Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thoughts - June 2014

I sit here and think about the beauty is waiting to be realised in an unstyled tree.  How one cut can ruin the entire design and how it can crush you.  A roll of film that gets spoiled before it's developed.  I sit here and stare at the tree in front of me.  I image limbs gone, I imagine the growth 3 years down the line.  I make cuts that I know are dependent on every other cut, and that's how I know it's a good design.  When a design is that great, every aspect is accounted for, and nothing can be changed without affecting something else.

I enjoy the process of staring at a tree and imaging the future of it.  How people could look at it and feel things.  How it could inspire them to make things based on what they saw.  To aspire to greatness.  I'm moving to Cupertino, and I have to get rid of some of them.  I have to say goodbye forever.  Some of these trees I've cared for for years.  I've seen them grow from a small shrub into a styled tree.  I've looked at them almost every morning for the past few years and gotten to know each and every one.  It's amazing the bond that you can develop with a tree.  I have seen them grow as they have seen me grow and to most of them it's going to be hard to say bye.  I will forever have the memories though and I am soo glad.

Aspire to be great, and never accept that you can't be.  There are more lessons to be learned.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Hand of Zen

I trimmed this, and wanted to make a before and after gif of this one.  I was telling Sarah, that I didn't have a vision for this tree, but I knew I needed to prune it.  It's been one of my older trees as well, and I've just been letting the trunks thicken up a bit.  I started pruning it, not really knowing where I was going, but I tried to pick the biggest accents and get rid of the rest.  It was really funny because I had worked on it for a while and wasn't really digging it.  I needed something to drink, so I walked into the kitchen for a minute, and when I came back across the room, I looked at it.  It was finished.  I saw I needed to wire a few branches upwards, but I thought, wow.  What a funny thing.  Sometimes you just need to step away for a bit.  One day I'll post the progression of this one.  It has undergone some serious changes.  I even believe this is a cutting from another plant.

Bougainvillea Over Time

Spring flowering is in session!  New shoots and buds on all my trees and plants.  Still nothing from the fuscia, but I have a feeling it will be soon.  It's funny how some years my plants flower beautifully, and some years are total duds.  It is interesting seeing the difference over time.

Last year my bogenvelia looked amazing, and right now it looks deathly.  I've had it for almost 4 years now, which is pretty amazing.  It's gone through some pretty drastic differences, and was my first plant that I actually trimmed, and styled .  For example, It was 4 feet high at one point and I chopped it down to half a foot.  I really like where it's at right now, but I need to work on getting the flowering in specific spots on the tree.

Fast forward a few weeks. (this post has been sitting as a draft for a few weeks) A bird landed on one of the main branches the other day, and broke it off from the main trunk.  At first I was pretty angry, I had this tree as I wanted it, I liked where it was going, and all my work and time was now ruined.  But I managed to save it.  It will never be the same, but I also think that it helped me realize you can always improve the design.  Here's to not settling on a design, but continually improving.

And since this was quite the lesson for me, I decided to scour my old hard drives and post a few pictures over the years...

2/2012 - In Vegas, it was having a hard time outside, so it became an inside plant. (blury image)
3/2013 - LA was really good to it.  Did a lot of growing that year
8/13 - I think this was my best shot of it.  It went through 5 blooms that year.
3/2014 - damn bird, not looking so good either, first bloom of the season
4/2015 - Current shape.  Decided to go smaller since I lost a lot of the balance

Thursday, March 20, 2014


There is something great about spring.  The new buds, the greenery, the change from dormancy.  This last week it's really become evident that change is upon my trees and plants.  I'm seeing change that I haven't seen in months.  I wanted to post a few of the pictures.

This is my Azelia.  It was dormant all last year, got for 10 bucks at the bonsai shop, she said, "it's useless."  We are still waiting to see.  I love the branches.  Will post a better picture soon.
A black pine has all sorts of candles growing right now.
Not sure what this one is, but it has red flowers, I dropped this planter and killed most of the plant, at one point the part you can see was like 10% of the plant.
I'm pretty sure this is an elm.  But it's got the tiniest little leaves right now.  Very cute.
The Gingko Bilboa is sprouting beautifully.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Watering Cans, The Hidden Winners

If there is one thing you should invest in, it's a great watering can.  As much time as you spend with your plants this gets you the most bang for your buck.  A 100 dollar pair of shears gets pulled out only a 2 times a year.  The watering can gets used daily.  It's funny where people spend their money.  For years I always bought the cheap zip lock baggies saving a dollar here or there.  It took me years to realize that for one extra dollar I could have saved myself an hour of cleanup and a stinky refrigerator.  In the same sense, you can't go wrong with a good watering can.  When I first started, I picked a cheap $5 can, without understanding the importance of it.  It didn't even have a sprinkler spout,  the water came out too fast, and made the daily task difficult.  It began to make the experience I had with bonsai become a negative one.  I luckily realised this quickly, and began looking online for some alternatives.  At first I was shocked to realize the cost of a good watering can.  I couldn't justify the 80 bucks, so I opted for a slightly more economical (cheaper) version, and I'm really happy with it.  I've learned that the watering experience is where you spend most of the time with your trees, so you should make it the best experience as possible.  I also advise getting one of with a spouts that make turn it from one stream to a bunch of little rain drops.  Here is my little watering can.  Makes me very happy, although I'm looking for an upgrade. ;)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Book: "Growing Bonsai, a Practical Encyclopedia"

Just finished this book, I really enjoyed it.  A bunch of things I've read in other books, but really nice pictures, and step-by-step guides on basic things.  It also gave me some ideas for trees I have and want.  I think I might try some air propagation with my ginko bilboa.  Anyways a good book for beginners and novices.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

R.I.P. Unknown Orange Shrub

This tree was my favorite so far.  I found it in the wilderness with my brother, and hiked it out.  I accidentally broke the main root when I was digging it out, but managed to wire it back together.  When I first got it home, all the leaves died.  I wasn't sure what to do with it, I thought I killed it, but I kept watering it, and a few weeks later new sprouts appeared.  It was a beautiful orange, but it died shortly after and never came back.  I did enjoy it while it was alive.  Here is a beauty shot of it.