A few kusamono

Ophiopogon arabicus var. niger (black mondo grass), Sedum spp., and wild violet. Container by Erin Ceramics (United Kingdom). I made it this Spring.
An old kusamono here at Kouka-en. Combination of psilotum, sedum, spirea, and an aster.
Acorus graminus (variegated), Gaultheria procumbens, and a native grass. This one has been used in the Taikan-ten and Kokufu-ten many times. Container is a ceramic slab.
Selaginella spp, Trachelospurmum asiaticum 'Variegatum', and scarlet phlox but not sure. Container maker unknown. Used in the Kokufu-ten many times.
Variegated farfugium and Selaginella spp. combo. Theres a chochubai in there too. Container is a basket style pot.
Saxafraga fortunei, Artemesia, and Lamium in a container by Erin Ceramics. Made this Spring.


I  keep talking about kusamono with friends so felt like posting a few.  A few things to consider about kusamono (which literally translated means “weed thing”). Ninety-nine percent of the time, an immature feeling is not desirable when displaying kusamono as a companion plant in bonsai display.  The feeling of age should match the bonsai.  Kusamono displays where the main focus is not a bonsai are a completely different matter, but older ones tend to look a lot more cool.  Plants that are container-bound tend to reduce their leaf size and “tighten up” their internodes as well.

The first and last kusamono above (the ones I made) are not filling out the containers yet and the pots are completely visible.  Ideally, moss or the other plants in the container break up the line between the two main elements and the effect is a bit more smooth.  Notice in the other photos how there is a bit of mystery as to what the container looks like and the focus is not drawn to the pots.  The Erin pots are excellent; had them shipped to Japan if that says anything : ) but the plantings and pots are new.  In time the kusamono and pots will age and look ten times better.  The other kusamono are quite old.

This will be the first of many posts on kusamono.