Repotting Chojubai in Summer

Repotting Chojubai in Summer

Ten years ago I had several articles about Chojubai translated from Japanese magazines. In one of them a professional reported his preference for repotting in summer. I was surprised and a bit skeptical. Having since experimented with repotting Chojubai at various times of the year, I agree that this small quince does respond marvelously to summer […]

What Happened to the Spanish Edition of Post-Dated?

What Happened to the Spanish Edition of Post-Dated?

Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk is a memoir of my bonsai apprenticeship, and some years back we’d started work on a Spanish translation that went on an unexpected journey. My translator Felipe Rodríguez Romero had almost finished it, we were reaching the celebration stage—deep into selecting balloon colors—when his house was broken into […]

Retrospective: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, Pots, and Bonsai

Retrospective: Drawings, Paintings, Sculpture, Pots, and Bonsai

For a year I’ve been dreaming about assembling my past artwork in a timeline. Almost everything I had needed to be digitized from slides and prints, the earliest from 35 years ago. Going through the big boxes of images took longer than expected, as I would drift into reverie over times long forgotten. I enjoyed […]

Pruning Young Chojubai in Summer ~

Pruning Young Chojubai in Summer ~

The last post was about energy balancing older shrubs, using a Chojubai as our example. Here is a younger Chojubai, in a large training container, and to balance it requires a different approach. Early summer is a good time to cut extensions back on developing Chojubai. If vigorous you can cut them twice, once in […]

Energy Balancing in Shrubs

Energy Balancing in Shrubs

Being basally dominant, many shrubs are going to do anything they can to kill off older parts and grow shoots from below. The more geriatric the shrub, the greater the danger of killing off exactly what we want to preserve—the older, trunky bits. They don’t like to make trunks much, with the exception of Satsuki […]

Saxifrage as a Greek God

Saxifrage as a Greek God

Accent plant creating season is upon us. Though it might seem odd to pot up plants in the summer, perennials respond well given a few aftercare precautions. And there’s a great benefit in designing accents in the summer: with foliage you can see what you’re doing. In the early spring an unsprouted mass of roots […]

Bonsai Economics and Creativity

Bonsai Economics and Creativity

As wonderful as it is to see highly managed bonsai using the latest techniques, in expensive antique or modern handmade pots, it can also be discouraging. Especially if you don’t have the means to get that skillset training or to buy those lovely pots. We see, for the most part, results from wealth-produced bonsai at […]

Tips on Training Hinoki Cypress

Tips on Training Hinoki Cypress

Hinoki means ‘sun tree’ in Japanese. It tends to grow bolt upright, like a flagpole with foliage. Hinoki Cypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa, is a popular species for bonsai with intense green foliage sprays covering its branches. This is one of the conifers we can pinch. Let it grow to ramp up energy, then in mid-season cut […]

Crataegus Bonsai Garden in Photos

Crataegus Bonsai Garden in Photos

Some recent shots in the bonsai garden. More like these are on Instagram. Hope you enjoy!

Stephen King’s Advice To Bonsai Artists-

Stephen King’s Advice To Bonsai Artists-

Stephen King wrote one the most respected books on the craft of writing. It tops many lists: On Writing. It’s a fantastic memoir, with stories from his weird upbringing and beginnings as an author. And along the way he talks about writing. King dislikes a rigid plot. A plot is a story’s events, sequenced by […]