Seasonal Growth Review – Part 1

As the seasons change, I like to access how far the trees have developed in any given year and plan for the upcoming year’s development. So far I have reviewed some of the major trees in the collection that had considerable work done on them this year. The most challenging species for my location are

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Changeing Minds

Doing club demos requires research and planning but the bring rewards to the membership and even to self. I recently had the opportunity to do a demo for the San Mateo club, SBBK, on the subject of tropical material. I introduced species many had not seen before. It is always good to help “change minds”,

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The Forth of July

Projects consumed the morning on the 4th of July. Not feeling very festive for so many reasons that I will not discuss in my blog. On the docket this morning was a shohin Japanese Black Pine and a client Boxwood. After participating in an on-line training session about shohin black pines last night I was

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Cork Oak Progress Update

Purchased this cork oak from a nursery in southern California in 2009. It was in a standard nursery pot from a bonsai grower. When I got it home I was shocked to see that its roots were mostly 4 plus inches below the soil level with a stick in between with only a few small

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Daiymo Oak Update

Daimyo Oak 2018 The Daimyo Oak is the king of my collection. It has such a provenance. Seed carried from Japan by a club member and planted in 1960. Fifty-eight years ago this was an acorn. It was styled by that club member and then upon his passing, donated to the Bonsai Garden at Lake

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A Slow Day In April

Right now I am handicapped with a hand injury and lingering issues from sickness. That give me time to catch up on some stories and ask others to move trees around so I can putter about for a while. This past weekend the local bonsai club asked if  I would demo the creation of a Saikei;

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2018 Kusamura Bonsai Show Prep

It is show time next weekend so there is a lot of final cleanup and show display stand testing. We preset all the trees with a stand so we know we have the correct ones for the display. Not too large, not too small, the correct color, correct tree placement. As usually I do not

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A Not So Ordinary January Day

Since the USA government experienced a closure I used the time to visit a client and work on some trees. I had seen that many had become over grown during the Fall last year. I started working on the pines. Two pines here. One with a lovely movement and the other a bit chunky. The

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From a Cutting – to a Tree

This little client trees has been developing from a cutting for the past 8 years. It has developed a considerable root mass and significant foliage to begin to style. The grow pot it was in is not a good container so we went of to Japantown in San Jose to get something more fitting. The

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A New Year, a New Design

It has just turned 2018, and the winter tasks are in full swing. Re-potting, wiring, and deciduous tree development is in process. Today I started preparing the Daimyo Oak for its 58th year. Wiring must be applied carefully especially to the younger fleshy branches. The larger branches are still quiet movable. I am adjusting the

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2017 Fall into Winter

It has been a very colorful year in Santa Clara. We normally do not get to enjoy such color in our trees where I live. As the leaves are now falling from all the neighborhood maples, liquid amber and such I settling into a different mindset. The year comes to and end. Most of the

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Glamour Shot at Peak of Season

Sometimes you just have to feel like a proud papa. Today is peak of season for this wonderful old tree. Many years it never gets a chance to show off it colors. This year green, red, yellow graced the view every day thanks to the current weather here. Now, the Daimyo Oak reaches peak and

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Olive Overhaul Project Day 1

Christine W. got this wonderful olive stump at the GSBF convention workshop in Sacramento a year ago this weekend. So in honor of that special time, we set a date to take on the project and carve it to distinction. First issue was the the sheer height of the tree. It could not fit in

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The Art of the Rescue

Often when we dream of working on bonsai we see ourselves surrounded by master class trees hundreds of years old, wiring and refining branches, enhancing deadwood, or returning to shaping of the foliage. However, much of the work we do for clients is rescue work. Let me paint this story for you: Client has inherited

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October Odds and Ends

October 1 brings a noticeable change in light on the trees. Soon the focus of work will change to re-potting but I took this day to catch up on some trees that were in grow phase. There was the Peruvian Pepper tree trunk that has been in development for years, trying to find the correct

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Cleanup Summer Foliage

Today was one of those sick days you have to go outside and work on trees. Many of the shimpaku junipers were let grow to recover from a bad year past. Between too much heat, sun, and stress most suffered. So this year they were in grow mode to recover. However; we got some brutal

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A Final Farewell to Trees

Today, I had the opportunity to work for one of my long time clients. I have worked for him for about 5 years on a small collection of trees that were purchased from Kusamura Bonsai Club show sales tables. When I started working on them they were not in good shape. The owner had purchased

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September Bay Area Heat Wave

Today temperatures in the SF Bay Area, Santa Clara region, peaked at 101 in the shade. Temps reached 108 degrees. For my bonsai friends around the bay, remember to cool down those pots. You may have to water twice a day in some areas of full sun. Humidity is only 14% where I am so

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August Working – Boxwood

This month all my tropical bonsai have been thinned and cut back in anticipation of the next growth spurt. The tropical collection is substantially deduced in foliage, removing old larger leaves so that we can get smaller leaves and more ramification. Olives have been worked much in the same way this month. Best to remove

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2017 Kusamura Bonsai Club Glamour Shots

We have concluded our 2017 show and I wanted to post some draft photos of my small tree display. More to come later as I work on the photos. Thanks to our photographer, Sabrina Huang. In the coming weeks I will be working up the best photos for publications. These are just draft teasers.

Dressed for 2017 Show

Spent the morning putting final touches on the trees for show this weekend. For details on the show you can find us at http://www.kusamurabonsai.org, on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Kusamura-Bonsai-Club-376175737222/ or Kusamura Bonsai Club Annual Show! June 24 – 25 Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto Show Hours: Saturday-June 24 (Noon to 5PM). These some

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The King Takes the Throne

Today the King of the collection takes his throne. I have been getting the Daimyo Oak ready for show at Filoli Estate and Garden Flower Show. The show will take place on June 3-4 at Filoli located in Redwood City. Be sure to check out the club mini-show to be held there in honor of

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Summer is Show Time

There are several bay area shows coming up and my June is looking terrible. I may make it but life intervenes with regular work and unpredictable schedules. In the mean time I put up my Diamyo Oak to stand back and take a look. I had to thin out some super dense leaf groups and

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Earth Day and the Art of Bonsai

I am celebrating Earth Day today by enjoying the trees gathered in my collection. Enjoying their beauty and their contribution to the planet. So many people live in hermetically sealed apartments and home with no lawn or garden, no trees and maybe a postage stamp of grass. In Bonsai we work to preserve nature and

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A Lovely Day in April

It is a lovely humid day in April here in Santa Clara, CA. So I could not resist spending some time with the trees. It is  that time of year to check on trees for pests, halt aggressive growth and to clean out dense growth. The boxwood got mot of the attention. Tropical trees are

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2017 Spring Cleaning

Today was the perfect day to clean up the garden, shed winter, and prepare trees for the sunny part of the day. Everything was moved, cleaned of weeds and debris, rotated and staged for placements. The weed base under the stands had to be sprayed with weed killer this week. I had a runaway accent

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2017 Winter into Spring

It has been a very odd year for bonsai in northern California this year. We have been having extremely mild temperatures and tons, and I mean tons, of rain. This after 5 + years of drought has turned our schedules into mud. Along with the rain comes the need to improve drainage by tipping pots,

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Winter Rain in California

This is one of those precious days in northern California when the rain just keeps coming down. The trees are getting their water, cleaning, and flushing for the next few days. It is also good that this is tropical moisture and the temperatures are not that cold. So, in this area, we say bring it

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Fall into Winter

Wow, Fall came and went quickly while I was working client trees and now we are falling in Winter. That means we enter potting season. I had 12 trees re-potted last year so the work is a bit easier this winter. I have some Chinese Quince finally going dormant that needs to be done as

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Lovely Day in March

Today I set out to repot a few trees. This year our seasons are advancing very quickly and trees are putting on a great amount of new growth. It has been above 50 degrees at night on my terrace and tropical trees are continuously moving with new buds so I have begun working on Silverberry,

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President’s Day 2016

You know it is a great day when you pop out of bed on a holiday and run for the woods, well, in this case the trees on the patio.  Today, I needed to accomplish the re-potting of the my Sierra Juniper. I have had this tree for about 6 years and it began as

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February 2016

Today I toured through my trees looking for growth progress. I was surprised by what I saw. The weather the past few weeks have seen temps in the 70’s and night time temps in the 50’s so trees are showing unexpected signs of movement. I also a seeing the first ever blossoms on my Chinese

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Early Spring 2016

The re-potting madness has set in. I am busy cleaning up trees, re-potting and generally getting rid of winter mosses and weeds. This year we have been blessed by rain in California but as I was re-potting trees I was reminded why we must water our plants anyway. Some of the root mass was too

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