Archived goals and new issues

Just do it!

Just do it!

Well well! Another year went by and so much has happened. New families were made, some families fell apart; some new friends have earned the title of “friend”, some not; some bonsai were styled for good and some need time to mature.

I did have 4 goasl for 2013 and I achieved at least 3 of them, well it would be all four if I included doing more bonsai in my goals instead of restyling my garden which was a complete failure.

Starting in January with the first session at the Università del bonsai, then finding Nicola online and immediately booking  a workshop for the end of March. In May my first article was published on Bonsai Empire and in June I visited the Swiss bonsai show in Lugano. Summer passed up to the first week of September which was the highlight of my year:  Bonsai Summer Festival in Fai della Paganella. Only one week, but boy did we ever have fun! Not only did I learn a lot about complementary tags all around bonsai art, like presentation, accent plants, bonsai pots, and much more, but also, and most importantly I made a whole new group of friends that like me appreciate bonsai as they are and not for their monetary value or winning potential. I am so grateful to Paolo who managed to introduce me to this new world of bonsai without prizes, seems weird but in my opinion it’s more peaceful and in tune with the whole idea of bonsai itself.
After this wonderful event the wheel started to turn. Articles were published, trees were styled, new enthusiasts were known, well… I had to work more on PR rather than concentrating on my goals, but I did find the time to achieve some other goals.

Another goal reached is to lose weight, and although I gained some kilos this holiday season I am still very motivated to do more for my figure. And last but absolutely not least: learning Japanese. This is one of the main goals for next year as well. I am going to Japan in May 2014 and it’s very important to be able to understand the basics of conversation, or, if at all possible, to understand what Fujikawa San will say.


Talking about new goals, since not all goals have been achieved in 2013, I will not be setting my goals too high for this coming year, although they are indeed demanding: 1) Learn more Japanese;2) Lose more weight and 3) Write more on my blogs and for other bonsai magazines. The highlight in 2014 would be the trip to Japan. I am so excited about it, as are all my bonsai friends who are already asking me to bring home this and that!! I am hoping for the best and I am absolutely positive that no matter what Fujikawa San and Björn will teach me, it will be an amazing experience.
For the rest, I will follow my new styled tree and care for some new species, visit the Roku Shun-Ten, participate at the Swiss New Talent, and maybe visit more shows in Europe as I did in 2013. Of course, there will be more workshops with Nicola and I hope to be able to visit Paolo in Turin.

Hope to be able to achieve all of my goals and more importantly learn more about bonsai and related arts!

…love, Melanie!

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It was very very interesting! I am looking forward for his book about tea ceremony


venerdì 6 settembre

Conferenza “Le arti e le Vie nella cultura giapponese”


friday september 6

Conference “Arts and “DO” in japanese culture”


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Well done NBSKE. Keep up with the good job!


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Sono passate ormai 2 settimane dalla fine di Bonsai Summer Festival e vorrei dare un po di dati.

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Bonsai Summer Festival: Part 3

Summer Bonsai Festival 

In my previous post I wrote about the Summer bonsai Festival organized by the Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe (NBSKE) of wich I have been a member for a couple of months and am so excited to be part of. If you missed my previous post go to Part 1 and Part 2 to see more.

The last part of the week was dedicated to the National Congress of the NBSKE. Again the trees and compositions were rearranged, and the focus of this last part of the week went to the real art of Bonsai: Improve your bonsai with Sensei Isao Fukita; how to set up the Tokonoma; demonstration of bonsai technique with the contribution of the expert members of NBSKE and Sensei Fukita; for those interested teacher Fabio Smolari did some Taiji in the morning and prof. Aldo Tollini gave a very interesting conference on the Arts and ways of Japanese culture.
Well, since Sensei Fukita was there, I tried to apply my very sparse Japanese to impress, but I grandly failed with pleasant appreciation from his side: I told him “kombawa” instead of “domo arigato”. For the record: good night instead of thank you! He laughed with affection!

Of course the new shimpaku bought at Otti’s nursery had to be restyled, and Sensei Fukita did a great job, well… what else could one expect! Sensei Isao Fukita  was born in 1966 in Hirosaki in the province of Aomori. In 1983 he became a pupil of Sensei Kunio Kobayashi at Shunkaen. In 1990, after the loss of his father, he had to leave Shunkaen and returned home to carry on the family tradition as bonsai Master in Kashoen. At the Nihon Bonsai Sakufu-Ten he received, for three consecutive years (1994-1996) the Association Hana Ippai first prize, Satsuki section. In 1998  he received the award from the Mainichi Shinbun for first style Bunjin at the Sakufu-Ten. In the same year he travels to San Francisco to give Bonsai conferences. In 1999, at the Sakufu-Ten he archives the award from the Japanese Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

It was nice to see a Japanese sensei at work, he sweated a lot bending two pinus silvestris!
After dinner Prof. Aldo Tollini, a great expert of Japanese culture and our translator, held a really interesting conference about the arts and ways of Japanese culture. “le arti e le vie nella cultura giapponese” the Arts and Ways in japanese culture. Basically; the perfecting of the imperfect, the path of the art brings illumination, the heart searches for perfection in exterior forms, the correct exterior form corrects the heart. The concept of wabi, the Kibishiza drama. Really interesting.
Saturday, a very interesting conference/exchange of opinions about the preparation of the Tokonoma. I am sure everybody knows what a Tokonoma is. In English, Tokonoma is usually called alcove (quelle: Wikipedia). For bonsai enthusiasts a display in the Tokonoma should be the ultimate goal while planning the plant. When a composition is finished/styled/restyled or even just preparing for the next show, it should be displayed in the Tokonoma to see the flaws and qualities of the plant, for the choice of the right shitakusa (accent plant) and the kakejiku (Japanese scroll painting or calligraphy), in order to choose the right table or jiita (a wooden or bamboo flowerpot saucer). 11 exhibitors and master members presented their own interpretations in the Tokonoma.  Once more, a very interesting exchange of opinions, and the President of NBSKE Lorenzo Agnoletti recited a poem? Very touching.
I travelled home on Sunday and missed the demo of my Sensei Nicola Crivelli and a Yamadori workshop with Lorenzo Agnoletti but my new friends told me it was really special.
This was my 3 part series on the Bonsai Summer Festival. Hope you all enjoyed it and hope I brought you some japanese bonsai culture in your heart and in your soul.
I had a wonderfull week, I meet lots of lovely people, I learnes su much about bonsai art, I really had a great time and wanted to thank all the members of NBSKE for organizing such an amazing event. I really hope to repeat this experiance also next week.
….love, Melanie!

Summer Bonsai Festival: part 2

Summer Bonsai Festival


In my previous post I wrote about the Summer Bonsai Festival organized by the Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe (NBSKE) of which I have been a member for a couple of months and am so excited to be part of. Here part 1
Part two is about other japanese art forms like: Ikebana, tea ceremony, and bonsai pots as well as a trip to Othmar Auer who has his nursery and school about one hour from Fai della Paganella. In the photo gallery more about his garden.
On Monday we had a guided tour in the woods of Fai della Paganella. If anybody reading this comes to the north of Italy, I really raccomend going to Trentino. This area really touched my heart.
We also participated in a workshop by Adriano Nalon about cultivating a tree from seed. Adriano brought a couple of plants as examples and explained why he feels it is one of the most rewarding forms of cultivation. He’s now retired and doesn’t cultivate trees from seeds any more but he collects seeds from herbs and weeds for kusamonos and shitakusas. At the workshop he had a gingko to show something he cultivated from seeds in the late ’70 early ’80. Anyway, he told the audience “I will throw away this tree, I don’t like it”! Well, the gingko has find a new owner: me!
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After dinner Diego Rigotti held a conference on Suiseki. Diego is also a member of the NBSKE and one of the organizers of this wonderful week-long event. Again it’s a really interesting art-form although I still have to find out where to find Suiseki stones.
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On Tuesday we had a guided tour of Fai della Paganella and a brief yet illuminating journey thought the history of this amazing tiny village inhabited by about 900 people.
In the evening Mistress Sachiko Yamaguchi held a conference on Ikebana. Of course somebody had to try this new technique and who is more prone to try new things than me?!
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On Wednesday came the highlight, a visit to Othmar Auer’s garden! Otti, as he’s called, does have a big beautiful garden, but it’s not as open as a normal nursery. You have to announce yourself a couple of days ahead. The garden is a real gem: finished bonsais are exposed in a light way, the Japanese feeling is obiquitous, the whole garden is clean and neat, the nursery plants are healthy, big and make a powerful presence. He has a huge greenhouse with herbs, flowers and weeds for kusamonos. In the house bonsai pots are exposed in a neat logical way. Well what else…. the price! Nothing is cheap at his place, but for real bonsai enthusiasts it’s a place to visit and to buy from because it’s by far the best place for quality plants, in my opinion.
In the afternoon Xavier Redon held a Workshop on olive shohin. Xavier is Spanish, has his own Bonsai School and nursery, and is of course a full member of the NBSKE and also president of the NBSKE Spain. He has extensive knowledge of the olive tree in nature. I didn’t participate at the workshop because I don’t like this essence and in my latitude it doesn’t grow as in south Italy or Spain. Still for me and lots of others, this workshop was packed with useful information, advice and recommendations.
On Thursday morning we went up to the Paganella. Too bad the weather wasn’t cooperating much that day, it was cloudy but we still had a really good time.
In the afternoon there was a workshop with Igor Carino on bonsai pots. We created our own, for me it was my real first bonsai pot!
And at last but not least the authentic Japanese tea ceremony: the jewel that crowned this week. Mistress Senyo Machida, formal name Yoko, demostrated the aspect and aesthetic of this very ancient Japanese art.
I am excited about the end of the week, so stay tuned! I will post more this week so follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

…,love, Melanie!

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Summer Bonsai Festival: part 1

Summer Bonsai Festival


In my previous post I wrote about the Summer Bonsai Festival organized by the Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyookai Europe (NBSKE) of which I have been a member for a couple of months and am so excited to be part of.
This time I’d like to show you more about it. First: The exposition is free for everyone, all the activities are free and headed by senior members of the NBSKE, the location is a bonsai lover’s dream and the rest is just to enjoy.
Ok, this may not be for everyone, because it is really far out of the away, well, for me at least it is! I drove for about 8 hours and was really exhausted at the end of the day, yet is was packed with emotion and new discoveries. Not everybody is as crazy as me to travel so far, most of the visitors are from the region or surrounding areas.
On Saturday we had a workshop with Paolo Giai on a pinus silverstris. Paolo was, as usual, very kind and explained everything in the most elementary way, in order to give a chance to the novice that was handling a tree for the first time.
After that we had a dinner with the senior members. Again, an experience to meet new people, to discuss plants, cultivation, and so on.
On Sunday, we had a workshop with Nicola Crivelli on a shimpaku juniper form cuttings. Nicola is not the most engaging speaker, but his workshop was packed with people, probably hoping to get some insight into his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. I believe he’s also well known for his love of the “real Japanese bonsai”.
shimpaku after

After supper we had a presentation on the importance of the table in the presentation at the show. Unfortunately the host of this lecture was indisposed but his replacement was in my opinion just as good. They did a wonderful job explaining the difference of the size, color, high, heaviness of the table in the show presentation.After that there was a lecture and tea degustation. Again the speaker was very kind to answer every single question as silly as it could sound and the degustation was something special.

I also found out that this week the plants presented will be changed 3 times: SAT-SUN-MON presentation of the member’s tree, TUE-WED-THU presentation of other trees by the members, FRY-SAT-SUN, presentation of tree chosen from the master members with interpretation by the guest judge.
Here all the plants of part 1

I will post more this week so follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

…,love, Melanie!

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