Rain and Needle Size…

Rain and Needle Size…

You may have noticed that some years we have much longer needles on our pines than other years. Why? We haven’t done anything differently… But the weather has. Those years have unseasonably high springtime rainfall. And what is water to a plant? Food. (Water + CO2 + Light = Dinner) This White Pine is showing […]

Blooming Springtime—Wisteria and Iris

Blooming Springtime—Wisteria and Iris

Just sharing a couple of things that made me smile, blooming in the garden this week- The fact that they both have lavender blossoms was purely coincidental…I have a tense relationship with the color lavender, but I did like these— Chinese Wisteria, Wisteria sinensis—This tree has been a prolific bloomer for the past five years. […]

Twig Mimicry…

Twig Mimicry…

I should have done this post last fall. If you’ll allow me to wave my wand, let’s go back to a day in late fall when we were wiring a quince, only to find… …a shy inchworm waving around on a twig: Where is the critter? (This is a Where’s Waldo? moment, for those who are […]

Results Of pH Experiment After One Year

Results Of pH Experiment After One Year

A friend of mine has kept a careful photographic record of one year since changing the pH of his water. It is such a dramatic example of changing one variable, to see that it really was the pH that was the problem for these weak trees. Weakness resulted in susceptibility to needle cast and yellowing. […]

Shade Cloth: Not Just for Sun

Shade Cloth: Not Just for Sun

We’ve talked before about shade cloth and its utility in protecting bonsai during hot summer weather. There’s one other protective measure that it provides, though… Hail. Hail of various sizes tends to start falling in the spring. Some is so small it was called ‘sleet’ where I grew up, diminutive ice balls around the size of […]

A New Public Bonsai Display: Portland Japanese Garden

A New Public Bonsai Display: Portland Japanese Garden

This has been a very special project to be a part of. It’s hard to find a more beautiful, peaceful place, for one thing. The Portland Japanese Garden is one of the most stunning and iconic gardens outside of Japan, with its setting in a hillside forest of Doug Fir and a view of Mt. Hood. It […]

How do We Deal with a Dead Topped Azalea?

How do We Deal with a Dead Topped Azalea?

It seems so very common, azaleas that lose their tops. A stressed out azalea will often give up what it cares about least, which is its crown. But then it can be troublesome to recreate what was there. This tree came into the yard recently with just this problem. If anything, it was a severe […]

Shore Pine…on a Metal Post…

Shore Pine…on a Metal Post…

For a few years I didn’t know what to do with this tree. I’d collected it with Anton Nijhuis on Vancouver Island, Canada, and remembered all too well the long, thick, stick-like root that would make putting it in a small pot one of forcing it to be there. Which isn’t a happy solution. So it […]

Old Project Revisit and New Project Teaser…

Old Project Revisit and New Project Teaser…

This massive Ponderosa pine was repotted this week into its first bonsai pot. It had been in a box for about 6 years so the root growth was pretty impressive. We’d grafted it with Black pine a few years back. This photo is from 2015, perhaps some of you remember this, it was a graft […]

Bonsai Fundamentals Course—Now Available for Viewing-

Bonsai Fundamentals Course—Now Available for Viewing-

My year long project with Oscar Jonker of Bonsai Empire is finally (whew!) available. This was really a lot of fun to do. Last summer we went to Japan to film at my teacher’s garden, so there are some really eye-bugging trees in it, and then I also spent months crafting the three hours of […]