Bonsai Nerdery

Eric L. Hankins

So I put together a bonsai video. It’s on Youtube, the link is below.

Bonsai Nerdery – Pruning & Maintenance August, 2017

I’ve also previously written about bonsai trees here.

Warning: This is nerdy. It probably won’t be exciting for anyone not into bonsai unless you are looking to get into bonsai. It’s not highly philosophical, it’s just straight bonsai operations!

So, if you’re into that kind of thing, check it out!

For everybody else, here is a quote you can reflect on!

“As I’ve gotten older, the people who make things, do things, manifest things…are ambitious enough to try. To apply for the job, even if they know it’s a stretch. To ask out the girl. To sit down and write the book. Even if no one reads it.”

– Zelda Fitzgerald (Paris Review)

Have a great day!

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Landscape Arborvitae to Bonsai – First Styling


This tree have been on my bonsai “to do” radar in the last week.  Somehow I had an itch to style it because it looked ugly that I want to clean it up.  I collected this tree from one of our landscape jobs in Jan 2015.   During its first year,  I planted it in the ground.  That year’s growing season, I slowly removed the top foliage to encourage the  lower foliage to grow.  The second year 2016, I moved the tree into a smaller plastic pot that it’s currently in now.  I also used a chain saw to remove a large portion of the top so it wasn’t top heavy.   I’ve written about this tree twice.  The first post was one of the very first few post I did when I started this blog.  I called it “Envisioning the Future” (Did not link it here because the original photos on that post is not there.  I realized that…

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How Bonsai Trees Reflect Japanese Culture

Polish Art Addict

Bonsai Trees

How Bonsai Trees Reflect Japanese Culture

Japanese bonsai is the art of growing what looks like miniature trees in low-sided containers. According to Bonsai Tree Gardener, bonsai is derived from the word “bon” which means “pot” and “sai” which means planting. Bonsai encourages contemplation. Bonsai is an art form that is centered on five design elements: miniaturization, poignancy, no trace of the artist, proportion and asymmetry. These design elements if used properly can yield superior results. Bonsai highlights the ingenuity and the hard work of the creator.

Japanese Culture

Japanese culture has many different facets. It is a different culture than the culture of the west. Their culture is highlighted by the movies, comic books and TV shows exported to the west. Western culture is influenced by its Judea-Christian belief in god. The belief in god is less pronounced in Japanese culture. One of the religious…

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Air layering a Sharp’s pygmy japanese maple

Parviflora Bonsaï

This spring I bought this nice big Sharp’s pygmy Japanese maple. However it has a disturbing reverse taper. So I decided to air layer it where all the branches emerge and make it a multi-trunk/kabudachi tree. After watching Ryan Neil’s streams on Mirai Live, I realized I should have air layered it after the leaves had come out… but hey, I am still learning! I hope this procedure still works, as this could potentially become a very nice tree! Cheers!

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40th Annual Mid-America Bonsai Exhibition

20170819_095641 Best of show, Gary Andes

This past weekend I was able to experience Midwest bonsai at it’s best. The Midwest Bonsai show is the largest in the area and many enthusiasts from surrounding states and the east coast attend. Many beautiful trees, as well as some comedic entries, were displayed in the exhibit.

I came both as a participant, helping table and load trees, and as a guest able to chat and enjoy the show at my leisure. I was able to meet many new people as well as others I was only acquainted with through various online bonsai groups.

The venue was excellent as well, hosted at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I was able see the permanent bonsai collection, Japanese, and waterfall gardens. On display was a rare corpse flower too! Unbeknownst to me, it bloomed just as I was loading the trailer and left.

I hope you enjoy…

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What to bring to a workshop

Bonsai Iterate

What kind of trees do you bring to a workshop? I struggle with this frequently and usually opt not to stay for the “BYOT” (bring your own tree) portions of the local bonsai club meetings.

My trees fall into three broad categories.

  1. Many (MANY!) are not ready for styling. Most of these just need water and fertilizer to get big and strong. When they do need a little something done… well, I don’t need help from club members to repot, or make an occasional big cut on material I am developing for future work.
  2. For most of the trees that are in development, I have a clear idea of what I am working toward. These don’t seem right to take to a work session or workshop either. (I love to work on my trees in my own back yard!)
  3. Very few trees are ready for developing or in a new…

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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 things are drying out fast. Soil temperatures on my black pine pot was over 120 degrees before watering.

Take steps protect your trees. The tree below, the olives, are loving the hot temps and is drought resistant. After watering today the leave are busting out every where and dark green. They will enjoy the watering and humidity I introduced much more.

Olive after re-potting, I kept this one in the same pot.

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