Wind-influenced Plants

Wind-influenced Plants

While on vacation at the Oregon coast this month I saw many plants that were wind-influenced. I prefer this term to ‘windswept’ as that conjures up a familiar image, one that we think we know, and still a tree shape. ‘Wind-influenced’ feels broader and open to interpretation. A few examples follow. A shrub formed by […]

Collected Vine Maple

Collected Vine Maple

Those of you who follow the Bonsai Wire podcast may recall an epic adventure involving a broken tailbone while collecting a Vine Maple. This is that tree. I still can’t believe John Eads and I got it out. The root system was locked onto the lava rock like an octopus. We spent 2 1/2 hours […]

Chuhin Black Pine Restyle

Chuhin Black Pine Restyle

In a game-changing redesign, John Wang of Los Angeles, CA transformed this gangly pine into a unified bonsai. While my client owns it now, the pine has changed only subtly since John got his golden mitts on it over ten years ago. Chuhin Black Pine, before John Wang’s reworking in 2009. John brought the upper branch […]

Holiday Message: The Future Library of Norway

Author Margaret Atwood has collaborated on a project called ‘The Future Library of Norway’, the brainchild of artist Katie Paterson. Atwood says, “When you get an invitation like this, you either say, ‘You’re crazy!’, or ‘I’m in’.” To sum up, this library involves a forest that will grow for 100 years. Every year a writer […]

Studying City Trees

Studying City Trees

Increasingly, many of us live in cities. And, with the exception of some downtown areas, most cities have trees to look at. Of these, deciduous trees stand out in contrast to their conifer counterparts. Why is this? I think it’s a maturation thing. Conifers begin to outgrow their youthful feeling only after reaching 200+ years, and […]

Single-Flush Pine Needle Clean-up

Single-Flush Pine Needle Clean-up

Here’s a Shore Pine that needs a fall once-over. Fall is a prime time to adjust pines with wires and remove old pine needles at the same time. The single flush pines push out a candle in the spring and that’s it for the year. By fall this Shore Pine was looking happy but shaggy. […]

‘Be Easy to Move, but Hard to Knock Over’

‘Be Easy to Move, but Hard to Knock Over’

This aphorism comes from a local Argentine tango teacher. With it he’s explaining the elasticity of one dance partner to another, especially in the follower’s role. The follower reacts to the leader’s suggestions, though she may do so in her own way. While this is going on both partners must maintain their own balance. This […]

A Fall Prune (And How Stewartia Got Its Name)

A Fall Prune (And How Stewartia Got Its Name)

Stewartia monadelpha is an elegant deciduous species with smooth, cinnamon bark and silvery, gem-like buds. Related to Camelias, they like moist, shady locations and develop at about 1/2 the speed of a Japanese Maple. The Stewartia featured below was brought into the studio for a fall session with concave pruners. Stewartia in training after a […]

Assessing Summer’s Misdemeanors

Assessing Summer’s Misdemeanors

At the end of a long growing season we might ask ourselves: ‘What can we do better?’  It’s not a bad idea to have a blunt friend come into the yard and attempt to answer that question. After a while we can’t see our own handiwork.  Your friend might say, ‘Your pines could use more […]

Multiple-trunks and Nebari Development

Multiple-trunks and Nebari Development

This Japanese Snowbell has appeared before on the blog. We’ll first look at the fall pruning before getting to the nebari.  Styrax japonicus in fall, ready for a pruning. After leaf removal. The lower branches were let run this year to thicken them up. The top was pruned once already, in mid-season. Following pruning. Stronger pruning […]