Ugly vs. Pretty Styling

Ugly vs. Pretty Styling

For any styling it’s good to ask: Do we leave it rough, or do we polish it off to as crystalized an image as we can?¬†And the answer usually is, as with many things in bonsai, it depends. When is leaving a mess appropriate? With very aggressive work, with large branches and even trunks moved […]

A New Year’s Story-

A New Year’s Story-

Usually I offer the bungled photos of the year in a blooper reel to start the New Year. As I reviewed the year’s photos, however, it became clear that there weren’t enough qualifying photos. Which suggests either an uptick in selective shooting or a lack of studio clowns. Either way I have no photos for […]

Winter Care Options-

Winter Care Options-

Every year I get many questions regarding winter care of bonsai, which is lovely of course since we spend so much time worritin’ over their management during the growing season that it would be a shame not to properly worrit over their hibernation quarters, too. But rather than an epistle on winter care, here are […]

New Design for an Awarded Ponderosa Pine-

New Design for an Awarded Ponderosa Pine-

This bunjin pine won the Ben Oki award years ago, and then showed up on the cover of Bonsai Clubs International in 1992. The two and a half decades since, under the stewardship of several owners, have proven that Ponderosa does eventually ramify. In the last few years, however, the lower branch has weakened—made worse […]

Red Pine Bankan Style in Development…

Red Pine Bankan Style in Development…

This pine has been sitting on the benches here for almost ten years without much happening to it, except for the transition from Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) foliage to Red Pine foliage (Pinus densiflora). And even after this wiring we ended a bit shy of where we want it. The grafts on the tree haven’t […]

Preparing Accents for Winter–

Preparing Accents for Winter–

Accents are popular with many bonsai enthusiasts. Some of us grow them to the detriment of our bonsai, we are so engaged and enraptured with them. And they are delightfully distracting. In the late fall the accents—or at least the ones that go brown on us—should be trimmed back to set them up for spring. […]

Spruce Forest Time Lapse–

Spruce Forest Time Lapse–

This is a time lapse in two photos. Which isn’t much of a progression, but flipping between the two images there are some changes, most significantly the building of the foliar masses into proto-pads, creating density. Each spring as the new shoots come out they are pinched approximately in half (less for weaker ones, a […]

Young Winter Hazel Structural Design—

Young Winter Hazel Structural Design—

Although we create a lot of deciduous bonsai here, embarrassingly few of them show up on this blog. I’ll endeavor to include more of them down the road. One of the enticing challenges of deciduous bonsai is seeing the future tree in the young twigs in front of you. The process is so long that […]

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 […]