• Andrew Robson

Winterberry all Boxed-Up

Updated: Dec 22, 2019



We recently added a gorgeous Japanese Winterberry (Ilex serrata) to our collection at RAKUYO. This old tree has a bit of provenance... it was imported from Japan by Joe Harris after his teacher Hashimoto-san insisted that he buy it. Some years after it was imported, he sold it to a prominent member of the Portland bonsai community who did a beautiful job maintaining it for the last 10 years. Earlier this year it was added to the RAKUYO collection, where it should feel right at home among fellow imported deciduous comrades.


Winterberry at home with two fellow deciduous clump-style trees that were imported from by Joe Harris


Because this holly got weak last year and lost a few branches, I transplanted it into a box to help jumpstart some youthfulness into the tree to help rebuild it. As with most old deciduous trees that are weak, transplanting to a box for a repotting cycle can really help to reinvigorate the plant. This repotting also allowed for a subtle change in the front for a better view of the multiple trunks.


Winterberry before repotting


Winterberry after repotting with subtle front change


There are a few improvements to be made over the next few years, including building on some of the grafts that the previous owner beautifully did, but I'm incredibly thankful to add this tree to our future garden at RAKUYO and build on the work that so many before me have put into this bonsai.


As much as our bonsai community likes to focus on the works of a single artist, it's really the collaboration of work by several different artists through time that make outstanding bonsai.

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© 2017 by Andrew Robson