How many of you have, or would like to have, a tree with roots like this?
This Japanese maple is around 25 years old from cutting. And it’s fairly representative of all of the maples in Ebihara’s garden, located just outside of Tokyo, Japan.
I’m currently on a bonsai vacation that coincides with the 83rd Kokufu ten bonsai exhibit, an annual event held at the Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park. Ebihara’s garden was my first stop on the trip.
Ebihara with Japanese maple
Ebihara is crafty – he has developed a number of techniques to create good bonsai in a relatively short span of time. Some of his longer term projects are increadible, including the monster zelkova next to Boon below.
Boon with giant zelkova
Ebihara very kindly took the time to talk, at length, about what it takes to develop deciduous bonsai. Below, he points out how to improve a tree’s roots from below.
Over the years Ebihara has produced a number of outstanding trees. And unlike many bonsai professionals in Japan, he only works on his own trees, selling just a few each year (3 in 2008). Based on the number of trees he’s currently working on, he won’t run out any time soon.
Future Japanese maple bonsai
Turns out he’s good with white pines, too. He’s working on a dozen or more giants and is nearly finished refining several others.
Japanese white pine
Zuisho in training
Below is a white pine he’s styling before the air layer is removed from the rest of the tree.
White pine air layer
His workshop, by the way, is very tidy.
The visit to Ebihara’s garden was a super way to start a trip. And as you might surmise from the sunshine in these photos, the weather has been great.
Apparently, he dabbles in shimpaku too.
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