Less Is Enough

I think this one qualifies as Mame (‘bean’ in Japanese). Bonsai-wise, mame is a common word for the very smallest bonsai. I found it on Pinterest. It says Repinned via Luciano Guimarães. I’m not sure exactly what that means but my best guess is that this tree does not belong to Luciano. The photo had the Bonsai Empire logo in the corner (now cropped out to magnify the tree), but I couldn’t find it on their site. In any case it’s a sweet little gem and so’s the pot. “Shohin are small bonsai. When compared to large bonsai, shohin cost … Continue reading Less Is Enough

Just Say No

First, my apologies for the fuzziness. The photo (original below) is cropped and expanded because I wanted to show these delightful little trees up close. Looks like a juniper above, Pyracantha on the left and Trident maple on the right. All the photos in this post are from Shunga-ten and the Japanese Shohin-bonsai Association. They appear on Morten Albek’s Shohin Bonsai Europe blog in a recent post titled, ‘Say NO to RULES‘ that I think is worth a read. BTW: Morten is the author of our Shohin Bonsai, Majesty in Miniature (see below). A part of a larger display. Could … Continue reading Just Say No

Fall Transplanting: Pros & Cons

Time to repot. Morten Albek intentionally broke the pot to show this Cork bark Japanese black pine’s dense root mass. From Morten’s book, Shohin Bonsai (Stone Lantern Publishing). This post originally appeared in August 2009 (Bonsai Bark’s first year, which means we are now in year 4 going on year 5). I’m still in the midst of mid-summer semi vacation time, so we’ll continue to dig through some old posts to see if we can find anything useful. In this case, fall is just around the corner for some of us (sadly), so why not discuss fall transplanting? BTW: I’ve … Continue reading Fall Transplanting: Pros & Cons

Small Trees with Big Trunks

Root-over-rock Trident maple from Kaede Bonsai-en. In this case, it might be more accurate to say rock-almost-completely-swallowed-by-roots (which have morphed into a trunk). There are several things that stand out about this tree, not the least of which is the near perfect mix of reds, oranges and golds that make for a striking fall color display. Then there’s the trunk (ex-roots) with its impressive character and substantial girth relative to the pot and canopy size. Such thick trunks for such small trees are almost always the result of reducing trees that were grown in much larger containers (or in the … Continue reading Small Trees with Big Trunks

Small Is Deceptively Good

We’ll call this little pine tree number 1 (pretty creative eh?). I’m not sure if this is the best view, but it does provide a clear shot of the trunk which appears to be two trunks that start together, separate and then come back together, though if you go down to the last photo, you might be surprised at all that you can’t see here. Beyond the interest created by the trunk, there’s the branching which is pretty well developed for such a small tree. You gotta love Shohin. All the photos here are borrowed from a Michael Bonsai series … Continue reading Small Is Deceptively Good

Bonsai Globetrotting, Make Your Own Rock, A Wild & Wonderful Hornbeam, The World’s Most Amazing Garden

This powerful pine with its lush, full (almost yellow on my screen) canopy that’s shaped more like something you’d see on a deciduous tree (or a roof on an abstract pagoda), makes little attempt to appear like a pine in nature. Still, naturalistic or not, it’s hard to deny how the power of its trunk and the lush beauty of its canopy complement each other. I found it here on facebook. It looks like it’s part of a Japanese bonsai nursery, but I couldn’t find any verification.   Dan Robinson’s wild and wonderful Hornbeam resides at the Pacific Rim Bonsai … Continue reading Bonsai Globetrotting, Make Your Own Rock, A Wild & Wonderful Hornbeam, The World’s Most Amazing Garden

Growing Better Roots & Trunks

In addition a one of the most perfectly developed crowns you’ll ever see, with its amazing profusion of tiny leaves; this Trident maple (I must’ve been drunk, any fool can see that this is a Zelkova) provides one of the best examples of trunk and surface root (nebari) development you’ll see anywhere. Neither are overstated; providing a welcome relief from overdeveloped trunk taper and nebari that you sometimes see in Trident maples. But then, you might expect perfection from this tree, it’s from the Grand Master Saburo Kato’s collection (Kato-sama’s most excellent book, Forest, Rock Plantings and Ezo Spruce Bonsai … Continue reading Growing Better Roots & Trunks

California Shohin Seminar

This little gem was lifted from BUNJINJOURNAL.COM. It’s from the 2010 California Shohin Society Seminar in Santa Nella. Better late… Don’t know how this happened, but we almost missed this one. The California Shohin Society is holding its famous biennial seminar in Santa Nella this weekend. I know it’s late, but it’s a great event and if you’re in the area, here’s what you need to know. Santa Nella Speaking of famous Shohin, have you seen our book by Morten Albek: Shohin Bonsai, Majesty in Miniature?    

Weekly Wire: Ancient Bones & the Wheel of Bonsai Wisdom

Ancient bones. I like the way the fresh foliage seems to hang from the tree’s ancient bones (though I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a stand so in need of refinishing). This strikingly unique bonsai is one of many excellent trees at Taiwan Bonsai World. Free Advertising! What if you could advertise your bonsai event for free on a Bonsai Blog with over 30,00 visitors a month? Turns out, you can! Right here on Bonsai Bark. Just put your event (with links please) in the comments below and I’ll take from there.   Have you seen this issue? Neither have … Continue reading Weekly Wire: Ancient Bones & the Wheel of Bonsai Wisdom

Bonsai Bark Weekly Wire

I’m in San Francisco for a few days, so why not lead with the Bonsai Society of San Francisco? I’ve perused plenty of bonsai society websites and the BSSF’s is, without a doubt, one of the most informative and complete. In conjunction with the site, they also have a monthly newsletter; Fog City Bonsai.   This amazing tree is one of many world-class bonsai at the Shinpukuji Temple bonsai museum. It’s from Boon Manakitivipart’s excellent Japan adventure. You can enjoy more photos from Boon’s trip and much more at Bonsai Tonight. Bonsai Apprenticeship minus the suffering From Peter Tea’s blog: … Continue reading Bonsai Bark Weekly Wire