Impressions from the BCI / Asia-Pacific / HWA-FONG / 1st Bonsai Science Symposium

This has been a stimulating, massive, thought-provoking, multiple-organization event hosted in Taichung, Taiwan. Today I’ll just show some images and some initial thoughts, and will do a follow-up post when I’ve had time to compose some further thoughts.

Enjoy the photos! I do apologize for the quality of them, they were phone photos and not my usual quality, and then it was such a packed show space that several unknown elbows made appearances. More soon-

It’s best to bear in mind that the junipers in Taiwan are grown from a cutting for about 30-40 years to reach this sort of size. And this is a big tree. They all are. On the outside of the 3′ / 1 m size range for the most part.

This is a Celtis, a hackberry.

This juniper was also grown from cutting, believe it or not. (Apologies for my first comment on this photo, it was by word of mouth and incorrect, that it was collected.)

And this one…just as big…also created from a cutting. High heat, high humidity, lots of sun = junipers grow like weeds. But, make no mistake, with that kind of trunk quality, tons of labor hours went into it over many years. Cutting grown quality does not happen by itself.

Shohin display.

A Premna. These broadleaf evergreens, the ficus, even the Hibiscus, were all huge trees. Often 5-6′ wide.

A boxwood. Massive.

Another Premna.

Eleagnus, with the smallest leaves I’ve ever seen.

Closeup of Hibiscus twigging.

Spectacular juniper, again grown from cutting for 40 years and looking like a yamadori, being admired by Kunio Kobayashi. This tree won an award.

One of their ficus, a microcarpa. Again a huge wingspan.

A black pine.

Another hackberry. Beautiful work.


Pine, I didn’t record the species on this one.

Another closeup of Hibiscus twigging. Incredible ramification. (And apologies again for my earlier comment here, water is only used to clean up after cutting leaves off. Thanks Jose for clarifying both of my errata!)

And, most unusually for Taiwan, a delicate bunjin juniper. This was arresting for its stark difference from the rest.

And ending with a huge, well-detailed Hibiscus. The pot…well…it’s a different flavor all around here in Taiwan. Been a great visit, more about the science symposium and other parts of the event next time.


  1. Peter says:

    WOW what else can be said! Thanks for the post!

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks again for sharing some of your adventure. Question though- were you being serious when you noted that they blast the leaves from their hibiscus with pressurized water??

    • crataegus says:

      Unfortunately I was, but I was INCORRECT. A friend of mine, Jose, corrected me. The leaves are cut off like any other defoliation, and then the debris is washed from the tree with water. My apologies! Still a very interesting technique, though.

      • Carol says:

        Here in Minnesota, one method some employ to take all the fall leaves off the trees prior to putting them into cold storage (where they would otherwise make a mess) is to use a vacuum cleaner. I actually thought using a pressure washer sounded like a promising idea!

      • But some do used pressure washer to defoliate. I did that with my water Jasmine when I was living in Singapore.

  3. Timmi Kuykendall says:

    Please comment further on the cultivation of Hibiscus.

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Thanks for the photos. Wonderful. Couple questions: 1) Why would stylist have preserved spaces between the tiers of foliage in 1st premna vs. continuous canopy? I don’t know the species. And, 2) Was white paint or simply lime sulfur likely used in bunjin juniper? Very stark.

  5. Pierre says:

    Thank you for sharing! A different flavor indeed but undisputable horticultural skills!

  6. Wow thanks for taking us along. Beautiful trees!

  7. Ray says:

    Wow! Very nice bonsai! A lot of large specimens

  8. Lucia Soppe says:

    Wow! Beautiful pictures Michael – I love that bunjin juniper 🙂

  9. Camille Casasnovas (Jose Luis RodrĂ­guez) says:

    Hmm…. hello Michael Hagendorn. The juniper is NOT collected. It is also cutting grown. The artist is Master Lee Zhong Hong from Kaohsiung.

    About the “removal of leaves by pressure water”, not so. Leaves are carefully removed by hand and pressure water is applied after to clean the tree of debris.

    Thanks for posting!

    José Luis Rodríguez

  10. Michael – thanks for the reminders about these junies being grown from cuttings for several decades… makes things less discouraging for some of us 🙂

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