Summer Olive Blow Out and Clean Up

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

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Summer Boxwood Work

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

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Something About That Pot!

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.

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As Summer Roles In

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.

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Late Spring Tropical Styling

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

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More Spring Re-Potting

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

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Austrian Black Pine Recovery and Refinement

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

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Tying Out a New Light Studio

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

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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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