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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mid-America Bonsai Exhibition 2016: Some Other Interesting Trees

     I'm not sure how many bonsai in all were on display in the exhibit, but I think it was close to 200. Here are some others that caught my attention. (I give the artist's names where I know them.)

1. If you're at all familiar with J.R.R. Tolkien's tales of Middle-Earth, you'll know why this one delighted me!

A hobbit dwelling, round door and all! Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia
My wife is also a Tolkien fan, so I emailed this picture to her even before I returned home.

2. You may recognize this yew from this post two years ago. At the 2014 Mid-America, Rodney Clemons, the headliner, pointed out that what this tree needed most by way of improvement was to have the apices shaped to match the rest of it in apparent maturity. As I approached it this year, I saw that what Clemons had recommended had been done, and the result was good!

Hybrid yew, Taxus x media. This tree was obtained as an "urban yamadori." Ray Heinen, owner and artist.
A first-time Mid-America-goer named Justin was with me, and I started describing to him how the tree had looked two years before, what Rodney Clemons had recommended, that it had been done, and now we saw the result. As I was talking, the owner of the tree came up, Ray Heinen. (My apologies if I have it wrong and it's actually "Roy".) He started laughing: he could hardly believe that I remembered his tree from two years before, let alone everything else I was telling Justin!

After a bit Justin and I went over to another bonsai I remembered, a Ficus salicaria forest. Justin is fairly new to bonsai, so again I described for him how this one had looked before, the changes I could see, etc. Ray Heinen came by again, and again started laughing: that bonsai is also his, and once again he was almost floored that I remembered it in that much detail!

We were all still talking when another member of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club appeared in the exhibition hall, and I greeted her: "Hello, Wanda." "Hi - but my name's Deanna." As I started to apologize, Justin started laughing: "You remember the trees, but you don't remember the people!" (I heard that several more times in the course of the day. But I have to admit it was funny!)

3. How's this for an unusual container? This Florida buttonwood is one of several belonging to Paul Weishaar of Indianapolis. At first I thought it was all one plant; part of it had died, and Paul adapted that part into a container for the rest. Mark Fields, also of Indianapolis, told me it's actually two buttonwoods; when the larger one died, Paul made it into a one-of-a-kind container for the smaller one. Very creative!

Florida buttonwood, Conocarpus erectus. Notice how the accent plant's leaf shape resembles the buttonwood's.
Paul Weishaar, owner and artist.
Here's a closer view.
Notice the artificial weathering that's been done to all the deadwood.

4. Maybe there's a revival of fantasy literature among the US bonsai community. The label for this boxwood listed its style as simply "Fairy Tale." (I wonder which tale?)

Buxus spp. The pot rather fits the "fairy tale" label.

5. This shohin-sized neagari azalea is well matched with its accent plant, and the styling is well done. The pot color is an excellent choice for this tree, in my opinion.

Azalea, Rhodendron spp. Owner and artist, Tim Priest.

But given the "airy" look of the exposed roots that substitute for most of the trunk, I couldn't help wondering if a simple wooden slab might be as good as the tall stand. So I fiddled with the picture to try to get some idea how that might look.

Imagine this bonsai on a flat slab, no light showing under the slab
Which looks better to you? Comments are welcome.

6. This little trident maple has one of the best nebari I've seen on a mame tree.

Trident maple, Acer buergerianum.

7. This Japanese white pine triggered an "Ah-I-hadn't-thought-of-that" moment, when I saw what the artist had done to make the tree three-dimensional and still use a deadwood upper line.

Japanese white pine, Pinus parviflora.

8. Not only does this shimpaku have some pretty cool jin, but it's planted in a stone. Literally: the stone was hollowed out to make a container for it.

Shimpaku juniper, Juniperus chinensis 'Shimpaku.'

9. I'm not going to post the name of this tree's owner and artist on a public site, because he's all of eight years old (maybe nine.) But he has a definite interest in bonsai and is already showing some unmistakable aptitude. His father, a bonsai professional, told me that the tree was gift from a family friend and he provided his son with the pot. But the young man did the styling and potting on his own, and I think also chose the stand and the accent plant. Not bad at all!

Crown-of-thorns, Euphorbia spp.

Next post: pictures of the headliner's demonstration, including Colin Lewis and his apprentice in "chef's pants."

:-)  :-)  :-)

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