Jins are Rarely Pointed…

Jins are Rarely Pointed…

…in the wild, jins tend to have a cracked, blunted, or sheared-off look. Yet in bonsai we tend to the default, and whittle our dead branches to something so sharp a bird would be nervous about landing on them. A photo I took in my garden this past week shows what I’m talking about. This […]

Thoughts about Bonsai in Taiwan-

Thoughts about Bonsai in Taiwan-

As I walked about the premier bonsai show in Taiwan, several things fell into place. Firstly, it was apparent why the Japanese thought so highly of Taiwanese bonsai. They don’t feel that way of many places, South Korea is one of the few others. By the time I’d finished walking the show, I’d decided that […]

Impressions from the BCI / Asia-Pacific / HWA-FONG / 1st Bonsai Science Symposium

Impressions from the BCI / Asia-Pacific / HWA-FONG / 1st Bonsai Science Symposium

This has been a stimulating, massive, thought-provoking, multiple-organization event hosted in Taichung, Taiwan. Today I’ll just show some images and some initial thoughts, and will do a follow-up post when I’ve had time to compose some further thoughts. Enjoy the photos! I do apologize for the quality of them, they were phone photos and not […]

Level That Bench!

Level That Bench!

Bonsai is about details. From creation to showing, every act in bonsai is about applying technique carefully and deliberately. And we can get rather distracted by the end zone details, focusing on the local show, getting the right pot, the best stand. Just the right accent. And you could not be faulted, those are essential […]

Shore Pine Design Exercise—Pt. 2

Shore Pine Design Exercise—Pt. 2

Here’s what we did with the Shore Pine from last week: Shore Pine before adjustments… …Shore Pine after adjustments. These were pretty small changes. To make effective changes we have to start with a decision point, what it is that are we trying to accomplish. For this tree, there were two decision points: Balance the […]

Shore Pine Design Exercise—Pt. 1

Shore Pine Design Exercise—Pt. 1

During rewiring a tree is a good time to rethink the design and look for ways to improve it. We gave this Shore Pine that kind of scrutiny this past week. This is one of our two-part series, which will conclude next week. Here is the Shore Pine before some changes. Next week we’ll show […]

When to Let a Tree Run Off Leash-

When to Let a Tree Run Off Leash-

We talk endlessly about how to manage the growth of bonsai. Which technique for this species, which for that…and it’s a good thing we do, as it’s very important. If we get it wrong we could end up in a pretty pickle. Less often do we talk about how important the opposite is for an […]

A Few Thoughts on Moss Gardens for Bonsai Folks-

A Few Thoughts on Moss Gardens for Bonsai Folks-

Living in the moist Pacific Northwest of the United States, one would think I’d not have any trouble growing moss. However, being a stubborn fool, I attempted to grow it in the sun. I have a few thoughts on how to grow moss wisely, and even how to grow it well if you choose to […]

A Review of Japanese Boxwood as Bonsai-

A Review of Japanese Boxwood as Bonsai-

In 2003 International Bonsai published an article I had written, on the eve of going to Japan to study as an apprentice. It was about boxwood. While in Japan I didn’t touch a single boxwood. While that may not exactly sell this post, I did want to review the boxwood featured in that article after long years […]

When Is It OK To Have Wire Biting In?

When Is It OK To Have Wire Biting In?

Too much of a good thing can be sad. Just enough is useful. Too little and it doesn’t work. For wiring, we want the middle one, just enough. Blogs are wonderful for making grand statements that have marginal utility, unhinged to useful reality. Hopefully photos will clarify this commentary about what is just enough… The wire […]