• Andrew Robson

Subtle Improvements to a Japanese Beech

Updated: Mar 21


We acquired this beautiful little Japanese Beech last year. It's a special tree, being container grown from a seedling for many decades here in Portland, Oregon. We're honored to be the third-generation owners of this bonsai, continuing it's evolution as a piece of living art.


When we acquired this tree, it was already a very nice bonsai. The only improvements wanted to offer were subtle, yet not so simple to see at first. Subtle improvements to a bonsai are perhaps the hardest improvements we can make in our craft.


After studying this beech for several months, we decided a slight change in front and potting position would really take it to the next level. First, we adjusted the front a few degrees counter-clockwise to better accentuate the movement in the mid portion of the tree and show improved taper. Next was the potting position in the pot, which we moved slightly to the left to better highlight the flow and directionality.


old front and positioning- autumn 2019


new front and positioning - spring 2020


Before, we had a beech that was very static-feeling. Now, we have a beech that has a little more grace and sense of direction. Can you see the changes we made? They're subtle!


In a community that primarily gets its excitement from massive, drastic changes or the thrill of power tools in demonstrations, we prefer the softer, quieter approach to bonsai. Small, incremental improvements are the most exciting to us at RAKUYO, and what we hope to teach to our students around the world.

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© 2017 by Andrew Robson