Tag Archives: Japanese Black Pine

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
Chinese ElmIMG_3851
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.

Design and Critique #4 – Pine and Elm Display

3 point bonsai display

Display of Trees:

The trees flow well from the main tree to the sides by placing both the Elm and the companion plant in a direction that the foliage and branching suggest. The stands are also perfectly chosen to contrast the tree on top.

The flow of the Pine is directed towards the left, as is the flow of the Elm. This is shown by the defining branch on the lowest part of the tree combined with the flow of the apex of both trees. You can also see the silhouette of the apex drawing a line to the next tree.

Branching:

The literati styled Pine has a great defining branch on the left that sets the longest part of the tree. This helps it accomplish asymmetry rather than the unrealistic perfect symmetry. The trunk doesn’t have any outrageous bends, but has consistent movement which fits nicely with the literati style.

The Elm has good branching, but the taper from the thick trunk to the smaller branches lets you know that it was developed from a larger trunk chop. I would love to see this same display in Fall to see the yellow elm leaves combined with that fantastic blue pot.

Comments:

I love the display stands for this display. Well chosen and very fitting for the accompanying trees.

The feminine pot is a perfect elegant choice for the pine tree. Flowing rim of the pot with a tapered bottom enhances the movements of the tree without dominating the display.

The Elm has a nontraditional lower branch on the left, but I like it. It really helps to balance the tree and serve as a defining branch.

Next Up:

Winter Bonsai Display

Bare Root Ruckus

My bare root adventures started off very exciting. I had one company give me an estimated date and another company gave me a tracking number. I had planned for 100 Japanese Black Pines to arrive somewhere between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. While waiting, I received another 200 trees that I wasn’t expecting for another week. I ended up planting up the 300 trees from 2:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

These are the different instructions I got from both companies:

Open when ready, and…

Open this right away!

This led to my kitchen being piled up with wet towels, needles, and ginkgo leaves.

I ordered 100 Ginkgo Biloba, 50 Bald Cypress, 100 Japanese Black Pine, and 50 Colorado Blue Spruce.

Ginkgo Biloba and Bald Cypress Seedlings

Japanese Black Pine Seedlings

As you can see, the root systems varied a bit, but this is due to the differences in age, growing locations, and species. The Japanese Black Pine were grown in plugs and transplanted into the field. The Colorado Blue Spruce were grown for 7 years, 3 in the seedling beds and 4 in the field. The Ginkgos and Bald Cypress were both grown in seedling beds for 4 and 2 years respectively.

The Colorado Blue Spruce had pretty solid root systems and size.

Colorado Blue Spruce Trees

Japanese Black Pine Seedlings

I picked a few of each species to grow out in a mound of compost in the backyard. I’ll give an update on survival and how each species transitioned from the bare root process. Overall I was impressed with the size and roots of the trees that I received.

Orange County Bonsai Society Show

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:

California Juniper Bonsai Display Deadwood


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 Bonsai Display

Japanese Black Pine – June Nguy

Two shohin displays and individual shohin trees by Peter Macasieb:

Blue Atlas Cedar Bonsai

Blue Atlas Cedar

Shohin Bonsai Display

Shohin Bonsai Display

Shohin Bonsai Display

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.

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Willow Leaf Ficus Bonsai

Willow Leaf Ficus

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Gary Lai

Boxwood Shohin

Boxwood Shohin – Joyce Gibbs

Ficus Burtt-Davyi "Nana"

Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai

Olive Bonsai

Olive – Allan Sugimura

Shohin Bonsai Display

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Shohin Display – Joyce Gibbs

Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai

Shimpaku Juniper

California Juniper

California Juniper – David Nguy

Juniperus Chinensis "Tortulosa"

Juniperus Chinensis “Tortulosa” – Jummy Takeda In Memoriam

Bougainvillea Bonsai

Bougainvillea – Nicole Mashburn

California Juniper Yamadori

California Juniper – Tom Vuong

Ficus Burtt-Davyi "Nana" Bonsai

Ficus Burtt-Davyi “Nana” – Gary Lai

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai

Japanese Boxwood – Gary Lai

Star Lavender Bonsai

Star Lavender – Ken Schlothan

Chinese Elm Bonsai

Chinese Elm – Ken Schlothan

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra Bonsai

Cork Bark Portulacaria Afra – Bill Vega

Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

Japanese Black Pine – Carly Mashburn

Oak Bonsai Tree

Oak – Ken Schlothan

Bougainvillea Bonsai

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

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai Display

  • 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

Japanese Boxwood Bonsai Tree


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.

The victim

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.

Ginkgo Forest Bonsai

Bonsai Pots

I’m glad I was able to go to the show and thoroughly enjoyed it.