Postcards from Portland: Part 4

Posted by on May 21, 2015 | 2 Comments
Postcards from Portland: Part 4

In the coastal ranges of northern California there are Douglas Fir trees that grow quite well in a large range of locations. Near San Francisco in the Marin Headlands and in Point Reyes National Seashore the trees can get nearly as large as some redwood trees. My house, built in 1903, is framed almost exclusively […]

The Mundane Details

Posted by on May 13, 2015 | 2 Comments
The Mundane Details

It can be easy to get the impression that bonsai is all glamorous if you’re reading lots of magazines and trolling the internet for good bonsai blogs. There’s a lot of excitement in seeing the styling of good material, or even the long term progress on trees. Perhaps it’s important to take a moment to […]

Postcards from Portland: Part 3

Posted by on May 9, 2015 | 5 Comments
Postcards from Portland: Part 3

If you were to sit in a workshop full of knowledgable bonsai hobbyists in the United States and have a conversation about what species of tree will win the judging at The Artisans Cup in Portland in September you would likely get a consensus that it will be a collected juniper. What exact species, whether […]

Postcards from Portland: Part 2

Posted by on May 4, 2015 | 8 Comments
Postcards from Portland: Part 2

As a beginner at bonsai I became interested in hiking in the mountains to feed my bonsai interests. Hiking around up in the high mountains of California gives you an entirely different experience with tree forms than the trees that grow in a typical residential neighborhood or in the coastal ranges. Among other species, the […]

Postcards from Portland: Part One

Posted by on May 2, 2015 | 3 Comments
Postcards from Portland: Part One

I’ve toured Japan three times in the last ten years to visit the Kokufu bonsai exhibition and see nurseries that grow bonsai. The experience is great both as inspiration for bonsai and as a change of pace and vacation. Japan is delightful in many more ways than just the bonsai, I particularly enjoy the food, […]

Formative Elm Work

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 | One Comment
Formative Elm Work

Taking advantage of Spring growth is the name of the game in April and May. When an elm grows well it presents multiple opportunities to improve the structure and fill out the silhouette. San Francisco climate doesn’t encourage the type of summer-long unbridled growth in elms that might happen in hotter areas; but for a […]

One Step Backward

Posted by on Apr 5, 2015 | 2 Comments
One Step Backward

Sometimes when you’re trying to make a good bonsai you have to take a step backward, or possibly even two. I find it quite natural to analyze a tree that I see on a sales table and mentally delete branches while bending others and adding elements that can be grown in a couple years. But, […]

Root Over Rock Pine #1

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 | No Comments
Root Over Rock Pine #1

This pine is from the 2006 batch of seedlings and is one of only three root over rock from that batch; it is going to be at least 12-14″ tall as a finished tree, but I have to continue considering the improvement as it develops over the next few years. When I started these I […]

Site Problems

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 | No Comments
Site Problems

There’s this great thing about having your own website, hosted by someone you are paying and administered by yourself. The great thing is that you’re mostly in control. The not-so-great thing is that other people do things that make your site crash repeatedly. In the last couple months my WordPress install was victimized by some […]

Exposed Root Pine #2

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 | No Comments
Exposed Root Pine #2

As a prequel to this post, you should probably read my post from last June called “Exposed Root Pine #1″. It contains some more background information about this batch. Like #1, this tree is from my 2006 batch, but this one is possibly my favorite…although I think I said that about #1 too. Making exposed-root […]