2022 Spring Accent Gallery

2022 Spring Accent Gallery

A few spring plants that delighted us in the bonsai garden this year—enjoy! This accent looks different every spring. The root mound was part of the Juncus on top (the spiky green rush), that I’ve been minimizing with scissors because it can take over. The Maidenhair Fern, sensing victory, has gained confidence and has bolder […]

Cutting Flowers off Winter Hazel

Cutting Flowers off Winter Hazel

Like most flowering bonsai, Winter Hazel are stronger if flowers are cut off at the end of blooming. Time your flower removal when the petals begin to fall. With scissors, cut the flowers off just above the new emerging leaves. Dangling Winter Hazel flowers delight in early spring. This is a young plant beginning to […]

The Patient Magic of Michael Roberts: Part II

The Patient Magic of Michael Roberts: Part II

Two more from the great bonsai collection of Michael Roberts. His collection features elms, oaks, pines, trident maples, and olives, all self-created. Most of Michael’s bonsai are large, though the Cork Bark Elm shown here is a small one. Michael nicknamed it “The Ambassador”—so if you’ve never been to the land of elms, this might be […]

The Patient Magic of Michael Roberts: Part I

The Patient Magic of Michael Roberts: Part I

Michael Roberts is one of my bonsai heroes. He’s worked quietly in Southern California for decades, creating bonsai that you can’t make any other way other than to throw years at them. This post and the next one share several of his long-term adventures with Cork Bark Elm and Cork Oak. I’m thrilled that he […]

Bonsai Empire Films New Course at Crataegus Bonsai-

Bonsai Empire Films New Course at Crataegus Bonsai-

For three days this week we had Bonsai Empire in the studio, filming parts of a new set of courses. Other parts feature the great Bjorn Bjorholm, filmed in Tennessee. I’m delighted to be paired with him for this multiple-teacher offering, even though—with every passing year it’s more amusing—Bjorn and I have never met!   These […]

Pot Depth—Don’t Cut it Close!

Pot Depth—Don’t Cut it Close!

The guideline runs: pot depth should equal trunk diameter. This, though, is an aesthetic guideline. Many bonsai prefer a deeper pot.  A deep pot is like sneakers. Good for romping around in. The high heels and dress shoes are for primp, kept in the closet with the shallow show pots for special days. There are […]

Repotting Old Chojubai

Every few years Chojubai need repotting. And for Chojubai, the size of the pot often determines when that is. This specimen is like many Chojubai in larger pots—they can waltz along for years without getting root bound. In a small pot they will tighten up in 2-3 years. But in a large pot they can […]

Satsuki Raft Revisit-

Satsuki Raft Revisit-

In 2017 we puzzled over an Azalea that had seen better days. The top had died, and two complete sides of the trunk were shari. What to do with it? We cut the trunk in half, laying the nice looking half down in a flat. What had been branches rose as trunks, for a raft style. […]

Collaborative Bonsai Work

Collaborative Bonsai Work

Bonsai is usually a solo endeavor. It’s that way here, and it’s the way we worked in Japan, too: one tree per work station per person. I’d been trained as a lone wolf artist in painting, in sculpture, and later in pottery, so this solo assumption felt natural. A rock band assumes several members, but […]

Last of Winter Work-

Last of Winter Work-

Early February is the cusp of repotting where I live (Pacific Northwest, Zone 8b). And that means we’re also at the end of wiring, for now. At this time invasive wiring with heavy bending is put on pause. Light rewiring, like the example below, may be done nearly any day of the year. Now when […]