Case Study: Selective Decandling and Cutback of a Japanese Black Pine

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 | 2 Comments
Case Study: Selective Decandling and Cutback of a Japanese Black Pine

Decandling Japanese Black Pines is a relatively straight forward process. If you have any questions in your mind about it you should check out the article that I published “Nine Things You Might Not Know About Decandling Japanese Black Pines. With many bonsai, uniform application of technique can cause you to spin your wheels rather […]

Nine Things you Might not Know about Decandling Japanese Black Pine

Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 | 6 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”. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Large Japanese Black Pine – Fall Cleanup

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 | 6 Comments
Large Japanese Black Pine – Fall Cleanup

Sometimes I wonder how many mature trees a person can have and properly maintain as bonsai before they are a full-time practitioner, if not a professional. I took this tree off my bench a week ago convinced that if I left it any longer it would not be good for the lower and interior buds. […]

A Little Fall Elm Cleanup

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 | No Comments
A Little Fall Elm Cleanup

This is not the first time I’ve blogged about this tree, but it’s such a delightful little thing that it’s fun to revisit. For the previous history of the tree and older images see the “Kifu Elm” post from last winter. I covered a bit about forming elms in another blog post this year; I […]

Boon’s Black Pine Baseline

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 | 5 Comments
Boon’s Black Pine Baseline

When I was only a year or two into doing bonsai I learned of this guy named Boon who lived in the East Bay and was good at working with pines. I attended the BIB show and saw for myself that the show was filled with great trees that exhibited a level of work that […]