Picasso’s Bonsai Garden

The natural look (or who needs manicured bonsai?). This photo captures two things I love about Eladan Gardens. The first is the rugged uncontrived look that characterizes Dan Robinson’s bonsai, and the second is the perfect setting. The tree is a Sierra juniper (Juniperus occidentalis). Earlier this month I finally visited Dan and Diane Robinson’s magnificent Elandan Gardens. It was a quick visit and all I had to shoot with was my cell. So the photos aren’t nearly as good as most of the borrowed Elandan photos from previous posts. But some shots are unique and hopefully capture something of … Continue reading Picasso’s Bonsai Garden

Flowering Bonsai – Choosing the Best Angle

This looking-up-into-the-tree shot, shows off the powerful trunk, excellent nebari, good branching and taper from bottom to top. If you wanted to accentuate the flowers, you might shoot from a point considerably higher. I don’t know who this tree belongs to and an image search came up empty. How you chose to photograph a bonsai, makes a world of difference.* Without going into the obvious, like good lighting and a simple, uncluttered neutral background (bad photos are often worse than no photos at all), just the angle you chose can make a big difference. In the photo above a very … Continue reading Flowering Bonsai – Choosing the Best Angle

Can There Ever Be Too Many Flowers?

This azalea would be an excellent bonsai even without the flowers. With the flowers, well, you can see for yourself. Getting ready to leave for a couple days and running late (what else is new?), so we’ll dip into our archives. This one originally appeared in 2012. BTW, my source for the photo above was Tae Kukiwon Bonsai. 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 below shows a mix of flowers and foliage. Some bonsai and landscape … Continue reading Can There Ever Be Too Many Flowers?

Flowering Bonsai, Fleeting Bliss

Satsuki azalea displaying a perfect blend of white with a touch of pink and soft green. The flowers dominate right now, but it’s no accident that the color of the pot enhances the not-so-shabby, deeply grooved trunk and nebari. An earlier shot of the same tree appears below. Trying to buy a little time off (but still working), so rather than dream up a new post, we’ll dip back into our archives. This one originally appeared in May, 2011, with a little value added today. The first three photos in this post are part of a photo album by Andres … Continue reading Flowering Bonsai, Fleeting Bliss

Happy Bonsai Holidays – Merry Bonsai Christmas

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 Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! No matter what you celebrate (or don’t celebrate), may you and your loved ones enjoy the Season and have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. The photos here are from the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. In particular, a part of their collection of Satsuki azalea bonsai … Continue reading Happy Bonsai Holidays – Merry Bonsai Christmas

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 bonsaipots.net. 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 bonsaipots.net. 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