Bonsai Paradise

I think this magnificent convoluted beast belongs to Yusuf Sirait; at least it appears on his facebook page. It’s a Pemphis acidula (Santigi). Yet another mid-summer vacation resurrection (from January 2012). The original was a little wordy so I’ve chopped it down just a bit. Bonsai paradise I wonder just how common naturally contorted wild bonsai stock are on the islands of Indonesia. Based on what you see online and elsewhere, it’s easy to get the impression that they are quite abundant and easily accessible, though, I doubt that’s really the case. In fact, photos from Robert Steven’s Mission of … Continue reading Bonsai Paradise

Bonsai Redux: A Penjing Symphony in Three Movements

This super-sized three part penjing is by Robert Steven; renowned bonsai artist, teacher and author, and frequent contributor to this blog. It’s the 4th of July holiday weekend. Time relax a bit. Maybe do some digging in the garden or play in the water. Maybe both. To help make this happen, here’s something we’ve almost never done before; a rerun of a previous post (with a few small changes). This one is from December 2011. In Robert Steven’s own words “This is a super large penjing I did two weeks ago. The total length is three meters (about 10 feet). … Continue reading Bonsai Redux: A Penjing Symphony in Three Movements

A Steady Stream…

Premna serratifolia by Robert Steven. Aside from the immediate impact of the old wood with all the trunks popping up everywhere, there’s the counter-balance provided by the sturdy little trunk on the far left and the way the two tiny trunks at the base provide subtle accents. And then there’s that teetering trunk on that tiny tip that sticks out on the far right at the very end of the planting (six years of government-funded college down the drain on two mangled sentences). The beat goes on. If you take the time to go back through our 700-plus previous posts, … Continue reading A Steady Stream…

Blowing in the Wind

The sublime windswept landscape planting is from Robert Steven’s now classic Vision of My Soul. The species of the trees is Dyospryros montana (Mountain persimmon is one of several English names). A very quick search will reveal that there are precious few good windswept bonsai. At least on the web. I suspect there are several reasons for this. First, it’s time consuming to make a superb windswept like the one above. All those little branches need to be wired. Second, you have to understand how the wind works on trees. This requires some study and paying attention to detail. Not … Continue reading Blowing in the Wind

Mister Windswept Bonsai

Robert Steven’s simulation of the tree pictured below. If you search windswept bonsai, you’ll most likely notice that almost all of the best windswept trees belong to Robert Steven. You could even say that Robert Steven is Mr. Windswept Bonsai. Both as an artist and as an authority on the subject. But then, you could say that about other types of bonsai as well (check out some previous critiques by Robert if you want some evidence). So, given this fact, here’s Mr. Windswept Bonsai himself with another of his illuminating critiques. This one is of unspecified variety of tree that … Continue reading Mister Windswept Bonsai

Natural Transformation: A Tree’s Life Story by Robert Steven

After. Robert Steven’s simulation of an Olive that was submitted by Gary Howes. There’s a lot to like about this simulation, including just how natural and untamed it looks (even the pot has an untamed quality); untamed in the sense of something that has managed to stay alive and even thrive under some of the harshest conditions that Nature can dish out. Living on the cutting edge. It has been a while since we’ve featured a critique by Robert Steven. If you are new to Bonsai Bark, Robert is one of the world’s best known bonsai artists, whose renown has … Continue reading Natural Transformation: A Tree’s Life Story by Robert Steven

Gifts for Bonsai Lovers part 2

Masters Sword Shears. This incomparable tool with its long powerful blades and fluid cutting capabilities is one of the reasons that Japanese professionals get so much work done. You can use yours for routine spring and summer trimming, especially if you have lots of larger bonsai and not so much time. You can also use them in the garden for any number of tasks. I use mine more than any other tool on my field grown bonsai. Made in Japan by Koyo quality tools. List price 145.00. Our special price 119.00. You save 26.00 (actually you save 31.95 when you … Continue reading Gifts for Bonsai Lovers part 2

A Man With a Mission (and a Vision)

This calligraphic bonsai seems perfectly balanced between stasis and movement (something like that anyway). The relationship of bonsai to calligraphy goes way back to the old Chinese masters. Not only is Robert Steven an artistic heir to this tradition, but he is also an expert on the tradition and its history. This post features five trees that I grabbed from a Robert Steven gallery on facebook. Two things immediately jumped to mind when I first saw them: one, Robert just keeps producing top-notch bonsai, and two, these are undeniably Robert’s trees. If you’re familiar with his distinctive touch and vision, … Continue reading A Man With a Mission (and a Vision)

Bunjin Lives (Lungo vive il bunjin!)

I like the movement on this tree, with its sudden changes of direction. I also like the way the moss and lichen are growing up the base of the trunk. I wonder if it’s a Scot’s pine. Robert at the Crespi Cup The photos here were culled out from a large selection that was taken by our old friend Robert Steven at the 2012 Crespi Cup in Italy. I’ve cropped and otherwise fiddled a bit, but mostly they are pretty close to how I found them. Some don’t have any identification and some do. Speaking of Robert, it has been … Continue reading Bunjin Lives (Lungo vive il bunjin!)

The Other Cascade: Before & After

After by Kimura (aka the Magician). This photo is from a chapter in our Masters’ Series Pine Book titled Masahiko Kimura Transforms A Semi-Cascade. The tree is a Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora). The other cascade Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seem to me that, with the exception of Junipers (especially the ever present Procumbens nana) you don’t see that many semi-cascade bonsai (I just scrolled back through the last couple month of Bonsai Bark and about 10% of the trees featured are semi-cascade; more than I thought I’d find, but still, not that many). Actually, you don’t … Continue reading The Other Cascade: Before & After