2022 Spring Accent Gallery

A few spring plants that delighted us in the bonsai garden this year—enjoy!


This accent looks different every spring. The root mound was part of the Juncus on top (the spiky green rush), that I’ve been minimizing with scissors because it can take over. The Maidenhair Fern, sensing victory, has gained confidence and has bolder extensions now. 


One of the earliest spring bulbs, Galanthus, or Snowdrop.


Another one that changes its clothes frequently, without any input from me: Violet, Speedwell, and Lady Fern. I didn’t put any of those plants in there, they just arrived. The mound is a mass of roots from previous plants, long gone. I’d like to see this as a 10-year time-lapse…

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We don’t know the genus of this one—if anyone has a guess please do comment! I’ve heard this called ‘cowpie.’ When out of leaf the root mass is suggestive of that. (Thanks to John Romano…I think you have it, Mukdenia rossii. A saxifrage native to China. Our plant app couldn’t figure this one! Thanks!)

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Highbush Blueberry in full flower, as a kusamono. About 14” high.


And a new one—Sedge, Violet, and Lady Fern—blooming ardently only weeks after composing.

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  1. Venu Kumar says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Robert M Chernow says:

    Is the unknown plant a type of tiarella?

  3. John J. Romano says:

    Isn’t that unknown one Mukdenia rossii?

    • crataegus says:

      Thanks John, I agree, it’s Mukdenia rossii! We tried a plant ID app and even asked the question to that forum and no one weighed in. Glad to have that one figured out!

    • Hi Michael, hi John,

      When I looked at it that’s what I thought it was too, Mukdenia rossii. I purchased one from Young Choe some years back. I have two growing in very small pots.

  4. Trisha Best says:

    Good morning Michael. I think your nameless accent is Rodgersia aesculiflora (Rodger’s flower) It’s a perennial I have growing in my garden. It struggles with my Adirondack winters, so maybe I need to pot it up and use it as an accent also. I enjoyed Bonsai Heresy and have your root kill temperature chart tabbed.

    • crataegus says:

      There are some similar saxifrages out there, like this one. Thanks for the thought! And glad you’re enjoying Heresy. The root kill chapter was one that raised my eyebrows a bit—-I learned a lot researching that one!

  5. Gary Mills says:

    I would agree the unknown plant is Mukdenia. I have it growing in beds in my yard and, while it is somewhat bigger in the bed, it looks identical.

  6. Bob says:

    Michael, The cowpie plant may be this. Native to east Asia.

    Mukdenia rossii. It’s in the saxifrage family.

    Bob Boyd


  7. Kathleen Blanchard says:

    Hi Michael, Your Kusamonos are very cool. The genus name of the Cow Pie plant is Mukdenia rossii. If the leaves turn kind of reddish it is probably the cultivar ‘Karusuba’ or ‘Crimson Fans’. I have two of them and I had planted them in the garden long before I found out they could be Kusamono. It took me a long time to figure out what they were. Cheers, Kathy


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