Ancient Mountain Hemlock-

Ancient Mountain Hemlock-

Merely eye-candy at this point, this huge Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) has never been worked on…but it’s a marvel to look at. The tree was collected by Anton Nijhuis. It’s the oldest hemlock I’ve ever seen in a pot. Thinking of styling it this fall, and will definitely do a post about it if we do…

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 […]

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 […]

New Projects From Backcountry Bonsai-

New Projects From Backcountry Bonsai-

A preview of some conifer yamadori trees in queue for styling in the next couple of years at Crataegus Bonsai. Trees are courtesy of Backcountry Bonsai, the collecting duo of Steve Varland and Dan Wiederrecht. These six trees are Rocky Mountain junipers and Ponderosa pines, although Steve and Dan also collect Limber pine, Lodgepole pine, […]

The Difference Between Yamadori and Pot-Grown: Part III

What is a yamadori bonsai? What is a pot-grown bonsai? Here are a few simple definitions: Yamadori: Bonsai made from an older collected tree Pot-Grown: Grown as a bonsai its whole life A yamadori was crafted over a very long time by the elements, by it’s location in nature. These birth marks are what make them so […]

Revisiting a Unique Rocky Mountain Juniper—Seasonal work

This is an intriguing tree. I could look at it all day. It was styled last year with the other side as the front. Then the lower branch died, which is a hard thing to prevent in a juniper if it’s got that idea going. About that time I was strongly considering this new front, […]

Developing an Unpromising Sierra Juniper Bunjin–student work from Seasonal

This is a product of my Seasonal sessions. A few years ago I bought this weedy looking Sierra juniper, removed the field soil and repotted it into a pumice/akadama mix in a plastic nursery pot with help from Seasonal students in 2009, and styled it with a Seasonal group in 2010. It really did look […]

Black Pine Grafted Ponderosa: STYLED

Black Pine Grafted Ponderosa: STYLED

This small pine goes way back to when I was a potter, trying to sell them at my first convention in the mid 90’s in Harrisburg, PA. I met Andy Smith there, and we traded a pot for a tree. He collected the yamadori pine in South Dakota. For years I grew it as a […]

Another Yamadori Rocky Mtn. Juniper–

This juniper has been growing in my backyard for a year. It’s a client tree, another of the great native yamadori that was collected by Randy Knight of Oregon Bonsai. Junipers don’t like to be repotted very early, they do better when repotted in late spring when it’s warmer. So this tree, which is in […]

Yamadori Shimpaku juniper styling

Some years ago this juniper was imported from Japan. It was weak for quite some time and only this year displayed enough energy to make styling an option. The long shoots were cut back once already this year, so I could actually have styled it a bit earlier.