Category Archives: Design and Critique

Pomegranate Bonsai

Pomegranate Plans

If you refer to my Pomegranate Splitting post you’ll see where this little guy came from. Initially I planned to do a twin trunk style with the two main trunks you see.
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As I’ve spent time watering and caring for it I’ve noticed an opportunity to add an artistic aspect to it.
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In this photo above you notice the not-so-great-for-bonsai base it has, combined with the charred look of the bark. I’m not sure what the previous owner of this entire pomegranate was doing to it, but nonetheless.
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This base became significant to me as I noticed that a piece of completely charred deadwood was creating a wedge between the two main trunks and affects every single trunk coming from the base. I was able to identify with this images. It reminds me of the effects of my struggles with addiction and how they affect my family. It creates separation within the family and scars everyone in their own way. This could also be synonymous with divorce, mental illness, or other forms of addiction or abuse.
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As you can see in the previous photos, how this traumatic event affects each person is different. Some almost completely fail, or cease to grow, and others overcome and continue to develop. The “father” trunk in this case, has it continue on and affect the entire structure of the branching and canopy.

I’m not 100% set on how the rest of the smaller trunks will play out, but this tree has plenty of refinement to go and I’ll study and decide as I go. If you have any techniques or artistic ideas of how to bring this story to life, please do leave a comment!

Design and Critique #9 – Chinese Elm

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Masculine vs Feminine:

This tree is very feminine in many ways. The delicate branching with movement complements the movement in the slender trunks. A rounded canopy is the crowning feminine characteristic that pulls everything together.

Design:

The trunks all fill their own space that is designated for them. This is an easy thing to venture off from with multi-trunked trees or forests. The pad formation seems to be more distinct on the left side. I’m not sure if that was intentional or part of the development of the tree.

Comments:

I would love a pot that is a bit more shallow and feminine to fit the feeling of the tree. The pot being a bit oversized might have to do with it being displayed constantly and not being able to have a huge amount of personal attention.

I’m not really a fan of the stone it is shown with or how close it is displayed to the tree.

I think a few of the branches when viewed up close look unnatural in the ways they bend.

Next Up:

Larch

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Design and Critique #8 – Flowering Plum

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Focus:

The focus of this tree is the trunk and the flowers. These two features are so stunning that they overwhelm the display. This takes your attention off of any flaws that might exist.

Branching and Silhouette:

While the branching and ramification leave much to be desired, the silhouette still holds an asymmetrical shape with 3 dimensional aspects.

Comments:

I’m not 100% sure on the size of the stand. I feel it is a bit oversized which takes away from the feminine aspects of the tree. I also feel the pot color fits much better with the purple leaves of a purple-leaf plum (exact species not listed) but it doesn’t mesh as well with the light pink flowers. I do love the companion plant choice. Fantastic tree overall.

Next Up:

Chinese Elm

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Design and Critique #7 – Twisted Pomegranate

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Display:

The display of this tree threw me off for a few reasons. The pot is yellow, which doesn’t seem to fit with pomegranate’s leaves, but would go well with the flowers and fruit. It just seemed a bit loud to go with a winter silhouette showing.

The companion plant looks not so alive (can’t tell from the photo if I’m wrong or not) and awkwardly placed. This is in part due to the apex and confusion of flow which I’ll touch on.

The moss is well put together and looks clean. This can be just as much of an art form as the rest of bonsai itself.

Branching and Silhouette:

The silhouette of this tree rubs me the wrong way. Not to say it is wrong, but design-wise from my understanding I think it is because there isn’t a significant amount of asymmetry in the design.

The defining branch doesn’t seem to come from the trunk but from behind the tree which isn’t very natural looking.

Comments:

I gave critical criticism, but this is a phenomenal tree. Pomegranates are one of my favorite deciduous trees and I wish I had gone to this show to see it in person.

I’d love to see this tree with 3 or so pomegranates left on to complement the yellow pot.

This is my favorite pomegranate and possibly the best deciduous tree I’ve seen in person. This is displayed at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.
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Next Up:

Flowering Plum

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Bonsai-A-Thon

I went to Bonsai-A-Thon at The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens. Here were the trees on display for the exhibition. DSC_0580
Japanese Black Pine
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Flowering PlumDSC_0589
Shimpaku Juniper
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Coast Live Oak
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Shimpaku JuniperIMG_3838
Cedar ElmIMG_3845IMG_3847
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Shohin Display
Japanese Black Pine, Silverberry (Eleagnus Pungens), Chinese Elm, Korean Hornbeam, Japanese Quince
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Satsuki Azalea (on the left) IMG_3853IMG_3854IMG_3855IMG_3856IMG_3857IMG_3859

The amount of trees was a bit less than I expected, but they were all great regardless. The flowering plum, coast live oak, and the large shimpaku juniper were my favorites. The oak didn’t have any large scaring that was unsightly, it was amazing.

Orange County Bonsai Society Exhibition

Here are photos of the trees from this show at the Sherman Library & Gardens.

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Olive – Tom Vuong

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Liquidambar – Wayne Wolfe

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Korean Hornbeam – Ken Schlothan

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Chinese Elm – David Melitz

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Ginkgo Forest – Deborah Mauzy-Melitz

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Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Gary Lai

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Prostrata Juniper – Jason Chan

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Shohin Catlin Elm – Joyce Gibbs

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4 Point Shohin Display (JBP, Olive, Cork Bark Elm, Ficus Burt-Davyi) – Joyce Gibbs

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Bougainvillea – Paul Minerich

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Prostrata Juniper (Grafted Itoigawa) – Gary Lai

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Hackberry Forest – John Deluca

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Liquidambar Forest – Ken Schlothan

 

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Kishu Shimpaku Juniper – Wayne Wolfe

Design and Critique #6 – Crape Myrtle ‘Natchez’

This White Crape Myrtle is another example of harmonious design. The apex, defining branch, and trunk all flow to the right. This tree has a lot to give in terms of showy bark, flowers, and amazing Fall foliage. These features lend enough interest to the tree which allows itself to go with a harmonious design.

Taper: This tree has amazing taper that continues from the base all the way up to the apex. The branches show proportionate thickness as well. The nice part about Crape Myrtles is that they shed their bark and heal wounds fantastically. This makes believable taper more accomplishable without large scars. 

Branching: This tree will continue to develop more ramification as time goes on, but the branching that it currently has does a good job of moving while occupying a good amount of space within the overall silhouette.

Comments: I love that this tree will still display its amazing bark even when in leaf. I wish I had a photo of this tree at what I see as the actual display angle to help me to see the left portion of the tree better.

 

Next Up:

Twisted Pomegranate

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