Bonsai is Addicting and It’s Good For You


I was going to use this as my cover photo for this post. Not sure how it will show. This is a photo of a drawing on Kodak slide. I did this in 1985 when I was still in high school.

I confess, yesterday we went to a 5:30pm Saturday evening mass and while sitting at church relaxed (maybe too relaxed) trying to be mindful of what is going on, my mind wanders and started thinking about my massive lilac tree. It was a beautiful sunny November day yesterday and had a chance to work in the yard. After doing some the chores of weeding and leaf blowing, I saved some bonsai work for last. I repotted a very old butterfly bush and I studied the branches of my massive lilac. The root base (nebari) is roughly 19 inches wide and for a lilac, it has to be very old…

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The Exposed Root Japanese Five-needle Pine

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


This Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora cv., is growing in Ritsurin Garden in Takamatsu, Japan. It is on the shore of Nako Pond in front of the Kikugetsu-tei tea house complex and has been named “The Exposed Root Japanese Five-needle Pine.”


It was originally a small bonsai and the 11thTokugawa Shogun, Ienari (1773-1841), presented the bonsai to the 9thLord of the Matsudaira clan, Yorihiro (1798-1842.) The family treasured this bonsai but were afraid they will kill it, so they planted it in their garden for preservation. And it did thrive!


The exposed roots of the tree form the focal point for the garden tree. This is not the common Japanese five-needle pine, because it was grafted. I’m not certain of the exact cultivar of this tree, but it has short blue-green needles, similar to the cultivar ‘Miyajima.’ The graft union can still be distinctively seen. In…

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Visiting Shunka-en Bonsai Museum

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo is the home, studio, gallery and growing area of Kunio Kobayashi. I’ve visited here many times before, and like in the past there is always something new to see and study, plus Mr. Kobayashi’s personal bonsai collection.IMG_0420.JPG

The scenic garden views, especially from the top two viewing areas were quite beautiful. I found it interesting that all of the maple and other deciduous bonsai were in one area, satsuki azaleas in another and the remaining evergreens in the central area of the garden museum. A new bamboo fence for an attractive background was new as was a poly house.


All of the bonsai, especially on the monkey pole display tables were tied down to avoid tipping over during windy weather and earthquakes. Of course, the bonsai are kept outdoors, all year around here.





JIN.jpg6P4A9280.jpgWhen Mr. Kobayashi has guests, he brings a few bonsai indoors and…

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