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 […]

Show Prep – The Final Mile

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 | 2 Comments
Show Prep – The Final Mile

As a bonsai enthusiast I was introduced to show prep almost immediately after I started doing bonsai. My first teacher was preparing more than 15 trees for an annual show and put me to work adding moss to a saikei. Years later I was doing the same thing to my own trees. When I teach, […]

Putting Away the Power Tools

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 | 5 Comments
Putting Away the Power Tools

When I was growing up my dad used a belt sander for everything. Need to smooth out some rough lumber? That’s what a belt sander is for. Need to round off the edges? Belt sander. It seemed like the belt sander was the most versatile tool in the shop. It wasn’t until 15 years later […]

Lots of Sawdust

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 | 7 Comments
Lots of Sawdust

Over the last few years I’ve tried my hand at making bonsai stands a couple dozen times. I have a background in woodworking starting from childhood and I figured that a bonsai stand couldn’t be that difficult to recreate. At first, this was just a way to have good-looking bonsai stands at a reasonable cost, […]

Blue Atlas Cedar Saga – Part – II

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 | 9 Comments
Blue Atlas Cedar Saga – Part – II

In part I of this Cedar’s story I started with a tree that had a good trunk and grafted on a few branches using approach grafts to form the basic structure. From there it was really all about forming the crown and branch pads efficiently. What I found after moving back to San Francisco is […]