Design and Critique #12 – Ginkgo Biloba

ginkgo biloba bonsai fall color
Tree by Darlene Hutt and pot commissioned by Victor Harris


This ginkgo biloba has little to no movement in the trunk and branches when compared to other high caliper bonsai trees. The great part about this tree is that it doesn’t need it. Would it look better if it had some, sure, but it is a spectacular tree without it. This is a great example of how much we over analyze the perfection of trees to a point where we overlook the beauty of what it currently is.


The display of this photo is spectacular in many ways. You can tell effort went into this photo and the way they displayed it. The moss is perfectly placed to cover the entire soil surface, the background chosen has a contrast with the colors of the tree, and the timing of the yellow leaves is perfect to compliment the dripping yellow glaze on the pot. You then have the shadowing along the borders to cap off the photo and add artistic value to it. Last but not least is the leaf that has fallen that was left on the moss seems intentional to me, and I like it.


The balance is often overlooked, but I like to point it out as it is something that differentiates beginners from novice bonsai artists. You’ll see the tree is placed to the right of the center of the pot. This is balanced out by the fact that the left trunk adds a visual pull back towards the left. This gives the composition a sense of balance that you wouldn’t have had you placed the tree in the absolute center.


I know how hard it is to perfect time the Fall color, but this would be a magnificent photo if all the leaves were yellow.

This pot was made just for a ginkgo, and suits this tree perfectly, well done.

Up Next: Cork Bark Chinese Elm
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