Bonsai Fundamentals Course


A conversation with Enrique Castano on Ume

Nebari Bonsai

Have you ever heard the way to tell if an ume will bloom? The leaves of a blooming ume have smooth undersides, and the underside of leaves on an ume that isn’t going to bloom are rough. For fun, or maybe to torture myself a bit, I decided to try and cature rough leaves on camera. What do you know, they’re furry…

As contrasted with the leaves from a blooming ume:

Non-blooming shoot has only vegetative buds at the base of furry leaves:

And flower buds appear on either side of vegetative buds:

1 & 3 are flower buds, 2 is a vegetative bud. Sometimes, oftentimes, ume will produce flower buds, and no vegetative buds, making it a challenge to prune them to keep foliage close to the trunk. More on that another day. I’ve been photographing another experiment for the last couple years…but I digress…



But I…

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Viburnum Repot

Another tree repot, this time it’s a shohin viburnum being moved to it’s new home, a nice little Japanese Pot.


This was it last year when I picked it up. Looking forward to seeing it fill out this year.



A Visit To Omiya Bonsai Village

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


We had a quiet morning visit to Omiya Bonsai Village. Most of the proprietors were at the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition so there was not to much commotion nor visitors.


Most of the gardens had their Japanese flowering apricots on display because they were in full blossom, mostly fragrant too.

Fuyo-en Bonsai Garden– Hiroshi Takeyama



Kyuka-en Bonsai Garden– Isamu & Yukio Murata


Seiko-en Bonsai Garden– Tomio & Kaori Yamada


Mansei-en Bonsai Garden– Hatsuji & Haruhiko Kato


Keeping the roots warm on a Japanese flowering quince


Omiya Bonsai Art Museum

There were extensive renovations under way so our visit was not too long.


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New Pots From Ian Baillie

I was lucky to have access to a great collection of Ian Baillie pots at a club event this weekend past and I got my hands on some great pots. Sunday saw me repotting a few trees. Here are the results…

A dwarf Willow with a nice heavy base. This is it’s first time in a small pot and is in the first steps of styling this year. Tree is roughly 10cm tall.


A great pot with stunning detail.


This was the old pot and tree as acquired back in June last year.



A shohin Rose



A root over rock Rose. We had fun selecting a pot for this one. It’s a touch large as it sits but should make a stunning image when it produces pink flowers this year.





This was it before and in flower last year.



And a root over rock Cotoneaster in a new shallow pot adding to the drama .




and here in the old pot last September.


2017 91st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition­– Part 2

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The second part of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition opened on February 10 and ends on the 13th. All 300 plus trees from Part 1 were removed except for the Imperial Bonsai Display and two other special exhibits.


Japanese Hemlock


Part 2 is just as excellent as Part 1 in my opinion. A great selection of a wide variety of trees. The Nippon Bonsai Association split the trees into both parts well. Both parts had an impressive and colorful Japanese deciduous holly. Part 1 seemed to display more Ezo spruce bonsai, while I noticed many cascade pines in Part 2.


There were 179 display areas including 51 medium size exhibits and six shohin bonsai compositions. Important Bonsai Masterpieces (Kicho Bonsai) were ten in total for this part.


Five outstanding bonsai were selected for the Kokufu Award:


Chinese Quince


Chinese Quince


Sargent Juniper


Japanese Black Pine

General Bonsai Exhibits:_p4a0927

Dwarf Star…

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2017 91st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition­– Part 1 Continued

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Part 1 of this year’s Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition had 179 exhibits. However, there were five shohin compositions and each had at least five trees. Additionally there were 44 medium size compositions, each having a minimum of two main bonsai, plus companion plantings. That makes a total of more than 300 individual bonsai specimens in Part 1.


In Part 1 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition six outstanding bonsai were selected for the coveted Kokufu Award. After the entire exhibition is set up, and before it opens, a small group of officers of the Nippon Bonsai Association goes through the exhibition and selects worthy trees for the Kokufu Awards. There is no set number, but usually about five or six trees win. A special gold colored plaque is set next to the tree. Winning a Kokufu Award can be both good and can be bad. A bonsai can only win once. Therefore…

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2017 91st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition­– Part 1

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The 91st Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is being held on February 4-8, 2017 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan. The exhibition is being held in two parts in order to display more trees. On February 9th, all two hundred plus trees will be replaced by another two hundred plus more masterpiece bonsai. Part 2 of the exhibition will be held on February 10-13, the same time as the Nippon Suiseki Exhibition, also in the same building on the fourth floor.


Observations on Part 1:

There are new backgrounds in the main gallery where most of the larger size bonsai are displayed. The old backgrounds are beige, smooth and shinny and are still being used in the other three galleries. The new ones are white with a slight texture like burlap and a bit reflective. Well, the entire room is bright white and quite…

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Bonsai Empire’s Noelanders Video

Another great watch from Bonsai Empire.


Shohin displays at Noelanders Trophy and EBA 2017

This gallery contains 42 photos.

Originally posted on Shohin Bonsai Europe – Morten Albek:
Juniperus chinensis `Otoigawa´ , Acer buergerianum – Alexandre Escudero With special permission from The Noelanders Trophy organisation are here most of the Shohin-bonsai displays from this years exhibition in Genk, Belgium.…

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