A Conversation with John Boyce

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 | 2 Comments
A Conversation with John Boyce

One of my first teachers, John Boyce, a founding member of the Bonsai Society of San Francisco in 1960, approaches bonsai from a seemingly unique direction. Incorporating elements of minimalism, Japanese Literati aesthetics and one other strong influence… John has always had a strong preference for bunjin trees – and he likes his bunjin on […]

Pygmy restyle

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 | 4 Comments
Pygmy restyle

I posted about the history of this tree and some maintenance that I did on it last summer, see this post. The tree is collected, and thanks to Bob and Zack Shimon I was able to acquire it without much effort. After all, collecting can be a time-consuming, expensive and messy business. Despite having put […]

Windswept Whitebarks

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 | One Comment
Windswept Whitebarks

Krummholz is the German name that naturalists use for the form of trees that is so contorted by wind, snow and ice that they no longer form an upright tree but rather a matt or bush of foliage. They normally occur at very high elevation or other inhospitable locations where the wind is constant and […]

Juniper Grafts

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 | No Comments
Juniper Grafts

Road to the Cup – Part 2 If you’re not grafting on junipers that you have in development then you’re likely not making really great bonsai, it’s that simple. While trees grown from cuttings can become really good in time, much of the juniper trunk stock that exists either from old landscape plants, wild trees […]

Material Selection

Posted by on Jul 11, 2015 | 3 Comments
Material Selection

Road to The Cup- Part 1 I mentioned in my last post that the tree that I’ll be bringing to The Artisans Cup was a castoff sales table tree that turned into a keeper. The selection of material to work on in bonsai is the first task for a bonsai artist; it is equal in […]

The Cup

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 | 6 Comments
The Cup

Some of the most serious bonsai enthusiasts from across the country received an email on June 30th informing them of the status of their entries for The Artisans Cup, Exhibition of American Bonsai. I had some musings after my conversation in April with Ryan Neil, the creator and organizer of the cup. What would the […]

Decandling Decisions

Posted by on Jun 25, 2015 | 2 Comments
Decandling Decisions

Decandling a Japanese Black Pine is one of the techniques that allows for long term containment of established bonsai and establishment of younger trees as bonsai. The process of removing all the spring growth is well-documented and there are multiple techniques that are used by different people to good effect. Much of bonsai learning comes […]

Reel Returns

Posted by on Jun 13, 2015 | No Comments
Reel Returns

For the first weekend in June I had the pleasure once again of hosting Matt Reel for a few days of bonsai work. BSSF did two group workshops with Matt instructing and I worked with him on a few trees privately as well. The great thing about working with a bonsai professional is that you […]

Sacrifice Branch Reduction

Posted by on May 31, 2015 | 6 Comments
Sacrifice Branch Reduction

There may be a reason that many people who are interested in bonsai have no interest in growing bonsai stock. For me the two things are one and the same. Among other goals, I want to grow a bonsai from start to maturity and see how well I can do it. My original batch of […]

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 […]