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 […]

Studying Keido at Cascadia Bonsai-

Studying Keido at Cascadia Bonsai-

Normal days in the bonsai garden involve a lot of time watering, worrying, and brushing spider webs off our bonsai. Taking a break from that to bring the bonsai inside for some display is refreshing, and brings a more relaxing dimension to this art. Spiders might join the event. The room where we had a […]

Skyscraper Bonsai

Skyscraper Bonsai

A couple years back I visited two friends who lived in Chicago. They had their bonsai up in skyscraper apartments, like tree eyries. One had his bonsai up on the rooftop. What a view! But there were two views, actually, two realities. One of the bonsai close up, another of a breathtaking cityscape. And they […]

Summer Heat Spikes and Bonsai–

Summer Heat Spikes and Bonsai–

Every now and then in many locales we can see a blistering heat spike that is 20 degrees higher than normal. Ignoring these spikes, and not making some adjustments to bonsai, is perilous… Tree roots are familiar with an Elysian climate below the soil surface, a moderate one, where roots are protected from damaging heat […]

Learn about Bonsai at the Portland Japanese Garden

Learn about Bonsai at the Portland Japanese Garden

This spring the Portland Japanese Garden unveiled an ambitious expansion, and in that expansion was something new: Portland’s first public bonsai display. I have the delight to work on the bonsai there. While working I chat with visitors, who tend to ask how old the trees are, what I’m doing with them, and why. And after […]

Front Renewed…A Rocky Mountain Juniper Gets a Makeover-

Front Renewed…A Rocky Mountain Juniper Gets a Makeover-

This tree has some history in the garden. We nicknamed it ‘The Fish’ to distinguish it from junipers in the garden that resemble other animals. Last week we changed it to a new front, which had been raised as an option for some years now, and we finally took the bait… The original front of […]

My Pine Needles are Yellowing…Do I Have a Problem?

My Pine Needles are Yellowing…Do I Have a Problem?

Maybe not. In early summer, when new needles on single flush pine species are finishing growing and hardening off, we may see old needles yellowing and falling off. This is a totally normal process of replacement. One can assist the tree by removing these old needles at this time, so that light and air can get […]