Back to Back Issues Page
Bonsai on the Level, Addicted to Shohin and Meticulous Bonsai
November 15, 2017

Thank You for Subscribing

If someone sent you this issue of Bonsai Banter, it's a monthly newsletter. If you like what you see, please sign up!

Subscription Form in Right Column of Home Page

If you wish to remove your name, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

Bonsai on the Level

Michael Hagedorn is one of my favorite bloggers. When I read this advice I had to admit, it made perfect sense. I had never seen the suggestion to make benches perfectly level, and to even purchase a level to do so!

When I was growing bonsai in Miami, the ground was flat, I was never concerned about how flat. Why should your benches be perfectly level?

According to Michael, it's not so they look good, it's all about the water penetration, and it can make a big difference in the health of your bonsai.

So, "Level That Bench!"

That being said, sometimes "level" is still not good enough. Bonsai pots can create their own drainage problems, especially ones with convex bottoms and those without enough holes.

Michael Andolfo in Quebec has some of his individual pots slanted for special drainage problems.

If you still have a drainage problem, keep in mind, one of the worst causes can be heavy soil.

1st Bonsai Science Symposium

Here's news from another Michael Hagedorn blog from Taiwan

"This has been a stimulating, massive, thought-provoking, multiple-organization event hosted in Taichung, Taiwan."

Especially if you appreciate big bonsai, this link is a must see. One word - meticulous!

Addicted to Shohin?

16th Biennial Shohin Seminar

February 2-4, 2018
Hotel Mission De Oro, Santa Nella, CA

This Shohin Seminar is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, opportunity in the U.S. to see and learn about Shohin.

Thanks to the generosity of all who participate without charging fees, it is an exceptional value for the cost.

Full Registration of $125. covers access to Lectures, Demonstrations, Saturday Buffet Lunch, Saturday Buffet Dinner, Sunday Buffet Breakfast, Two Coffee Breaks, Hospitality Suite, Exhibit, Vendor Areas, and Raffle area. $30. 'day passes' are also available.

Don't wait, full registrations do sell out!

Another Show Reminder

Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo

December 2 & 3, 2017
North Carolina Research Campus
150 Research Campus Drive
Kannapolis, NC 28081

Tricks of the Trade

While perusing a Valavanis blog from China, I noticed a frequently used little technique.

Look closely.

Most of the time it goes unnoticed (if done well.)

The pomegranate fruit is wired to hang down.

Who Says We're Too Serious?

In a post on Facebook, David De Groot said:

"My Hinoki (I call it 'Walk like an Egyptian') got a new pot yesterday. The first two right-angle bends were in the tree (but hidden) when I got it from the nursery.

When I discovered them I knew I couldn't fix them, so I decided to go with the flow.

When I asked for permission to use the photo, David said " Yes you can use my photo – not sure whether you will give me credit or blame." Definitely credit!

Although far from what we think of as traditional, and despite all the right angles, there is still a sense of alternating branches. Although the shape may seem peculiar, the refinement indicates someone knows what they're doing!

In addition, no one can question the health of this litle tree.

Dave, thanks for allowing us to share.


Suiseki is the Japanese art of stone appreciation. (Also known as viewing stones.)

This fantastic bison stone is just one of many wonderful stones photographed by Bill Valavanis.

Bonsai Telling a Story

Many bonsai tell stories. This maple was purchased by Luis Ballejo from Hiroshi Takeyama, and the photo tells more than one story.

At first glance, it looks like it has a heavy trunk. If you look closely, you can see it's a root-over-rock design.

I especially like this picture because bonsai are rarely photographed during the downside of a season.

This tree has been beautifully captured with browning tips and leaves on the ground - truly headed from autumn toward another winter.

BonsaiMary Gets Mail

Tom G - Aliquippa,PA

"Made me think of you".

Response: WOW, thanks Tom! This link will be enjoyed by anyone with a passion for Trees who refuse to give up.
David T - Lake Havasu City, AZ

Dear Mary...................your Bonsai Banter this month was great...........good articles, wonderful stories and great pictures...........keep it up..............

Response: Thanks David (with a smiley face)

Lorenzo L. - Perugia, Italy

The principle from which I give birth is, it seems to me a real pity that Bonsai from outside can not be kept and admired at home.

Starting from this reflection, and from my experience in the world of air conditioning, lighting, air movement and design, I would like to create a greenhouse for interiors that is able to reproduce the external conditions of a specific climatic area.

I mean temperature, humidity, ventilation, light, watering, dynamically during 24 hours. This system would be already programmed, but of course modifiable in the programs by the user. From an aesthetic point of view, this greenhouse would be like an exhibition bulletin board for jewellery, mostly transparent, so that you can admire your Bonsai to the fullest.

Basically, we are talking about a design dynamic climatic chamber, capable of reproducing the day/night cycle and the cycle of the seasons. What do you think about it?

Response: At first, I would say "what a great idea." After some thought, I honestly feel the project would be extremely expensive to build and therefore expensive to sell.

I do not think more traditional bonsai artists would be interested. For the most part they grow "outdoor" trees and I doubt they would bring them indoors, even under the best of circumstances.

However, if you could create something for "hobbyists," who often grow "indoor" plants, and if it wasn't too expensive

Lorenzo would like to know what you think. You can write to him directly at:

(Please copy to me.)

Until Next Month

Seasons are changing. No matter where you live, pay attention to the weather.

Those of us in the Northern hemisphere should be pulling out our plant blankets. If you don't have any, don't wait for the frost forecast. This includes my Florida friends!

Until next month, please take time to enjoy your family and friends.

Sincerely, Mary Miller

Contact Bonsai Mary

Leave this issue of BonsaiBanter and go to Home Page

Back to Back Issues Page