I always appreciate the different approaches bonsai professionals take with their gardens. Some gardens are filled with exhibit-ready trees while other gardens are filled with project trees. Some focus on a certain size or variety of tree while others include bonsai of every description. At a glance, it’s clear that the focus at Aichi-en is on pine bonsai. White, red, and black pines fill the majority of the garden, and there are more large trees than medium or small sized bonsai. Trident and Japanese maples comprise the bulk of the deciduous trees, but these sit beside quince, ume and hornbeam among other deciduous varieties. There are junipers, cryptomeria, and many other trees whose names I do not know.
From the roof of Mr. Tanaka’s bonsai workshop, one can get a sense of how many trees fill his garden.
Aichi-en from above
More garden and the family house
Tanaka keeps some trees on the workshop roof.
Many of the garden’s project trees were kept on the rooftop. The nicer trees were situated closer to ground level.
Root over rock Japanese black pine
Most of the kifu-sized trees shared a staggered table near the house.
In fall, the colors were wonderful.
Bonsai Fall color
Up close, the trees were wonderful. Two of the garden’s Zuisho were outstanding.
Japanese five needle pine – ‘Zuisho’
Considering the small size of Zuisho needles and branches, these are remarkably full trees.
The same tree from above
The Japanse maple beside the front gate turned a wonderful shade of red.
The pieris below sits right inside the front gate.
I snapped these shots during short breaks or early in the morning – those precious moments when I was free to appreciate the trees in the garden. Back in the workshop, I appreciated the trees one at a time. The black pine below was one of the last ones I worked on at Aichi-en. I removed all of the old needles and some of the new from the strong areas. In weak areas, I removed some or all of the old needles. I also cut a few small branches where more than two emerged from the same place. It was very basic pine work, but it made the tree look a lot better.
Cascade Japanese black pine
New, old, and dead needles
After removing old, dead and some new needles
Fall work complete
That’s the story for a single pine. With all of the pines in the garden, that’s a lot of tweezer work.
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