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News from Sakura Bonsai Gallery

I hope to find the time to add some news on cleaning up my neglected collection.

I was naive enough to think that I had some large Goyo Matsu..... then I saw these at Kato san's nursery in Omiya village.

goyo matsu kato san

Open to all Australian bonsai artists, the Bonsai Open is an annual premier “Australian” bonsai competition. To ensure exceptional bonsai are exhibited alongside the Central Coast Bonsai Club’s annual show, a significant prize pool is being offered:
1st Place $3,000  |  2nd Place $1,000  |  3rd Place $ 500  |  Best Australian native tree bonsai $ 500 + $200 Native yamadori voucher from “Tree Makers”
The competition will be judged by Tony Bebb (Qld), one of Australia’s top bonsai artists.   Contact the Central Coast Bonsai Society for further info.  Entries close 15-Jun-2019.

Bonsai Open Logo

My entries:

resuku front final


old trident maple bonsai gallery

This is an old image of the Australian Bonsai Gallery's contribution to a local arts exhibition.  We called it our 'Detached Forest', firstly in an attempt to offer something unique, and secondly to try to appeal to the general public (and to those who may not like bonsai all that much).  It was, to our surprise, a real success.!!!

australian bonsai gallery detached forest taxodium

Resukyū (レスキュー ) has been 're-worked' this Autumn. Needle plucked, bud select, and re-shape this White Pine is a real pleasure.

Resukyu goyo matsu

stolenbonsai 1552414762After consultation with many bonsai clubs and associations we are proud to announce the launch of our Stolen Bonsai Register.

We see the register as, not only helping to track down stolen bonsia, but acting as a real deterrent to those contemplating the act. 

Simply, the more this register is publicised the greater the deterrent.

The work required in maintaining the register is, as I see it, a 'two-way street'. It will require all clubs and associations to be 'on-board' and advertise the link to the register on their individual websites and in social media. This way we can leverage the reach and exposure of our 'collective web presence' to the best effect.

I would, therefore, like all those interested to please add the following link and image icon to your websites and social media pages.


aka matsu second flush australian bonsai gallerySecond flush on this old AkaMatsu just starting to harden off. Will resume fertiliser programme soon. Looking forward to needle plucking and bud selection over the cooler months. Some wiring to refine the shape and to reduce and soften the crown also in the cooler months ahead.


I have been developing this old Ficus for decades.  Finally in it's first bonsai pot.  Lots of refinement to be done now.

 australian bonsai gallery old ficus


This very large, Hachi-Uye, bonsai has just been candle pruned.  Looking forward to the 'second flush' of many smaller candles.

 kuro matsu australian bonsai gallery 12

I have been working on this trident maple from a cutting struck in the early 80's.  It should be more advanced, by now, but it has been a victim of my limited time.  It is finally getting some attention.  The final stage of (initial) development is to thicken the lower branch with these sacrificial growth.  The rest of the tree is being refined and the leaves and inter-nodes are reducing nicely.  See what is for sale in the Gallery Bonsai For Sale.

 Trident Maple under construction

Just completed some initial 're-design' on this old Sequoia.  I started this bonsai as 'tube stock' from a local nursery in the late 70's.  It was field grown for a few years and spend ~5yrs in a large training pot before finally beint transfered to a bonsai pot.

The bonsai is shown here with one of the cuttings I took from this bonsai ~19yrs ago.  The 'cutting' has been in our garden for ~18yrs.  Quite a contrast!

 sequoia sempervirens bonsai cutting

This old Atlantic Cedar wa a 'swap' for one of my old Swamp Cypress some years ago.  I wanted to break up the very long-straight trunk and also to show off more of the dead wood now on the right.  At 105cm high it makes a real impact in the Bonsai Gallery here in Dorrigo. 

atlantic cedar australian bonsai gallery 

This old Trident Maple was grown from a cutting I struck more than 38yrs ago.  It was field grown to develop the nebari and trunk width.

I have just shortened the tree by ~17cm to maintain the focus on the nebari and trunk.  I need to reduce the leaf size so lots of pinching throughout the growing season is mandatory.   More buds, more branches, smaller leaves.


trident maple shortened

Resukyū  (レスキュー ) has been 're-worked' today.  Took me all day to needle pluck, bud select, and re-shape this White Pine.

resukyu 2018 10 09 02

SHUNKA-EN bonsai Museum offers us all the opportunity to study with Kobayashi San through his generosity in welcoming international apprentices.  The following is an extract from his website:

"As we believe the apprenticeship system in traditional manner is the best way to learn Bonsai, we offer chances for anybody to join us if you are really serious about Bonsai.  Here we accept people not as a guest nor as a student, but as one of our member.
This means while we do our own business, you have to learn by yourself through observing us, doing as we do, eating, sleeping, and working together with us. We recommend you to stay at least 1 month but shorter term is also acceptable.
The cost would be 5,000JPY per day or 100,000JPY per month, including accomondations and 3 meals per day. You'll work with Kunio Kobayashi and his apprentices everyday, and get certificate at the end."

Anyone can apply; you are then INVITED to join as a member !!...... We can all do this if we wish!!!

kobayashi apprenticeShunka-en apprentices we talked to in 2016

 Time to repot some very pot-bound Taxodium.  Very fast growing roots require me to repot frequently.  I don't fertilise these bonsai very much at all.  They DO NOT need a tray of water under the pot; many will disagree but I have been growing Taxodium for 40+ years without water trays.

repotting swamp cypress australian bonsai gallery

This post is a slight departure from my usual news items.  It raises the issue of Sensitive Design in bonsai.

The following image was taken in 2016 on our tour of the Omiya Bonsai Village.  This bonsai is one of Yamada san's finest bonsai.  As you can see there are no 'hard' foliage pads with 'spirit level' clipped bases; just soft, sensitive foliage.... so natural.

Another beautiful example comes from Kobayoshi san.  The second image here, one that Mr Kobayashi is justifiably proud of, demonstrates the beauty of this 'sensitive design'. Please excuse the image of the very nervous 'gaijin' in this image.

This sensitivity in design requires an understanding and 'deep knowledge' rarely seen in the world of bonsai.  Not sure if I will live long enough to achieve such a level. 

yamada juniper

Kunio Kobayashi 01a 1

Yes, Akadama in Dorrigo.  The Australian Bonsai Gallery makes it's own version of Akadama.  We have been developing this essential bonsai soil component for many years now.  It is hard and rates very well in soil dispersion tests.  It performs well in the pot and makes a real difference to tree health even in our very high rainfall climate.

akadama 2x6mm australian bonsai gallery

Three old Chinese Elms re-potter.  This is the earliest I have re-potted elms in over 40 years!  Very warm in Dorrigo at the moment..... waiting for the cold of August to hit.  Will have to protect these elms from the cold and wind that is to come.

chinese elm repot australian bonsai gallery

This old Liquidamber started it's bonsai journey as small nursery stock I purchased in the early 1980's. Heavily styled this winter, I am looking forward to further increasing the number of buds, and the consequent leaf size, over the spring and summer.

This bonsai is for sale.  Details at our on-line catalogue.

liquidamber 02 australian bonsai gallery

This old Liquidamber started it's bonsai journey as small nursery stock I purchased in the early 1980's.  Heavily styled this winter, I am looking forward to further increasing the number of buds, and the consequent leaf size, over the spring and summer.

liquidamber australian bonsai gallery

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