Bobby Curttright Wraps Up Apprenticeship-

Bobby Curttright Wraps Up Apprenticeship-

After three years here at Crataegus Bonsai, Bobby Curttright has finished his apprenticeship and is setting up his bonsai business of Cascadia Bonsai. I am sad to see Bobby go. Bobby weathered his being my first apprentice with his native stoic nature, resilience, and good humor. We did have quite a bit of fun. There […]

A ‘Cliff Bonsai’—Western Hemlock Styling

A ‘Cliff Bonsai’—Western Hemlock Styling

We often think of cliff or rock faces being the place where cascade bonsai get their inspiration. And they do. But there’s another commonly seen growth habit in those steep, rocky areas… I collected this Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) on Vancouver Island several years ago, where, coincidentally, it was growing off a boulder. The leaves […]

90 Year-Old Black Pine Wired by Bobby Curttright-

90 Year-Old Black Pine Wired by Bobby Curttright-

This Japanese Black Pine, Pinus thunbergii, was wired by Bobby Curttright. Bobby has been my apprentice for over 2 1/2 years now, and his wiring is becoming quite accomplished. The necessary fine attention to detail reaches a level of nerd-dom with the best wire wranglers. He’s been a quick study with it, and his organization and […]

The Benefits of Scrubbing Wooden Benches

The Benefits of Scrubbing Wooden Benches

Since deadwood is all the rage in the bonsai world, here’s quite a bit of it. Amazing we could find so much that was nice and straight, right? Scrubbing benches with a bristle brush removes the buildup of algae and mold, helping to resist the decomposition of the wood. You will likely find the undersides […]

Very Tall Hemlock Clump Styled

Very Tall Hemlock Clump Styled

This photo essay ends with a couple of movies… They’re too short for popcorn, but long enough to sit down for. Mountain Hemlock before branch removal or wiring. Here are some pre-work branch close-ups: Last week this Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) was styled with pruning and wiring. It’s an unusual front, as the apexes all […]

Beautiful Henk Fresen Bronzes for Bonsai Display

Bobby Curttright brought by the studio a recent shipment of Henk Fresen’s wonderful bronze miniatures, and we enjoyed dreaming up what we might display with them. These are exemplary works for innovative bonsai display, such as you might see at the Taikan Ten, and of comparable quality to the bronzes that Matt Reel and I […]

Very Large Mtn. Hemlock Clump-

Very Large Mtn. Hemlock Clump-

This is one of those trees I’ve had in my yard a long time, and never done a follow-up post about. For one thing, it’s so large it’s hard to photograph. For another, I just didn’t get around to it. All of the trunks come from one base; it’s one tree. The snows are so […]

Final Episode: Kokufu, Matt Reel, Snow

True, this is not as exciting as Star Wars, but still, our Final Episode is the photographic finale of our trip to Japan this February! Yay! Cymbals crashing, drums going nuts, frogs leaping off bridges, etc. Going back in time a bit to our first day…we all became kids over dinner. Here’s Grant and Peter […]

Matt, Tyler, and Bobby in Japan-

Part II of our trip to Japan earlier this month…

Kokufu Show, Friends, Massive Snowstorm…

…the usual Japan bonsai experience in February. I’m writing this in the snow-socked city of Nagano, 6 hours after my plane left from Narita Airport on the other side of Honshu. Waved vaguely in the direction of my apprentice Bobby Curttright, who enviously left Shinji Suzuki’s garden several days before I did and had a […]