Small Black Pine Progress

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 | 2 Comments
Small Black Pine Progress

Each fall, I can hardly wait to get started on working on black pines. The long summer season of working on juniper and cypress finally winds down and we can get to serious fall work on conifers of all types. While I probably have more cypress work that I could be doing (they never stop […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sacrifice Branch Reduction

Posted by on May 31, 2015 | 6 Comments
Sacrifice Branch Reduction

There may be a reason that many people who are interested in bonsai have no interest in growing bonsai stock. For me the two things are one and the same. Among other goals, I want to grow a bonsai from start to maturity and see how well I can do it. My original batch of […]

Postcards from Portland: Part One

Posted by on May 2, 2015 | 5 Comments
Postcards from Portland: Part One

I’ve toured Japan three times in the last ten years to visit the Kokufu bonsai exhibition and see nurseries that grow bonsai. The experience is great both as inspiration for bonsai and as a change of pace and vacation. Japan is delightful in many more ways than just the bonsai, I particularly enjoy the food, […]

One Step Backward

Posted by on Apr 5, 2015 | 2 Comments
One Step Backward

Sometimes when you’re trying to make a good bonsai you have to take a step backward, or possibly even two. I find it quite natural to analyze a tree that I see on a sales table and mentally delete branches while bending others and adding elements that can be grown in a couple years. But, […]

Root Over Rock Pine #1

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 | No Comments
Root Over Rock Pine #1

This pine is from the 2006 batch of seedlings and is one of only three root over rock from that batch; it is going to be at least 12-14″ tall as a finished tree, but I have to continue considering the improvement as it develops over the next few years. When I started these I […]

Exposed Root Pine #2

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 | No Comments
Exposed Root Pine #2

As a prequel to this post, you should probably read my post from last June called “Exposed Root Pine #1”. It contains some more background information about this batch. Like #1, this tree is from my 2006 batch, but this one is possibly my favorite…although I think I said that about #1 too. Making exposed-root […]

Black Pine repotting

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 | No Comments
Black Pine repotting

Repotting season is here in Northern California and I’m getting started with some of the trees that I own that are most in need of repotting. Normally, I would start with deciduous material in early January and then work on conifers later in February and even early March. For San Francisco, the winter season is […]

Less is More?

Posted by on Dec 13, 2014 | No Comments
Less is More?

There is a whole school of thought in bonsai that less is more. The idea is that if you eliminate something from a tree you sometimes end up with a result that is more interesting and a better bonsai. On the other hand, it’s also possible that if you go cutting branches off willy nilly […]