A Trick to Try with Your Wisteria this Summer-

A Trick to Try with Your Wisteria this Summer-

This is a fun technique to ramify your wisteria. After the first flush of leaves has hardened off in early summer, and flowers are long gone, take each leaf and cut them down to two leaflets. This will result in a very thin looking bonsai, and you may wish to provide light shade for a […]

Of Weeds and Love

Of Weeds and Love

‘When one summer I came across Emerson’s argument that “weeds” (just then strangling my annuals) were nothing more than a defect of my perception, I felt a certain cognitive dissonance.’ These are the words of Michael Pollan in his hilarious work Second Nature. The dismissive words of Emerson in the garden are not unlike the […]

Be a Bonsai Sleuth: What is Needle Cast and What is Overwatering for Pines?

Be a Bonsai Sleuth: What is Needle Cast and What is Overwatering for Pines?

Many of the problems we see on our bonsai look very much the same. Needle Cast, a fungus, and overwatering, a care mistake, often look a lot alike. Here are two photos that might help determine if you have one or the other of them in your yard: This pine, a Ponderosa, has been overwatered. […]

Double Helix: Limber Pine Revisit

Double Helix: Limber Pine Revisit

This fella got a new shoe this spring. For years—4 more than necessary—it lived in a wooden box simply because I couldn’t find a pot of the right shape that was still deep enough to hold a strange and unforgiving root system. Above the soil surface was another matter, as the twisting, sharied roots were […]

Bonsai Empire’s Advanced Course: Review

Bonsai Empire’s Advanced Course: Review

Once more we have an educational video from Bonsai Empire, using the talents of Bjorn Bjorholm. This is the longest of the three courses so far from the team of Bjorn and Bonsai Empire, running a full 6 hours. This is a good and helpful course. The strengths of the Advanced Course are its simplicity […]

A Room With a View: Shore Pine Revisit

A Room With a View: Shore Pine Revisit

To continue looking back at past work and how they look today…here’s a pine project from 2 years ago that started with a design puzzle: This was the quirky Shore Pine when it got to the yard in 2016. To see the full post on the restyling of it and the design puzzle we offered: shore-pine-design-puzzle […]

If Your Pines Turn a Weird Grey…

If Your Pines Turn a Weird Grey…

…they might not be dead, they might have spider mites. Mites are sneaky little arachnids that can transform our trees while we’re busy assuming all is well, to turn around one day and think, huh, wasn’t that a darker green last week? Pine showing spider mite damage from the year before, on the older needles […]

Revisit: Twin Trunk Hemlock on a Nylon Board—

Revisit: Twin Trunk Hemlock on a Nylon Board—

The last post about a Hemlock suggested that I might as well start a series on revisits from past work to see if they’ve gotten worse with time, stayed the same, or improved. Today we revisit one of the weirder things we’ve done here, putting a tree on a plastic cutting board… At the finish […]

History of a Mountain Hemlock-

History of a Mountain Hemlock-

Years ago a student brought this Mountain Hemlock into a Seasonal session. We styled it in the fall of 2012, and it later made an appearance at the Artisans Cup and is now spending the year at the Portland Japanese Garden display. Please check it out if you drop through Portland, Oregon this year- Here’s […]

Potting up a Hemlock-

Potting up a Hemlock-

Some of you may remember the restyling of this large, old Mountain Hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana, a few years ago. This spring the wooden box it was living in was replaced with a low ceramic rectangle. The following is a photo essay of this final step in the progression- This was the hemlock in December 2014, before the […]