Bonsai Tonight

Pot selection follow-up

Posted in Display by Jonas Dupuich on January 26, 2016

Thanks to all who attended this past weekend’s Bay Island Bonsai exhibit. It was a fun event and I’ll have plenty to share about starting this Friday. Today I wanted to revisit last week’s pot selection exercise. I really appreciate all of the suggestions and wanted to respond before getting to the rest of the exhibit.

First of all, here’s the tree with the selected pot as displayed at the exhibit.

Japanese black pine as displayed at the 2016 Bay Island Bonsai exhibit

The pot – #4b from the last post – is by Reiho. I don’t think it was a perfect fit, and there were several other options that could have worked as well.

Not, however, the first one. I think the style is close but that the size, and particularly the depth, is too large.


Pot 1 – scalloped sides

Pot 2 may have been a good option – I really like the age it conveyed – but I would have needed to remove more roots than I wanted as the pot is fairly narrow at the base.

Pot 2 – Chinese antique

The third pot is an OK fit style-wise but was a bit shallow and a bit wide.

Pot 3 – nanban style

I selected the Reiho for the show but decided against using the side with the spot. Were the tree and pot older I might have used this side.

Pot 4a – Reiho

The pot was a bit on the shallow side, and I didn’t like that the rootball was as raised up as high as it was. Ideally the rootbase would be shallower making it a better fit for the tree. In time I expect I’ll be able to reduce the rootball, but that will take some time.

Pot 4b – same pot from the other side

The drum pot was too big. The style may be a bit strong for the tree, but I’d think it would be fun to see the tree in a similar pot that’s the right size.

Pot 5 – drum pot

The size was fairly close on the shallow dish. If I had made a large mound to accommodate the rootball it may have worked well. On the aesthetic side, I wanted to go with a slightly more substantial pot. The thin pot walls and tapered sides made for a more delicate look. I’d like to try this pot again in the future.

Pot 6 – shallow dish

Pot #7 was a good match but is a bit small for the tree.

Pot 7 – nanban

Pot #8 was the crowd favorite. I too thought it was a good fit, and it was my second choice. It was, however, a bit wide and a little prettier than I was looking for. Depending on how the branches look when the tree is further along in its development, it could be a good fit.

Pot 8 – flower-shaped pot

I found the square pot to be too large and a bit on the plain side. A smaller and slightly shallower version might work better.

Pot 9 – square pot

I included the Bunzan pot for fun. It’s a bit small and not exactly what people expect for black pines.

Pot 10 – Bunzan

The last pot might have worked were it a lot smaller. I really like the pot but not necessarily for this tree.

Pot 11 – square pot

I’ll keep looking for alternatives throughout the year and will be sure to share good examples I find along the way. Thanks again for the suggestions!

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Pot selection – exposed root black pine

Posted in Display by Jonas Dupuich on January 22, 2016

One of my favorite activities relating to bonsai display is pot selection. I’ll be showing a young black pine at tomorrow’s Bay Island Bonsai exhibit and the pot used for the past year isn’t exactly show quality.

13 year-old black pine in colander

Here are 11 options for the tree. Some look great to me, others less so. A couple of my favorites are either a bit too small or a bit too large. Any favorite combinations?

Pot 1 – scalloped sides

Pot 2 – Chinese antique

Pot 3 – nanban style

Pot 4a – Reiho

Pot 4b – same pot from the other side

Pot 5 – drum pot

Pot 6 – shallow dish

Pot 7 – nanban

Pot 8 – flower-shaped pot

Pot 9 – square pot

Pot 10 – Bunzan

Pot 11 – square pot

To see the final selection, come to Bay Island Bonsai’s 17th annual exhibit this weekend or stay tuned for upcoming posts from the exhibit.

Shohin black pine extravaganza

Posted in Excursions by Jonas Dupuich on January 8, 2016

No ado needed – here are some of the shohin black pines available at the 2015 Taikan-ten sales area.

Black pine #1

Black pine #2

Black pine #3

Black pine #4

Black pine #5

Black pine #6

Black pine #7

Black pine #8

Black pine #9

Black pine #10

Black pine #11

Black pine #12

Black pine #13

Black pine #14

Black pine #15

Black pine #16

These last two are from Kouka-en – the Osaka nursery where Bjorn Bjorholm oversees much of the work. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Black pine #17

Black pine #18

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Prize-winning black pine at 35th Taikan-ten

Posted in Exhibits by Jonas Dupuich on December 4, 2015

What kind of trees win prizes at prestigious Japanese exhibits like Taikan-ten? Trees like the black pine below.

Black pine

This tree took top honors at this year’s Taikan-ten. The work is by Masahiko Kimura. What makes the tree special? Great health, great trunk and bark, great branch development and great balance in terms of foliage density and artistic design. Bill Valavanis predicted this tree would win upon seeing it in Kimura’s garden just before the exhibit (see more from Bill’s visit to Taikan-ten at “Autumn Japan Bonsai Exploration part 4“). No surprise – it’s an impressive bonsai.

Trunk detail

Branch pads

As you can see from the side view below, the tree looks full from all directions.

View from the left side

Here’s the tree with stand and accent as displayed at the exhibit.

Prize-winning pine as displayed at 35th Taikan-ten

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