Bonsai Design and Display Critique – #2 Olive

On to numero dos of my critique series. If you’re looking for #1 then you’ll be wanting to click on this.

Tree #2 – Olive

Olive bonsai tree display

What does the trunk communicate?

Wide base with a solid footing depicts strength. The rugged bark of the trunk looks withered and full of hardship.

What does the pot communicate?

The pot communicates feminine qualities. Light colored, smooth, and oval shape of the pot almost distract from the tree.

What does the foliage communicate?

The rounded canopy suggests maturity which is complimented by the branching that is visible from the front. You can see the ramification of the branches which portrays the lack of foliage in the interior and gives the impression of age.


The trunk on the right is hidden from this viewing angle, maybe rotating the tree counter-clockwise a tad bit would help with that.

The fine branching has been wired wonderfully. Olive branches tend to be very straight, so constant pruning or wiring are needed. Well executed.

Very strong tree. I love how masculine this tree is. The bark combined with the bulges and scarring are fantastic. This is an important design principle for most olive trees.


The pot and stand seem to communicate the opposite of the tree. Changing pot to an unglazed rectangle pot and having a darker stand that doesn’t “stand out” could help (Couldn’t help myself…).

Prune off a few shoot on the right side of the canopy that seem to distract from the intended silhouette.

Next Up:

This is the next tree in line for critique. See what you think about it before you read my breakdown.

Jap Maple Lakeshore Bonsai Exhibition Toronto Canada