Author Topic: Bonsai Techniques for Satsuki  (Read 9610 times)


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Bonsai Techniques for Satsuki
« on: November 12, 2011, 10:48 AM »
I recently saw an ad for the California Bonsai Society Convention 55 scheduled for April 11-15, 2012. The society was founded in 1962 by John Naka along with a handful of South California bonsai pioneers. Their convention will feature the remaining masters from the Naka era, the "Iron Men of Bonsai"- Frank Goya, Harry Hirao, Shig Miya, Ben Oki & Richard Ota.

I could not help but pull out and review "Bonsai Techniques for Satsuki" by Naka, Ota & Rokkaku since two of these men coauthored this book. Besides it made sense since I was about to begin my satsuki fall work and thought the book would be a great review since it is still one of the defining works on satsuki techniques.

If you do not recognize the name of Kenko Rokkaku, he was born near Kanuma City Japan in 1923 and became a promoter of Satsuki Bonsai and a publisher of Japan's only magazine devoted to the subject as well as the monthly "Wildflowers & Alpine Plants". Naka needs no introduction but Richard Ota may. Mr Ota met Naka in 1957 and learned bonsai techniques from him. He owned and operated Ota Bonsai Nursery in Orange City, CA for many years and in 1989 went to work for San Gabriel Nursery caring for its award winning bonsai collection. If I remember correctly Mr. Ota should now be about 85 years old.

The book was 1st published in 1979 by Ota Bonsai Nursery, printed in Japan by Gekkan Satsuki Kenyusha and is out of print. Copies can still be found but are not cheap. The book consists of 141 pages. About 30 have color pictures and the remaining are black and white. There is a short history and classification of satsuki, sources for material, a section on the different styles of bonsai, defining the front, branch work , how to shape a bonsai, wiring techniques, how and when to trim satsuki, fertilizing methods and timing, soil mixtures, insects and diseases and finally how to propagate. For anyone interested in and owning satsuki the book is a must. Mine happens to be an autographed copy.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 10:54 AM by JRob »