30 06 2011

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Ritta Cooper’s magnificent kusamon recently displayed at the MBA Show in Failand

“ACCENT” or “COMPLIMENTARY” PLANTINGSThere will be very many more examples in the Exhibition on 27th May 2012


The plants themselves were often brought in with trees that had been collected and they were then planted in separate pots to remind the collector of where the tree came from.  These plants would often be grasses or wild flowers.

In time the growing of plants to accompany tress in displays or Tokonoma became more popular and an accepted way of depicting a feeling, season or location.

Accent plants have gained importance over the last decade or so, because many bonsai shows have become increasingly aware of the art of bonsai display, and not just with the quality of the tree exhibited – it’s now about the bonsai, the pot, the stand, the scroll, the and the complimentary plant, or other accent item (e.g. a bronze figure) as they relate to each other.

So, now when we display bonsai, we usually also include an accent item – as it has become known over the years. If this is a plant, the correct term should be shitakusa, which is translated from the Japanese into: shita = below or under, and kusa = grass.

In the last 20 years or so, related or new art forms have developed: –

  • Kusamono, which literally means: kusa=grass and mono=thing.
  • Kokedama, which literally means koke=moss and dama=ball
  • Nearai, which literally means Ne=Root,  arai=washed

© Ritta Cooper 2011

You can find more of Ritta’s info on kusamono etc by visiting Swindon Bonsai Society’s website if you click here or additional info on the recent BBS Show  here


This blog site is dedicated to “MAGICAL BONSAI ACCENTS EXHIBITION” which is a unique exhibition for any category of accents that can be displayed in association with bonsai.

It is hoped to make this an annual event and is open to anyone who has suitable quality examples for exhibition.