transplant

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