The secret to growing bonsai. A thread inspired by Bolero.

Brian Van Fleet

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#1
What is the pinnacle of bonsai to you?

Post a photo of the one bonsai on the planet that epitomizes bonsai to you (it's probably bookmarked and saved in your photos already), and a photo of the absolute best bonsai on your bench.

If they are 2 different trees, what, if anything,
are you doing about it?
 

Paradox

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#2
Lol I already posted in the other thread, but I'll play with this one later when I get home.

But I will say my two trees will be different. The only way for me to have a tree like the one I would post first is probably money that I don't have to spend. So I do the best I can with what I can afford.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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#6
I am waiting. Waiting for Mother Nature. Waiting for the tree. And waiting for my skills to continue to improve :)
Until you achieve what? What, in your eyes, is the pinnacle bonsai tree? Is it one of Kimura's Shari-laden shimpakus, a killer Kobayashi pine, Naka's "Goshin", Suthin's USNBE Best of Show American Elm, Sergio's USNBE winner Sharp's Pigmy, a Hagedorn planting, a Michigan Mugo, or something else?
 

Bonsai Nut

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#8
Until you achieve what? What, in your eyes, is the pinnacle bonsai tree? Is it one of Kimura's Shari-laden shimpakus, a killer Kobayashi pine, Naka's "Goshin", Suthin's USNBE Best of Show American Elm, Sergio's USNBE winner Sharp's Pigmy, a Hagedorn planting, a Michigan Mugo, or something else?
My goals for each tree are unique. I don't know that there is a "finish" line for any tree. Even the trees you mention have their good days and bad days. They cannot be kept every day at the peak of show performance level. They're like athletes... you have to train them for a specific event, develop them, and then you need to let them rest :) In some cases you might show a tree that is at the end of a stage of its development - it looks nice today but you know you will have to do major work shortly - because the branches are getting too thick for the design, or the apex is getting too heavy, or whatever.

I have never purchased a "finished" bonsai because I think it is this journey with the tree that I enjoy. Starting with very raw material and getting it closer and closer to a vision of perfection that can never be achieved. But there are moments - like that one day in Spring when that one particular flowering tree has absolutely perfect blooms - that you can say "it may not be perfect but right now it is pretty close". :)
 
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#9
Very difficult...If I had to choose one it would be this raft. Love it's form...movement. It's lovely with or without leaves. Which is why it made the cut for this post.
image.jpg


image.jpg



Best bonsai on my bench...though I love the raft maple that Sergio had me moss it needs more development.(Once the exposed root. But now mossed don't feel that applies any longer.) My best I would have to say is this one. I have a huge love of Neagari/Exposed root. I think funds...and amount of time one has been in the hobby must be factored in as well with what is on their bench. I'm close to saying four years in. But...not quite.
image.jpg
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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#10
You're avoiding the question @Bonsai Nut ... close your eyes, picture your favorite tree. Post it.
No wrong answers. Lots of right answers; insightful for many reasons.
 

Adair M

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#11
Ok, I'll play!

The best bonsai I have ever seen in person:

IMG_0064.JPG

That is John Kirby's Kokonoe JWP. It's a twin trunk.
I have been able to watch it develop over the past 5 years. At the last National show, the Japanese judge wanted it to be Best in Show. The English judge, and the English judge voted for the other tree.

My best tree on my bench:

IMG_0243.JPG

JBP I've been working on for 5 years. But it's not the same as a JWP. For the most part, JBP grows better in my climate than JWP. So, most of my trees are JBP.

So, what am I going to do about it?

IMG_0296.JPG

This. It's a twin trunk Zuisho JWP. A couple years behind Kirby's Kokonoe. It's growing well in my climate. Before purchasing this one, I tried another Zuisho to make sure it would live in my climate, and it does. This one is growing strong, and backbudding like crazy. Not as big as Kirby's tree. It's about 1/3 the size. But much easier to handle! Maybe in 4 years it will be ready for the Nationals. Maybe.
 
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#13
You know when I first seen trees with leaves. I focused on a nice canopy as a nice tree. But it's so important the structure underneath. Growth in the hobby feels good.
 

Anthony

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#15
Brian,

my personal inspiration is the Shimpaku [ featured on the front of Mr. Valavannis's International
Bonsai. I believe she is known as Michi Shiba { grass on the road side } ]
I don't know where to get an image.
The copy from here now resides in South Africa.

As to best effort down here. Will have to think about and post later.
Good Day
Anthony
 
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#16
The pinnacle of bonsai in MY eyes:

IMG_3854.JPG


And the best tree on my bench (dashboard):

IMG_4354.JPG


I believe the display is by Caroline Scott? One of my favorite aspects of bonsai art is the "miniature" aspect, so I tend to gravitate toward shohin trees. I like that the representation is slightly more abstract and caricatured. I feel that this display does an outstanding job of abstractly representing several different species and forms at the same time and is beautifully composed.

My tree has a long way to go. I hope that it teaches me patience in fine development. I also need to figure it out on at least 5 or 6 more trees and get them to all look perfect at the same time. It's a long road ahead.
 
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#17
I don't have a favorite tree but when I come across a pic of one I really like I will save it so I thought I would just post one of those. I have no idea whos tree it is and it is not even in a pot but it is pretty awesome.
RM .jpg

Here is my best tree.
Thomas 22 Prostrata_Bst re size.jpg

I have been mostly a loner internet bonsai guy but lately I have been looking to learn more from well know teachers.
 
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#18
They aren't trees in pots but to me they show what I'm inspired by when I go out in the woods. On the Niagra Escarpment here you see a lot of white cedar not only growing out the side of the rock but even thriving as seen in these 2 pics. It's a beautiful rocky setting at numerous locations around here but the way these always adapt & the nebari on them is unreal. Even the ones growing on flat ground develop amazing nebari.
IMG_6123.JPG
IMG_6124.JPG
For me it raises the question, does our idea of world class bonsai differ based on our own personal experience? I look for recreating trees I see in the woods near where I live & wonder how many others are like me? Also nothing wrong with those like @Adair M & @Brian Van Fleet who definitely have explored the history of the art & know 100 times more well known show trees than I do. Although I do know Goshin, not a lack of want on my part, just lack of experience. Sorry Brian the trees I posted aren't in pots, & Bolero style philosophical posts really aren't my thing but I felt these fit the spirit of your idea. I'll try to add the best "piece" on my bench & how I plan to proceed going forward to achieve these. Great post btw!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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#19
I don't have a favorite tree but when I come across a pic of one I really like I will save it so I thought I would just post one of those. I have no idea whos tree it is and it is not even in a pot but it is pretty awesome.
View attachment 141541
That is one of my top all time favorite trees. Michael Hagedorn's RMJ.
 
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#20
I don't have a favorite tree but when I come across a pic of one I really like I will save it so I thought I would just post one of those. I have no idea whos tree it is and it is not even in a pot but it is pretty awesome.
View attachment 141541

Here is my best tree.
View attachment 141545

I have been mostly a loner internet bonsai guy but lately I have been looking to learn more from well know teachers.
Hagedorn is a quality artist