Fall is a Good Time to See Weak Branches

In the fall we’ve got a golden opportunity to see where are our deciduous bonsai have weak spots. It’s fairly simple. If one has a bonsai that is losing its leaves, pay attention to the branch that is the first to turn color, and the first branch to lose its leaves. That is the branch […]

A Few Takeaways from the Joe Harris III Seminar on Satsuki Azaleas-

A Few Takeaways from the Joe Harris III Seminar on Satsuki Azaleas-

Every year we invite a talented bonsai artist to talk in the studio here for our summer Crataegus Bonsai Seminar, and this year it was filled to overflowing with more than 30 people in a space that was built to teach 6. We were well rewarded for the sardining, however, as Joe Harris III gave […]

You Don’t Need to Remove ALL the Wire…

You Don’t Need to Remove ALL the Wire…

…all at once. Fall is a good time to check on what wires may be biting in on the branches. If you see some, don’t go for the default of taking it all off. That is very often a simple waste of your past work, the work you did putting it on. The middle of […]

Prune Your Pines Now—In Early Fall-

Prune Your Pines Now—In Early Fall-

If we’re very busy with fall things like getting kids back to school and thwarting cold weather with insulation, we may have limited time to wire our pines. And yet simply pruning pines in the early fall is the main technique for reining in a leggy pine, and will also greatly enhance the vigor of interior shoots and […]

‘Stampede’ Ponderosa Pine Styling…

‘Stampede’ Ponderosa Pine Styling…

There’s a story about the name ‘Stampede’. The Backcountry Bonsai guys enjoy naming the trees they collect, and having received several with memorable names I asked if this Ponderosa Pine had one. I only got an abbreviated version by text and maybe not the full story, but I gather it involved some galloping extraterrestrials or horned […]

How To Develop A Chojubai-

How To Develop A Chojubai-

Last week I was flipping back and forth between old photos and newer ones to see how a Dwarf Flowering Quince ‘Chojubai’ bonsai has changed. Just to take six years in the life of this old fella, from 2012 to 2018, one can see a difference in the ramification. The first photo looks uninspiring, old […]

A Juniper Orchid (to go with our Pine Orchid…)

A Juniper Orchid (to go with our Pine Orchid…)

Some of you might remember a quirky Shore Pine that we put on a post in 2017, calling it the first Pine Orchid in the yard. Yesterday this juniper was styled, and it hangs on the neighboring post that supports the shade cloth structure (thank you Bobby Curttright). The juniper is a bit of a Frankenstein: […]

Juniper Tips Dying?

Juniper Tips Dying?

If they are, you likely have juniper tip blight, or phomopsis. This is a fungus that attacks the growing tip of the juniper, usually in spring when the temps are mild, around 60 F / 15 C or so, and during humid or wet weather. It attacks many species of juniper. Native North American junipers […]

New Book: ‘Bonsai Heresy’

New Book: ‘Bonsai Heresy’

This book has been in the works for some years now. To those who were aware of this and have been asking ad nauseam when it will be done, I now have an answer. Soon. Bonsai Heresy is about the myths of common bonsai technique and thought. The book recounts some of my past misdeeds, looks […]