Oldest Documented US bonsai

Bill S

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I did a quick scan, interesting, I always thought it was the collection at Arnold Arboretum that was the oldest. I guess the Arnold collection could be older, but came here after the Oak .
 

rockm

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The article you linked to about the history of bonsai in the west says the Arnold Collection was established 30 or more years after this tree was imported.
 

bonsai barry

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I did a quick scan, interesting, I always thought it was the collection at Arnold Arboretum that was the oldest. I guess the Arnold collection could be older, but came here after the Oak .
Fascinating. WoW, the history behind that tree is remarkable. Probably not the oldest tree per se, but the earliest example of bonsai in the U.S.
 

DaveV

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It certainly looks like a tree that could be in Walter's collection.
 

misfit11

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I've seen this tree at the GSBF Collection in Oakland. The story behind the tree is very impressive. Great to see that it has been kept alive under bonsai conditions all these years. Beyond the impact that the tree's history conveys, the tree itself is not really to my liking. The deadwood and trunk are very impressive, however the leaves are WAY too large to be in proportion with the overall design. But who cares, right? When you consider how old this puppy is, petty criticisms we have (you know we sure have them on these forums :D) go right out the door!

Great bonsai story. Thanks for posting.
 

jquast

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It is quite an impressive tree to actually see in person, the photos do not due justice to the size or beauty of this tree. The Collection North in Oakland is a rare gem and I recommend a visit for those in the Bay Area.
 

rockm

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"leaves are WAY too large to be in proportion with the overall design"

In terms of today's taste, that's true. But today's "naturalistic" bonsai haven't been in style for very long.
 

Attila Soos

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So, this tree has been a bonsai since the times of the feudal warlord society in Japan. I don't give a rat's @ss about how big the leaves are, but this bonsai is nothing short of a legend, and it should be considered as a national treasure, here in the US. The fact that it survived for so long outside Japan, makes it even more impressive. The person who takes care of it every day, should be given a memo, saying "This tree, or your life". :)
I am going to visit the collection in a few weeks (the first time), and it will be a humbling experience to touch the tree (when nobody looks). To me, it incorporates everything that a bonsai is about.
 
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buddhamonk

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If you're gonna touch it when noone's looking, I bet you could even grab a leaf and nobody would notice. That would make a good souvenir ;)
 

rockm

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Weeellll, it apparently was kept as a patio tree for a while, which I think means that while it was in a container, it wasn't treated as a bonsai, hence the straight beanpole trunk.

Even so, the work that has been done to it to get it back into bonsai shape is very very good. From the 2009 photo, it is back to being a terrific bonsai.
 

Klytus

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I surpose if a person really wanted to be involved in this bonsai a small sprinkle of trace elements when no one was looking could be the way to go.

It's like additive instead of subtractive.
 
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