A Juniper Orchid (to go with our Pine Orchid…)

michael hagedorn

Some of you might remember a quirky Shore Pine that we put on a post in 2017, calling it the first Pine Orchid in the yard. Yesterday this juniper was styled, and it hangs on the neighboring post that supports the shade cloth structure (thank you Bobby Curttright).

The juniper is a bit of a Frankenstein: The trunk is a Rocky Mountain Juniper (thank you Backcountry Bonsai, Steve and Dan) and we it grafted it with itoigawa about 4 years ago. The tree is only about 6″ high, and itoigawa seemed like the right choice for the fineness of the foliage and the small tree size.

Rocky Mountain Juniper being grafted with itoigawa scions—I think we had 8 or 9 on there and they all took…and then I cut a few off when I styled it.

Toying with inclination and front

A support idea

Our completed root ‘package’ on potting…

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How To Develop A Chojubai-

michael hagedorn

Last week I was flipping back and forth between old photos and newer ones to see how a Dwarf Flowering Quince ‘Chojubai’ bonsai has changed.

Just to take six years in the life of this old fella, from 2012 to 2018, one can see a difference in the ramification. The first photo looks uninspiring, old and good bones but little else. By the second photo we begin to see the results of the last few years, and the reason why one trims deciduous bonsai.

  • A deciduous bonsai won’t generally ramify well on its own. It will simply lengthen its branches and kill off the inner twigging, which we want to keep. Timely trimming is necessary to keep what the tree already has, and to build further ramification.
  • However if the tree is a shrub, like Chojubai, the situation has an added complication in that it is a basally dominant plant…

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‘Stampede’ Ponderosa Pine Styling…

michael hagedorn

There’s a story about the name ‘Stampede’. The Backcountry Bonsai guys enjoy naming the trees they collect, and having received several with memorable names I asked if this Ponderosa Pine had one. I only got an abbreviated version by text and maybe not the full story, but I gather it involved some galloping extraterrestrials or horned animals that were shooed away by Steve Varland, saving the pine’s life. Dust cloud from retreating herd of mysterious animals…mountain peaks…a man bent over, worrying over an old tree…you can sort of see the ageless moment there. And the name Stampede was born.

Here’s a photo essay of last Saturday’s monkeying around in the first styling. Thanks to Andrew Robson, Alan Thompson, and Lincoln Proud for the extra hands and sharing some sushi-


Prepping the Ponderosa Pine for wiring


Alan asking a question of which I have no clear memory—‘Shall we move it closer to…

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A shohin Shimpaku cleanup

Nebari Bonsai

This was air-layered about 4 years ago, and has been wired out for the last 2. It’s growing strong, and it’s time to get the wires off, prune to back a little, and clean up the dead wood.


Wires removed:

Pruned back, about 1/3 of the foliage removed. Sucker growth, strong tips, and weak growth was all removed:

Finally, trunks scrubbed up and deadwood treated with lime-sulfur:

Should be all set for the rest of the growing season. Pot? Shinobu.

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The 350 JBP

Nebari Bonsai

I try to share an update on this tree each year. Maybe one day I’ll go back and update the book that was written to show its development in a time-lapse photography style. It is here in case you’re interested.

This year, it is a little different, because the tree was accepted into the 6th US National Bonsai Exhibition. I had been preparing to show this tree in a 3-point display since the 4th National, when Peter Warren mentioned he would appreciate seeing more 3-point displays. As good fortune had it, Bill’s call for entries specifically requested smaller trees, 3-point displays, root over rock, etc.

I worked with David Knittle to build a display table or two (more on that another time). The display would include this pine as the main tree, and a root over rock trident maple that I started in 2008.

So, I worked with Bjorn in…

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