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Fun with Bonsai Photos and More
April 01, 2016

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Photo Backgrounds

Ed Trout often takes pictures of his trees for magazine articles and Facebook entries.

I asked Ed about what he is using, he said:

"These collapsible backgrounds are available in different sizes and colors ... they can't be beat. Light & easy to handle ... the hardest thing is learning how to fold it."

The trees are already beautiful, the background makes them stand out!

Collapsible backgrounds are often used by professional photographers and are perfect for novices too. Many are available with black on one side and white on the other.

The prices vary from $40. to approximately $70. - well worth the price.

One of the best background colors for bonsai is black. This white pine was displayed in a San Francisco, CA exhibit. Black drapes are often used in society exhibits.

More Photo Fun

In a recent issue of Wayne Schoech's Bonsai Bark blog, this Philippine penjing -created by Juan Llaga- showed a painting being used as background. I really had to look twice.

The first time I saw a background painting used with bonsai was when artist, Carl Rosner, sent me this 'before and after' photo for the Taking Bonsai Tree Pictures page.

Carl uses his beautiful sky painting as a background for many of his photos.

One of the ads on my site is PicMonkey

In the beginning, I primarily used it to touch-up and resize photos.

Now, I'm having fun with the most recent addition to the PicMonkey tool kit, it's called 'Edge Sketch.' This process turns a photo into beautiful sketch instantly.

This is the same Tamarind bonsai, both with the first branch (in the photo) and without (in the sketch.) I eventually did remove the first branch.

Photography of your bonsai can be serious or sometimes just fun. It can also be a record of your bonsai successes and in some cases failures. Both are learning experiences and pictures can help!

Ficus Bonsai Flowers

I recently read about Ficus flowers (on a fairly well known bonsai site.) "Some of them can produce nice white flowers ... " Not true.

Ficus do have flowers, but they are displayed in a very peculiar way. Despite the invalid pictures shown on the internet, it's unlikely you will ever see them.

They are strangely located within the fig. (As shown here.) The figs are fertilized by certain wasps.

Read more about this bonsai on the Ficus Bonsai Trees page.

Thread Grafting - A Test of Patience

Bonsai South advertises first-rate collected trees on the BonsaiMary site. Mayhaws - Crataegus aestivales - are just one of the many collectable trees for bonsai growing in Louisiana.

Bonsai South - Zack Smith's 3/28/16 post of a Mayhaw (aka Hawthorn) tells the story of a thread graft ... a six year project. It's a good example of his passion to get it right!

Zach's motto is "Better Material Means Better Bonsai!" I totally agree.

Defoliating Leaves - Two Reasons Why

1. Leaf Reduction - To stimulate new, smaller leaves, remove existing leaves on your bonsai.

It is especially important to give your tree enough sun after defoliating. Otherwise, leaves may be even larger than they were before defoliation.

2. Ramification - By removing leaves, secondary and tertiary branches are stimulated.

A dormant bud lies at the base of the leaf stem (petiole.) Watch as these new buds push forth. Observe closely.

This graphic shows the dormant bud locations on both the common single leaf and compound leaf plants.

A leaf does not replace a leaf. The new bud grows to form a new branch. These small new (secondary) branches not only have smaller leaves, they help develop ramification.

Trees with good ramification look older and become better bonsai.

The ramification on this old bonsai is an amazing example of what happens after years of proper pruning.

Consider defoliating your trees more often.

Before you do, find out the best time of year and if the species will tolerate frequent leaf pruning.

BonsaiMary Gets Mail

Just after mailing the previous issue of Bonsai Banter, I received an Oh no! email from Robert Baran.

"Thank-you for the kudos about my work ... the general bonsai history portion of the Phoenix bonsai site has now been moved to"

I know how frustrating it can be to not find what you were hoping for, so I decided to repeat the article here with a correct link to the site. I think you may visit it often.

Bonsai Researcher: Robert Baran

If you want to research bonsai history, Robert is the source!

Today, most historians agree bonsai began in China and was later developed in Japan.

Proof of this is shown on a lengthy page Robert created of early Chinese portrayals of bonsai (beginning in the mid 7th century.)

On a day when you have lots of spare time, enjoy the research and writings of Robert Baran.

Graphics like this from the early 14th century will keep you intrigued.

Robert Baran history of bonsai and more

With Appreciation

With an average of 20,000 unique visitors a month to my website, I continue to "meet" many interesting people. If you have a question, an answer or a story to share, please

Contact Me

Many thanks to all my subscribers who do continue to share bonsai thoughts, questions and pictures.

A special thank you to the BonsaiMary site sponsors.

Supporting these advertisers, helps keep the BonsaiMary site alive and well.

Most Sincerely,

Mary Miller

P.S. If you have a bonsai business, consider sharing it with my visitors.

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