Welcome to All in One Bonsa

Bitten by the Bug

Welcome to All in One Bonsai...a blog that aims to remind me of what I have forgotten. Over the years I have been finding out as much as I can about the art of bonsai. I hope the information in this blog will shed some light to the beginning bonsai enthusiast out there.

I saw some bonsai trees at a corner market one night in Taipei and asked the guy if he was willing to teach me how to create these miniature trees. He directed me to a night school where all the instruction was in Chinese. My Chinese ability is very ordinary at the least so although I was learning bits and pieces, I really wasn't getting all I wanted from the course. The best parts were when the teacher would start pruning a beautiful tree or when he showed us how to repot a bonsai. The mystery was still out there but my interest wasn't waning, if anything it fueled my motivation to find out more. And so I did.

Let the adventure begin...

Recently I have discovered the joy of pottery. Bonsai and pottery are close friends so it was only a matter of time before I was introduced to her. Welcome to All in One Bonsai...and pottery.

Feel free to visit my site where you can purchase some of my handmade pottery. Quite a few pieces have been wood fired as it is the prefered method here in Taiwan:

Esty Shop: AllinoneCeramics

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Taichung Bonsai Exhibition

All Aboard the Bonsai Bus

Waking up at 6 in the morning is hard at anytime, let alone after a few beers with Dave.  This I did on Saturday, November 8th, 2014 to visit the middle of Taiwan.

We were off to Taichung, the city in the centre of Taiwan to have a look at their annual bonsai exhibition.  We arrived at around 10 o'clock after a short rest stop and 2 hours of local karaoke.  The bus, full of local bonsai men and women from Taipei drowned out any inner thoughts about anything else with their 'singing'.  Luckily the bonsai was worth it!

Enjoy viewing these magnificent trees.

Thought this one was interesting.Well played sir.

Could possible do with a clean up but still a great little tree.
The trunk is king on any bonsai!

A well balanced bunjin bonsai style.  It was one of my favorites

A White Pine

Japanese Elm - broom style

I would have liked to see that left branch closer to the trunk line. For what it's worth... 

Have to enjoy this little guy

A nice contrast of white and brown livewood.  Lime sulphur is used to bring out the white on the deadwood and by sand papering the live vein of the trunk you can get an almost purple colour.  That contrast is very important.

A pretty cool tree

A great tree!

A close up of the base

Annie thought the leaf size was too long for this bonsai.  For a small shohin bonsai these longer leaves would diminish the illusion of a large tree growing in the wild, however, on a medium to large tree, like this one, the longer leaf varieties of Juniper work well.  Annie is not convinced.


Tired already
Healthy tree despite the deadwood - the live vein does a good job of supplying the power to the foliage.  Although with conifers a lot of the energy is in the foliage.

Up, down, and out.


Worth a photo although I would have liked this tree to have been styled with some distinctive pads.  It still looks a little young like this.

Same could be said of this one. 

It's the end of Autumn here in Taiwan.  The leaves have fallen off, preparing for Winter.

I tried to get in for a close up of the apex.  Creating a realistic apex is a challenge.  Try and go for a cone shaped look - although you need lots of small branches to do that.

Nice movement - always try and shape your trees with some dramatic movement - like a dancer or someone getting ready to move abruptly.  This effect creates tension - tension is good in bonsai.
A great little Black Pine.

The next couple are of smaller shohin bonsai.

When developing a shohin bonsai you have to be very aware of  any flaws as these will be highlighted.  It takes great care and skill to create and nurture a small bonsai like this one.

If this juniper didn't have the jin on the right, it wouldn't look quite as impressive.  It was a great design element.

Terrific ramification!

I'm not really a fan of the 90 degree upwards movement, but the pluses outweigh the minus.

Normally, if you are adding a rock feature at the base, you are trying to cover up some deficiency.  It still looks good but a stand alone tree commands a higher level of respect.  Having said that it may have been grown on the rock from an early age.  I needed to take a closer look at the back of the trunk to determine this.  With so many great trees at the exhibition I didn't take as long as I should have to view.

I thought the number of fruits on this tree was brilliant.

Loved the trunk.

An interesting pot.

Excellent movement - like a taichi pose.  Again the jin adding to the flow - it kind of looks like a raised hand.

Bunjin.  They say this style of bonsai is the most difficult to create - a good bunjin should evoke a strong feeling in the viewer.

Had to get a close up of the dead stuff.

A big powerful guy.

Getting a feel of the show.  Drums didn't stop beating for the entire time we were there.  

Amazing trunk!

Adding interest - a bonsai that tells a story is what it is all about.

A thick trunk and excellent pot.  Most people will ask - how old is this tree?  I think for most of these larger trees, they were either collected in the wild growing on mountains, or field grown, and then nurtured, pruned and wired to produce something like this - all this would have taken years.  My guess is probably over a hundred.

A close up of how some of the branches were wired.

This would have been a branch growing straight out at the viewer - it was cut and made into a small jin because it would have been too obtrusive.

I always like taking a close look at how the branches are placed after wiring.  The idea is for the branch to look full but you also have to be cognisant to leave some space for the light to reach the inner areas.  This way back buds can grow and eventually you can prune back to these new buds which will reduce the length of the branches.  There has to be a limit of branch length.

It's important that these needles receive sunlight - they are the solar panels for the tree!

Freedom of expression going on here.


Nature at work.

Why not!

A massive trunk but the branches are a little thin.  If you could hide the thinness of that right branch by covering it with foliage I believe it would look better.

I thought you might be interested in this...

The long branch being bent over and under itself to create a feeling of compactness.  It was clever!

A beautiful, cascading pine.

Notice the difference in bark texture from trunk to primary branch.  My guess is that the branch was grafted on and is still quite young in comparison to the ancient age of the trunk.

I like it!

Again, I'm trying to learn something from how the apex is formed.  Having options with a lot of smaller branches is one key.

A brute.


A rock adding to the 'thickness' of the base.

Free and easy.

Something needs to be done to the top - too flat - it looks like a Carl Lewis flat top.

A White Pine forest that you could lift up...if you had a friend on the other side.

A nice chunky pot to make a nice chunky trunk.


Definitely interesting.

Very old plated bark.  The pine tree will not have plates like these if they are not extremely old.

The bus was moving on for lunch but I managed to quickly take a few more snapshots as I was walking out of some smaller bonsai.  This particular one was an absolute ripper!!

All aboard...I wish we could have stayed for a little longer but I guess the locals wanted to fire up the karaoke once again.  It was well worth the 2 hour bus ride to have a close look at these trees.  I don't think I have seen any better.

Take care out there!

Please visit my online pottery shop at AllinoneCeramics for handmade ceramic pieces.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! you certainly got some great shots this trip. As an untrained observer, I must admit I admire the trees that cascade out to one side. I like the asymmetry and the flow. Many of these trees seem a lot more stylized than most you photograph and exhibit on the blog.....looks like a pretty special exhibition.
    I'm not sure how you surfaced at 6 a.m., and have no idea how you survived the karaoke blast there and back!