Windy Mountain Hemlock Styling

Windy Mountain Hemlock Styling

This Mountain Hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana, came from Vancouver Island, BC, courtesy of collector Anton Nijhuis.  My impression of wind-influenced trees is that the foliage pads are slender when seen from the side. Also, there is usually some air between the branches. We used that idea in our styling of this tree. The raw Mountain Hemlock, […]

Ponderosa Pine—With Same Wire for 10 Years

Ponderosa Pine—With Same Wire for 10 Years

It’s true. I’ve a pine with the same wire on it for 10 years. We often hear talk of removing the wire on our trees in the fall. The question is, when they are not in danger of biting in, why take the wires off? Sometimes, the thinking is, it’s to protect from damage from cold—which, […]

Squatty Limber Pine Styling-

Squatty Limber Pine Styling-

Nearly 10 years ago I found this Limber Pine sitting at the intersection of three cracks in solid granite. The chunks of silvered wood you see as ‘wings’ on either side of the lower trunk, with air under them, are the remains of the original root system that ran down two cracks. The space underneath […]

Arizona Alder in Unusual Presentation-

Arizona Alder in Unusual Presentation-

This planting was originally composed by Oregon bonsai artist Greg Brenden. The container is a concrete water meter cover, stretching the boundaries of what might hold a plant. We’ve been encouraging a kusamono-like wildness to its style since acquiring it some years ago. The meter cover does have a rectangular hole straight through the center […]

Does Burying a Pot in Compost Create Patina?

Does Burying a Pot in Compost Create Patina?

When he was an apprentice here Andrew Robson puzzled over guidance we hear frequently: ‘Bury a new ceramic pot in compost and in a few months you’ll see patina on it’. Well, he took a new, unused pot and buried it in compost for fully two years. He watered it every day (true story). We […]

Restyling a Historic Ponderosa (in a Metal Pot) –

Restyling a Historic Ponderosa (in a Metal Pot) –

Years ago a friend dropped off an old brake drum, an old rusted thing from a car, and said ‘Put something in that’. I was pretty amused and said I would, and yet it’s taken me a while to find something worthy of it. We finally did, this spring, and it was the first time […]

WATCH The Fall Seasonal-lite Trailer!

WATCH The Fall Seasonal-lite Trailer!

This one is retro-themed, a bit cheeky, with a hint of Halloween… Sign up! Fall Seasonal-lite (Two sessions, Oct 24-25 or Nov 7-8, 2020) Fall course focuses on conifer and deciduous fall techniques, fall mistakes, subtle foliage adjustments, avoiding the traps of poor design including preciousness and lankiness, and much more The Seasonal-lite platform is […]

Giving Up That Branch You Love–

Giving Up That Branch You Love–

Why would you want to give up what you’re excited about? This doesn’t sound right, does it… Sometimes, of course, a cool branch is everything good about a tree, and then we have to feature it. But it’s easy to become stubbornly adamant about a branch, or other tree element like really nice shari, that […]

BONSAI WIRE Podcast is Now Live!

BONSAI WIRE Podcast is Now Live!

We hope you’ll check out Bonsai Wire, our new podcast which is now searchable on podcast apps. Rather than a single viewpoint, Bonsai Wire is hosted by four professionals who cover topics in roundtable fashion and interview others for their viewpoints, too. Three episodes are available already, including our Introductory session, a roundtable about Curating […]

Snow Falling On A Yellow Cedar-

Snow Falling On A Yellow Cedar-

Apologies for the appropriation from David Guterson’s novel, Snow Falling on Cedars, but his suggestive title was roughly what I was attempting with this styling: When there’s enough of it, snow is heavy, and transforms that beneath it.  This is a Yellow Cedar, Cupressus nootkatensis; a good sized tree, nearly 3′ across. The branches were long […]