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 […]

Needle Juniper Restyling-

Needle Juniper Restyling-

This tree is too tall. And the branches are a bit leggy, too. One of the problems we get into in bonsai design is that with time and growth, height and branch length can begin pulling us away from the trunk. Literally destroying the design, making it weaker. And this tree has a nice trunk, […]

Revisiting a Cascade Juniper-

Revisiting a Cascade Juniper-

Here’s a Rocky Mountain Juniper some of you might recognize…collected by Randy Knight, and styled about three years ago into a cascade. The tree has been repotted since the initial styling, and it was rewired last week. This post is a photo essay of that rewiring… Before rewiring: Rocky Mountain Juniper having grown for several […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Day of Yikes: Grafted Rocky Mountain Juniper Styling

Day of Yikes: Grafted Rocky Mountain Juniper Styling

I suppose that title needs a bit of explaining. About 4 1/2 years ago I grafted this Rocky Mountain Juniper (collected by Randy Knight) with some curious shimpaku foliage that I took a shine to. The shimpaku foliage was a bit coarser than we see normally, and I thought it would look good on a […]

Choosing Branches for Flow–

Flow. In bonsai we need it, and we need it early. We have to decide ‘Right’ or ‘Left’ at the very beginning when crafting our trees, or we could land in a real aesthetic pickle. Flow is the direction the asymmetry of the tree moves, and is essential when it comes to linking the future […]