A look at Black Pine strength – Spring Growth

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 | 2 Comments
A look at Black Pine strength – Spring Growth

One of the things that I often say is: a tree must be healthy if you expect it to react to bonsai work in a predictable way. Assessing health in plants can be relatively straight forward in some cases, and more difficult in others. The more of a particular species you have the more comparison […]

Minor Spring Tasks

Posted by on Apr 17, 2016 | One Comment
Minor Spring Tasks

This time of year, it seems like there is a lot to do, but much of it is small steps. The timing in spring can be quite critical for many tasks. In the last week working on bonsai I’ve undertaken a variety of things to move along young trees and older ones alike. This spruce […]

Incremental Progress – Trident Maples

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 | 9 Comments
Incremental Progress – Trident Maples

If you want to have really good deciduous trees and can’t stand the thought of compromise, then you’ll most likely be spending 20-30 years carefully developing trees from scratch. It’s not easy and I can’t say I’ve mastered all the elements, perhaps half of them if I’m lucky. But, if you don’t try you can’t […]

Big Junipers -Splits, Bends and Grafts

Posted by on Apr 3, 2016 | No Comments
Big Junipers -Splits, Bends and Grafts

I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to study many world-class trees in Japan and the US, giving me the opportunity to think about how they were made. When it comes to making great juniper bonsai out of yamadori material there are a few tricks and complications that can force compromise when you really get […]

Matt’s Tree Tie-Down

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 | 2 Comments
Matt’s Tree Tie-Down

While working on a few trees recently I was lamenting the habit of my bunjin pines to fall over, sometimes even in a slight wind. We’ve had some pretty good winter storms here in the Bay Area this year, and trees falling on one another has been the cause of more than one broken branch […]

Detailing a Large Cypress

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 | One Comment
Detailing a Large Cypress

With the BSSF annual show approaching I have only a little time to finish getting my show trees ready. This year the BIB show was small trees only, so the larger trees that I have that are ready to show were on the back burner. This Monterey Cypress is about 28″ tall so it was […]

Suzuki’s Ume Grafts

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 | 2 Comments
Suzuki’s Ume Grafts

Perhaps the greatest difference between high-quality bonsai and bonsai that are just potted trees is the correct application of technique in the correct circumstances. It sounds so simple to make a plan and execute it using the best techniques available; but, the difference is all in the details. While visiting the nursery of Shinji Suzuki […]

Ezo Spruce and Analogies

Posted by on Feb 27, 2016 | No Comments
Ezo Spruce and Analogies

Here in Northern California, spruce is not a particularly common tree to see in bonsai shows. The weather being hot and dry in much of the state probably has something to do with that. I have one spruce in my own yard which got a tinge of needle burn on it during a hot spell […]

Ume in Japan

Posted by on Feb 21, 2016 | 3 Comments
Ume in Japan

After the BIB show in late January it was only just over a week before I took off for ten days to visit Japan. I’ve travelled to Japan three times previously, each time during February to coincide with the Kokufu-ten bonsai show in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park, Tokyo. Traveling to a […]

Impressions from the BIB Show – 2016

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 | No Comments
Impressions from the BIB Show – 2016

Every year for the past few years, I shoot the formal show photos at the Bay Island Bonsai show. They are used by magazines and for the show books. The setup is really nice, and the photos are recordings of the moment in time for the trees. We typically shoot the entire tree and container […]