By Jonas Dupuich
Some time ago, Michael Hagedorn suggested that he and I swap posts to share the stories of why we wrote our respective books: Bonsai Heresy in Michael’s case, and The Little Book of Bonsai in mine.
Jonas Dupuich and a pine he wired in Japan
I’d known about Michael’s interest in debunking bonsai myths for years, but I didn’t know what shape his book would take until recently.
I, too, had thought about writing a bonsai book for a long time, but didn’t start working on one until 2014.
What made me want to pursue such a project? After writing hundreds of posts on Bonsai Tonight, I didn’t feel like I could offer people who were new to bonsai a clear starting point for keeping their trees healthy. I wanted to change that, so I started writing a basic care guide.
I’d thought my first book would…
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For the past two months we’ve been filming for our first online course, the Spring Seasonal-lite, which launched this past weekend to sold-out couches.
To get a feel for the course, please watch our trailer:
We’ll offer the Spring Seasonal-lite one last time next weekend, June 13th and 14, 2020.
More! More! We’re not yet done with our online course offerings for 2020:
- Accent Plants (July)—A mini Seasonal-lite, 3 hours—an overview of creating, comparison of styles, and use in display of these playful plants
- Fall Seasonal-lite (Sept)—A full Seasonal-lite like the Spring version above, 6 hours, w/ 30 minute private session, limited to 10 participants per session—course focuses on design, wiring, and various species tasks for a major period in the bonsai year
Also in the works: Design, Wabi-Sabi, and Display mini 3-hour Seasonal-lites, and to finish our triad of 6-hour offerings, the Winter Seasonal-lite.
For details see Seasonals…
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Chapter 25 of Bonsai Heresy is about the mistaken notions of avoiding nitrogen in our fall fertilizing by using 0-10-10. The problem it is trying to correct, frost damage from still soft shoots, is more often a mis-timed pruning in the summer.
This is easiest to see in deciduous trees, which may be pruned in late spring / early summer to good effect. That is, good regrowth. The comments in Bonsai Heresy are directed to primarily temperate plants, and in temperate regions June and July are good months to prune back many deciduous trees, which will reflush with new growth.
If, however, strong pruning is done in August, there may be a reflush that is uncomfortably close to the first fall frost. Then you may well get frost damage from that non-hardened growth. And that is totally unrelated to nitrogen.
As Heresy explains in depth, citing several research papers in…
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This tree was a gift. I’d not worked with the species before, Cupressus nootkatensis, and my friend Anton Nijhuis knew this and left one in 2016 that he’d collected, saying, ‘Have fun!’ And we have.
In 2017 we styled his gift. The strength of this species is marvelous. It grows much like Hinoki, and can actually be trained as one, pinching the foliage with fingers midway through the growing season. (Essentially doing exactly what we shouldn’t be doing with junipers!)
Like many dangling and loose foliaged plants, if you want careful control of structure (and you might not) the way forward is with a lot of fine wiring in the first few years. Many size 20 copper wires went on last year.
Enjoy the photo essay of this unique species-
Alaska Yellow Cedar, Cupressus nootkatensis, in 15 gallon nursery pot, before any work in 2017-
Seasonal students in November…
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We spotted this Female Common Yellowthroat quickly moving in and out of the bushes while on a morning walk. While we most often see the males perched out in the open singing we very rarely have seen the female out in the open like this. She only stayed for a minute or two then flew off into a marshy area several hundred yards away.