Shore Pine Display at Pacific Bonsai Expo ‘22

Shore Pine Display at Pacific Bonsai Expo ‘22

This one needs some explanation. It was another of my vague ideas that needed reinforcements to execute. In late spring my friend Erich and I took stock of this Shore Pine, which at the time was attached to a metal post. It’d been styled a few years back. “So. I want to make a moveable stand […]

Photo Gallery: Pacific Bonsai Expo ‘22

Photo Gallery: Pacific Bonsai Expo ‘22

I hope, after seeing these 40 photos, that you feel like you were there, with us, in Oakland, California, last weekend. My thanks to Vince Smith for the use of his shots- Three big cheers to Jonas Dupuich, Eric Schrader, and their team for putting on one of the most beautiful bonsai shows I’ve ever […]

Bunjin Part IV—Choosing Material

Bunjin Part IV—Choosing Material

In this part let’s discuss some bunjin nuts and bolts. Ideally, what are we looking for in a bunjin? a thin trunk little to no taper a trunk line that engages age high branches short branches What do we NOT need when scoping out trees? though pine is the quintessential bunjin, just about anything can be […]

What’s Happening in Oakland, CA This Weekend?

What’s Happening in Oakland, CA This Weekend?

The Pacific Bonsai Expo! This week our Shore Pine display for the Expo—co-created by architect Erich Raudebaugh—reached final tweak stage: adjusting the tree, stand, and accent, building wooden boxes to go on John Eads truck, loading up trees for Andrew Robson’s sales table, and wondering how likely all the moving parts would align in Oakland […]

Bunjin Part III—What’s A Good Trunkline?

Bunjin Part III—What’s A Good Trunkline?

To decide if an unstyled tree has promise as a bunjin, we first need to consider the trunkline. We might qualify a good trunkline as interesting and a poor trunkline as boring. How do we distinguish between them? If we study an instrument, we might be told “if you can sing it you can play […]

Boxwood Revisit: Regrowth After Summer Defoliation

Boxwood Revisit: Regrowth After Summer Defoliation

This summer we hard pruned a Japanese Boxwood. This technique is usually reserved for plants like Trident Maple and Ficus. Set up beforehand, a leggy, strong Japanese Boxwood can also respond well. Boxwood is a hedge plant, and most hedge plants respond well to pruning back into wood. Our hard prune left no leaves—a pause-inducing decision, if […]

How Do We Avoid Pom-Poms?

How Do We Avoid Pom-Poms?

A reader on this blog raised this great question. It’s an excellent one as it leads to a central tenant of good bonsai maintenance. First, how are pom-poms created? To speak not to shape but to density, pom-poms are created when we nibble at growth. If all we do is nibble at the exterior—like pinching […]

~ 9th World Bonsai Convention ~

~ 9th World Bonsai Convention ~

I was thrilled to be asked to be the North America region representative at the 9th World Bonsai Convention convention in Australia. And then equally dismayed when Covid punted it down the road one year. Then two years. And I ended up NOT taking a trip to the mysterious Perth that friends said had so many […]

What’s In Intermediate Course 2?

What’s In Intermediate Course 2?

This past spring Bonsai Empire came to the garden to film a new course. A fun twist is that it’s co-taught by the great Bjorn Bjorholm of Tennessee, USA. The filming took place in both our gardens, to get two perspectives on topics that range from young stock development, older refinement, winter care, to the […]

Why Do Trees Twist?

Why Do Trees Twist?

This old question came up again on a recent drive through central Oregon. Western Junipers were everywhere. On one section of route 26 (a lonely one-lane highway) I thought, “OK, let’s settle this once and for all. Do conifers in the northern hemisphere all twist one way?” I looked to the right. The junipers twisted […]