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Burst into life – The beauty of fresh leaves and flowers in spring

Here is an impression of the annual spring Shunga-ten, held in Osaka, Japan in the Hanahaku-kinen Park and organised by the Shohin Bonsai Association.

Acer palmatum – Height: 18 cm / 7″ Pot: White Cochin ware.
Taiwanese boxwood – Height: 19 cm / 7½” Pot: Koyo oval.

There’s an incredible volume of movement in the trunk for such a small tree, giving it power and presence. Arrangement of the branches highlights the character of tree and the artistic sense of the owner.

Black pine – Height: 16 cm / 6¼” Width: 21 cm / 8¼” Pot: Chinese Mokko.
Rough bark privet – Height: 9 cm / 3½”Pot: Ranzan rectangle.

A display that is full of seasonal beauty, with fruits and trees ready to burst into life. The main tree has reached a state of maturity that is rare to see; it is powerful and elegant at the same time. Only a tree of that power is able to compete with the incredible juniper that is displayed on the root stand. It is not just the impressive trees on display that catch the eye, but also the masterpiece pots and tables, all of which have been chosen with great care and attention to detail.

Osaka Governor’s Award | Kawanishi City, Hyogo Pref. Mr Takashi Yamashita
  1. White Pine 19 cm / 7½” Pot: Chinese rectangle
  2. Elaeagnus / Kutani painted Mokko
  3. Trident maple / Toufukuji oval
  4. Chojubai / Blue glazed rectangle
  5. Dwarf Kumquat / White Cochin ware oval
  6. Juniper / Chinese round
  7. Koganeshida (Woodsia macrochlaena) / Chazan oval

Accent plant: Ryoukinka, Caltha
palustris var. nipponica
Pot: Bikkou round

Needle juniper – Height: 17 cm / 7″ Width: 26 cm / 10¼” Pot: Chinese round.
Gardenia – Height: 16 cm / 6¼” Pot: Bekishou.

The wide spreading nebari is close to perfect and the branching and taper give the trunk a refined beauty. The balance between the low branches is superb. You can see the effort the owner has put into the tree.

Stewartia – Height: 22 cm / 8¾” Pot: Koyo oval.

A tree that would grow more than 10 m / 32ft in the wild has been recreated in perfect shohin form. An incredibly rare masterpiece.

Ruri Byoutan / Sabia japonica – Height: 23 cm / 9″ Pot: Koyo rectangle.

Normally viewed when it has small ruby coloured fruit, this species is also worth appreciating when it has the delicate flowers. The contrast between the aged bark and the yellow flowers is beautiful.

Spike winter hazel, Corylopsis spicata. Height: 22 cm / 8¾” Pot: Koyo rectangle.

A flowering tree representative of early spring. The pendulous yellow flowers dangle, just like a gorgeous chandelier, giving joy to the viewer. The powerful movement to the left, combined with the thick trunk and nebari, create the image of a giant tree. Squeezed tightly into the Koyo pot, this image is made even more powerful.

Keiou Sakura, Prunus keiou-sakura – Height: 63 cm / 24¾”

Tachibana Modoki, Pyracantha – Height: 15 cm / 6″ Width: 22 cm / 8¾” Pot: Shouseki round

Holly olive, Osmanthus – heterophyllus Height: 20 cm / 7¾” – Pot: Koyo oval.

An interesting planting makes this early flowering cherry tree a wonderful little display bringing to mind the grounds of an ancient temple.

Juniper – Height: 17 cm / 7″ Width: 24 cm / 9½” Pot: Shidei round.

The thick and powerful live vein on this tree gives us a sense of age and the severity of life. It’s combined with a shari that has been made on the trunk to create a wonderful shohin sized cascade juniper that brings to mind high mountains.

Maple (Acer buergerianum) – Height: 9 cm / 3½” Pot / Hanyang ellipse.
Mr Shuji Shinya, Kawachinagano City, Osaka Prefecture.
White Chojubai – Height: 10 cm / 4″ Pot: Tadahiro sharp edged Mokko.
Trident maple – Height: 23 cm / 9″ Pot: Tadahiro oval.

Early Spiketail / Stachyurus praecox.
Height: 36 cm / 14¼” Pot: Bunzan round.

Spiketail is one of the early flowering species, with the pendulous flowers forming before the new growth emerges. Not a standard bonsai shape or pot, but this is a welcome sight in the exhibition due to the interesting pot combination and seasonal character.

Dragon ivy, Hedera – Height: 18 cm / 7¼” Pot: Tofukuji Round.
Chirimen Kazura, Trachelospermum asiaticum – Height: 14 cm / 5½” Width: 18 cm / 7¼”
Pot: Antique Chinese.

The age of the bark and thickness relative to the height make this seem much bigger and older than the dimensions would suggest. The balance between the tree and the aged pot is superb.

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