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Case History

The tree with no name

Nacho Marín works on a tree giving both power and delicacy This tree variety with its special forms shaped by nature and the large amount of deadwood juxtaposing with its delicate foliage, has been Nacho’s best companion since he began this art form. Nacho Marin is a real artist; he…...


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Technique

Kengai

How to make a cascade-style bonsai A kengai or cascade is inspired by trees found in harsh mountainous conditions, growing on rocky cliffs. It is this which makes it one of the most dramatic and exciting styles. We will explain how to create a convincing cascade using coniferous and deciduous…...


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Styling

This one?

Jörg Derlien’s all too familiar struggle to find the right pot fit for his larch The larch depicted here, a Larix decidua, was acquired in 2009 and obtained from the Alpine region of Wallis in Switzerland. From the very beginning, I was enamoured with its winding, twisting trunk and from…...


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Masterclass

Can it grow upside down?

To get the best results Masahiko Kimura flips a juniper upside down Just turn it upside down, a brilliant idea, which for many would be an impossible option; not so for Masahiko Kimura Another upside down tree, but this is quite different. When we were in the garden of Mr…...


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Styling

All-American pine

Bjorn Bjorholm works on a pine grown from seed Bjorn gives an initial styling to a more than 50-year-old pine, grown from seed. This classic informal upright bonsai has a long and much told history in the United States, dating back to the early 1970s in Rochester, New York. At…...


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Technique

The branch doctor

Master Oota is the expert on grafting new branches on junipers From grafting branches to finishing a tree and his selection of famous needle junipers, these are trees that have been created by Nobuharu Oota over the years using natural material. Using his expert skills he creates a bonsai that…...


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Workshop

Just too long

Jan Culek copes with a tree that is almost impossible to style The pine Jan has chosen to work on (Pinus sylvestris) hasn’t the most ideal branch setting and trunk shape. It is a clump with long, straight trunks, so what to do with it? The pine has three trunks…....


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Workshop

Upside down

From moyogi to kengai, Martin Nielsen can’t wait to try I got this tree some years ago from one of my old bonsai friends, Kurt Andersen. It’s a locally native tree, Juniperus communis of approximately 40 cm height. I always enjoyed looking at this particular tree, a tree that he,…...


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Technique

Doing the opposite

Instead of compacting and downsizing, David Soto opens and unfolds cramped branches We are used to seeing how branches and trunks are bent to bring the green areas closer to the interior, compress them and reduce the length. Well, I am going to reduce the dimensions of this tree by…...


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Case History

A matter of taste?

Bartosz Warwas takes a garden centre Juniperus squamata to the big bonsai show This juniper will probably forever remain the least valuable, yet most important tree in my collection. You probably can guess why it’s so important to me. While writing this, I was surprised to discover that I’ve had…...


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Shohin

Can you feel it?

Yukio Hirose creates the windswept style from a juniper Hirose Yukio is a shohin expert who shows you here how to create from simple material, a tree shaped by the wind The material that Yukio Hirose has prepared for us is a juniper that, although it has been in a…...


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Technique

Between life and death

Carving juniper deadwood with Master Kunihiko Kanemitsu Kunihiko Kanemitsu, of the Okayama City Kanemitsu Bonsai Studio, presents a dramatic contrast between life and death within the confines of a pot. Natural raw material is almost non-existent now. Even field or container grown trees are harder to come by, like juniper,…...


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Masterclass

No beating about the bush

A very bushy juniper for Mauro Stemberger to style It was January 2020 when I arrived at the small city of Marostica at the foot of the Italian Alps for a demo with Mauro Stemberger. In the studio of Enrico Pavin, Mauro, together with his team, was ready to transform…...


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Technique

Trick of the master

Grafting techniques taught by bonsai Masters to improve your bonsai These techniques can all boosts the quality of your bonsai. Grafting, approach grafting and some simple bending are are just a few of the options available. Let these Masters inspire you to change the level of your trees. Transformation by…...


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Interview

Something in between

Kifu is a less known category in bonsai, it's not a shohin and not a chuhin, but something in between. Germán Goméz talks of his passion for kifu and olives.


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Case History

A masterpiece tree has no front

A juniper masterpiece more dead than alive, is totally restored ‘Garyuu’, the history and Kakuryu-an. The oldest photographic record of this tree is from 1962 when it was featured in the auction catalogue for the ‘Gyoshinya Bonsai Commemorative Book’. It was the usual auction catalogue in that photographs of both…...


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Case History

An old friend

Update: Amigos of the tejos A small peek back at a tree created in 2010 by Kevin Willson. During the XX Trophy, held in February 2019, we came across an old friend, a yew styled by Kevin Willson. The tree had gone through an amazing transformation and was one of…...


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Masterclass

Amigos of the tejos

How to transform a ‘pig’ of a tree into a breathtaking cascade Kevin Willson had a few years stay in sunny Alicante, Spain, where marvellous material can be found. Dug from the surrounding mountains are yews, junipers and olives — all Mediterranean trees that require a different approach from the…...


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Styling

On the scrapheap?

Harry Harrington recovers a crab apple (Malus sylvestris) raft bonsai with a new design. I think many of us, as bonsai enthusiasts, will be familiar with the phrase ‘a bonsai is never finished’. However, I suspect that some people do not necessarily understand exactly what that means. Some bonsai can…...


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Styling

The Greek oracle

Elsa Boudouri styles a Juniperus sabina rastrera Greek enthusiast Elsa Boudouri is self-taught and became inspired by bonsai when she was 14. She mainly works with native varieties, like the medium-sized sabina juniper. At a very early age Elsa had her first contact with the art of bonsai, but because…...


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Masterclass

Is it a gamble?

Masahiko Kimura is challenged by a huge yew. In a corner of Masahiko Kimura’s bonsai nursery is a yew planted in the ground. The trunk is slender and of a feminine appearance. The top section has great potential as bonsai, both from a deadwood perspective and branch placements. If air…...


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Masterclass

The survivor

Rebirth of a juniper that survived the Tohoku earthquake The Sanriku Coast is a dramatic, rocky shoreline with countless bays, cliffs and coves that stretches for over 300 kilometres along the Pacific Coast from just north of Sendai to Aomori. On March 11, 2011, the strongest ever recorded earthquake in…...


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Masterclass

Too thick to bend?

Manuel Germade deals with a tough case — a Buxus with unbendable branches. Working on a tree that’s long, slender, with a fantastic curling trunk seems like perfect material. But there is just one downside, you can’t bend its branches because they all grow vertically. A challenge for Manuel, he…...


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Case History

Tale of the stump

How a stump became an elegant chokkan-style bonsai Martin Nielsen tells the story of how he managed to convert the stump he dug from the forest into one of most appreciated native trees exhibited at shows across Europe. It has been an amazing process with great experiences along the way…...


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Styling

What can you do with it?

Thierry Claude works on an impossible pine Despite the many doubts of his friends, Thierry Claude persisted with his plan to create a real show stopper from a seemingly worthless pine. Ultimately, all his effort resulted in great success when the tree was presented at the Trophy, 2020 At the…...


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Styling

Anti-clockwise

Harry Harrington reworks a Japanese yew with superb fluting. An elegant 88 cm Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) was bought to my garden by its owner in June 2020, explains Harry. My task was to style and carve it. A very healthy imported specimen, the yew had strong vibrant green foliage,…...


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Technique

Don’t carve, but sculpt

Learn how to create natural deadwood with the methods of Andrés Bicocca The difficulty that a defect poses for some is, for me, an infinite possibility of creation. Many times it is used to cover some defect of the trees with branches or foliage; parts that have not been worked,…...


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Case History

The Quebecan pearl

The story of Linda’s favourite bonsai from the wild – both good and sad. Living in the Canadian city of Laval, Quebec, Linda Chicoine often goes on hiking tours to see if there is a good tree waiting to be discovered. This is my story about the transformation of a…...


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Workshop

Pimped juniper

A dull juniper is matched with a rock full of character A rather dull juniper can become very striking when a rock with lots of character is added, Nishikawa Tomoya (Shirasagi-en, Himeji) shows how that is done. Chuhin-sized semi-cascade and a standing rock. Over recent years rock planting and other…...


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Masterclass

Sweat and tears

Ryan Neil vs huge garden tree This bulky juniper (Juniperus chinensis) was originally meant to end up in a Japanese garden. Could it be made into a bonsai? Its massive proportions indicated that it would be a tough job, but perfect for Ryan Neil. However, styling it into bonsai proportions…...


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