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 […]

In Defense Of Solid Fertilizers

In Defense Of Solid Fertilizers

Fertilizer adventures are a given in most bonsai gardens. For years I used solid organic cakes, being the traditional solution, but found the birds unmanageable in their hunt for grubs underneath them. I wasn’t willing to use insecticide to control fly larvae, so birds, and lost fertilizer, were my fate for a while. Now there’s […]

Carmen Leskoviansky Begins Apprenticeship

Carmen Leskoviansky Begins Apprenticeship

When finishing up the 2-year Seasonal program Carmen pulled me aside and said, ‘I’d like to talk about apprenticeships here.’ I was willing to consider it. In two years no trees had been sawed in half. And during a blowtorch / bending plastic experiment Carmen showed a certain fiery glee. We have a high bar for […]

Unusual Pine to Decandle: Loblolly

Unusual Pine to Decandle: Loblolly

The search for new, interesting native plants for bonsai continues unabated. After finding a bonsai-worthy plant, a secondary puzzler is what known techniques might we apply to the new species. Loblolly or Southern Yellow Pine, Pinus taeda, is a three-needle pine from the southeastern United States. Covering vast areas, it’s believed to be the second […]

When and Why to Pinch New Growth on Spruce-

When and Why to Pinch New Growth on Spruce-

Of course we all love fiddling with our bonsai, and pinching is one of those fiddly things. And spruce, playing into our tactile desires, is a tree we can pinch. Back budding is created by pinching the shoot tip. Normally a spruce’s back budding is most prolific at the union where the shoot began growing. […]

Root Fusing Potentials for Nebari—

Root Fusing Potentials for Nebari—

Nebari is the flare of roots into the soil. If we wish to encourage a strong visual connection with the ground, building the nebari is often the first thing we consider. Sometimes nebari roots remain distinct. In other plants surface roots may fuse into a connected unit. Some plants will form a fused ground-level root […]

Branch Selection Exercise—Spruce

Branch Selection Exercise—Spruce

Last week we had this formal upright Ezo Spruce up on the bench to see how it was developing. And to consider future branch removal. This spruce is a long view tree—a formal upright, seen from a long way off. A tree with a shallow trunk taper like this one has might be imagined with […]

Nurse Log Imagination #2 ~

Nurse Log Imagination #2 ~

‘Nurse logs’ are a central feature of Pacific Northwest forest ecology. When an old Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir or Western Red Cedar is downed by a storm, young plants—some of them trees—germinate on top of them and the roots colonize the massive decomposing trunk. Later, straight rows of 500 year old trees are found in […]

Vine Maple Bunjin on Rock-

Vine Maple Bunjin on Rock-

I collected this tree about five years ago, and put it in a nursery pot to recover from the indignity. It was deep in the back of the bonsai yard, nearly forgotten (John, my apprentice, assures me it’s been watered at least every September), and every month or so I’ve thought, ‘Really have to do […]