The Beauty Of Autumn Bonsai



This past summer and autumn have been quite busy for my good friends and me. After the successful 2016 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition my autumn Introductory Bonsai Course began. Then, I sat down and finished the next two issues of International BONSAI. The 2016/NO.2 was mailed out last week and tomorrow morning the 2016/NO. 3 issue will go to the printer, which means it should be in the mail late next week. Later this week Kora Dalager and I will be leading our popular Autumn Bonsai Japan Exploration Tour with 20 participants featuring the Taikan Ten Bonsai Exhibition, autumn maple viewing in Kyoto as well as private bonsai gardens. I return home the day before Thanksgiving leaving six days to prepare for the 2016 Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo in Kannapolis, North Carolina. This unusual show has become one of the premier exhibitions on the east coast. Come; join us on December 3-4, 2106 outside Charlotte to appreciate the delicate beauty of naked bonsai. Additional information on the exhibit, vendors and demonstrations, all FREE, can be located at


Spike winter hazel being prepared for part of my display in the 2016 Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo. Come visit!

On the last day of the Expo I fly directly to China from Charlotte for the first Bonsai Without Borders– Global Summit. Organized by Su Fang, President of the China Penjing Artists Association, the event has 80 bonsai artists from 32 countries, including Cuba too! Sounds exciting!


Four days after coming home I get a complete new knee replacement for Christmas. AND, The 2016/NO. 4 issue of International BONSAI is right on schedule with the publication date December 30th.



Of course we have had a light snow on October 27th, but to date have not had a hard killing frost. Remember, this is Rochester, New York. Now you know why we can’t host a major bonsai exhibition from November through APRIL. If we had a show there is a definite possibility that people could not get their bonsai here OR even return home. Indoor tropical species might even freeze on the way here or home too.


Although the bonsai are lovely, look at the heavy branch on the tree. It is my Rough bark Japanese maple garden tree, I rooted as a cutting over 40 years ago. This large garden tree normally produces a large number of seedlings which Diane collects, establishes and sometimes wire for future bonsai. The will be included in the new Bare-root Seedling Catalog.


The bright autumn colors are about one week later than normal in my bonsai garden. Our summer has been quite hot with little rain. Lawns went dormant and became brown. However, all my bonsai were a vivid green and were watered when necessary by my good friends, often twice daily.


Porcelain berries!


Porcelain berry bonsai displayed with mature multi-colored fruit.

porcelain-berryThis bonsai Porcelain berry was trained by Harvey Carapella. When I saw it, past the normal display time, it had an unusual late autumn beauty. Many people only see the naked bonsai with the remaining fruit, past peak. But Harvey’s Porcelain berry bonsai now presents a quiet eerie feeling.


Firethorn bonsai in an unusual Japanese container. When I purchased the container at Mr. Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo, Japan, friends laughed at me. Truly, I had no idea what to put in this special container but knew something would look in it in the future. A few months later we were having lunch in my studio and I saw this bonsai in the greenhouse. Suddenly, the match was made and within 30 minutes the two became one. This bonsai contrasts with the last Porcelain berry. The presentation is loud.


European beech forest created two years ago from the bare-root seedlings we offer. Look for the new 2107 Bare-Root Seedling Catalog coming soon.


Multiple trunk Japanese maple. Over 40 years ago Chase Rosade came to our society and created a multiple trunk style bonsai by tying several young Japanese maple whips together then planted it in a long rectangular unglazed container. One of my students was lucky (and so was the tree), and won the raffle. He brought it to my classes for two decades then gave me the tree some time ago. After wiring and refining the bonsai suddenly became alive.


Cut leaf Japanese maple which has green foliage during the summer. About 30 years ago Joe Noga was putting the poly on his overwintering houses when he lived n Rochester, New York. He stumbled, and fell backwards directly on top of this bonsai. He wanted to throw it away because of the broken top section of the bonsai, but I convinced him to continue working on it. Well, it recovered and a few years ago he gave it to me as it was becoming too large for him. I planted it in an antique mirror shaped shallow container. This is the studio photo to show the beauty of the structure, and color too.




If you want to enjoy and appreciate the entire beauty of a bonsai it is commonly moved into an area with a plain background. A story can be created with the companion plantings and perhaps a hanging scroll. This large size bonsai did not have room for a hanging scroll. Some people ONLY enjoy creating and caring for their precious bonsai. But, I love to appreciate all the beauty on a higher level by display. Years, decades are spent growing and shaping a bonsai. It is not enough for me to just leave it in the garden, taking it to an exhibition or even taking a formal studio photo. I want to get more…








My Monday Senior Crew came today to help me strip deciduous bonsai in preparation for winter protection. A great group of good skilled dedicated friends.grass-storage

A few of the companion plants my friends cut back for their long winter dormancy. They are placed on the ground, under benches in the garage.

Yesterday and today the colors peaked in my bonsai garden so we took some photos to share with everyone. A few species: Kashima Japanese maple, larch, pear and Korean hornbeam are just beginning to show their autumn colors. We will try to capture their beauty to share. Enjoy the colorful bonsai now, because leaves are dropping rapidly. Unfortunately peak autumn color is not long lasting, unless you can digitally capture it.


Enjoying the beauty of the season with my two buddies Damien and Sam.