Got a new tripod, decided to shoot some winter profiles!


European hornbeam. I purchased this tree from Nature’s Way Nursery and worked on it during Walter Pall’s winter study. It looks quite nice to me already, the trunks have a pleasant movement to them. Much of the branch structure needs to be ramified and developed still. This year I will repot it into a mica pot, in two more I will try to get it into a bonsai pot of some sort.


This is a smaller Chinese quince, styled by my lovely and talented girlfriend two years ago. She had never been exposed to bonsai training before and she zealously went after the tree and developed those hollows with a makita die grinder while I bit my nails to the quick.

Finally, here is a trident maple that was a gift from Marc Torpa at the Growing Grounds. I was traveling through North Carolina and he asked how another tree he had sold me was doing. Sheepishly, I told him I killed it and Marc insisted upon replacing it. I tried to argue with him, but my efforts were half-hearted to say the least. I took the tree to a Walter Pall workshop two years ago and learned how to carve a bit on it. Since then I’ve just sort of hedge trimmed the thing and cut down its root mass. Next will be some wiring and in another year perhaps a bonsai pot. It’s certainly an ugly little tree, and will never win a bonsai contest, but I find the little goblin tree has earned a special place in my heart.

Creating A Beech Forest Bonsai

A man, a plan, a canal, PANAMA. Gearing up for spring, 2015.

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Beech are highly prized for bonsai because of their characteristic white bark, beautiful foliage, winter hardiness and easy training. There are several beech species native to Japan. The Japanese beech, Fagus crenata is the most commonly trained species for bonsai in Japan. Specimens near Mt. Fuji are especially valued because of their small thick foliage. The American beech, Fagus grandifolia, has rather large thin foliage and often collected specimens are grown for bonsai. The European beech, Fagus sylvatica, is trained for bonsai in Europe and spectacular bonsai are created from thick trunked collected trees.

In the United States European beech, and its numerous cultivars are commonly used in the landscape for different colored foliage or unusual growth patterns. These cultivars are usually grafted onto seedlings of European beech, so they are a widely grown nursery stock.

The normal leaf size of European beech is a bit larger than Japanese beech…

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