Cracking Mediterranean Red Pines!

I’ve recently had an article in Bonsai Focus about working with Aleppo pines. Basically, these pines were always considered unusable for bonsai, because of their long needles and reluctance to bud back. However, after seeing a single, super-dense pad in a colleague’s garden here in Israel, I started thinking that maybe these pines were just getting a bad rap. After all – there’s no reason that what can be done on one pad, can’t be replicated for the entire tree. Continue reading

The advantages of taking it slowly – 2 year progression on a juniper

As I’ve said in a previous post, there’s a huge difference between instant bonsai and bonsai developed over time. This might be most apparent when working with junipers – their flexibility, and the ability to do with them pretty much as you please with the right technique, make them particularly seductive for seeking an immediate, short-term result. Continue reading

What 5 years can do to the simplest of material!

In this post I’d like to show the development of one of my earliest trees. Although the tree is far from perfect, it has accompanied me from the very start of my bonsai adventures, and in a lot of ways mirrors my own journey. It is also a great example of how consistent work can yield good results from even the simplest of material. Continue reading

The Big Instant Bonsai Demo Extravaganza!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Gather round for the one, the only, the Big Instant Bonsai Demo Extravaganza!

Who among us hasn’t heard the term ‘instant bonsai’, or even been accused of it at one time or another? But what exactly is it, and why is it so bad? In this installment of the Bonsaipiece Theatre series, I enlist the aid of one of my lovely assistants – a juniper from the JBG, and try to find out. So without further ado, I give you – Instant Bonsai! Continue reading

What to do when your signature bonsai almost dies. Twice.

Our story begins seven years and three computers ago. Now, since my computers tend to meet violent and non-backed-up ends, most of the pictures in this post have been reconstituted from various dubious sources, and are somewhat lacking in quality. I hope they shall make up for it in the story that they tell.

The story is that of one of my first and earliest trees. My signature tree. Which has gone from humble nursery-material beginnings to the top of a national exhibition, and right to death’s door. Twice. Continue reading

Two days with Progetto Futuro at the annual bonsai show in Giareda

The first stop on my autumn bonsai trip would be Enrico Savini‘s Progetto Futuro bonsai school (PF) in Italy, kicking off with the annual show and demos in the town of Giareda. I have been studying under Enrico for four years now, and have been going to Italy several times a year to develop my bonsai skills. As I made my way to Enrico’s house, I couldn’t wait to meet all my friends again and take part in that unique celebration that is the PF’s annual show in Giareda. Continue reading

A small juniper starts its way to becoming a bonsai

As a bonsai student, one of the hardest lessons I had to learn was patience. Not to look for an immediate result, and impose a ‘bonsai shape’ on a tree, but rather to think in the long term. To work WITH a tree, with its natural growth cycles in order to achieve a better result in the long run. Continue reading