Nine Things you Might not Know about Decandling Japanese Black Pine

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 | 5 Comments
Nine Things you Might not Know about Decandling Japanese Black Pine

If there’s one thing that fascinates everyone when they first start to learn about Japanese Black Pine bonsai, it’s that you cut off all the new growth in the summer. But, the technique, like many other bonsai techniques, is frequently mis-used or misunderstood. If you apply decadling technique uniformly you are asking for trouble. So, perhaps […]

Michael Ryan Bell – Bonsai Pots

Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 | 6 Comments
Michael Ryan Bell – Bonsai Pots

I had the chance recently to sit down with Michael Ryan Bell and discuss a few things about bonsai containers. He says that the “Michael” is just to keep the riff-raff away, everyone just calls him Ryan. For years now Ryan has been compiling a gigantic database of Japanese and Chinese bonsai chops aka “hankos”. […]

Ryan Neil’s “Unbridled” Show @pdxjapanesegdn

Posted by on May 23, 2016 | One Comment
Ryan Neil’s “Unbridled” Show @pdxjapanesegdn

I got the chance to attend the first day of Ryan Neil’s new bonsai show at the Portland Japanese Garden. At Bonsai Mirai I spoke with Ryan about the show for a few minutes to get his thoughts. The show is inside the Japanese Garden and runs now through June 19th, 2016. It contains 5 […]

Spring Cleaning on an Elm

Posted by on May 16, 2016 | 2 Comments
Spring Cleaning on an Elm

With good spring growth going on this elm things were starting to look a bit overgrown. The tree was looking nice over the winter but the spring growth revealed that some of the smaller interior twigs had died off. I tend to think of elms as cyclical trees, you can get them looking good with […]

Staggered Defoliation of Fuji Cherry

Posted by on May 7, 2016 | 3 Comments
Staggered Defoliation of Fuji Cherry

From time to time I like to test out techniques that are different from what I have been taught previously. Particularly with deciduous species where I am unfamiliar with the fine budding and growth characteristics it’s fun to push a healthy tree to see what it can do, or can’t do. With this cherry I […]

A look at Black Pine strength – Spring Growth

Posted by on Apr 27, 2016 | 4 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 […]