Lava Flow Bonsai

This simple and graceful old tree belongs to Ryan Neil (Bonsai Mirai). Here’s what Ryan’s caption says about it: “Lodgepole Pine. Pinus contorta latifolia. Collected in 2009 from a lava flow in the Cascade Mountains. Rapidly becoming one of Mirai’s favorites!” Interesting how the trunk looks kinda like a lava flow. I have no idea why Lodgepole pine bonsai are so rare, but they are. In the entire history of Bonsai Bark (almost seven years and several thousand bonsai) we have shown only three. Counting the three shown here (we’ve shown the one at the bottom before). Which is to … Continue reading Lava Flow Bonsai

The Future of American Bonsai

This photo and the other photos in this post are from Ryan Neil’s Mirai, American Bonsai. Ryan Neil’s International Bonsai Mirai has transformed itself into Mirai, American Bonsai. As you can see, it’s mostly Mirai, with American¬† Bonsai as a small tag line. This transformation is accompanied by a new website. What’s distinctive about this new website is that it’s flat out luscious. Luscious and also highly professional with an abundance of great photos and informative, easy to read text. I won’t say much more (better if you just go and see for yourself), except that Mirai means ‘future’ in … Continue reading The Future of American Bonsai

If It Ain’t Fun, It Ain’t Bonsai

This Black Hill Spruce belongs to Andy Smith. As you may have guessed the tree was collected in the Black Hills of South Dakota. By Andy. He estimates that it’s 150-175 years old. The stone was also belongs to Andy. You can find this image and all but one of the other images in this post on Andy’s Golden Arrow Bonsai website. Golden Arrow Bonsai is Andrew Smith (aka Andy), though he no doubt enjoys some help from friends and family. Andrew is a bonsai artist and professional woodsman who specializes in collecting trees from nature. If you would like … Continue reading If It Ain’t Fun, It Ain’t Bonsai

Bonsai Conspiracies

This strange and wonderful monster resides at Ryan Neil’s International Bonsai Mirai, but the photo is from Aarin Packard’s Capital Bonsai blog. Most of Aarin’s posts are from the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, but this one is from a recent visit to Bonsai Mirai. Conspiracies? I probably should have titled this ‘what happens when bonsai artists visit each other’ but my guess is Bonsai Conspiracies got your attention. No matter, it was inspired by four notable bonsai artist/bloggers getting together (in two sets of two). Artisans Cup postponed until 2015. There’s another theme at play here; two of artists … Continue reading Bonsai Conspiracies

Artisans Cup Postponed

This Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) belongs to Ryan Neil. The photo is from Ryan’s International Bonsai Mirai website. A guest’s guest post. The following is from Michael Hagedorns Crataegus Bonsai blog. Artisans Cup postponed until September¬†2015 This is a guest post by Ryan Neil. I am in full support of his words here: Over the past fourteen months of research and planning the potential of the Artisans Cup has been a driving force in our bonsai community to grow and improve the level of our trees. The enthusiastic response of the entire Western bonsai world fueled our ambition and … Continue reading Artisans Cup Postponed

Spring Versus Fall: A Grafting Lesson

A few stills captured from Capital Bonsai’s video on grafting that features Ryan Neil. Capital Bonsai (the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum‘s excellent blog) is at it again. This time it’s an outstanding video on grafting featuring Ryan Neil of International Bonsai Mirai. Fall versus spring grafting. Here’s what Ryan has to say about fall versus spring grafting (loosely paraphrased): Grafting in the fall is more successful than in the spring if you can provide winter protection from freezing. If you graft in spring you have to protect from sun and wind. In the fall you have to protect from … Continue reading Spring Versus Fall: A Grafting Lesson

Delightful Points of Color & More…

There’s much to say about this magnificent tree: First the gem-like male pine cones that cover much of the tree add delightful points of color; and they go perfectly with the well-chosen (and beautifully cleaned up) pot. Then there’s the way the undulating twin trunks harmonize so well; one slanting style and one semi-cascading style. You might also notice that there isn’t much in the way of counter-balancing branching, yet the whole planting seems stable. I think this is mostly due to the weight of the pot and mounded soil, and also to the anchoring effect of the gnarly nebari … Continue reading Delightful Points of Color & More…

Time for Some Serious Bonsai Training

Tamarisk (Tamarix) from Ryan Neil’s International Bonsai Mirai gallery. Aside from the fact that this is an exceptional bonsai, there is much that can be said and learned about Tamarix; as an invasive foreigner and a worthy subject for bonsai. The excellent description on Bonsai Mirai is well worth a look, as is what Wikipedia has to say about this intriguing plant. Go west middle aged man (woman) and anyone else While we’re on the subject, check out Ryan’s Defining Concept Courses. If you’re the ambitious type and you can create the time, you could head out to Portland and … Continue reading Time for Some Serious Bonsai Training

Weeky Wire: World Bonsai Day, Free Bonsai Wire, Kokufu, Boon’s Tips & Much More

Who could ask for more? It wasn’t too long ago we led off a Weekly Wire with a Gedemerta Bonsaibali tree. Now, we’ve gone and done it again. I’m guessing you can see why. Aside from the wildly expressive deadwood, the well-aged textured beauty of the bark, the trunk’s powerful base and perfect taper, the tree’s radiant health, the near perfect play between balance and movement; the photo is also very well done. Who could ask for more?   FREE! FREE WIRE, SCISSORS, TOOL CLEANING BLOCKS & CUT PASTE WHEN YOU ORDER FROM STONE LANTERN… …but only if you enter … Continue reading Weeky Wire: World Bonsai Day, Free Bonsai Wire, Kokufu, Boon’s Tips & Much More

Rocky Mountain Juniper High

Dazzling deadwood. I think I see a live vein on the left edge of the trunk. Otherwise, this spectacular old specimen is a study in deadwood (with a little rebar thrown into the mix). It’s a Rocky Mountain juniper. The artist and owner is Ryan Neil, International Bonsai Mirai. The tree was originally collected by Andy Smith of Golden Arrow Bonsai (Stone Lantern offers Andy’s excellent DVD on collecting bonsai). Intenational Bonsai Mirai has a great little back story on this intriguing old tree. More daring high quality bonsai Every time I visit Ryan Neil’s International Bonsai Mirai website something … Continue reading Rocky Mountain Juniper High