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.

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 […]

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”. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]