Bonsai Flower Dreams

If you can get past the flowers, you might pull your eyes down to the trunk. While you’re down there, you might also notice the pot. The photo is from an exhibit called “Japanese Flower Dreams – 1st Azalea Festival” in Schwetzingen, Germany. I found the photo on The caption reads: “A lovely example by Udo Fischer Bonsai Design.” Lots of azaleas lately. Response is good and who’s to argue with all the brilliant colors? You can see the photos shown here and others on It’s not always about the flowers. Some azaleas are powerful enough to hold … Continue reading Bonsai Flower Dreams

Crazy Color from High on the Bonsai Pantheon

Though it’s usually considered bad form to lop off part of the pot, in this case it’s all about the color (and the wildly expressive trunk). The variety is listed as Issho-no-haru. This and the rest of the photos in this post are from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum A few posts back we launched a discussion about the relative merits of  bonsai in North America and Europe (Comparisons Are Odious, But Still…). The discussion was continued in two subsequent posts (here and here) I expected my remarks might get me into a little hot water, but there was really … Continue reading Crazy Color from High on the Bonsai Pantheon

No Adornment Necessary

A prize winning Satsuki azalea from Bonsai -Matsuda Seishoen displaying it power, balance and tranquility. Still stealing from the past. This post appeared back in April 2011 (now edited a bit from the original). It was titled Three Monster Satsuki Bonsai. It has been a while since we featured any Azaleas and even though Satsuki are renowned for their flowers and these aren’t flowering, still, they have enough muscle and character to show any time, with or without adornment. A rare and wonderful trunk The lower half of the trunk on this Satsuki azalea (above) is near perfection; thick and … Continue reading No Adornment Necessary

Quick & Easy Azaleas in Bloom

This striking Kyushu azalea (Rhododendron Kiusianum) with its wild almost chaotic trunk is from an Art of Bonsai Project contest held in 2005. It belongs to (or belonged to?) Melvyn Goldstein. The only thing I would take issue with is the pot. Not to say that this isn’t a very nice pot (and very clean and well oiled), it’s just that a shallower glazed oval might be better. BTW: Kyushu are not Satsuki azaleas. Kyushu usually bloom in March or April (depending on where they are) while Satsuki bloom in May (again depending and thus the name Satsuki, which means … Continue reading Quick & Easy Azaleas in Bloom

A Congenial Way to Start Your Day

Aside from the very distinctive shari and jin (two types of deadwood), there are a couple other things about this Japanese white pine that you may have already noticed. First it seems somewhat top-heavy, and second, this top-heavy quality is exaggerated by the pot, which is quite small relative to the size of the tree. Still, amazingly it works quite well. Even better than quite well. The bonsai shown here are all from a gallery in Bonsai Today issue 96. Reminds me of the older galleries from the very earliest Bonsai Todays. How important they were back in the dark … Continue reading A Congenial Way to Start Your Day

Nick’s Bonsai & FREE ITEMS Last Day

I know many of you have already seen this somewhat unruly apple, but many of you haven’t. Either way, it’s a very distinctive bonsai, and it’s flowering no less! You can find it on the back cover of Nick Lenz’ landmark book on collecting, Bonsai from the Wild. Larch master Lenz It seems like high time to return to our old friend Larch Master Nick Lenz. Especially since we just received some new photos of some of Nick’s trees from Candy Shirey, who is now their proud owner. This isn’t the first time we’ve featured bonsai of Nick’s that now … Continue reading Nick’s Bonsai & FREE ITEMS Last Day

Can There Ever Be Too Many Flowers?

This azalea would be an excellent bonsai even without the flowers. With the flowers, I’d say it’s a stunningly beautiful bonsai. I found it on Tae Kukiwon Bonsai. One thing I like about this sweet little tree, is how, even though the flowers are stunningly striking, the trunk holds its own. A trunk with less power and character wouldn’t stand a chance. Like so many photos on facebook, it’s unattributed. Can there ever be too many flowers? If you look at the two azaleas in this post, you’ll see that the one above is covered with flowers, while the one … Continue reading Can There Ever Be Too Many Flowers?

Great Photos, Great Trees

Shimpaku with fan. The photo is from Kennett Bonsai’s Wall Photos on facebook. Photos that are worthy of the trees It’s always good to see well-photographed quality bonsai. Many photos (especially on facebook) are hastily shot, often with little consideration for things like background, lighting and other elements that go into quality photography. In this case the bonsai (from The Kennett Collection) are excellent, and clearly, some effort has gone into creating photos that are worthy of the trees. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining about hastily shot photos. With facebook, spontaneity and informality are the nature of the … Continue reading Great Photos, Great Trees

A Most Unusual Bonsai Artist

Azalea and pot by Nick Lenz. Photo borrowed from The Art of Bonsai Project. A unique American bonsai artist Nick Lenz is an unusual person. On the spectrum from conservative to daring and even outrageous, his bonsai land somewhere beyond the latter. What he says about bonsai (and other things) reveals a unique mind; fascinating, humorous and often quite insightful. Beyond that, you be the judge. Collected larch (Larix laricina). Tree by Mother Nature and Nick Lenz. Pot by Nick. Larch with decent taper are extremely unusual. Chances are, Nick applied a few tricks to help this one along. Photo … Continue reading A Most Unusual Bonsai Artist

Classic Flowering Bonsai of Japan

Japanese apricot (Latin-Prunus mume: Japanese-Ume). From Classic Bonsai of Japan (Nippon Bonsai Association). My apologies for cutting off the bottom of the pot; my scanner couldn’t quite fit the whole photo. Japan and flowering bonsai The Japanese have long revered flowering trees and flowering bonsai. So much so, that they often overlook what you might consider design flaws with flowering bonsai (though not the case with the photos shown here). The book: Classic Bonsai of Japan This grand old book remains the standard when it comes to Japanese bonsai before 1989. Though much has happened in the bonsai world since … Continue reading Classic Flowering Bonsai of Japan