Bonsai, It’s About the Soil – An Informed Approach

This Japanese maple belongs to Mariusz Folda. I don’t know if Mariusz also made the pot, but based on what I’ve seen of his ceramics, I wouldn’t be surprised. Yesterday’s post on Mariusz Folda’s Shimpaku serves as lead in for today’s comments by Mariusz on his soil mix, and more specifically on the uses and limitations of Akadama, the most famous and widely used imported Japanese soil. Here’s Mariusz’s quote on Akadama in its entirety… “I look after some bonsai that are very old, like a very old Fagus crenata (Japanese beech) or an old Carpinus koreana (Korean hornbeam). I … Continue reading Bonsai, It’s About the Soil – An Informed Approach

Fall Transplanting: Taking Full Advantage of Next Year’s Growing Season

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). Vacation ended around midnight last night. Still, in light of a whole slew of post vacation demands, I’m going to indulge in one more journey into our archives. This one is from August, 2009, which in the life of this blog, qualifies as ancient. We’ll stick with our current topic, fall transplanting. With one caveat: opinions abound on how to do most anything, and fall transplanting (really almost any bonsai task) is … Continue reading Fall Transplanting: Taking Full Advantage of Next Year’s Growing Season

Coming Soon to Your Back Yard

As long as we’re on the topic of choosing, I chose this one as the lead photo because it’s the only one with clean pot. A distinct advantage. All the photos in this post are from Boon Manakitivipart’s facebook postings. I took the liberty of cropping all the photos in this post and combining some separate photos into single images. Still on vacation, so still digging into our archives. This one is fairly recent (December last year) but seems particularly appropriate as the fall potting season is closing in fast. For those of us in inhospitable northern climes it starts … Continue reading Coming Soon to Your Back Yard

Transplanting: The Happy Zone

Here’s Michael Hagedorn’s caption: “This maple in Shinji Suzuki’s tokonoma is in a pot typical of this kind of tree. It works better aesthetically, in two ways. A shallow pot will make the nebari continue spreading, and the delicacy of the trunks is enhanced by a shallower pot. But a maple is also a tree that appreciates water. And a shallow pot will retain more moisture than a deeper one, in a soil-to-soil relative way. It’s a wetter pot.” All the photos in this post are from Crataegus Bonsai. We’ve been talking about basics a lot lately. Specifically watering, fertilizing … Continue reading Transplanting: The Happy Zone

Boon Again & Again

Shohin cork bark Chinese elm in its new pot. From Boon Manakitivipart’s facebook feed. Boon is repotting once again. On facebook of all places. Just in case you don’t know who Boon is, well, among other things he’s a famous bonsai artist and teacher who resides in the SF Bay Area. Here’s his home page on facebook, here’s his website and here’s Boon Again, one of many Bark posts where he is featured.   There are differing opinions about the practice of washing the roots clean when repotting, but that’s for another time.

Defoliating, Repotting & Other Tricks

Trident Maple (Kaede) at the Kokufu-ten in 1972. It now lives in Washington D.C. at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. The photo is from Capital Bonsai. Back to square one I’m still trying to get back to square one after the 3rd U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition, so I won’t say too much except that I’ve recently come across two excellent posts about Trident maples. The first is at Capital Bonsai and shows the repotting of a famous old Trident that now resides at the U.S. National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, and the second, which is about defoliation (and more), … Continue reading Defoliating, Repotting & Other Tricks

Character, Strength & Boon’s Transplanting Tips

Though it has the raw look of yet to be refined tree, still, there’s a lot to like about this bonsai. Its massive nebari ads great strength, character and balance and the hollow in the trunk (sabamiki) provides a further touch of character and age that sets it apart from more ordinary bonsai. It belongs to Boon Manakitivipart, owner of Bonsai Boon (my mistake, see comments) and distinguished bonsai artist and teacher. Though Boon doesn’t say what it is, I’ll guess that it’s a California live oak of some sort (Quercus suber?). From a bonsai tip entitled WINTER CARE: REPOTTING, … Continue reading Character, Strength & Boon’s Transplanting Tips