When to Begin Fertilizing in Spring?

When to Begin Fertilizing in Spring?

It’s likely not a good impulse to want to lasso students to slow down their spring fertilizing, but I admit to the urge. And yet I get it: the trees are growing, so we reach for the fertilizer by instinct.  The problem with this is that by the end of summer everything, even old geriatric […]

An Oft-Forgotten Repotting Clue-

An Oft-Forgotten Repotting Clue-

Deciding to repot or not is often fraught with angst. Do we do it this year? Maybe next year? Considering the clues can help you decide. Maybe you know a tree with slow water penetration, that one might be ready for a repot. Try driving a chopstick into the soil on another one, near the […]

Shimpaku on Rocky Mountain: Revisit

Shimpaku on Rocky Mountain: Revisit

Here’s a tree we’ve not covered in a while, a grafted cascade juniper. The trunk is Rocky Mountain, and the foliage is a rather coarse shimpaku variety that I like as it marries well with a coarse, meaty trunkline. Often very fine Itoigawa and even ordinary shimpaku seem too fine for some purposes. It’s been […]

Bonsai Under Threat Of Snow

Bonsai Under Threat Of Snow

Well, usually snow is rather nice, but: Don’t underestimate it (that goes for any Sith lord, too) And, yes, we’re all special snowflakes, but snow builds up into something heavy and not so special Brush off large accumulations before it melts After it melts and refreezes, leave alone, or you can brush off twigs Too […]

Hemlock On Rock : Revisit

Hemlock On Rock : Revisit

This hemlock composition is from 2016. The design challenge was to imitate a tree not dangling off a cliff, as we tend to do with semi-cascade, but rather rising from a ravine slope, low on a cliff. We used a lace rock cavity which stabilized well in an upright position, suggesting the cliff wall.  Starting with […]

The Winter Seasonal-lite Launches Soon-

The Winter Seasonal-lite Launches Soon-

In 2020 we created the Seasonal-lite online series to teach folks far away in this strange leap year. We’ve finished three online courses so far—the Spring, Fall and Wild for Accents Seasonal-lites (which we’ll be offering again this year, too). These have been a hoot to teach. They’re interactive and are led by me in […]

Design Tweak For A Bunjin-

Design Tweak For A Bunjin-

When our trees get out of shape and gangly they give us the opportunity to see them again. When a client brought in this Lodgepole Pine that he’d collected, it looked ripe for a tweak. ‘Integration’ is a word we throw around a lot in bonsai. And it’s an important design word. Generally what we […]

Shore Pine From Telperion Farms Styled-

Shore Pine From Telperion Farms Styled-

Many of you know that the pre-bonsai business Telperion Farms was lost to the western fires this summer. They leave a hole in our community that still brings us sorrow. The trees they shipped went everywhere over the years, a friend said he’d received some in Puerto Rico. Many were brought to my backyard by […]

Calling Jim Gremel—Your Cedar is Ready

Calling Jim Gremel—Your Cedar is Ready

For many, the name Jim Gremel is synonymous with supremely well-annealed copper wire. He’s also quite talkative, and has a way of pinioning you to a sales table with stories surpassed only by the Ancient Mariner. Evidently he’s so popular, with so many clients, that he doesn’t need any more and is highly elusive to […]

~ Beginnings are Delicate Things ~

~ Beginnings are Delicate Things ~

There’s an old craftsperson axiom that goes, ‘If you have problems at the end it’s probably because of something you did at the beginning’. This past year I’ve shared a series of posts about early tree development. If there is one overarching, umbrella statement we can make regarding the early phase of bonsai creation—both deciduous […]