Shanti Bithi Nursery has one of the most extensive collections of bonsai trees available for sale on the East Coast. Many of our specimens are imported from Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan.
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  Bonsai Classes at Shanti Bithi Nursery




October 27, 2006

Near the end of October 2006, Bavarian Bonsai Master Walter Pall ( spent two days at Shanti Bithi Nursery. On Friday, October 27th, five students, including Shanti Bithi’s own expert, Saeko Oshiro, took a day-long Master Class. Each student provided his or her own plant material, and benefitted from the Master’s suggestions and assistance regarding both their own trees and the trees the others brought in. Photos and descriptions of the day’s work and achievements are below.

Walter Pall and the class study Berni's large pine. This giant branch going out the door was considered unnecessary!
Berni wires the remaining branches. He will make the large stump at the left into an interesting jin at another time.

The Master appears to be happy with the result thus far.

Saeko with Walter Pall and his assistant for the weekend, Christine Hayward (standing). Walter Pall checks the trunk and branch structure of Saeko's Kingsville boxwood. When they removed the top layer of soil, they discovered that this starter plant has two separate trunks, joined by one slender root.
Saeko has opened up the canopy by pruning away a lot of branches and foliage. All the small details claim the attention of a true bonsai artist!
Walter Pall studies the bushy juniper that Mike will work on. Now that Mike has reduced the canopy considerably, he and Walter discuss the next steps.
New jin and shari are visible in their early stages, including a newly burned area. Mike wires the remaining foliage. Finished for now. The wedge under the pot indicates the future planting angle.
John brought in a tall juniper with interesting lines.He already had ideas about how he wanted to style it.
Walter Pall agreed with him.
John meticulously wires every branch. Graceful lines are already evident.
Charlie pruned and wired his clump-style quince in short order. Saeko contributed an azalea from Shanti Bithi's collection for him to work on.
Walter Pall makes some suggestions.
And the job is soon done!

October 28, 2006

Despite torrential rains and gusty winds, an intrepid group of Bonsai enthusiasts turned up at Shanti Bithi Nursery for the opportunity to observe Bonsai Master Walter Pall at work as he transformed a challenging piece of garden-grown material from bush to Bonsai. Most brought in one of their own Bonsai trees for critique by the Master. Contrary to our expectations, we found that Walter Pall’s reputation for brutal assessments is entirely undeserved. While his assistant, Christine Hayward, continued the extensive wiring work, Walter Pall spoke kindly and informatively about each person’s tree, no matter how humble or unkempt. We all learned a lot, were completely entertained, and nobody left in tears!

Material for the styling demonstration is a garden-grown 'Kingsville' box-wood, about 50 years old, recently dug and with its entire root ball still intact. Walter Pall explains that removing young, small, and crossing roots near the surface reveals the larger, older roots, immediately making the tree look both older and stronger.
This tree has an interesting nebari and a powerful trunk that splits into two trunks very low on the tree. The inside branching pattern is tree-like. As Walter Pall pruned away branches, he explained that the optical weight of the tree as a whole becomes smaller as you reduce the volume of foliage.
At the same time, the optical weight of the trunk becomes larger in proportion to the amount of foliage, making the tree appear more powerful. Walter Pall asks the audience to consider the possibility of removing the secondary trunk, which he is holding, for a more dramatic styling.
The secondary trunk was voted off the tree! The result is a much more compact Bonsai. Most of the pruning and wiring is finished. The canopy has been drastically thinned and opened up. Now sunlight can penetrate to the inner branches.  
Almost finished. The branches have been wired, right down to the tiniest ones. The canopy is airy and open, and the overall impression is of a huge, old tree growing in an open field. The root area is packed with potting soil to encourage new root growth. The root ball has been left intact to minimize further stress to the tree. In spring, two thirds of the root ball will be removed, and the tree will go into its first Bonsai pot. Walter Pall's assistant throughout the demonstration, Christine Hayward, is a gifted artist as well as an experienced bonsai enthusiast. At the end of the day she presented us with a pen and ink sketch of the "finished" tree as it might look in a shallow pot.
Audience members' trees are lined up on the table awaiting their turn under the Master's eye. Walter Pall makes suggestions for improving a mimosa that has become very leggy.
A “Sumo” style hornbeam gets a twirl on the Master’s turntable. An unusual variety of pine has received a substantial branch thinning, and one small branch has been wired upward to create a new apex.
A bushy ‘Shimpaku’ juniper begins its transformation into the austere and elegant literati style.  


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