Bonsai Tonight

The International Bonsai Arboretum

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on October 24, 2014

When I was in Rochester, NY, for the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition, I made sure to visit the best known bonsai garden in the area – the International Bonsai Arboretum, home of the Valavanis Bonsai Collection.

International Bonsai

International Bonsai Arboretum

Within moments of stepping foot inside the Arboretum, several things become very clear. There are many beautiful trees here. The breadth of varieties is impressive. And Valavanis has been at this for a long time. The age and character of the trees in his garden reveal many years in the making – a testament to more than 50 years of hard work.

Chinese quince

Chinese quince

Euonymus

Euonymus – one of my favorite trees in the garden

As we toured the garden, Valavanis pointed out highlights and surprising facts. The corkbark maple landscape tree and the bonsai of the same variety growing beside it are the same age.

Cork bark maple

Corkbark maple

Cork bark maple

Corkbark maple

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the garden or who want to learn more, I strongly recommend a copy of Valavanis’ Classical Bonsai Art – a study of the creation of 100 of his best trees. See a good review at The Bonsai Journal.

Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

Silverberry

Silverberry

Hornbeam

Hornbeam

Trident maple

Trident maple

After walking through the garden for a while I reflected on how much effort must be required to keep so many trees in such good shape. I’m not sure how Valavanis does it, but I’m glad he finds the time for it.

Ginkgo

Ginkgo

On display in the tokonoma

Scots pine

Scots pine

Dwarf Alberta spruce

Dwarf Alberta spruce

Shohin bonsai

Shohin bonsai

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

Japanese maple -kiyohime

Japanese maple – kiyohime

More highlights from the Arboretum next week.

Suiseki at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 21, 2014

This year’s US National Bonsai Exhibition included a special treat for suiseki enthusiasts – the Invitational Suiseki Exhibition. Fifty stones from around the world were displayed with accents and bonsai.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

It was quite a bonus to see such great stones so well displayed.

Suiseki

Three-point suiseki display

Suiseki

The stone

Daiza

Daiza by John Naka

Suiseki

Formal display with scroll

Suiseki

The stone on a pillow

Each stone warranted attention for its shape, color and texture.

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

Suiseki

Figure stone

Crab

Crab accent

Suiseki

Hut stone

Accent

Accent

Suiseki

Suiseki

Yusen display at the US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 17, 2014

A very special small-sized bonsai display at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition featured the work of Tsukinowa Yusen. Yusen pots are precious – a display comprised solely of trees in Yusen pots is a rare thing. The composition was beautiful.

Yusen shohin display

Shohin bonsai display in Yusen pots

Yusen shohin display

Porcelain berry and accent

Yusen shohin display

From the top – red pine, little gem dwarf spruce, shimpaku, Japanese flowering quince ‘chojubai’

The curator’s note provided good context and history:

Tsukinowa Yusen – 月之輪湧泉
1908 – 1998

Kato Goichi (加藤護) or better known to bonsai pot collectors as Tsukinowa Yusen lived from 1908 to 1998. He lived in Tagimi-city of Gifu Prefecture and was a gifted painter having studied in Kyoto.

His profession was that of a ceramics painter but unrelated to bonsai. In 1960-61 he started to make pottery for himslef and as he gained an interest in bonsai he began to hand paint his own pots.

Sometime around 1971-74 he lived with Sei-fu Yohei and developed a partnership where Yusen would make the ceramics and Sei-fu would peint them. Sei-fu didn’t always bare his signature on Yusen pots but his painting style is different and recognizable.

Yusen normally created small porcelain pots which he painted red, blue or a mix of colors. Infrequently he would glaze his pots with a yellow frame but this is quite rare. Before Yusen there were almost no painted bonsai pots in Japan.

One of Yusen’s famous series of pots is his version of Ando’s “53 Stations of the Tokaido Road.” Other well-known motifs include the famous anthropomorphic animals, mountain landscape scenes, water scenes featuring birds, pictorial scenes of famous poetry and even one with bats!

Without question, Yusen’s pots rank the highest in terms of hand-painted pots. They are highly valued in and beyond Japan. To own one is a treasure, to own more than one is considered a highly valuable collection of the best hand painted bonsai pots in the world.

Here are some close-ups.

Yusen

Pine and mountain – Yusen

Yusen

Tiny Yusen

Yusen

On a boat – Yusen

Yusen

Birds – Yusen

Yusen

Mantis – Yusen

Yusen

Nature scene – Yusen

Shohin bonsai at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on October 14, 2014

Shohin bonsai were well represented at the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition.

Black pine Black pine

In all, 120 shohin appeared in 40 displays.

Shimpaku Shimpaku

Trident maple

Trident maple

To fully appreciate these trees as they were displayed, I recommend getting a copy of the Exhibition Album. Joe Noga does a fantastic job with the photography, and you’re not likely to find more accurate color in any bonsai publication. I’m now caught up with albums from previous events and am looking forward to this year’s installment. Special pricing is in effect if you order before December 15th.

Here are some of the individual shohin and small to medium-sized bonsai on display.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Shimpaku

Shimpaku

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

White pine

White pine

Black pine

Black pine

Black pine

Black pine

Ginkgo

Ginkgo

White pine

White pine

Satsuki azalea

Satsuki azalea

Crabapple

Crabapple

Black pine

Black pine

Variegated porcelain berry

Porcelain berry

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