slim pickings

towels packed, will travel

With Kenya’s incredible biodiversity, it was almost inevitable that our frequent safari trips would turn us onto birding. Moldova, on the other hand, proved a poor posting for this hobby. Fewer than 300 bird species have been recorded in the entire country, and very few of them flock to Chisinau. We have a couple of bird feeders in our yard, but even in spring and summer when our fruit trees flower, we rarely see anything other than the usual house sparrows and great tits.

European goldfinch, Danube Delta

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Bare Bones Birch

Scratch Bonsai

I’ve been looking at this recently repotted silver birch for a while and finally decided to perform some drastic pruning.  Initially the second trunk (right) was left on as a sacrifice branch but I really like the movement it offers rather than the original straight trunk.  Out came the cutters.

DSC_0273 Before. July 2015

DSC_0281 After. July 2015

Now to wait for backbudding and keep the apex clipped pretty short over the next few years.

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Losing trees #2, under-potting

Nebari Bonsai

It was a gamble trying to squeeze this shimpaku into a pot that was so much shallower than the previous two. However, it was a beautiful antique Chinese pot with a ton of patina. Were it 3/4″ shallower, it would be a perfect fit.

March 4, After:

Showing signs of stress 8 weeks later:


Notice how interior and weaker areas are yellow? What’s worse, is that the tree simply stalled out and wasn’t growing.
Time to intervene; I don’t want this to end with a loss. A deeper pot was prepared, and the shimpaku was slip-potted on May 1:



The soil used was 1:1 pumice and akadama.
Now, 6 weeks later in mid-June, the yellowing has ceased and new growth is beginning to appear:


While I didn’t lose the tree, I definitely lost the year for advancing the refinement.

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MABA 2015 Convention


Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The 2015 Mid-America Bonsai Alliance Convention (MABA) was held on July 10-12, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The event was hosted by members of the Indianapolis Bonsai Cub held at the Clarion Waterfront Hotel & Conference Center.



The exhibit was GREAT! There were 90 displays featuring 150 trees. Not too many exhibits have 150 trees, all in one room. The layout was quite good, but two of the aisles were a bit close to each other, but allowed people to pass while enjoying the beauty of the bonsai. Nobody seemed to complain because they were too busy studying the bonsai and how they were displayed. I was particularly impressed by most of the displays. Extra care was given to preparing the trees for formal display. The containers were clean; display tables polished and each bonsai had a companion planting. There were a great number of fine quality bonsai displayed. There were…

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In case you’re counting, this is post #300. 

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

Now that’s something to think about. A definite milestone in my internet bonsai journey. 300 blog posts. To be honest, there have been a few times, especially of late, where I’ve contemplated just giving up the blog and, as a corallary, the life of a traveling Bonsai artist. My wife would enjoy the latter part, I’m pretty sure. She gets just a little stressed when I’m not home. But I’m not ready to give up traveling yet (sorry dear) and, much to my enemies dismay, I still have something to say, so, long live the blog. The reason I’ve been a little defeatist of late you see, I am writing this from my luxurious guest room at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. I’m recuperating from another surgery that should have been a step forward towards healing but, because of the enigmatic and uniqueness of my malady, I find myself and…

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2 Shohin White Pines

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

Here are 2 shohin white pines (pinus parviflora) that are looking good at the moment.

The first one, which I have had for a few years has nice movement to the right. That makes it useful in a shohin display on about 50% of the occasions I may wish to use it.


To get greater flexibility in my choice of trees for a display, I needed another white pine with movement to the left. A solution came with my latest purchase, which can be seen in the next picture


Next year, when it is re-potted, it will be turned slightly to the new front shown in the next picture.


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