The Cup

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 | 5 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 | No 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 […]

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 | 5 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 […]