Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

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Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Guest on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:19 pm

Since Saburo Kato died in 2008 a lot have changed at Mansei-en in Omiya. Still the special coastline arrangement of Ezo Spruze can be seen, and it has been kept well and established on a new special place in the nursery. Mansei-en has been totally rebuild, and the new buildings are very beautiful in the new arranged nursery.
One great drawback though was the killing of several valuable prize winning bonsai. Firstly rumours where around (in Europe at least) that someone killed the trees deliberately. But the fact is that rain running from the new copper roof poisoned the trees and killed them. Therefore all trees are now moved away from the roof ends, and even when it rains any trees in danger of having any sprinkles from the roof are watered thoroughly just after the rain stops to be sure nothing happens to them.

A treasure at Mansei-en is a special Juniper collected in the mountains some time ago. The tree is estimated to be app. 2000 years old, making this the oldest bonsai in the world. This bonsai is still in developing stages, but just the knowledge of its age makes it a very rare and special tree to watch.

Photographing is not allowed at Mansei-en, but I gained special permission due to our friendship with Saburo Kato.
See more at www.shohin-europe.com

Regards
Morten


Saburo Katos Ezo Spruze creations that produces the image of the Russian coastline. Here late Saburo Kato collected the Ezo Spruze with is father in a young age, and decided to make this coastline to keep a happy memory of this father.




2000 year old juniper making it the oldest bonsai in the world.


















New shadow purpose building, to protect some trees during the summer period.




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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:00 pm

Wow, that last picture... Schizophragma hydrangeoides... amazing!

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  DuncanH on Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:11 pm

Absolutely outstanding Morten – truly inspirational images from Japan and great quality as always!! Smile Smile

Thank you for sharing these – they are great to see

Best regards,
Duncan

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  cosmos on Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:26 pm

Have to agree with Duncan. Just awesome.

Cosmos

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  NeilDellinger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:06 am

Not sure what Russell said...but I agree. Very Happy

Terrible to hear about the mistake regarding the copper roof.

A 2000 year old collected juniper is pretty amazing.

Thanks for the many excellent reports Morten.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:12 pm

NeilDellinger wrote:Not sure what Russell said...but I agree. Very Happy

Neil, that's one of the plants commonly called "climbing hydrangea". I have a weakness for offbeat plant material as bonsai.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Guest on Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:26 pm

These specimens might seem offbeat material because we do not see them at bonsai exhibitions. This is because this kind of material is aimed for exhibit in a summer Tokonoma display, and normally there are no exhibitions in Japan during the summer because it is the growing season.

The lightness of such a specimen is good to express the feeling of a cool summer night, or to suggest a calm feeling of a summer day. So go ahead and grow something like this, because it is beautiful to watch too. In some Shohin displays items like that one is seen as secondary tree, because it is easier to fit in a shohin display when part of several other items. Here the fresh green leaves shows early autumn awakening or another specimen with berries in autumn can suggest the time of year. Trunk thickness is less important than at "normal" bonsai.

Regards
Morten

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:50 pm

You hit the nail on the head Morten.

Because we don't see these 'summer" plants in show albums - Mimosa, Hydrangeas, Sumac, Viburnum, Akebia, etc - we don't realize how many are actually used!

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Question for the guys who know

Post  NeilDellinger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:53 pm

Regarding Morten's point about species not commonly seen in exhibitions & their use in summer displays.......

Maybe this is a good question for someone like Bill Valavanis to provide input, given his role in the US National Exhibition.

Its interesting that in the US we tend to have exhibitions in the spring and summer...aka the growing season. Why not have more exhibitions in late winter in the US?

It would be great to see an exhibition in the US that had dormant deciduous trees. In my opinion, this is when they are most beautiful. And, it would be much easier to view the trees branch structure.

Neil

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  William N. Valavanis on Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:52 pm

Neil,

I agree with you about appreciating bonsai during the winter when they are dormant and display a different type of beauty with bare twigs, buds and bark.

As far as the US National Bonsai Exhibition goes, who would want to go to Rochester, NY in the winter? Our snows begin in November (sometimes in October) and people may get snowed in and must remain until the snow melts in April.

Early summer is the best time to visit Rochester, NY. There are plenty of fine quality bonsai which look good at that time of the year.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to produce a US National Bonsai Exhibition in a location other than Rochester, NY. My dedicated and supportive "crew" all live here and it would be not be possible to replace them.

So, please prepare your bonsai for display in early June. NOW is the time to begin submitting photos for the selection process.

Russell: I share your love for unusual bonsai too!

Bill

Here is an unusual bonsai–



Porcelain berry
Ampelopsis brevipendunclata

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  NeilDellinger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:37 pm

Bill,
If Rochester is anything like Geneva Illinois in winter, I completely understand!

Thanks for sharing your tree. As much as I like the plant, I really appreciate the pot. And especially the good combination of the two. It really compliments the berries.


Neil

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:14 am

We lack winter exhibitions too in Denmark. So far I believe, it had much to do with trees not yet good enough to stand with naked branches, but I believe we could manage that today. Quality is there now for some bonsai.
Next problem is unstable winters, making it difficult to know if everything is covered with snow and but freezing, or mild and friendly. Difficult to organize if you don't know if its attractive or even possible to take trees out of winter protection and get them ready to show. Normally we have mild winters but the last two have covered the country in heavy snow and freezing, so it would have been impossible to make anything during the winter months.
Therefore spring, early summer, and autumn will be best possible and attractive season around here. Although I would love a winter exhibition some time.
Back to the subject, I like these non-ordinary species you present. Thanks for good inspiration.

Regards
Morten

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  NeilDellinger on Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:04 am

Morten,
Do you know the history and the "story" behind the very old juniper? How long in a pot, when was it collected and by who?

Hopefully you are able to share some of the story behind such an amazing tree.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  ndleong on Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:32 am

Morten

Vow is fascinating.. thanks for sharing

Nd

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  fM on Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:05 am

woow, amazing images and photography; thanks for sharing

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Guest on Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:56 am

NeilDellinger wrote:Morten,
Do you know the history and the "story" behind the very old juniper? How long in a pot, when was it collected and by who?

Hopefully you are able to share some of the story behind such an amazing tree.

I only know the age of this tree, and that it has been in the collection at Mansei-en for some time now. It has not been shown yet, probably because it has been collected in resent years and needed development.

Regards
Morten

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  digitalbeachbum on Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:42 pm

Guest wrote:
NeilDellinger wrote:Morten,
Do you know the history and the "story" behind the very old juniper? How long in a pot, when was it collected and by who?

Hopefully you are able to share some of the story behind such an amazing tree.

I only know the age of this tree, and that it has been in the collection at Mansei-en for some time now. It has not been shown yet, probably because it has been collected in resent years and needed development.

Regards
Morten

I was browing the internet this morning and stumbled on to this forum.

What makes a bonsai a bonsai?

Human intervention. Human cultivation.

If I took a bristlecone pine which was 3000 years old and put it in a tray, can I call it the oldest bonsai in the world? Can I call it a 3000 year old bonsai?

The answer would be "No".

It appears that the oldest living bonsai in the world is in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection and is over 500 years old. I've yet to see any other information on any other bonsai which would give chase to such a title.

"Bonsai dating to the 17th century have survived to the present. One of the oldest-known living bonsai trees, considered one of the National Treasures of Japan, is in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection. A five-needle pine (Pinus pentaphylla var. negishi) known as Sandai-Shogun-No Matsu is documented as having been cared for by Tokugawa Iemitsu. The tree is considered to be at least 500 years old and was first trained as a bonsai by, at latest, the year 1610. The earliest known report by a Westerner of a Japanese dwarf potted tree was made in 1692 by George Meister."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai#Hachi-no-ki





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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  dick benbow on Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:57 pm

Always appreciate seeing places, so thank-you for posting.

The copper situation mentioned is also something that happens with frequency for unsuspecting koi keepers
that reroute water intentionally or otherwise into the pond from a roof.. either way the results are the same. what a shame.

living in a country as broad and wide as America creates having a national anything, a logistical nightmare. I forgot where i read recently the name of the city in kansas that was dead center in the U.S. So we're very fortunate to have those who work so hard to keep what we have, going. With great hope that efforts now underway to encourage wider support will continue to strenghten from a new and upcoming generation.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  kauaibonsai on Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:44 pm

according to saburo kato's son, who now runs mansei-en, this ancient tree was collected in Hokkiado. insofar as aged japanese bonsai, see the book Classic Bonsai of Japan where some trees are dated beyond 1000 years old.

best wishes, sam

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Kakejiku on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:08 pm

Just a link for an ancient tree....Estimates by experts for this tree are anywhere from 1,800 years old to 3,000 years old. I did this hike when I was 18 years old to see this tree in person.
http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/jardine.htm

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  Bob Pressler on Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:27 pm

NeilDellinger wrote:Regarding Morten's point about species not commonly seen in exhibitions & their use in summer displays.......

Maybe this is a good question for someone like Bill Valavanis to provide input, given his role in the US National Exhibition.

Its interesting that in the US we tend to have exhibitions in the spring and summer...aka the growing season. Why not have more exhibitions in late winter in the US?

It would be great to see an exhibition in the US that had dormant deciduous trees. In my opinion, this is when they are most beautiful. And, it would be much easier to view the trees branch structure.

Neil

There is at least one see this thread herehttp://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t8880-winter-silhouette-show

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Mansei-en andoldest living bonsai

Post  kora on Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:58 pm

Yes, the juniper is indeed a wonderful specimen- I have had the opportunity to view it on a number of occasions,but other than ascertaining the age by dendrochronology-not advisable with bonsai- we are just making educated guesses of how old the tree is. There are probably a number of Californians(and people who own CA, Sierra or Utah junipers, who might dispute the fact that Mansei-ens is the oldest.Why must everything be the best, the tallest the shortest the oldest etc.?

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  digitalbeachbum on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:01 am

kauaibonsai wrote:according to saburo kato's son, who now runs mansei-en, this ancient tree was collected in Hokkiado. insofar as aged japanese bonsai, see the book Classic Bonsai of Japan where some trees are dated beyond 1000 years old.

best wishes, sam

I think I might have missed trying to explain the conflict among the bonsai world on what makes a bonsai a bonsai.

What is the difference between a 4,800 year old tree dug out of the ground and put in a tray and a 500 year old tree in a tray which was cared for, trained and protected for 500 years?

The difference is that the 4,800 year old tree (Methuselah) isn't a 4,800 year old bonsai. It was formed by nature and a person came along and dug it up after all the hard work had already been done by nature. The 500 year old tree, which was passed down from generation to generation is actually an older bonsai than the 4,800 year old tree.

The mansei-en nursery was only started in the 19th century (around 1850), so how could they have a 2,000 year old bonsai? They don't. They have a 2,000 year old juniper which they dug out of the ground and then started to train it only recently.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  dick benbow on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:05 am

It seems whenI docen a bonsai display and answer questions from the general public, the first and formost question asked is "how olde is it?"

Koi shows is "how much does it cost?" LOL Smile

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

Post  digitalbeachbum on Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:11 am

kora wrote:Yes, the juniper is indeed a wonderful specimen- I have had the opportunity to view it on a number of occasions,but other than ascertaining the age by dendrochronology-not advisable with bonsai- we are just making educated guesses of how old the tree is. There are probably a number of Californians(and people who own CA, Sierra or Utah junipers, who might dispute the fact that Mansei-ens is the oldest.Why must everything be the best, the tallest the shortest the oldest etc.?

Often it has to do with the ego trying to promote itself among other egos. I'm bigger, better, stronger...

As for the oldest bonsai, it is more a factual thing. I don't know if the juniper in question is actually a 2,000 year old juniper, maybe it is & maybe it isn't. Bonsai don't become bonsai until the are trained to be bonsai. Taking a 2,000 juniper out of the ground and putting it in a tray does not make it a 2,000 year old bonsai.

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Re: Japan 2011 - Mansei-en and the oldest bonsai in the world

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