Part II: Shore Pine Design Puzzle

Part II: Shore Pine Design Puzzle

Thank you all for sending in your design thoughts about this curious and complicated pine. There were some excellent designs. It is a truism about bonsai design that removing one thing often necessitates the removal of other things, in order to retain visual balance. And with pruning away overly long and repetitive branching we begin […]

Part I: Shore Pine Design Puzzle

Part I: Shore Pine Design Puzzle

In the past I’ve done a series of posts about one tree’s styling, and that’s what we’ll do with this tree here. But this time I’d like you offer you some head scratching… I used this Shore Pine, Pinus contorta subsp. contorta, as a design puzzle for several of my Fall Seasonal sessions, and had […]

Be Careful with Shore Pine in the Winter-

Be Careful with Shore Pine in the Winter-

Shore Pine is one of North America’s most beautiful two-needled pines, with short bright green needles and great bark. It has similarities to many other smaller pines which often have multiple crowns, like pinyon pines. Shore pine does have one distinct difference however, and that (appears to be) cold hardiness. I say ‘appears to be’ […]

History of a Bunjin Scots Pine

History of a Bunjin Scots Pine

Grown from seed by Northwest artist Ron Yasenchak, this Scots Pine is about 25-30 years old. It was purchased by a client of mine who has an eye for the unusual, and who takes the long view in reaching a goal. It’s been about 6 years since it was restyled, with the front turned around. Designs with the […]

Black Pine / Ponderosa Frankenstein Bonsai

Black Pine / Ponderosa Frankenstein Bonsai

Well. I’m not sure what to call Black Pines grafted onto Ponderosa stock. Frankensteins? Frankies? Feel free to suggest… When I first started grafting Black Pine onto Ponderosa, I was unsure whether one could decandle them the same as Black Pine on its own roots. Before I went to Japan to study I grafted a […]

Flowers on Pine Candles…Leave alone? Take off?

Flowers on Pine Candles…Leave alone? Take off?

The first. Best to leave them alone. It’s true that flowering weakens a tree a bit. But pine candles are also quite delicate when growing, and sometimes the shoots that flower can be smaller, and smaller means weaker. Taking the flower buds off can really damage that shoot. And any damage that we do to them is therefore […]

Bunjin #2: Lodgepole Pine

Bunjin #2: Lodgepole Pine

Second up in our tale of two bunjin is this Lodgepole Pine, Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana, which I collected in the fall of 2013. It’s almost assumed that wire is used when styling a pine. But here’s one that didn’t need any. It was styled by simply removing what wasn’t already interesting… This photo is from the fall of 2014. The box is tipped […]

Big Difference Between ‘Decandling’ and ‘Breaking’ Pine Shoots…

Big Difference Between ‘Decandling’ and ‘Breaking’ Pine Shoots…

There’s a storm of confusion around these two techniques…and it’s one of those things we don’t want to get wrong. Pines take a couple years to get back on track, once off track, and so they make us look at our mistakes for a long time. I’ll try to make this short and sweet. For starters, how […]

Bunjin #1: Shore Pine

Bunjin #1: Shore Pine

First up in our tale of two bunjin…this Shore pine (Pinus contorta subsp. contorta) is from Vancouver Island, BC, collected by the eminent and excellent sir Peter Wilson. The tree was potted this past spring, 2015, in the pot shown, and styled in late winter 2016. We wired nearly every branch and shoot on this Shore pine. The […]

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 […]