Preparing a Tree for its First Show


I have a Sierra Juniper that has been in training since 2009 that will make its first show appearance. Is is perfect and national show worth; oh heck no, but it has been an effort of love and desire to see where the master who set the design fulfilled. This year, Master Mitsuya will come back to the US from Japan for the GSBF Convention and I think it would be fun to take this back to him and show the evolution. It may take another direction, who is to know. For now want to show the labor of 9 years to the public and explain the how it has gotten where it is. Hope you enjoy.

Sierra Juniper, collected stump, in training 9 years.

Sierra Juniper, collected stump, 1 year after initial style plan set by Master Mitsuya. His vision was to create a softly weeping style that could…

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Boxwood Out of Dormancy and Getting Ready for Show


This stump has been in training for over 10 years. The past 3 years has seen a massive change in how it is pruned and shaped. The carving was completed and now the branches are thriving. This will go to show in its new Gremel pot. As this tree develops it will take on more of an Oak style. The inside will remain cleaned out and the branches with thicken.  Nice evolution on this tree.

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Scouting a dig site

Bonsai Iterate

I took advantage of a warm January day to scout an area where I am able to collect material for bonsai.

With the site’s adjacency to water I found an unwitting partner in bonsai — beaver!

Below is just one of several beech I spotted that have been kept short by the beaver living nearby. I am stoked to go collect a couple of these in a couple of months.

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A Late Announcement

Bonsai Iterate

While I have told many friends, and no doubt posted the news to social media long ago, I realize I have never made a notable, bonsai-related announcement here on Bonsai Iterate. I am now the president of the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society!

NVBS is an active club with strong membership numbers, well attended meetings, and a long history so I am honored and humbled to be able to serve in this role.

It was a great pleasure to present to the club during the January meeting, my first serving officially in this role. And this morning we had a fantastic February meeting with 40 people in attendance and new members arriving at every turn.

So, yes, the news is quite old, but a benefit of sharing with you now is that I can also report that the world has not ended and our meetings continue to be successful despite…

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Glazed pots

Bonsai Iterate

I love taking glaze ware out of the kiln!

The round pots, especially, were just made as training pots so I feel able to play with colors and have some fun.

I love the way the green glaze, above, allows textures to show through.

This little bit was just a test piece of a dark brown clay – no glaze at all. Look at how dark that is! I will have to build some pots with that.

The variation in this one is so much fun it deserves a video so you can appreciate it all.

Fun with glaze, and a few more bonsai pots to boot… it won’t be long before I get busy repotting.

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Diggin’ Yew (pun intended)

Bonsai Iterate

I spent a long day digging yew from a site that is about to go under construction. In all, eleven members of the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society came out to get their hands on some really fantastic material.

I estimate that these shrubs have been on the site for 40 to 60 years, and their size corresponds as you would expect. The base measurement of most of the specimens was somewhere around 8 to 10 inches, and while they all have multiple trunks, we were all able to find plants that had one or two dominant trunks that will inform the future design of the trees.

As you would imagine, getting material of this size out of the ground and into your vehicle is no easy task. These folks really earned these trees! I can’t wait to see them show up at NVBS workshops in a couple of years after…

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Only February and I’ve already got my Taxus done.

Bonsai Iterate

See what I did there? That’s right. There’s more than one way to have pun with yew!

My taxes really have been filed already, by the way, but my wife gets credit for that. We made a deal a long time ago — and at times each of us regrets it — I pay the monthly bills, and she does our taxes. It works for us.

Anyway, to business and to taxus! I already posted about the yew dig on Bonsai Iterate. You can read that here if you like. Now I want to share the tree I got. Here it is before digging:

I’ve been watching the yews on this site for some time. As you can see from the photo above, this one had a clear sight line to the base, and that’s probably why I was bent on taking it. I have to admit, though, that many…

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