Hinoki Cypress Pruning and Maintenance

Hinoki Cypress Pruning and Maintenance

For over fifteen years this Hinoki has been trained uniformly. No upper branch got thick, no lower branch got weak. It’s wonderful work by a client of mine, grown from a young sapling.  With benches full of trees, it’s easy to pass a tree by several years in a row. Hard to know why I […]

David De Groot’s Retrospective at the Pacific Bonsai Museum

David De Groot’s Retrospective at the Pacific Bonsai Museum

I had the privilege of walking through the Pacific Bonsai Museum with former Curator David De Groot, talking with him about the trees he’d selected for his personal retrospective.  This Redwood is an iconic De Groot tree—one of my favorites of his—rooted on both ends, forming a bridge that recalls a hill and with branches […]

Bonsai Heresy: Errata

Bonsai Heresy: Errata

For those who have already bought Bonsai Heresy, thank you. The book is now in its second printing. In that reprint we corrected a few errors.  Here are some corrections:  on page 105 I inadvertently suggested that ponderosa is one of the single-flush pines you can pinch; I don’t advise that on page 151 I […]

Garden Tour: Bobby Curttright

Garden Tour: Bobby Curttright

This is the first in a series of posts about the gardens of my former apprentices. First up, Bobby Curttright, with me from 2013-2016. His bonsai garden is on the eastern edge of Portland, not far from the snow-capped Cascade Range. Enjoy the photo essay! The first thing that hits you about Bobby’s garden is the […]

Late Spring Accent Plant Gallery-

Late Spring Accent Plant Gallery-

These May / June bloomers are just exploding right now in our garden. Such a delight. Enjoy the photo essay- Giant Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia grandiflora. We put this one together just this spring. There’s a bunch of plants not flowering at the moment, including Saxifrage, Rattlesnake Plantain, Licorice Fern, and Violet. Hawkweed, Hieracium. The balance of […]

“Why in the world did you decide on ‘Crataegus’ Bonsai?”

“Why in the world did you decide on ‘Crataegus’ Bonsai?”

I get this question a lot. And the answer comes with a story. Well, a three-part story. The first and easiest part of the story is that “Crataegus” is the genus name of the hawthorn tree, which is my last name in German. Years ago I was waffling about for a business name. This was […]

9-Year Accent Plant Time-lapse

9-Year Accent Plant Time-lapse

Accent plants change, sometimes dramatically, over time. And, sometimes, we have nothing to do with it.  Long ago I planted a marsh plant, Juncus, in a pot. Over 9 years three other plants blew in from seeds and spores, and took over—Violet, Speedwell, and Lady Fern. Now no Juncus remains. The mounding seen in this video […]

Life in a Teacup: A Tiny Home Memoir

Life in a Teacup: A Tiny Home Memoir

Do you recall the first place that felt like home, once you left your parents? For me it was a Lilliputian cabin in my mid-20’s, after several uninspiring apartments. I lived in that stucco cabin for a year. Smaller than most bedrooms at 7’ x 14’—all of 98 sq. feet—the ceiling was so low that tall visitors […]

Cantilevered, Ancient Vine Maple on a Board—

Cantilevered, Ancient Vine Maple on a Board—

Here’s a project long in the dreaming—a Vine Maple on a metal / slab support. I’ve enjoyed cantilevered forms for their suggestion of precariousness. Which nature has in abundance. The tree was collected from the Oregon Cascades in 2020. It’s an old thing, with a rotted base that’s seen many trunks die back and new […]

The Crataegus Garden by Drone-

The Crataegus Garden by Drone-

When Bonsai Empire shot a new online educational course here this spring, we used a drone to film the garden. I’d never seen it from that vantage. The third clip on this video arrested me—from high up, the garden layout is exactly as I’d sketched it 13 years ago, in pencil, on an 8 x […]