Shrinking a Juniper

Posted by on May 28, 2020 | No Comments
Shrinking a Juniper

I recently worked on this small juniper; it seems to be a cutting grown Kishu juniper (J. chinensis “kishu”.) Kishu has a slightly tighter growth habit with more plump tips than the “Shimpaku” variety, and a bit more coarse than Itoigawa, the preferred variety in much of Japan. I’ve discovered that any of these three […]

Mini-Bonsai Manipulation

Posted by on May 19, 2020 | No Comments
Mini-Bonsai Manipulation

I like tight proportions on my trees, but with mini-bonsai, aka mame, the challenge can be considerable. At less than 3″ in any dimension, for almost all trees you are pushing the limits of the size of the foliage or leaves. A couple months ago, in late March, I cut all the new growth and […]

My Particular Brand of Bonsai Photography

Posted by on May 8, 2020 | One Comment
My Particular Brand of Bonsai Photography

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen my feed of photos – most of them contain a light grey backdrop with a gradient on it and a single tree lit from the left side. I’ve had quite a few people ask how I create these images so here are the basics and a […]

Exposing the secrets of “Exposed Root” bonsai trees.

Posted by on Mar 16, 2020 | 2 Comments
Exposing the secrets of “Exposed Root” bonsai trees.

It’s no secret that exposed root bonsai can be amazing compositions; there’s something about the wild randomness of the roots and the crazy shapes that is really appealing. Exposed root was on my mind from the first time I picked up an old Kinbon magazine and saw the style in photos of Japanese show trees. […]

Ack! Root aphids!?!

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 | One Comment
Ack! Root aphids!?!

As repotting season winds down here in San Francisco (yes, we’re ahead of the rest of the country due to warm winter temps) I’ve seen more than a few root aphids. They seem to mostly attack Japanese black pine in my yard, normally the younger trees that are growing vigorously with sacrifice branches. As I […]

Terra Cotta Vs. Colander – A small sample root experiment.

Posted by on Feb 21, 2020 | 9 Comments
Terra Cotta Vs. Colander – A small sample root experiment.

Question: A couple years ago, I asked myself – is growing in colanders/pond baskets superior for Japanese Black Pine destined to be bonsai? Common bonsai knowledge says that the answer is yes, but I’ve seen growers get really good results from other containers. I set out to see what differences I might see between two […]

The Little Book of Bonsai by Jonas Dupuich

Posted by on Feb 10, 2020 | One Comment
The Little Book of Bonsai by Jonas Dupuich

I got a chance to thumb through a copy of Jonas’ book- what I noticed pretty quickly was that some of my trees have already changed a lot…

Improving Young Root Over Rock Pines

Posted by on Feb 4, 2020 | No Comments
Improving Young Root Over Rock Pines

at any time I probably have at least a half-dozen young trees in training with auxiliary soil retention mechanisms in place to ensure that the roots make it into the main container, and can eventually be exposed to enhance the value of the composition.

Exploring the Basics of Indoor Bonsai

Posted by on Jan 28, 2020 | No Comments
Exploring the Basics of Indoor Bonsai

On Saturday January 25th I held my first Bonsai Basics class aimed specifically at indoor growing. While I have mostly grown bonsai outdoors, I have dabbled in indoor growing over the past 10 years to get an idea of what the challenges are. For this first class, myself and four students held a discussion of […]

Show trees will show you…

Posted by on Jan 14, 2020 | No Comments
Show trees will show you…

There is something to be learned from everything, but when it comes to making your trees ready for exhibition, you will have to overcome all the faults and little details that you have been ignoring. Every year, as the days creep closer to show time, I start to panic a little about whether or not […]