At dinner yesterday Hwa Jin Lee showed camera photos of beautiful bonsai. She made arrangements for us to visit the bonsai nursery rather than go with the group to see temples and other interesting sights- not bonsai related. A few other hard-core bonsai artists who were also demonstrators join us for this unexpected surprise. This kind of thing also often happens to me when I lead my tours to Japan.
Our small group included Hwa Jin Lee, her bonsai teacher from Korea, Suthin, Bjorn and friends from Malaysia, The Philippines, Indonesia and Germany, truly an international group. All of us spoke English and enjoyed the visit to the new bonsai nursery. The van arrived and the nursery was a short ride from our hotel.
Dwarf podocarpus, not Japanese yew
Japanese five-needle pine
Mr. Wu and Bjorn with the Japanese maple bonsai that Bjorn worked on in Japan
Front view of Japanese maple bonsai
Japanese black pine
I did not expect to find a 19 acre beautiful new nursery! The opening ceremony for the Ju Song An Bonsai Nursery is owned by Mr. Wu and his partner who warmly welcomed us gave us a private tour. He told us his plans with us for his new business and I shared the secrete of making one million dollars in the bonsai business- start with two million dollars. He agreed!
In the front garden there was a large stroll garden full of beautiful bonsai, some from Japan. In fact, Bjorn discovered a beautiful exposed root Japanese maple which he worked on at the bonsai garden in Osaka where he studied and is now working. It was still beautiful and quite unusual and Bjorn considered purchasing it in Japan.
Hanging penjing displayed in a frame on a wall
On the left area of the nursery there was a large greenhouse complex which housed a special bonsai exhibit for the opening of the new nursery. All the bonsai were shohin and several small sections were constructed to display shohin bonsai compositions. Although there were a great number of Chinese Elm bonsai we saw several unusual species, all well done.
In the back area of the greenhouse complex there was a sales area featuring books, shohin display box stands, tools, bonsai, pre bonsai and a few finished bonsai as well. Shinny aluminum was for sale and I’ve never seen it so heavy before. An area featured scissor carts, some with built in turntables which I’m certain are necessary for so many large size trees in this garden.
Looking way back, see the small red tent in the far distance?
Half way back
Chinese artists shaping bonsai on rather unique, at least to me work tables
Behind this area was a huge production area of mostly pines, all growing in pots and others were “heeled in” in the Chinese style using bricks. The main road through this area, and the entire nursery was newly laid concrete, so I had no problems strolling along, no stray stones to suddenly flip me over. In the back section, in the middle of the road I found a pop up tent with a few people working on shaping smaller size junipers. Nothing unusual, except for their work stands which looked like antique Chinese display tables for cascade bonsai.
Side road to another area
Another side road leading to another growing area
Golden shimpaku junipers
Large size Oriental arborvitae recently collected which will be used for under stock, branches of other species will be grafted to create bonsai
There were thousands of large size pines being allowed to grow and many were being inarch grafted as well. It was staggering for me to see so many pine bonsai in one area, that it almost looked like the famous Takamatsu area of Japan. All of these pines were still in training and there were not too many finished or refined bonsai in this area.
A “One Bonsai” size truck
After a wonderful surprise visit we join the other group in a temple where we had lunch and watched a Taoist prayer service. We discover that we were lucky because in the morning the group visited a temple with 495 steps.
In the evening we had our Farwell Banquet & Party where over 400 people listened to speeches in both Chinese and English. It went pretty well because we were free to get up and help ourselves to the buffet dinner. Finally at the end it was announced that the next 8th World Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention will be held in Saitama City (Omiya), Japan in late April 2017. This will be the weekend before the semi annual Omiya Bonsai Festival. The following week BCI will have their annual convention in Taiwan. Also announced was that the 13th Asia Pacific Bonsai & Suiseki Convention and Exhibition will be held in southern China, a bit north of Hong Kong.
Mr. Hu, Chairman of the convention did an excellent job coordinating all the activities, with class, too. He announced that over 400 people attended the event from over 30 countries in six continents. New friends were made as well as long time friendships renewed. The activities throughout the three days involved the art, creation and appreciation of bonsai along with the fellowship which is what a good convention should accomplish. Having run over 30 bonsai gatherings myself I know what is involved in the organization of events like this and Mr. Hu and the entire board of directors along with Mr. Xin need to be thanked and congratulated for a wonderful event. I look forward to the next convention in Japan, but hope to meet my new friends sooner.
When everyone was checkout of the hotels we were surprised with complimentary issues of a full color, 16 page tabloid size commemorative newspaper featuring 148 (yes, I counted) photos of the past three day activities. Included was an entire page from the Farwell Banquet & Party held just a couple of hours ago. Well done!
Additional photographs from the World Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention will be in a forthcoming issue of International BONSAI magazine: