akihiro shiraishi on Instagram: “今日の盆栽 五葉松 goyoumatsu #盆栽 #盆栽奶茶 #bonsai #bonsaï #bonsaiart #bonsaipot #bonsaitree #bonsailife #bonsaiworld #bonsaigarden #bonsaiwork…”

Shohin Bonsai Europe on Instagram: “Dwarf Horsetail, Equisetum scirpoides. Kusamono. Pot: Eimei, Youzan Tokonane, Japan. #bonsai #kusamono #shohin”

Why do you bonsai?

Bonsai Iterate

We don’t ask this question frequently enough: “Why do you practice bonsai?” And when we ask it, I don’t know that many people answer in a way that really helps us understand how different each of our approaches can be. Responding with something like, “I really love trees,” or, “I love the time I spend in my garden,” for example, is not really the kind of answer that is helpful. When I ask why, here, I really mean WHY?! What is your purpose? What are your goals? What sets you apart from others? Knowing your WHY should drive your decisions, your actions, and your interactions with other bonsai enthusiasts.

Knowing your WHY reminds me of the idea of an “elevator speech.” Imagine you were at a bonsai convention and suddenly found yourself in the elevator with your biggest bonsai hero in the world. You introduce yourself, and your hero asks…

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Seasonal Growth Review – Part 1


As the seasons change, I like to access how far the trees have developed in any given year and plan for the upcoming year’s development. So far I have reviewed some of the major trees in the collection that had considerable work done on them this year. The most challenging species for my location are the Shimpaku junipers; these are very slow growing and patience is required to allow the foliage to clump before it begins to elongate for branch development. It seems like a painful process of waiting and sometime I concur. Waiting several years for that growth to happen means that beyond re-potting and some thinning there is little that can be done in the design.

This old Shimpaku was originally styled from nursery stock. It has gone through some trauma with spider mites and excessive heat. It is coming back now after years of care and starting…

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GSBF Convention 41 – Sacramento, A Historic Event


I had planned all year to get to the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention 41 in Sacramento. This was going to be a historic even with the return of Master Yasuo Mitsuya after an absence of 10 years. He would be joined with Bjorn Bjorholm, Suthin Sukosolvisit. These headlines were joined by Mitsuya’s students. So many master on one stage. Master Kathy Shaner, with other students, Gordon, John, Boon, Mel, and others. A simply historic gathering on stage, all working on trees that would be later auctioned for many thousands of dollars each.

This little image cannot capture the full impact on the stage. Master Mistuya is in center stage with Bjon and Suthin, blow him was a line of his students including Master Kathy Shaner.

I was able to bring back a tree that Master Mistuya designed 10 years ago to see where it will go from here. I…

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