Preparing for the USNBE

Finally, a little insight into the last day of my preparation for the US National Bonsai Exhibition.

The display stands were commissioned from David Knittle several years ago, in preparation for the 2018 USNBE. However, I ended up withdrawing due to the health of the pine, and then the 2020 show was pushed to 2021. So finally, I am eager to share the display.

Here is the first stand, made by David after several email exchanges to get dimensions and the live edge run into the right spot to compliment the lines of the pot’s feet. even though we spent time discussing where the live edge would be, and where the finished edge would be, I was still completely surprised when I unboxed it in January 2018. A more in-depth post on this stand is forthcoming…and has actually been in the hopper for several years now.

Here is the second stand, David’s first ‘keyhole’ stand and it turned out really nice.

And a few slabs to choose from for the accent plant. They were made by David Lowman.

Now, to the trees, a Japanese Black Pine I bought at Brussel’s in 2007 as a 5-gallon nursery can. Until this year, all the work was mine. In January, I sent it to Eisei-en to be wired out in preparation for this show. The pot is antique Chinese, pre-1880s from the ShoYouKouSei kiln.

And, a trident maple I’ve grown from a cutting in 2006, and then seated over a rock in 2008. I collected the rock in 1996 on a trip out west to Seattle, and have moved it with us over the years. The pot is a first generation Ino Shukuho.

The accent plant is mixed grasses, ferns, and ajuga, in a red pot by Sharaku. Originally I planned to use an oribe round Tofukuji that I used in 2016, but decided the shape and pop of color would be nice with the display.

These were just brought inside after a couple days of Tropical Storm Ida rain, and ready to be cleaned up. First the trident. A little pruning to remove large and damaged leaves, and to add a little negative space to see into the tree. This only took a few minutes, but mainly because I’ve been working on developing this for years, and pruned it several times this season. While it looked a little ratty, there was some method to the madness

Before
After trimming
Clean the pot well
Moss applied
Done

Placed on the stand custom-made for this bonsai, so it’s a perfect fit.

The accent, cleaned up…and Ji-ita selected

Next up, the pine. Now, this pine is headed back up to Eisei-en this week, and Bjorn is taking it on up to New York. He will remove the guy-wires and handle some last-minute needle pulling, so I’ll be eager to see it in-situ.

Cleaning off the moss from the trunk
The base is widening nicely, the top layer of soil was scraped away to make room for moss…which needs to lay level with the rim of the pot. Then the pot was cleaned and lightly oiled.
Mossed up

And now, putting it all together…my formal 3-point display for the 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition.

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