A Golden Moment in the Garden

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 | 4 Comments
A Golden Moment in the Garden

One of the nice things about having a yard that faces the San Francisco bay and the rising sun is that occasionally there are moments when the lighting is just amazing. They don’t happen every day, but they are more frequent in fall and winter than during the summer. A few days ago I glanced […]

Too Straight for a Juniper

Posted by on Sep 10, 2015 | 4 Comments
Too Straight for a Juniper

In bonsai, Junipers are supposed to be all twisty and contorted. That’s the rule. So, I guess we should all just ignore the tree that I’ve been working on for the last few years – it’s too straight for a juniper. Check back next time I post something. But seriously, where do the rules come […]

Yamadori Style Kishu

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 | 4 Comments
Yamadori Style Kishu

I think it was back in 2007 that Jim Gremel did a workshop for BSSF, the somewhat-infamous Yamadori-style juniper workshops where he takes young trees and wires them into crazy shapes. His concept is great, it’s just that the execution takes a long time. I wired a couple trees during that workshop and recall him […]

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 […]