Discuss or learn more about bonsai -- join the
Internet Bonsai Club.

The IBC maintains forums that support photo uploads. This
offers many opportunities to see trees transformed -- sometimes
with Photoshop, sometimes for real over a period of time.

Another source for bonsai information, including
pictures, is in the Garden Web Bonsai Forum

Another information source for bonsai:

The National Bonsai Foundation

Since establishing a photo gallery on PBase,
I am maintaining a few shots of plant life there.

We have Little Trees   and   we have BIG TREES!

A few bonsai shots from the 2004 Philadelphia Flower Show

From the Rosade Bonsai Studio exhibit


Scots Pine
Scots Pine
Pinus sylvestri
Aprox. 45 years old
Acer burg
Trident Maple
Acer buergerianum
13 years in training
From the Pennsylvania Bonsai Society exhibit

In recent years, I've taken advantage of the opportunity
to enjoy a couple of hands on workshops:

Texas Ebony Before
Texas Ebony After
At a workshop at Rosade Bonsai Studio February 06, 2005

This Texas Ebony (Pithecolobium flexicaule) was cut back and wired to get started on being a bonsai. Wire was used to reposition branches and create a new apex out of a former branch to leave better trunk taper. It has, at least roughly, achieved a desired profile.
Operating in the cold season means this subtropical tree will stay indoors a while yet, so it made sense to go light with the chopping. Now it will be watched to see what new growth pops out where, as well as looking for a general recovery from the operations. In another year, or maybe less, branches may be thinned and cut back further to improve shape.

Another day at a workshop at Rosade Bonsai Studio
June 05, 2004

This juniper went from a fairly typical nursery stock specimen to a pretty serious start on being a bonsai. Roots were pruned back and branches thinned out. Wire was used to add some "motion" to the trunk, and position the branches . It has, at least roughly, achieved the desirable triangular profile.
Now it will be watched to get the wire off before it cuts into the bark -- but after the new shape has set -- we hope!

Juniper Before
Juniper After

Wisteria, March 2004

A major success!
This plant was rescued from a jungle next to my parent's garage back in 1998. On January 21, 2004 the plant was transferred from a "training box" to a bonsai pot after being allowed to thaw out. Kept in a bright window indoors, it began to come to life and reached full bloom to be displayed at the PVAC art show opening on March 14. In late February, it turned out to be necessary to place it in an unheated space to slow it down a little.

Even more spectacular!
This is the same plant after a two year rest. On February 17, 2007 the plant was brought in and allowed to thaw out. It was given a light root pruning and the soil was replaced.
Wisteria, 31 March 2007

Well, there's still not much here at the asylum that might be considered serious bonsai - - mostly just a few "trees-in-containers." Having been the beneficiary of a "sudden retirement", more time can be devoted to develop these trees. (Downsizing can have a silver lining!)

We do have a few curiosities for display here:

Drop back in a few years, maybe some of these guys will become something.
Growing Bench Display Bench

Grapefruit -- 1998 (?)
My dad started this grapefruit tree, as a curiosity, years ago. It was in a 20 gallon plastic trash can. Wrestling this into winter shelter in a cool basement got to be too much (it has thorns like 4-penny nails just to make it interesting), so I took it over. It has been cut back at the top and root pruned seriously a number of times, kept in a deep twelve inch pot during ten or twelve years in my possession. A few years back, I cut a notch into the bark just above a bend to successfully produce a new leader low on the trunk. As these new shoots are extremely fragile, I taped a bent piece of aluminum in such a way that it did not quite contact the bud, allowing the bud's growth to deflect into a vertical direction.
A few years later (Spring 2004), this new growth has developed and lignified sufficiently to permit cutting the old trunk down. We're still experimenting to see if a more advantageous bud will sprout. Ideally, a sprout a little further up the curve of the old trunk would align better to create a straight taper with time. Grapefruit
Grapefruit -- Spring 2004
Grapefruit Grapefruit

Grapefruit in June 2008

Bonsai Terms Illustrated

& Other Curiosities


The flared surface roots are an important feature of many bonsai designs -- if only I could shrink one of these specimens and sneak it home! To the right, this substantial copper beech tree (Fagus sylvatica 'Atropunicea') is found in Sonnenberg Gardens, the property surrounding a Victorian mansion. After years of neglect, the numerous gardens are being restored. The property includes a Lord & Burnham greenhouse and an aviary. The gardens are in Canandaigua, NY -- a town in the western Finger Lakes region. The tree has a trunk roughly five feet in diameter and supports a huge canopy of spreading branches.
beech trunk
Nifty Nebari
Nebari 2
Longwood Roots
To the left, a tree (species forgotten) along a walk at Longwood Gardens, near Kennett Square, PA.

Shari and Jin

Are areas where the bark is torn, exposing raw wood. In bonsai, this is most frequently seen in conifers. In nearly-real life, deciduous trees can display similar effects. This is a storm-damaged white ash (some twelve? years later) formerly a sort of fused twin trunk. The piece that split and tore off was too big for a 16 inch chainsaw to cut from one side. During the years since, the exposed section has been partially covered by new growth. I suspect it's destined to be a big hollow tree. It's away from the house, so we're pretty much leaving it up to Ma Nature.
Split Ash
Super Shari

Cypress Knees
Gnomes of Bellingrath
Cypress Knees

Odd protruberances that grow vertically from the roots of cypress trees -- usually seen in swamp or shallow water. These were seen in Bellingrath Gardens, south of Mobile, AL. An enlargement of this shot found its way into a photo show under the gnomes title.