I was able to head down to the OCBS event and had a great time. We had David Nguy visit and do a demo on a juniper. I won a Ginkgo forest and 2 pots in the raffle, and met a few wonderful people.
David Nguy’s tree that was on display:
The Displays: I do my best to get tree species and names of the owners of the trees to give credit where due. I missed a few tree species and a few names.
Japanese Black Pine – June Nguy
Two shohin displays and individual shohin trees by Peter Macasieb:
Blue Atlas Cedar
I always want to see more of shohin trees so I made sure to take close ups. Here is a slideshow of them if you’re interested.
Willow Leaf Ficus
Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Gary Lai
Boxwood Shohin – Joyce Gibbs
Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai
Olive – Allan Sugimura
Shohin Display – Joyce Gibbs
California Juniper – David Nguy
Juniperus Chinensis “Tortulosa” – Jummy Takeda In Memoriam
Bougainvillea – Nicole Mashburn
California Juniper – Tom Vuong
Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai
Japanese Boxwood – Gary Lai
Star Lavender – Ken Schlothan
Chinese Elm – Ken Schlothan
Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Bill Vega
Japanese Black Pine – Carly Mashburn
Oak – Ken Schlothan
Bougainvillea – Nicole Mashburn
Shimpaku Juniper – Michael Walsh
Japanese Boxwood – Michael Walsh
Additional views on some of the trees:
I love the dead portions of the trunk on this olive.
This boxwood was essentially topped and then branched out to form a broom which turned out quite nicely!
This boxwood had the best negative space out of all of the trees I saw at this show.
Fantastic separation of the foliage pads.
Blue Atlas Cedar from the angle I think it should’ve been displayed at.
I’d like to openly state that there were no awards at this show. I took the liberty of adding my own opinions and awards as I saw fit.
1st Place: Japanese Boxwood by Gary Lai
Great negative space between foliage pads
Solid twin trunk styling
Consistent feminine design throughout
Solid bottom branch that defines length and carries out the triangular shape
2nd Place: Japanese Black Pine by June Nguy
Fantastic trunk movement
Small pot in comparison to tree which is important in Bunjin stylistically
Stand, pot, and display as a whole is consistently feminine and doesn’t distract from the tree
The lowest branch doesn’t seem to sit right at this viewing angle. It either needs to be moved, removed, or have the foliage angled differently. The branch seems to function correctly when viewed from another angle (seen below)
3rd Place: Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra by Gary Lai
Overall the display has great consistency in the rough texture of the bark, stand, pot, and the fantastic stone planting.
While great nebari are difficult to cultivate on P. Afra species, the trunk shows how the roots have twisted down into the soil and show age.
Great taper to the trunk as you move up into the apex. Not easily seen, but branching is also well tapered and distributed.
There were plenty of young shoots that should have been pinched off for displaying. Many of them blocked the view of the trunk and crowded the negative space between the foliage pads.
Best Shohin: Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” by Joyce Gibbs
Great usage of the curves in the branching and pot
Design and artistry become much more difficult with less space and material to work with
The pot, stand, branch movement, and planting angle all contribute to the successful display of this tree.
Would love to have seen the tree displayed at the angle the picture is taken
The top left portion of the tree needs a bit of filling out to complete the asymmetry of the canopy
Best Abnormal Species: Star Lavender by Ken Schlothan
Absolutely fantastic trunk displayed well so that the deadwood can be seen as well as the hole in the trunk
Mature and well ramified branching
Great movement and taper to the trunk and branching
I’m not sure what is going on with the lower branch and the few stragglers outside the silhouette.
Once this tree flowers I think a different pot choice would suit it better. A glazed colored pot with a round or oval shape would help to be consistent with the feminine nature of this tree.
Personal Favorite: Blue Atlas Cedar by Peter Macasieb
Honorable Mention: Willow Leaf Ficus
I really liked the Willow Leafed Ficus, but I didn’t catch who styled and grew it. This tree didn’t seem to stand out to me as much as the Blue Atlas Cedar did.
This is not a common tree to see as a bonsai. I love the color of the tree’s foliage and the cascade is executed well here. My huge complaint was the angle at which it was displayed. With a little tweak in the wire and a changed angle you could have a great negative space between the pads and be able to see the trunk as well. (see below)
Additional Tree Critique
I gave critique for the trees that won in each category, but had some constructive critique for trees that weren’t winners.
Olive: Remove foliage/branches that it in front of the split trunk to help bring out that major feature of your tree. Once the foliage fills out and it is better ramified this will be an amazing specimen!
Chinese Elm: I was perplexed by this tree for awhile as I viewed it. I’m not sure what it is exactly that made it feel a bit off, but here are a few things you might want to consider: Tree is off balance, not supported by a big enough trunk, too wide of a pot and not shallow enough, the planting angle, topdressing of moss might help give it an aged appearance.
Portulacaria Afra: The trunk has an initial turn, but then goes straight out (This is common with this species if not pruned or wired). Wiring to bring the branches into the correct spot if you choose not to trunk chop.
Japanese Black Pine: The main thing is wiring the foliage at the tips to be able to angle them upward. Having them not angled upward makes it look “unkept” and not styled.
Oak: Just a few straggling branches that stood outside the silhouette that could’ve been removed for display.
Olive: The crossing branch on the left definitely draws my eyes away from the potential bottom line that the branches create.
California Juniper: Obviously the tree could use more foliage, but I wanted to point out the different in moss cultivation. The moss in the pot is enough to pull the eyes away from the tree due to how unruly the moss looks. If you see the photo below you get moss how David Nguy cultivated it and it looks much cleaner.
Bougainvillea: Having a clean exit from the trunk with a main branch that continues as the “leader” off the top of the trunk would help the tree not be so wild.
David Nguy’s Demo
To be fair, I think starting with a triple trunk juniper like this is a tough task. He asked us if we wanted a semi-cascade or an upright style. They went with upright.
This was the end product from the front.
I am more partial to changing the angle and potentially removing an entire trunk once we learn more about the base and how the trunks interact.
Here are the ginkgo forest and pots I won in the raffle.
I’m glad I was able to go to the show and thoroughly enjoyed it.