In today’s episode, we visit the garden of legendary artist Masahiko Kimura. It was interesting seeing the bonsai I had seen and admired(as have all of you) in magazines and books, through the years. The garden is immaculate to the point of sterility, with nary a weed or blade of grass out of place.
On a the wall in the receiving room(a boardroom-esque affair standing in stark contrast to the living room environment at other Nurseries), photos of trees receiving major awards stretch into the distance.
One of Kimura San’s famous Junipers. If memory serves, I think this Is one where the ten-Jin are actually roots, the tree itself flipped entirely upside down by partially separating the live vein from existing deadwood.
Some close ups of the deadwood.
Another famous Juniper. This surprised me. I’d never considered it before, but the foliage is actually quite coarse. I do believe it’s the original Tohaku foliage, pale green and coarse, nothing at all like the tight, bright, and vibrant Kishu and Itoigawa.
An impressively massive and well refined Shimpaku. You can see from the foliage in comparison with the bonsai above the difference.
A sinuous, twisty Shimpaku. Well refined, like everything in the “public” area of Kimura San’s garden.
With live veins to either side of the Shari, and the great appearance of taper, this bonsai presents a different type of power than the super twisty Junipers with massive deadwood above.
Fascinating movement and deadwood.
Elegant, smaller Shimpaku.
Massive and highly refined Black Pine.
Great and classical.
A massive and famous Pine. In all honesty, this beast is unreal in in person. Bark so thick you could hide a small child in the ridges and fissures!
Nice medium semi cascade pine showing some subtle Shari near the Base. You can definitely tell the season from these photos: the secondary flush of candles peeking through the growth puts us in the dead middle of summer.
An interesting and elegant red pine, with very nice movement.
Big black pine in development. The use of rebar and bamboo as guy anchors is interesting.
another large, but elegantly powerful pine. The subtle and thin vein of sabamiki running from the base provides nice character and interest.
Amazingly thick, ridged bark!
Elegant and graceful Bunjin Goyomatsu. Mochikomi!
In contrast with the elegant Bunjin, a stout and powerful semi cascade black pine.
Famous and beautiful Goyomatsu, with a significant sabamiki and great deadwood. Refined, elegant, and feminine, yet powerful: a study in contrast.
A fascinatingly unique Yamadori pine with incredible movement and significant hollows. A real stunner!
While Kimura is mostly renowned for his fantastic and modern Junipers and bold Pines, I find his rock plantings to be my favorites of his work. Here they are in all their stunning character. Like all bonsai, photos don’t do these justice!
Rock Plantings of Shimpaku.
A unique and famous rock planting of Hinoki cypress, composed of two stones which fit together in a valley shape.
Detail of accents at the joint of the two stones.
Rock planting of Shimpaku, on a boat shaped Kurama stone turned on its side. The effect of a near view sheer cliff face is well presented.
Not really a rock planting, but similar. GoyoMatsu planted in deadwood.
Famous single tree rock planting of Shimpaku, on a carved stone. How many others remember being stunned and amazed by the article detailing the stone’s creation and the planting? I do!
Taller Rock plantings and various large Chuhin bonsai.
Tall peak style Rock planting of Shimpaku. Interesting to note that the trees’ placement, relative lengths, style, and the taper of the stone to an apical trees all fit the classical standard proportions for a classical bonsai, with the stone as trunk.
Peak style Shimpaku rock planting.
An interesting sloping hinoki cypress rock planting. In some of Kimura’s Ishizuke, the lines are blurred between Yose Ue and Ishizuke.
A five tree Ishizuke. At first glance, I thought this was 3 trees, but on closer inspection, I think the top is actually 3 rather mediocre Shimpaku planted in such a way to appear as one. This is one of the things about Rock plantings that appeals to me: the material itself is often rather mediocre, it’s the style, design, and placement with a great stone that makes a masterpiece, not just incredible material.
Tall and impressive peak style Ishizuke.
Another unique piece. Flat Slabs of stone cemented together and planted with hinoki. That’s Neil Dellinger and his much-nicer-than-than-my-iPhone camera. I néed to have a look at some of those pics!
Hinoki cypress forest. The tiny trees create a very realistic depth.
Ezo Spruce forest.
Detail of bark on Chojubai.
And we’ll finish up our visit to Mr. Kimura’s garden with some shots of his prized Koi, which are lovely….and….prized North American painted turtles? Odd man.
Thanks for reading!(and thanks again ro Peter for braving this episode) 😉
Up next, we visit Morimae San and his awesome one-stop-shopping-bonsai big box, S-Cube, and a visit to Fukano San and the western-well-known Yorozuen! Stay Tuned!
Up Next: S-Cube!