This past year has been challenging: bonsai Interrupted and entire growing season lost, bonsai trees dying inside the apartment during the construction project, construction on the exterior of the apartment was/is horribly managed by property owners, personal physical issues that has kept me from doing many regular activities, painting spaces lost due to material being
It was a very weird June. I was able to participate in the SBBK bonsai show this year for the first time in 2 years. The thing is, our weather had been so odd with temperatures bouncing up and down, that some trees were were awake and showable while others would not be ready for
A friend of mine wanted to be sure to have a presence at an upcoming show at the end of the month. She is not able to do much care so this is a labor of love. The trees were in some disrepair and require multiple stages of cleanup. Day one clean up is done
It is already March 2022 and the temperatures have once again been all over the place. Some trees are now in full Spring push mode, leaves and blossoms abound. Some repotting tasks still remain but night time temps in the upper 30s has slowed that some. First up is the new Buckeye to the collection.
The year started off with a bang. Temperatures and rainfall was the biggest surprise, and a welcome one indeed. Also, I was honored by Bonsai Empire by getting a spotlight on my work: https://www.facebook.com/bonsaiempire/ or their external site: https://www.bonsaiempire.com/ The posts were shared on their Instagram site Excerpted from their site: Bonsai Empire We celebrate
As Christmas approaches, the rains have come to California in force. It has not rained so much in years here and we are starting to make up ground in the drought. The bonsai love it. I see buds setting on so many different species; that is a little disconcerting, as the coldest time of year
Winter is here even though you cannot tell by the temperatures. Only the lack of sunlight and evenings in the mid 40s are the visible signs. Work will soon change to repotting trees and do I have some big changes coming in late winter. Some of my show trees will get new bigger pots to
It is already late Fall and I am behind at my blog. I have so many beautiful images and updates to share. For now I will just show a few of my favorite Fall photos from my garden.
This morning I awoke and had my mind set on re-potting some of my tropical trees in new pots that I acquired from auctions this year. A few of the pots were made by Iana Glushach. I love her style of pot and I have been working to collect a select few from the Facebook.
Sometimes when you have a dense collection of trees you miss a repotting year on year. Today I had one of those embarrassing moments when I looked down on a recently rotated collection of trees to find my neglected cork oak. It was cramped in amongst olives I was preparing for a demonstration later this
It is hard to believe that March is nearly run its course. It has been a crazy month with health issue for me and for my trees. COVID shots are 1 down and 1 to go so that is a thing and I am overjoyed about it. The removal of a major stress point and
On the last day of February, I spent the morning repotting some trees. This has been a fun month with work for a client on some old trees and then on my own collection working on shohin and experimental trees. A few years ago, I purchased a 3 Peruvian Rain plants from Calaveras Nursery. Two
Well yes it is. Here in California plants continue to grow albeit slower than in the normal growing season. Some trees are starting to bud and even push new leaves. Pruning certain kinds of trees now will prepare them for the aggressive spring push. The Brazilian Rain Tree(BRT) is tough to grow here. In the
I have been a bit quiet this season. That doesn’t mean I am not working on trees or other projects. California weather was very odd in early Fall and it delayed some work. I have been enjoying my trees, taking lots of photos around the Bay Area and working on paintings. I have penned my
I am in the process of cleaning up the collection for the Fall. Summer light is fading fast and many of the trees are tired. Tropical trees get their final pruning and all my cuttings need to be potted. Potting many of my cuttings. Several different pots were created. My biggest effort was finishing the
This month I am to due a tropical demo for SBBK. It will be a Zoom meeting and I have such limited time to present some updates on my trees. I put this PowerPoint together to create some excitement. I will still do a short live stream on working with tropical trees from the host’s
I have been working on many tropical trees this summer and learning some key lessons about up-potting trees in the summer. Several trees in the both personal collection and client collections were suffering greatly in the heat. Some of those issues were caused due to not being able to transplant in the correct season this
The Spirituality of Bonsai: A Journal of Finding Peace in an Age of Tyranny By Gerald (Jerry) Carpenter Intro It is cool but bright in the rising sun as I step purposely out on my patio bonsai garden. I have a chair strategically placed looking directly at a tree positioned carefully on two dark milk
Had to share this special little beauty. This pearl berry was purchased from Sandy V before her passing. It has been developed as a shohin. It is a very small compact trunk. Next year this will be transferred to a larger pot to expand the trunk but this year it is doing well and starting
I have official begun working on my tropical trees in the collection. Several will be re-potted this weekend. All of these trees have been allowed their Spring blowout and now it is time to shape and refine.
Last year I posted an article on boxwood care and ramification. It is time to revisit that tree and see how it developed. The tree has grown steadily and untouched since last summer. This was to allow for branch thickening and new buds to be created on the interior of the tree. That results is
Summer has come in with a roar and it is only May 25. Temperatures are reaching 100 degrees in my garden. Out come the tropical and sub-tropical trees. Today I visit several old friends and some of my favorite trees in the collection. Olives have brought me joy for over 15 years of collection work.
We are still in the shelter-in-place orders for a bit longer in California. This season, more time has been given to my collection than in previous years; the trees are wanting me to return to office work so I stop putzing with them on a daily basis. This time gave me the opportunity to see
It has been a very odd time in our lives. 2020 started out with a roar and has gotten more and more complex. Some bloggers talk about doing bonsai in this COVID-19 shelter-in-place time has been beneficial to their collections, they have had more time to work on their trees. For those in the business
January has been a ticking clock of work that must be done this month. Today, I finally took on the last major re-potting of the month. Everything else can wait til February and warming temperatures. This month, I had to complete the California Juniper. The California Juniper is an old legacy tree that has been
Every so many years, I start a project of cataloging my collection to show how a tree has advanced or declined. All of the trees featured here have been in earlier posts and most have been in my development for a decade now. There are a few exceptions.
There are times in life that the stars align and things just fall in place. This month, I received a special honor. The honor is being give the cover tree for digital bonsai magazine. Golden Statement is California premier bonsai magazine produced by GSBF (Golden State Bonsai Federation). It has been in print for decades
Fall is pushing in on the garden these days but we, here in northern California, are in the throws of a heat wave. Back into the 90’s we go. Some trees are still thriving like crazy this time of year while others have slowed down considerably. So what I have been doing for the past
This time of year, I pay considerable attention to the olives in my collection. I have let them blow out their aggressive growth twice this year; Spring and Summer. The pushes of growth generate a huge amount of leaves and long spikes of growth that strengthen the tree. I even reworked a small olive I
Boxwood can be one of my favorite trees to work on. I enjoy the leaves, bark and trucks. They are also a tree I caution students on because of the amount of work they can take. I only collect and work on one of these in my own collection. I would never have more than
In February, at an auction in Oakland, CA I bid on a tree near the end of the auction. It was not that interesting of a tree mind you but the pot was a completely different story. When at an auction it is important to look at all aspects of the item up for bid.
Temperatures and sun exposure this year is just weird. You may have that feeling too. Weather patterns are not at normal and some of us are beginning to worry about what summer will bring; hot and super hot temperatures? Who knows. In any case we need to pay special attention to our trees right now.
I am often asked if I ever wire a tropical tree in my collection and I say, certainly. I do all my wiring on these trees early in the season because as summer comes these trees grow so aggressively that I would have to check them every few days for wire cuts. These trees shown
Re potting and refining trees has been the theme this Spring. Many were already done but there is always refinement and assessments required. Today I have been working on some early tropical tree re-potting. With the tropical trees; I wait for the soil temperatures to be sustained above 50 degrees to start their work. I
Normally, I wait a few more months to tackle major olive work. I wait until evening temperatures are steady above 50 degrees. This year’s weather has been a bit bazaar and I have movement in most species that I would not expect including my olives. I have a had a client olive hanging out on
Weather in northern California has been inordinately wet this year. Temperatures were unstable for a bit in February and had halted a great deal of re-potting. Anything I re-potted I would have to be protect from low temperatures and freezing so my plants did a lot of bonsai shuffle for a few weeks. Then, all
Distribution Pinus nigra is a tree of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome. The majority of the range is in Turkey. It is found in the higher elevations of the South Apennine mixed montane forests ecoregion in southern Italy and the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion in Sicily. There are remnant populations in
Checking on trees is a year round task. We recently went down into lower 30s requiring some plants to come indoors. Now we are back in the 50s and having a blessed rain. The trees are loving it. I have a new tree in
I have been fussing with this Chinese Quince for about 5 years now already and I have fixed many problems with its base and now concentrating on the top. I had structure wire on this tree for the second time; this time for over a year and I learned how to do it so it
The Sierra Juniper was re-potted to the new pot as Master Mitsuya had desired. He wanted this tree to move to a more feminine pot and I compromised on a rustic feminine pot. This one is artisan crafted special edition and give the tree a very delicate look as he had seen it to need.
I recently ordered a new light studio to shoot bonsai trees in. It came with several colored backdrops but I wanted to shoot in white to discover any issues it would be present. Sadly, what the vendor said was large and pictured in their advert is not really very large at all but it will
I had planned all year to get to the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention 41 in Sacramento. This was going to be a historic even with the return of Master Yasuo Mitsuya after an absence of 10 years. He would be joined with Bjorn Bjorholm, Suthin Sukosolvisit. These headlines were joined by Mitsuya’s students. So
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
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”,
This week I visited with my creeping fig tree. Years past I have let the figs ripen and fall off but that weakens the tree going into Fall and Winter. It was time to harvest. I remove most of the figs; leaving only those for ornamentation purposes. Moving around the garden, I also checked in
Nice hot day here in Santa Clara. I had re-potted most of the tropical trees before a demo I recently concluded. Now it was time for the final ficus and the last of the summer trees. The Ficus Microcarpa Shohin is one of my prized tropical trees. It has been in the little shohin pot for
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
Daytime temps here in Santa Clara are reaching upper 80s to mid 90s now. Work in the garden starts to slow down since most plants start shutting down in the 90s except for the tropical trees that begin to flourish as long as there is good humidity. Here in CA I have to create the
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
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
August is always a weird month for bonsai. Trees are tired, Most have completed their growth process and just sit there. Well, not quiet but you know what I mean. Too late for some actions and too early for others. So I sit back and watch, refine tropical trees, build the last of the cuttings