Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Deciduous Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Dan W. on February 17, 2014, 02:06 PM

Title: Elms in Japan
Post by: Dan W. on February 17, 2014, 02:06 PM
Elms (Ulmus) seem to be one of Americas favorite species of bonsai, but I've noticed that the Japanese don't seem to share that love... I could just be missing them I suppose, but in my Kokufu books I could probably count the amount of Ulmus I've seen on my fingers. Now I only have 5 of the books, but they are spaced evenly enough I would think they'd give a descent representation. (Zelkova are another story. Lots of em :))

My questions are mostly to those more in the know of Japanese bonsai. Am I missing something? Were they used more in the past by the Japanese? What are the reasons I don't see them much?(horticulture reasons, longevity, habits...etc.)

Thanks in advance. :)
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Dan W. on February 17, 2014, 02:14 PM
Larch (Larix) would be another one. The Europeans love them, but I hardly ever see the Japanese using them. The European seem to enjoy elms as well.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: tmmason10 on February 17, 2014, 05:25 PM
Interesting point Dan. I'm sure they use elms for some of the broom images. Mostly zelkova though I guess. I need some kokufu albums, where did you pick yours up?
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Gaffer on February 17, 2014, 07:43 PM
I think that in Japan they sometimes call elms, Gray zelkova. I think.
Qualicum Brian
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: John Kirby on February 17, 2014, 08:39 PM
Zelkova serrata, Japanese Grey Bark Elm, Ulmus parvifolia Chinese Elm, both there.

I have asked Akio why the Japanese do not have many Larch Bonsai, he just shrugged and said most Japanese don 't like.
Couldn 't get anything more out of him.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Owen Reich on February 17, 2014, 09:59 PM
There are some sacred places thought to be haunted by the dead in Japan that contain larch.  I've asked the same question before and got no answer from my teacher.  Someone else gave me that tidbit.  They may signify death.  

As for elms, they use Ulmus parviflora (Lacebark elm) mainly for smaller bonsai and there is at least one species of Japanese elm native there.  They are more common as shohin in my experience.  I have seen a few large ones in collections of clients there.  The Kokofu-ten shows only a small section of the plants used for bonsai.  A bit too strict IMO.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Dan W. on February 18, 2014, 02:00 AM
Thanks everyone. I hadn't thought about there possibly being a spiritual reason they wouldn't use something. Very interesting.

Now that you say it I think I have noticed some in the shohin displays, but I'm not sure because they don't list botanical names for those ones... in English anyway.

Owen, are any of the other shows more open to different species? It may have been from you, but somewhere I heard that they are also very strict about the sizes of trees allowed in the show. Have you noticed restrictions on size at Kokufu?

Tom, all of my Kokufu albums have come from ebay so far. They take forever to get here, but you can find good deals if you watch regularly.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Owen Reich on February 18, 2014, 06:41 AM
The Taikan-ten in Kyoto every Fall has a greater diversity of species.  The Kokofu-ten organizers have a goal from what I've seen and been told to maintain a feeling of power and flow between displays.  So, size restrictions and quality restrictions for all sizes are used.  This mainly affects the selection of medium sized and small bonsai.  Containers must be high end as well.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Sorce on February 18, 2014, 07:52 AM
Thats the "spiritual" I been asking for.

Nice tidbit. Brings it full circle.

Whats odd is I've read about "bad luck" species like barberry. Can not speak of the other.  :-X

Anyway I do love Ulmus. Any type.  A list of cons if any, would be way shorter than all the pros.
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: William N. Valavanis on February 18, 2014, 08:32 AM
Most of the bonsai activity seen outside Japan are from the Tokyo area and further south to Kyoto-Osaka regions.

Larch do not like humidity, in fact do not do well from Virginia southward in the United States.

I've seen a few Japanese larch in bonsai gardens in Omiya and Hanyu, but they continue to get weaker by the year. From gardens I've seen and photos too, good Japanese larch bonsai do exist, but from northern more colder areas of Japan.

They are missing out on a great species, I think, but then we miss out on others which are difficult to grow in the northern areas of the United States.

Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on February 18, 2014, 09:20 AM
Really sorce? Haha the superstition that larch may signify death brought it full circle for you, you crack me up dude!

Elm is in my top favorite species a lso, have i noticed more root over rock Elms and tridents in Japan than other styles? I feel like Bonsai today has a good percentage of  species variety. However, it is still weighted heavily to conifers, right?

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Elms in Japan
Post by: Gaffer on February 18, 2014, 08:35 PM
The Chinese use a lot of elms for both bonsai and penging.
Qualicum brian