Create the smallest Bonsai possible with the material you have

In the dark depths of my memory I remember a phrase spoken by another artist during a lecture/demo… “Create the smallest Bonsai possible with the material you have” … and lets face it BONSAI are supposed to be small trees. Despite the plethora of large trees being shown in major exhibitions I have noticed an upsurge in ‘small’ bonsai… Note the recent major Shohin exhibition here in the UK and the growth of the British Shohin Association over the last few years. Certainly many artists of my generation (and older) suffer from ‘Bad backs’ due to carrying over large bonsai.

Many large bonsai do possess drama and ‘presence’ but so do small trees… AND I believe that small trees are more challenging, far more attention to detail and a delicate touch is required.

I have just styled this ‘Kifu’ Taxus. When the tree was collected from the cliff face it was over 1.5 metres in height and a double trunk. The original idea was a Chuhin size but the fascinating area around the nebari and a twisting live vein leading to a strong branch enabled this tree to become a Kifu size bonsai. It is planted in a lovey circular pot by Milan Klika.

Kifu Yew April 2013

the Kifu taxus styled today

Kifu Yew original

Not quite as collected, the top of the tree has been reduced

Kifu Yew original style

This was how the tree was originally styled but it simply did not look OK


10 comments on “Create the smallest Bonsai possible with the material you have

  1. After seeing this in the flesh all I can say is wow. As nice as it is on the picture its nothing compared to being up close and personal. Thanks Tony for a great day out last Sunday and for a great price on a great tree.


    • Hi Andrew you are most welcome and very kind. It was great to have you over in the garden. I am sure in time this will be one of the best trees in my garden… given a few years 🙂


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