Minimalist Hemlock Styling~

Minimalist Hemlock Styling~

This mountain hemlock clump, Tsuga mertensiana, was featured in a styling post some years ago, and after a recent reworking felt ready for a revisit. Since the styling it’s been placed on a Corian slab, and moss has taken over. This one seems to slow down visitors. With some curiosity, I’ve watched some literally come […]

Black pine/Ponderosa Frankie Tree Revisit-

Black pine/Ponderosa Frankie Tree Revisit-

This is an earlier work, black pine grafted on a ponderosa trunk. I think it was grafted about 9 years ago. It’s a small tree, a chuhin at 14”. Collected years ago by Randy Knight; recently reworked by apprentice John Eads. In our first post on this tree, Black Pine/Ponderosa, I suggested calling it a Frankie […]

A Holiday Story-

A Holiday Story-

Some may recognize this as a previous post entitled ‘A New Year’s Story’, and I beg forgiveness for the repeat; finishing up Bonsai Heresy (proofing just completed) has been all-absorbing. But I figured this story had continued utility, like last year’s advent calendar does: Usually I offer the bungled photos of the year in a […]

Front Cover and Brief Review of Bonsai Heresy—

Front Cover and Brief Review of Bonsai Heresy—

As it’s terrifically difficult to write a review of one’s own work and still sleep at night, I’m copying here what Wayne Schoech of Stone Lantern wrote in his newsletter about my forthcoming offbeat, educational book Bonsai Heresy: 56 Myths Exposed using Science and Tradition— Here’s the glimpse into the future we promised, Michael’s Bonsai Heresy is […]

Deciduous Early Development Part III: Styrax

Deciduous Early Development Part III: Styrax

Styrax is, like the magnolia featured in Part II of this series, a rarely seen deciduous bonsai. Mr. Takeyama in Japan has some remarkable styrax specimens, and seeing his was the reason I started trying them for bonsai. This specimen is Styrax japonicus, also known as Japanese snowbell- Continuing the theme of this series, you will […]

2,520 Degree Ponderosa Pine

2,520 Degree Ponderosa Pine

Two years ago I collected this Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) with Backcountry Bonsai. It was tucked under a full sized tree, somehow eking out a very long life. Seven full rotations is 2,520 degrees of twist around the trunk…a bit of an eye boggler. It lay prostrate and un-inspiringly in its box until this fall when […]

Limber Pine First Styling-

Limber Pine First Styling-

Those of you following the threads surrounding the publication of Bonsai Heresy have maybe also noticed a lag in posts this month. With relief I can report the book is off to the designer and my duties are downgraded to thumbs up or thumbs down for a few weeks. In the interim we styled a […]

Producing A Self-Published Book: What You Didn’t Know…

Producing A Self-Published Book: What You Didn’t Know…

The first time I did this the steps seemed endless. There’s content editors, copy editors, illustrators, formatters, proofreaders, bluelines, and printers. And with my second book it’s not much less endless. While a publishing schedule is lengthy, taking months to wend through, on the sidelines are those waving flags of support, like at a marathon—the lone […]

Deciduous Early Development Part II: Magnolia

Deciduous Early Development Part II: Magnolia

An infrequently used deciduous genus for bonsai, Magnolia nonetheless offers a unique, bold personality among our ranks of status-quo Tridents and Elms. Most commonly used for bonsai is Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata, among the Magnolia species options. The Star Magnolia is a modest shrub or minor tree rather than one of the massive flowering tree Magnolias […]

Deciduous Early Development Part I: Japanese Maple

Deciduous Early Development Part I: Japanese Maple

The first part of this development series covers a few gangly specimens of Japanese Maple. Japanese Maple is one of the most challenging early development deciduous trees because of its propensity to make long internodes. It’s also one of the best examples of a theme that runs throughout the next few posts on early development, […]