Serissa Bonsai

Serissas make excellent bonsai with the right care and shaping. They are an evergreen shrub native to China, Japan, and Indochina (Southeast Asia) where it may be found growing in the woods and wet fields.

The serissa foetida has small oval leaves which are slightly larger than the serissa japonica’s. It may erupt with small white flowers several times per year giving it the nickname the “thousand star” serissa. Additionally, it naturally grows surface roots and an interesting bark pattern on the trunk which give them the desirable appearance of age.

Along with junipers this is one of the most common bonsai trees for beginners. Unfortunately this has also led to them getting a bad reputation for being easy to picky and easy to kill. With the right care this is not the case.

Serissa care

The most important thing learn about serissa bonsai is that they do not like change. They also do not like extremes. If a serissa bonsai is unhappy it lets you know by dropping its leaves and flowers.


Keeping your serissa watered properly is the most important part of its care. If you over or underwater your serissa it will lose its leaves. Serissas do not tolerate drying out and the shock may kill them. You should keep the soil moist but not wet or soggy. They also like a humid environment. We recommend that you place a humidity tray under its pot to create an area of humidity around the tree. Occasionally misting the leaves when the tree is not in bloom will also help. If you purchased the bonsai tree from a store that does not specialize in bonsai it may not be potted in the correct soil. Repotting your serissa in a well draining bonsai soil bonsai soil will help make it harder to overwater your serissa bonsai.


Serissa can be grown indoors or outdoors. (Outdoor in warmer climates) If kept outdoors a mix of full and partial sun in most zones will be fine. If kept indoors it can do well under fluorescent lighting, but keeping it in a room where it can get indirect light from an open window and supplementary fluorescent lighting tends to work best. If the serissa does not get enough light its growth may not be compact enough to give it a nice bonsai appearance.

Special care should be taken when bringing the plant indoors after it has been living outside or outside if it has been growing indoors. As noted earlier, serissa do not like change. If it had been growing in a sunny area try gradually moving it into a shadier location before bringing it indoors. Additionally, make sure the indoor location receives a good amount of light. If you use a grow light it may need to be left on for 12 hours per day. If the tree was indoors move it into a shadier outdoor area before moving it to a very sunny spot.


Serissa should be repotted during their growing season which is in spring. You should do this every 1-2 years when the tree is younger. Use a bonsai soil that holds moisture, but drains easily without remaining soggy. The leaves and roots tend to smell pretty bad when you prune them. This is normal.


Serissa tend to be pretty flexible on styles they can be trained into. They can be grown into informal upright, informal broom, oak style, and semi-cascade. They do not work very well as formal upright and formal broom. You can use the clip and grow method or wire on these trees. Wiring allows for more intricate designs. Serissa are often used in Chinese Penjing landscapes.

How to Choose the Right Bonsai for a Unique Stag Do Gift

Finding a perfect quirky gift for a best friend’s stag do is not the easiest task in the world. It needs to be nice enough to make a statement, but unusual enough for the guys to appreciate it. Why not consider a bonsai tree.

Bonsai trees are the perfect way for a bachelor to remember this special occasion and the fun that he had with his mates. Before rushing out to make your purchase of just any bonsai, however, you might want to consider the following:


Most newlyweds begin married life in a small home. Bonsai trees are usually smaller than 45 cm in height and less than 25 cm wide, including the pot. This makes them a perfect fit for coffee tables or the edge of an office desk. Some, like the Chinese Elm can be placed inside or outside; this makes it an easy care variety.


Bonsai plants come in two basic varieties, those that thrive in tropical climates and those that prefer more temperate conditions. Serissa, bougainvillea, and ficus, all tropical bonsai plants should never be exposed to frost-like conditions. Maples and junipers are much hardier plants and do not mind cold weather quite as much, but they do require a dormant period each year.


Some men need plants that require little attention, and a bonsai plant fills this need perfectly. If a man can keep a plant watered, he can keep it alive. The suggested routine for a bonsai tree is to immerse it in water about once a week until no air bubbles appear. During the week water from the top to wash off dust and give the leaves a bath, but avoid watering any blooms that appear.


The shape of a bonsai tree can be directed through pruning. The growth will occur in the areas that have not received pruning. Pruning a bonsai tree to change its shape can be a great creative experience, but it is important to trim the branches periodically to prevent the plant from becoming too heavy at the top for the root system to support the shape. All twigs growing in a downward direction should be pruned, as well as any branches that want to cross others.

When choosing a bonsai plant for a stag do gift, the most important factor should be matching the tree with the recipient. Is a blooming plant better, or would the groom prefer a braided bonsai? Would a Brussels bonsai be the most appropriate, or would the couple be more appreciative of the shape of a Hawaiian Umbrella tree? With plentiful choices available, it should be easy to find a bonsai gift to truly match the personality of the bridal couple.

About the Author: Andrea Thompson writes for Stag Do Ideas, a site that has lots of tips on planning a bachelor party.


4 Essential Bonsai Care Tips for Beginners

Many don’t know this, but gardening is a very relaxing hobby. Re-potting, watering and caring for your plants is a great way to release stress and it allows you to think. But for those who don’t have the space or the time for a big garden, one option they have is to care for a bonsai tree.

Bonsai literally means plantings in a tray. This Japanese tradition of raising miniature trees actually dates back thousands of years. Taking care of a bonsai tree is an art not meant for the half-hearted. It requires more than just watering it and placing it under the sun. Here are some of the basics you need to know about caring for your very own bonsai tree.

Know the Species

There are many species that you can use for your bonsai tree. It is important to at least know the general name, because the needs of each specie differs. One of the more popular types to be used, however, is the juniper. If you want a flowering bonsai, you can opt for the bougainvillea, which is easy to grow. Another flowering variant is the azalea. If you want the fruit bearing type, you can try a citrus bonsai tree. The only difference between fruit/flower bearing and non-bearing bonsai is that the former needs more light.

Age Matters

You might think that since you’re a beginner when it comes to bonsai trees, you would need a young tree. In this case, age matters more. The younger the bonsai, the more sensitive and fragile it is. If you pick an older bonsai that is around 10-15 years old, you have a higher chance of keeping it alive. An older bonsai is more sturdy and can last longer without water, just in case you forget to water it on time. Compared to the younger bonsai, it can withstand a wide range of temperatures and is more resilient in handing the ph imbalance in the soil.

Watering Needs

Bonsai cultivation means you have to master the art of watering, not too much and not too little. You have to give your bonsai just the right amount of water at the right time. Remember how important it is to know what kind of species your bonsai is? This is so you will understand how much water and light it needs to thrive.

Generally during summer, you have to water it every evening. Watering it in the morning will dry it out quickly. In spring and fall, the amount of water should be lessened. When the soil’s surface begins to dry out, then you can water it. In winter, bonsai requires only a little water, just enough to keep the soil moist. Do not over-water it and do water it when the soil starts to dry.


Since the bonsai is being cultivated in a contained environment (small pot with little soil), it is vital that you supplement it with the lacking nutrients. For any beginner, you can’t go wrong with balanced fertilizer. Organic fertilizer also works better than most. Just make sure to use the daily recommendations and your bonsai should be fine. Remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t stop with one bonsai. Get more and hone your skills in cultivating bonsai trees.  


Based in San Diego, California, Tiffany Matthews is a passionate writer and an avid reader. She has worked for several successful companies, including Total Landscape Care. When not writing, she can be found in her little garden, exploring her newly discovered green thumb.


Beginner's Guide to Bonsai Gardening

Bonsai gardening is a way for you to unleash your creativity. It is a chance for you to get involved with a living piece of art. Bonsai affords you to become more relaxed because it needs a Zen-like peace of mind to start with the hobby. This will eliminate the cause of stress that you are getting from work or at home. If you are planning to start Bonsai gardening it is best to learn more about it so you can enjoy it to the fullest and achieve a healthier state of mind.


Patience is a virtue


Growing Bonsai is never easy. It takes a lot of patience to begin this hobby.  If you don’t have the patience it is best not to dabble on Bonsai gardening. If you master the art of patience it will give you better control over causes of anxiety because you have a better state of mind to begin with.


Look for the right Bonsai


Looking for the right Bonsai tree is an excellent way to start your garden. Although Bonsai can be grown from the seed, you can skip this part by choosing a tree from a Bonsai nursery. A good tree should be at least six inches tall. Choose the one with a tapered trunk and is free from any kind of blemishes. The pruning and the wiring of the tree usually starts after 24 months. You may also ask the experts or you may browse the internet for more information on the types of bonsai.  This way, you will be able to choose the kind of bonsai that you would want to take care of.


Learn how to style


In styling your Bonsai tree, you need to consider the natural characteristics of the bonsai tree. This will give you an idea on the kind of pruning method you are going to use. You need to also consider the type of pot that you will be using. Most Bonsai plants are planted off-centered; thus the need to have a pot that considers the center of gravity. Once you learn the art of putting some style on your bonsai, you can even choose to join bonsai style competition.  These competitions will allow you to be exposed to other bonsai growers and you can also learn from them, especially from those who have been taking care of several bonsai plants for many years.


The costs


You will have to spend well in order to have a respectable Bonsai plant. You can buy one at the mall but the virtues that you will learn and the amount of relaxation that you will get from growing Bonsai do not come with a price. Pruning and special instruments are needed to maintain your Bonsai plants. You would also need to have some supplies. Simply ask the nursery where you bought your plant for information on the needs and the tools that you would use in bringing up the beauty of your Bonsai.


Check the plant’s health


The plant’s health is crucial in maintaining it alive. There is a chance that the soil may cause the plant to wither and die. Also don’t fiddle with the tree. Bonsai needs to be repotted annually. Bonsai is like any other plant that requires moisture. You must remember that growing bonsai takes dedication.  You have to invest time and effort in order to make this plant grow healthy and beautiful.


Bonsai gardening is truly a very rewarding hobby.  It gives you some sort of diversion especially when you are so stressed out from work or from doing your house chores. As you focus on tending to your bonsai garden your mind will become more relaxed.  Thus, you will be able to relieve yourself from any symptoms of stress and anxiety.  Taking care of these bonsai plants will keep you close to nature which also helps increase your environmental awareness. However, these are just few of the many benefits that you can get from bonsai gardening.  The rest of the benefits will be yours to discover and explore.


About the Author:


Ryan Rivera used to suffer from the symptoms of anxiety attacks for seven years.  He now advocates healthy living as the best weapon against anxiety and depression.  You can read more of his articles at Calm Clinic

Lazy Sunday morning bonsai

That lazy Sunday morning, just me and the trees chillin. Especially good is that lazy Sunday morning with the bright sunshine, dappled breeze, no rain when your feeling kinda of wrecked from the busy Saturday weeding the driveway or what ever other vigorous activity you enjoy doing. I kinda like it, as the Monday blues are taking a break, thoughts of that long commute are sunk deep in my head.

So on that lazy Sunday morning, chillin with the bonsai, what do you like to do? Me I like to potter, picking out that young ambitious weed that got missed, you know the type with great aspirations of fulfilling the pot! Then spending some time checking to see that ER is not needed and no panics.

A number of years ago when I lived in the city, I went away for a number of weeks only to find when I got back an invasion of cannibal bugs, scale insects sucking the sap out of my elms. These required isolation and treatment with menthylated spirits, and then a soft wash to make them feel slightly better, unfortunately some didn’t make it. So this cannibal bug was my number one Sunday morning chillin with the trees target. I say was my target, as I am no longer live in the city, a townie (living in the city) you’ll find this expression from the natives in the country, much the same way as we Dublin people have tags for our country cousins.

Living in the country with has its advantages when it comes to insects, yeah more variety, but not many invasive ones that I have seen yet. Where I am located is windy, a constant breeze, it makes growing trees more challenging for different reasons and the cannibal bugs that haunted my city garden many years ago, I guess these guys may visit but only for a rest bite (excuse the pun) before travelling on to a more sheltered haven.

So on that lazy Sunday morning when you are chillin with your trees, what is it, that you like to do? Send us your short story and the most liked one on social networks will get a copy of that perfect lazy Sunday morning book. ‘The Complete Book of Bonsai’ by Harry Tomlinson. 

Send your short story copy to [email protected]
















Growing white pine bonsai

There are many varieties of white-pine (Pinus parviflora and pentaphylla), but all have one thing in common the white, central or stomatic band down the length of the leaf or needle.

The popular white-pine bonsai came from China, Japan and elsewhere in the Pacific Asian-rim area. They are generally styled very simply, with a twist or two in the trunk, and invariably grafted onto a black-pine base, which is stronger. 

Some varieties have very dense needle growth, while others have very short needle clusters. However, all are Pinus parviflora, with many various cultivar, including Kokono, Miyajima and Brevifolia. The difference between the white pine and other pine species is that the white-pine has a cluster of five needles around each bud. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Black-pines (Pinus thunbergii) have two clusters of needles, and some species such as Red-pine (Pinus densiflora), can have clusters of two or three needles, depending on variety.

The white-pines natural growth habit is low and spreading, while as a bonsai it can take any shape. The common style however, is a pyramid form, with the branches rising in clearly defined steps to the apex, or tip of the tree.


Watering Pines

Pines need semi-dry conditions in the winter, and the soil should be kept slightly damp in the growing season. Pine bonsai do not like very wet conditions. Only spray the needles from summer to early autumn, in the morning and late evening.


 Next Article: Bud development in Pines





Fuchsia in New Zealand

Fuchsia (named after Leonhard Fuchs, a 16th century German botanist) is a genus of over 100 species of shrubs and small trees. Although there are four New Zealand native species (colensoi, excorticata, perscandens and procumbens) and one from Tahiti, the vast bulk of the genus occurs in Central and South America. 

Think of fuchsias and chances are the fancy garden hybrids come to mind first. Showy as they are, it is not difficult to see they are related to wild species such as Fuchsia magellanica, Fuchsia denticulata and Fuchsia triphylla. 
Some species, however, are less easy to distinguish. Our common native tree fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata) has fuchsia-like flowers, though it can be hard to see the connection with the garden plants when it is not in bloom. But the likes of Fuchsia arborescens from Central America, with its panicles of tiny flowers, scarcely matches the common idea of a fuchsia. 
The most widely grown of New Zealand’s native species is Fuchsia procumbens and it too is quite unlike the garden cultivars. It is a low spreading plant with small rounded leaves and can be very hard to pick as a fuchsia until it flowers. Indeed, my initial experience of the plant was with cultivated specimens and I have to admit that I didn’t immediately recognise wild plants when I first saw them. 
This species was discovered in Northland in 1834 by Richard Cunningham. (some authorities call him Robert; in any case he should not be confused with his better known brother Allan.) However, it wasn’t introduced into Europe until 40 years later in 1874. It has at times also been known as Fuchsia prostrata and Fuchsia kirkii. 
The species occurs naturally in the north of the North Island down to northern Coromandel, often in coastal areas, and is now endangered in the wild. Though wild specimens can spread to several metres wide, cultivated plants are usually quite compact. 
The flowers, which appear from mid to late spring are sometimes hard to see among the dense, sprawling foliage. The blooms are not the usual fuchsia colours – green and yellow, not red and purple – and most unusually, they face upwards rather than being pendulous. The blue pollen-tipped anthers are also very distinctive. 
Upward facing flowers are scarcely surprising in a plant that grows so close to the ground. Nevertheless it is a feature that hybridisers have long been trying, with limited success, to breed into garden hybrids. 
The real feature, and the reason why Fuchsia procumbens is grown by enthusiasts world-wide, is the berries that follow the flower. All fuchsias bear berries, but none can match the fruit of Fuchsia procumbens. While the bright red berries of wild plants are scarcely larger than redcurrants, cultivated plants may have fruit the size of small plums. The fruit has a grape-or plum-like bloom and is particularly showy because it is carried on top the foliage, not hanging below it. Fuchsia procumbens is a plant that likes to show off its wares. 
This little trailing plant makes a superb hanging basket specimen and is very easy to grow. Despite its northerly natural distribution, it tolerates frosts and even withstands some drought. But strangely enough it is one of those New Zealand natives that is better know abroad than at home. British and American growers wouldn’t be without it, but how often do you see a good specimen in a local garden?


Photo: Flora Press.

Keeping your bonsai healthy

In general, every two weeks feed bonsai with a high-nitrogen fertilizer from late spring, and then in summer feed them with a balanced fertilizer, stopping for four weeks during the hottest part of the summer and starting again in late summer with a low-nitrogen or tomato fertilizer. High-nitrogen fertilizer feeds leaves and buds, and low-nitrogen fertilizer feeds twigs, roots, trunks and branches.

Spray bonsai with foliar feed every two weeks in spring, and mist the foliage with water in the warm summer to keep the humidity levels up. To avoid lush or soft growth initially, such as in pines or maples, use a zero-based nitrogen fertilizer, 0-10-10 or at the worst a low-nitrogen fertilizer such as tomato fertilizer at the beginning of the season. to get bright autumn colours in maples, do not feed them more than twice in the entire season.

It is important to remember that using liquid feeds allows the food to pass quickly through the soil, and if the soil is correct, then some will be retained during the feeding process. While watering during rain is sometimes unavoidable, soil and foliar-feeding of bonsai with large canopies of foliage during rain is not a good idea, as the water will wash through the soil much faster.

Small trees can be immersed in a bucket or sink filled with feed, and when the bubbles stop rising the tree will have received sufficient food  and water. Do not do this every day if you have outdoor trees. On the other hand it may be the only available method for an indoor tree. (if you live in a flat or apartment) In that case, you will probably find that your tree will only need watering once or twice a week and feeding once every two weeks.


Period Very Young Trees Trees in Training Established Trees
Winter Dormancy No Feed No Feed No Feed
Early Spring (At bud break wait until the leaf has fully opened) Start feeding high-nitrogen fertilizer at half strength. Feed every week. To avoid lush growth, feed a zero nitrogen fertilizer, such as 0-10-10, or tomato feed. Feed two weeks at half strength. Zero-nitrogen feed once in early spring.
Late Spring (Leaves are now fully developed and candles are swelling on pines. Protect from winds, as the leaves are soft) Feed at half strength every week. Increase to full strength at the end of this period. Continue to feed every two weeks, but now start introducing high-nitrogen fertilizer. Feed once with high-nitrogen fertilizer at half strength.
Early Summer (Leaves are now firming up, so continue with feeding. Protect from pests) Increase to full strength high-nitrogen feed. Use a balanced fertilizer towards the end of this period. Use a balanced fertilizer at help-strength every three weeks. Or start to use slow-release cake fertilizer: Maples, elms and zelkovas need less feed, to develop fine twigs. One feed of high-nitrogen fertilizer and plant tonic during this period. Do not overfeed established trees, as they will grow to length.
Mid-Summer (The tree enters a semi-dormant period at this stage, so it is wiser to stop feeding for between two to four weeks) Stop feed. Stop feed. Stop feed.
Late Summer (This is the period prior to leaf change, but after the heat of mid-summer) Start using a low-nitrogen fertilizer every week at full strength. Use a foliar feed as well each week. Start using a low-nitrogen fertilizer every week at full strength. Use a foliar feed as well each week. Two applications of low-nitrogen fertilizer or, even better, 0-10-10, during this period. Foliar feed once.
Autumn (Leaf change heralds the onset of dormancy in deciduous trees) Stop feeding when leaves start to change. Keep feeding evergreens. Reduce feed when leaves start to change. Keep feeding evergreens. Stop feeding deciduous trees, but give evergreens one more application in late autumn.



Always Remember:


  • Do not feed deciduous trees before bud break
  • Do not feed in winter, because trees cannot absorb the feed
  • Do not feed sick trees, as they will not be able to absorb nutrients easily
  • Do not feed after repotting for at least 6 to 8 weeks, as the delicate roots can be damaged




The Art of Creative Pruning

Decorative tree pruning brings innovation and artistry to gardens. It has something for all tastes, including sophisticated sculptural trees, modernist bumpy hedges, boxwood balls and lollipops.

Author Jake Hobson outlines an approach to topiary that is more creative than traditional and positively encourages out-of-the box thinking. Instead of peacocks and rabbits, you will see boxwood shaped to reveal Russian dolls, trees snipped to resemble the top tiers of a wedding cake, and hedges carved with graffiti. All the practical considerations are here as well, including pruning to improve a view, remedial pruning to fix problems, and pruning fruit trees to increase yield.

Nothing brings a touch of artistry to the garden like ornamental pruning, and a series of deliberate cuts can create landscapes and evoke faraway places. All that’s needed to recreate the effect in the garden are a sharp pair of pruners, some imagination, and the instruction found in The Art of Creative Pruning. Drawing on both eastern and western styles, author Jake Hobson moves beyond the traditional, and teaches a whole new approach to ornamental pruning which will appeal to modern sensibilities.

Complete with spectacular photographs and well-illustrated step-by-step projects, this book will have everyone reaching for their secateurs!

Jake Hobson worked in a traditional Japanese nursery in the outskirts of Osaka, Japan, after completing a degree in Sculpture at London’s Slade School of Fine Arts. A keen observer of the artistry of gardens, Jake now runs his own pruning equipment and consultancy business, and experiments with mixing pruning styles from the East and the West.


The Art of Creative Pruning

Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs

By Jake Hobson

ISBN: 978-1-60469-114-6

Published: November 2011, £25

Published by: Timber Press



Selecting Appropriate Scrolls for Bonsai Display

A 表具師 Hyougushi is an artisan that works in paper, textiles, glue, and wood to create a variety of products. The two primary products made by a Hyougushi associated with bonsai display, are 掛け軸 kakejiku (hanging wall scrolls) and 屏風 byoubu (folding screens/partitions). The reader will be introduced to the methodology of judging scroll formality, how formality is related to different scroll designs, and some rules of thumb regarding the cloths and the pictures themselves.
The principles that the Hyougushi uses to design the frame for the scroll is entirely different from the principles used to display the scroll with a bonsai or viewing stone. When I first started working professionally as a Hyougushi, I understood little of the needs of the bonsai artist. It led me to learn new ideas, methodologies and ways of thinking to understand how to make scrolls more suited to the bonsaiist’s tastes.

The system of display that I have begun to study is called 雅道Gaddou or the “Way of Elegance/Refinement”. This display style focuses on the display of shohin bonsai and utilizes a very simple system of determining the formality of the display based upon every element. This article will only focus on the elements of the scroll in determining its use for a display. Additionally, the reader should realize that there are many more different types of scroll styles. Only the most basic elements of the scrolls will be presented to provide the bonsai artist with the ability to recognize the level of formality of the scroll. By recognizing these elements, decisions to select an appropriate scroll for a display may then be made with confidence.
The crux of understanding about the kakejiku is the ability to verify the level of formality of the scroll. Some basic attributes applied or omitted will resolve whether the kakejiku is ranked as 真Shin (formal), 行 Gyou (semi-formal) or 草 Sou (informal). This classification method also applies to the tree varieties, styling, pots, tables, slabs, calligraphy , accent pieces

The following are the most formal , Shin style scrolls. The most striking feature is the intermediate paper, called 台紙貼りDaishihari used as a buffer between the artwork and the cloths.


Figure 1; Photo provided courtesy of Al Keppler, and the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture


What type of scroll is pictured in Figure 1 to the left? This is the Shin no Shin style scroll, and is often reserved for Buddhism and religion related theme. Such religious themed works are not the most appropriate motifs to use for display.

In Figure 1 it is hard to see the picture, but it is quite clear that this is not religious themed artwork. This display was critiqued by my display Sensei and Figure 2 shows that the scroll being reduced in width would have produced a simplified display. In this case, the shin no shin is transformed into a shin no gyou scroll.




By removing the fuutai, the entire display becomes less busy and pushes the eye more to the bonsai. Additionally, by removing the 草者 kusamono there is no competition in the height between the tree and the accent. Replacing it with the 茅葺 Kayabuki, which is an old thatched roof Japanese house, correctly provides the depth (space) for this size of 地板 jiita used in the display. 

Figure 2; Photoshop version of Original Al Keppler photo courtesy of Kuzuhara Ikkou, Shihan Rank of Gadou Style of Display














[one_half]What is the scroll type in figure three to the right? The scroll is an excellent example of using good whitespace, and also has good color combinations of gold on light brown with khaki.Both of these points will be discussed in more detail below. One thing to consider when displaying this type of scroll is to properly straighten out the fuutai. In this case the fuutai are slightly bent and affect the display negatively.[/one_half] [one_half_last]

Figure 3; Photo Courtesy of Bob Hilvers, Bonsai Curator, Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture







The scroll to the right in Figure 6, is an example of a Gyou no Shin scroll. In this case the Fuutai are replaced with suji (the four vertical black lines running along the Ten or top of the scroll). Matching the season to the image on the scroll is very important. Appropriate images will not be discussed in this article, but the Magpie is often associated with a fall display. Based upon the information above though, this is too strong an image to be paired with a bonsai. It could become the focal point of the display rather than the bonsai.

[/one_half] [one_half_last]

Figure 6; Photo Courtesy of Rich from Bonsainut Forum.



Calligraphy with Scrolls


When placing a scroll which utilizes calligraphy, it is recommended to hang one written in the 草書Sousho (Full Cursive) or かな Kana styles. If one looks closely, the character for 草 Sou is the same as that for the informal scroll style. The full cursive style is the most informal writing style, and is appropriate for display with a bonsai, because it is softer, less bold and does not compete for the viewer’s attention. The example in Figure 7 is a sample of Sousho writing and reads, 清風万里秋Seifuu Banri no Aki. This is a poem and means the Pure Wind is the Completion of Autumn.

[/one_half] [one_half_last]jm-figure7[/one_half_last]


[one_half]jm-figure8[/one_half] [one_half_last]One additional note is that one character scrolls are discouraged to use with bonsai because they compete for the viewer’s attention, but often do work well with certain types of 水石 suiseki. The scroll labeled Figure 8 is actually not a character, but is an abstract painting of the Ru Yi (Chinese) or 如李Nyoi (Japanese) scepter. It was a scepter held by the Chinese Emperor and would grant a requestor their wish by using the scepter. Poems and Sutra’s like the one outlined in Figure 7 are better suited to display with a bonsai, particularly those that expound on nature or the seasons.[/one_half_last]


裂地Kireji (Cloth) Colors

[one_half]The correct term for the cloth mounted into a wall scroll is Kireji. This is the last point to consider when selecting a scroll for a display. The Gadou style of display encourages the use of very light earth tones for the cloth color. The justification of this is that these colors are soft, neutral and do not compete with the bonsai or main display piece. Khaki’s, tans, golds, grays, light greens, and light browns are the most desirable colors. The above Crow scroll in Figure 6 is a good example of using a light brown and tan. It can be further pointed out that colors can go with the seasons. The green with gold ivy arabesque with the khaki cloth in Figure 7 was designed specifically to represent fall colors that would likely be seen during the Autumn season. The last scroll in Figure 9, is a spring scroll written in Semi-cursive style and reads梨花一枝春 Rikka Isshi no Haru. This is a spring poem that states the blossoms on one branch of the Nashi (pear) tree signals spring. In this case, the scroll cloth colors of the light green with a moss design and a celadon/teal cloth were used to represent colors related to spring, especially young growth of the flower buds.

With these ideas in mind, it is hoped that the bonsai artist can be more confident to look for certain characteristics associated with scrolls that will enable them to select or design something that will complement their tree and add value to the entire display. If the reader has questions, please e-mail to [email protected]

[/one_half] [one_half_last][/one_half_last]


Selecting Appropriate Scrolls for Bonsai Display
By Jonathan Maples, 表具師Hyougushi of Custom Japanese Calligraphy

[message_box]No Portion of this article may be copied, distributed, or disseminated without the express written consent of Custom Japanese Calligraphy and Jonathan Maples.[/message_box]


From Bonsai: Writers comments and statements in their articles are the subjective opinions of the writer.