Take a Tour of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

This famous old Japanese white pine is one of the most powerful bonsai anywhere. You can find it at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. As always. the photo, though enticing, doesn’t begin to do justice. Next time you are in Washington DC, don’t miss the opportunity to visit our wonderful National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Meanwhile, you can enjoy some of the bonsai, suiseki and other national treasures right where you are just by clicking bonsai tour.

Field Growing 3: Spreading Roots & More

Digging a field grown Japanese Black Pine. From Bonsai Today, issue 75. In Field Growing 2 I said I just dug a hole and planted. Actually, that isn’t the whole story; when you field grow bonsai stock, you need to cut off the downward growing roots and spread the lateral roots. This encourages lateral top growth (above ground growth) and nebari development (check the top photo in Field Growing 2). Some people put a board, or tile, or some other flat object a few inches under the roots to inhibit downward root growth and encourage lateral growth. Others, like me, … Continue reading Field Growing 3: Spreading Roots & More

Chinese Bonsai Tools

Five piece carving set. Made in China. For years we’ve resisted importing Chinese tools. Japanese tools were absolutely superior and more-or-less affordable, and Chinese tools, though very affordable, were mostly inferior. Now, all that is changing. Robert Steven (accomplished bonsai artist, author of Vision of My Soul and major player in the Asian and world bonsai communities), has founded a line of Chinese tools that are quite good. And, compared to the ever increasing prices of Japanese tools, a very good investment; at least for those of us with tight budgets.

Energy Balancing

This powerful old cascading Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) is a masterful example of how energy can be directed downward in a tree that naturally wants to grow upward. The photo is from Bonsai Today Master Series; Pines. Whenever you prune, trim or pinch, you are redirecting energy. If you remove a branch the energy (primarily water, gases and nutrients) that would have flown into that branch goes somewhere else. Some of it goes to forming a callous where the branch was, the rest goes elsewhere. Basically energy flows two ways in plants; up from the roots, and back down … Continue reading Energy Balancing

Field Growing 2: Native soil

This impressive Trident maple’s (Acer buergeranum) massive nebari is a dead giveaway that it was field grown. The original article is in Bonsai Today issue 64. I once read a report from Cornell University (I can’t find it; anybody?) about the advantages of planting trees directly into the native soil, rather than the common practice of digging in soil amendments, a practice that may be good for the garden center’s bottom line, but not so good for your plants. If you think about it, it makes sense; if you create a pocket of richer soil, then the roots tend to … Continue reading Field Growing 2: Native soil