Review Showcase

Jump to: Show Reviews :: Book Reviews :: DVD Reviews

Listed in alphabetical order by title.

Show Reviews

ASPAC 9

By Budi Sulistyo, Indonesia

Book Review: 'ASPAC 9
ASPAC, the first and largest convention to exhibited both bonsai and suiseki, has been held every two years since the first in1991 at Nusa Dua, Bali. Indonesia is the founder of this non-formal convention that came to be loved and well accepted by many bonsai and suiseki lovers all over the world. It later was held in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Beijing, and then came back to Bali again.
Read More >>

Beyond Belgium and Bonsai

By M. Wallner, USA ; & D. Schmitz, USA

Book Review: 'Beyond Belgium and Bonsai
It was one of those ideas that had taken root, for my husband Harry, bonsai enthusiast these six years, building up his skill, by practice, reading - something like I was but more at a distance, the writer-onlooker, just now getting into wiring of the little trees in pots.
Read More >>
National Bonsai Exhibition – A Cinderella Story?
Thorns aside, the story of American Bonsai and the long awaited exhibition is one of rags to riches, of underdogs, of paupers, princes, hand servants, and of a few people daring to dream. In my opinion, it is a Cinderella story, in fact, the First National Exhibition is filled with Cinderella stories, just a few of which I will mention here.
Read More >>
TO GHENT AND BACK with snacks
Of course it was the lure of the great inter-European bonzo show that lured me and my drinking buddy Krunk to endure 16 hours of airline food and trash movies to see what Herr Pall called ZE BEST BONZAI IN ZA ENTIRE VORLD. Not quite so - the show was a bit disappointing. Eight to ten of the trees were a joy to behold.
Read More >>

Book Reviews


Book Review: 'The Art of Suiseki' - by Willie Benz
He has the ability to then present this blend of information and experience in a intellectual and entertaining manner that is not only highly educational, but inspiring as well. This talent is very apparent in this book, which is a comprehensive guide to Suiseki that covers virtually every aspect of the art.
Read More >>

Magazine Review: Gulf Stream Tropical Bonsai Journal

By Will Heath, USA

Magazine Review: Gulf Stream Tropical Bonsai Journal
The premise behind the magazine was a good one; bonsai in this country has grown substantially over the last decade and is well represented in every state. Tropical growers in this country such as Jerry Meislik, Jim Smith, and others have wrote books and articles, they have given numerous workshops, classes, and demos on tropicals and their care. By doing so, they have created many new converts to tropicals, earning long overdue respect for tropical species.
Read More >>
Book Review: 'The Bonsai Art of Kimura'
This English Language version of Kimura's book is based mostly on "The Magical Technician of Contemporary Bonsai, Part II" and includes some content from his first book, "The Magical Technician of Contemporary Bonsai, Part I." It was his first book that rocketed him to bonsai fame and made him a household name, but not without a price. He was heavily criticized at first for his work, many saying that it was more sculpture than bonsai. This out lash was not surprising considering that in Japan, up until about 30 years ago; bonsai had remained virtually unchanged since its beginnings and Kimura, in an instant, transformed the art forever.
Read More >>

Book Review: Bonsai Kusamono Suiseki - by Willie Benz

By Will Heath, USA

Book Review: Bonsai Kusamono Suiseki - by Willie Benz
As a book simply covering the proper way to display objects, this book would be a valuable reference tool, however Mr. Benz takes it to many different levels and sublevels, adding a multi-dimensional feel to the book where the reader, before they realize it, acquires vast useful knowledge on the creation or choosing of the components of the display, the reasoning behind the guidelines, as well as some very well explained principles of artistic design.
Read More >>
Book Review: 'The Art of Bonsai Design' - Colin Lewis
When I first became involved in bonsai a few years ago I started an unquenchable quest for knowledge and picked up any book I could find on the art of bonsai, regardless of the quality of content. Some of these first books have never been opened since; they collect dust on the library shelf, waiting for perhaps my young daughter to reach the age where she will embark on the same quest and maybe find some useful tidbit of information that I could not. Maybe she will just gain the enthusiasm, the drive, and the sense of wonder I did and like me, want to read every single word ever written on the subject, good or bad.
Read More >>

'Bonsai - The Art of Living Sculpture'

By Will Heath, USA

'Bonsai - The Art of Living Sculpture'
Having long been a proponent of bonsai being viewed as living three dimensional sculptures and having just met Jack Douthitt at the Michigan All State Show, I didn't hesitate to purchase this book when I seen it the next day on a shelf at a local bonsai shop. My schedule, being as full as it is, assured that the book would rest in my library unopened until recently, when I was looking for something to read and rediscovered it.
Read More >>
'BONSAI: Its Art, Science, History, & Philosophy'
In the pantheon of bonsai books there are a few that stand head and shoulders above the rest: John Naka's 2-part series is one; Yuji Yoshimura's first book, from 1957 is another; Deborah Koreshoff's 1984 publication is the third.
This clear, concise, beautifully illustrated manual is unique, in the bonsai publishing field. It gives a thorough understanding of the fundamental differences between Eastern and Western art, particularly from the viewpoint as to how Eastern art has influenced the development of bonsai styles.
Read More >>

'Bonsai from the Wild' by Nick Lenz

By Paul Stokes, USA

'Bonsai from the Wild' by Nick Lenz
For those who have been around the bonsai scene for a while, particularly in the US, Nick Lenz has attained an almost legendary status, as an aficionado of the ancient Chinese and Japanese art of bonsai, and as iconoclastic writer, artist, and bonsai potter.
His vast experience, borne of over 40-odd years of collecting native North American species, and observing and recording their suitability for bonsai, shows through clearly, in this publication.
Read More >>
'Bonsai Life Histories' by Martin Treasure
Martin Treasure has won a number of bonsai awards, in his pursuit of bonsai artistry. He displays a remarkable knack for turning rough urban collected and nursery stock into bonsai.
This book 'Bonsai Life Histories' is not only easy to read but gives a brief overview of the design process of each of more than fifty bonsai trees, from urban collected stock or nursery stock which he has transformed into bonsai. Although, there are no 'masterpiece' bonsai to be seen in this book, there are many on their way to being one.
Read More >>

'The Bonsai School' by Craig Coussins

By Hector Johnson, Australia

'The Bonsai School' by Craig Coussins
In a book characterised by hundreds and hundreds of high quality colour photography, it is irritating to find so many typographical errors and misspellings. The occurrence of poor quality, digital images is also a serious drawback to an otherwise excellent publication.
The author has chosen some unusual content, particularly in relation to the relationship between bonsai and Buddhism.
Read More >>
Bonsai Potters' - by D Giphart and L Arzooyan
The art of bonsai pottery has always seemed to exist in the background of the bonsai community. Pot selection was a mystery to beginners, who often potted in whatever was available and affordable, with little thought at all given to aesthetics. It seems the master potters of the art were selling the majority of their pots to the master bonsai artists. Meanwhile the cheaper, mass produced imports common with the mallsai sellers, and the low end retailers, were also purchased by the beginner, who had not yet learned the value of well made and well designed bonsai pottery matched to the plant.
Read More >>

'Bonsai Todays' Master Series - Junipers'

By Richard Moquin, USA

'Bonsai Todays' Master Series - Junipers'
Having previously received and read "Pines" the Master Series, I looked forward in not only reading but adding this book to my reference library. This volume as with the former, is targeted towards the intermediate to advanced enthusiast. Having said that, the layout and descriptions are easily understood by any audience.
Read More >>
'Bonsai Todays' Master Series - Pines'
When I first received this book and settled back to read it, I felt some slight regret that I had ordered it. A compilation of articles from previous issues of Bonsai Today did not seem very exciting to me, as I already have every back issue available and I use them often for reference or inspiration.
However, my reservations quickly disappeared when I realized that the book had been edited to include information not in the original articles. This work is aimed at the intermediate to advanced bonsaist, though it is easily absorbed, owing to the clarity of expression to be found in these pages.
Read More >>

'The Complete Book of Bonsai' - Harry Tomlinson

By Hector Johnson, Australia

'The Complete Book of Bonsai' - Harry Tomlinson
Harry Tomlinson has, with this book, compiled a brilliant composition of bonsai information and techniques for the beginner. An extensive range of photographs, ranging from styling techniques to pot selection, this is a very informative work. It lives up to its cover billing, as "A Practical Guide To The Art & Cultivation Of Bonsai."
171 colour plates ensure there is no shortage of photographic reference for the reader, though many of the trees portrayed are in the early stages of development, rather than specimen trees.
Read More >>
'The Growing Tree' by Brayton F. Wilson
Brayton Wilson Ph. D. is a Professor of Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley. His book, reviewed here, is often quoted in publications and is required reading for forestry students around the world.
With this work the author shows he is a highly competent authority on plant physiology with his precise, technical coverage. The information delivered is highly accurate and comprehensive, yet easy to read and understand. The book flows smoothly through such subjects as forking in woody roots, apical control of bud development, and movement of pine candles.
Read More >>

'The Japanese Art of Miniature Trees and Landscapes'

By Hector Johnson, Australia

'The Japanese Art of Miniature Trees and Landscapes'
If bonsai was a religion then this would likely be its bible. Renowned as the first serious English language publication on the subject of bonsai, this book is so much a part of the art and cultivation of bonsai in the West that it has been somewhat to the detriment of Western understanding of bonsai. Simply, the slavish obeisance and application of the principles portrayed in these pages has been responsible for many bonsai being styled far more rigidly, in compliance with 'the rules' Yoshimura describes, than would be the case if there had been other information available in the 1960s and 1970s.
Read More >>
'Vision of My Soul' by Robert Steven
My first thought upon receiving this book was that there was no way the content could compare with the fantastic presentation portrayed by the hand bound cover, the inlaid silver leaf, and the overall artistic feel of the edition. To my delight, I was wrong.
This book comes across as art, it feels like art, you'll feel protective of the cover and you'll be reluctant to set it on anything that may harm the surface. Once you open the pages you'll see that Robert Steven has done a remarkable job, creating a work that will long be remembered as a classic, for bonsai enthusiasts.
Read More >>

DVD Reviews

Bonsai [Works of Divinity]

By Paul Stokes, USA

Bonsai [Works of Divinity]
Through fabulous cinematography and excellent editing this DVD conveys a wonderful story: A condensed year in the life of the world-renowned bonsai master Shinji Suzuki.
For those who expect a technical treatise, showing Mr Suzuki styling trees while he tells you why he's doing certain things, you will be disappointed, if only for a moment. Instead, you get to see before and after shots of some trees; There are also passages where Mr Suzuki effortlessly and casually, it seems, performs miracles with extremely old and valuable trees.
Read More >>
'How To Collect Wild Trees'
I have known Andy, on nodding terms, for nearly fifteen years. He is well known for his collecting and selling of collected wild Ponderosa Pines (Pinus ponderosa) and Rocky Mountain Junipers (Juniperus scopulorum). Andy supplied the materials for the MABA 2000 convention, Kimura workshop, as well as Mr. Kimura's demonstration tree. All were Rocky Mountain Junipers.
Read More >>