Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two gold medals at Bonsai Olympics

The WBFF World Convention will commence in a couple of days in Puerto Rico. Pedro Morales is running the show there. They will have what he calls 'Bonsai Olympics'. Since it is not very practical to send a lot of good trees to Puerto Rico an online contest was invented. The Art of Bonsai Project was asked to arrange for this competition, the' Internet Bonsai Olympics'. See here: Art of Bonsai 'Bonsai Olympics'

This night the winners were announced. I must say it makes me very proud. I thank the judges and the Art of Bonsai Project folks as well as Pedro Morales in Puerto Rico.

We are please to announce the winners of the World Bonsai Convention 2009 - Bonsai Olympics Photo Contest.

Separating the entries into the categories of the contest and then adding the scores of our three judges together for each entry gave us the total score of each entry. We then divided this total score by three (the number of judges) to get the average total score. The entries with the highest total average scores were determined to be the winners.

The judges original judging sheets and the final scoring sheet which combines all the judges scores together are attached below to maintain transparency.

Please take a moment today and help us thank all of the judges and entrants that made this contest possible.

And the winners are..

Best Conifer Entry

Walter Pall, Germany
Ezo spruce (Picea jezoensis)
Height: 26 in, 65 cm
Pot: Natural stone from Germany

Judge Dan Barton scored 9
Judge Nick Lenz scored 8
Judge Michael Persiano scored 9
Total score 26
Total average score 8.66

Judge Comments:

DB - "Beautiful tree, well proportioned • nice landscape arrangement but grasses out of proportion to rest of design • nice slab"
NL - "A very pleasing Gestalt, although it is difficult to make out any of the branching detail. The grasses look silly. Those climbing roots on the left could use some mimicking stones to justify the rise from the trunk."
MP - "This is an example of where Walt is able to balance natural with bonsai art. This is well done."

Best Deciduous Entry

Walter Pall, Germany
Trident Maple [i](Acer burgerianum)
Height: 20 in, 50 cm
Pot: Derek Aspinall

Judge Dan Barton scored 8
Judge Nick Lenz scored 9
Judge Michael Persiano scored 10
Total score 27
Total average score 9

Judge Comments:

DB - "Powerful trunk but branches disproportionately thin • excellent choice of pot • excellent nebari • nice display stand"
NL - "Hah! Godzilla at the opera. Who knows what branching pattern lurks behind the perfectly colored canopy of autumnal warmth. It is pleasing to observe some fine new roots at the periphery of the trunk. The container, while most attractive in subtlety, has become too small for the brute. I may have come across this beast at the Ghent show and commented to my students that the branch structure was Japanese perfect and mundane. Should it convey a story, it would have to be one of volcanic eruption."
MP - "Magnificent…a master piece."


ATHENRYE said...

Congratualtions Walter,

definitely well deserved. Both trees are simply magnificent.

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Walter.

Thoses trees are so natural and beautiful.
Wow I can't believe.

Merlin said...

i have a serious preference to deciduous tress. my Acer Palmatum has some serious time to go before it could even look natural. this burgerianum could easily be the most outstanding specimen. way to go Mr. Pall. keep the deciduous trees coming!

Ol eg said...

Just unbelievable amazing. I don't have enough air how I like that Acer, I think it is somewhere here that stands deeply in my soul regarding Bonsai culture. I mean I think I always wanted to get something like that Trident Maple

Rick Moquin said...

That Ezo is breath taking, very well deserving of it's gold medal.

The maple is that the flawless one? Nonetheless kudos.

Walter Pall said...


flawless? I think it's main flaw is that it looks too much like a bonsai and not like a real maple. And the branches are not all too thin cmpared to the trunk. I wonder where Dan sees this. And my wild blooming cherry is the better piece of art than the maple. But natruralistic style is not (yet) mainstream as one can see. Nontheless I am very haoppy with tuis result. BTW: the iamge of the maple is kitsch. But it is mainstream and thus scores points.


Rick Moquin said...


I think you misunderstood my question. A few years back you posted a picture of a Trident I believe that did not have any apparent scars. You had mentioned you were fighting with yourself whether to scar the tree or not as a particular branch was not quite right IYO. Hence, is this the flawless maple?

Yes I agree with you that it is mainstream and you may consider it kitsch.

An anecdote:

Ruth and I have quite refined pallets when it comes to food and wine, to a point where dishes are often sub-standard or do not meet "our" standards. This refinement has proven to be a conundrum at times where we can't seem to enjoy food that doesn't meet our elevated benchmark.

I love the naturalistic approach and have said so on many occasions. However, can you still taste a decent meal? I am not trying to be condescending, but understanding. Although I will support your opinion wrt the maple being mainstream, I can't wrap my head around the wild cherry being art.


Walter Pall said...


now I understand your question. No, it is not the flawless one. The flawless one is still flawless and I am glad. It is coming nicely and I will feature it here soon. Eventually it will get into exhibit stage.

About the cherry: I am seriously thinking that this is one of my best trees. Time will tell. In five or even ten years it may be mainstream or still considered to be crap. I don't care much either way. I do this for myself. Exhibiting and participating in competitios is NOT my aim. It is just a side effect. But since this is so visible most folks think that I am doing it just for this. Not at all!


Rick Moquin said...


I know you create ugly ducklings before then turn into beautiful swans and at times I can see where you are going, and at other times well...

I also know that you are very reluctant to post a tree or yet exhibit one that is not ready. Sometime we think they are but you always correct us. In further trying to understand, why did you post the cherry?

Is you flawless Trident #3?


Walter Pall said...


the flawless is number 3, yes.

Why did I post the cherry? Because I thought and still think that it is WAY better than any of the other posted flowering trees. I honestly thoght that it would win clearly.
So what does this tell you? How blind I am, how naive? How far away my taste is from mainstream? How blind the judges are?
It happesn to me once ina a while that I am totally convinced that everyone must see what is see. But they don't. Well, time will tell. One day they will see. Or I amm just crazy. It also happenes that a tree which was not acepted at all at first wins awards a few years later.
To be avantgarde means you are constantly NOT mainstream. This is why so many only got famous after tehy died.
If you are trying to make money you should not be avantgarde.
Some who thought they were avantgarde and that the genral public was just ignorant never made it, even when they died.


Robert Schöttl said...

Congratulations Walter!!!

Ana said...

Those awkward grass clumps seem to have worked quite well getting viewers to think throught the merits of the tree...

But the peer cudos only make your choice more interesting! Which chery?

Anonymous said...

i absaloutly love the scots pine, its just awsome!. WOW. you know i think this tree is my all time favorite bonsai ever. from a very very envious fan.john