My first bonsai tree…

Becoming a bonsai

My first tree was a Chinese Elm, about 14 years old. The vendor at the  Jardin Yili picked it out for me out of hundreds of similar looking trees–really similar! I had no idea what made a “good” tree–I just felt I would know it when I saw it. The vendor showed me the tree, I acted impressed, and, of course, looked around for others. After thirty minutes or so, I was back at her side, realizing that the tree she had picked out was exactly what I wanted. We paid for the tree (80 euros), chatted awhile and then I bore my treasure home. It was a small tree but it came to symbolize big–good and bad–things in my life.

26800194photo from Passion Nature 78

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Alabama Bonsai Society History: 1948 Ginkgo

Nebari Bonsai

This club-owned ginkgo came from Brussel’s in 1988, for the price of $500. Here is the record:




In 1992, it was shown at the BCI international convention in Memphis. If memory serves, Masahiko Kimura was there too. As were several west-coast artists, including John Naka and Ben Oki.

I have had the privilege of caring for this tree for a couple years, as have several club members. Here is the tree, nearly 30 years later, as an almost 70 year old tree in 2015:

At some point in the past, the central leader was removed, perhaps as a styling decision, or maybe it died. Unfortunate, but the remaining tree is still quite nice, and at 32″ tall, still a large bonsai.

And a shot from spring 2016:


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