One-Year Progression of A Shohin Chinzan Satsuki Azalea Bonsai

The purpose of this post is to show how to care for and maintain an imported satsuki azalea during the first year by selective pruning, encourage back budding and developing ramification of the branches.

I purchased this shohin “chinzan” satsuki azalea pre-bonsai from David Kreutz of the Satsuki Bonsai-En in April, 2014, at our state bonsai convention. This satsuki was imported, bare-rooted, from Japan about 3-4 months ago. It has a beautiful nebari and trunk taper. Since it was a newly imported tree, I removed the flower buds and let it gained strength for the rest of the year.

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Front of the tree, 02/25/2015.

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Preparing A Small Bonsai Display For Show

Last weekend, we had our Lone Star (Texas) State Bonsai Federation education seminar, and the topic was literati bonsai. All participating trees must be a bunjin. My wife and I exhibited a small, 24″ x 18″, Japanese toko-kazari display.

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Display consisted of a mame bujin Chinese Elm grown from root cutting, a dwarf Fiber Optic grass, a distant mountain viewing stone and a two-line poem.

Many attendees liked the display and commented how simple it looks, refreshing, quiet, peaceful, cute, and the lightly finished wood allows viewers to see all the elements clearly.

I will explain how we came up with the idea, why we selected the items and why we arranged them this way. The thoughts put into the process was a great exercise.

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Bonsai, Kusamono and Companion Displays that I like at the Artisans Cup

The Artisans Cup has many powerful and beautiful bonsai. As a visitor, some of them appealed to me more than the others. I enjoyed them all, perhaps some trees related to something I had previously experienced, or the whole composition appealed to me more than just an individual tree.  I like Greg Breden’s Southwestern White Pine, it looks rugged, clinging precariously on a beautiful and rough textured pot. Doug Paul’s Douglas Fir also appealed to me. It has very natural looking shari and twisted live veins, which look very similar to a tree I saw during a hike in a British Colombia mountain. Not sure of the species but could be a Douglas Fir Pondorosa Pine (At the recent Texas State Bonsai Show, Todd Hang of Dallas told me this tree is a pine, more likely a Pondorosa Pine because of the exposed brownish-red border between the shari and live bark. Someone from Canada familiar with plant distribution said it is not a Pondorosa Pine based on the location where this tree was photographed. It is more likely a Lodgepole Pine). Here is the tree I saw in nature:IMG_0507

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The shari created by rain, wind, snow and all natural elements. Unsurpassed by any human carving.

This is Doug Paul’s Douglas Fir:

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A similar looking shari with flaky slivers, and live barks. The planting in a rock crevice simulates its natural growing environment.

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