Late May 2012 – Cork Oak Repot

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

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March Madness

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

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February 2021 Comes to an End

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

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Is It Still Winter

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

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Late Fall into Winter

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

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Last August Collection Cleanup

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

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August Demo Calls for Creativity

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

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August Updates

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

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Writings: Intro

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

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Pearl Berry In Bloom

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

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Summer Tropical Work Begins

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.

Boxwood Revisited and Refined

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

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May 2020 Garden Update

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

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Fall Tree Catalog Part 1

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.

Is It September Already

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

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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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Spring Movement

Today I moved a lot of trees; bring them up from the bottom benches where many were dormant for the winter and up into the bright sunlight top shelf. It gave me an opportunity to clean up and enjoy their new buds. Since the Winter was so warm may popped new growth last week in

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