February 22, 2021

Seed Experiment #1 - Survival Methods for Early Germinators

This article was supposed to go out before my last one, but apparently finding time to photoshop memes is much easier than reading research articles on acorn germination… Anyways, let’s just pretend this article came out a month ago so I don’t have to slow it down by rewriting the introduction.


Source content: 12/20/2020

Hellooooooo bonsai world! It’s been a minute since I posted but I'm happy to report I am alive and well in Ohio. To celebrate surviving the first semester of my Ph.D. program, it's only fitting that my first blog post of 2021 focuses on a bonsai experiment I'm designing - the first of many I have in mind.

Of course, throughout the move to Columbus and starting graduate school, maintaining my bonsai collection has remained a priority even if new articles and videos were put on hold. In August, I packed my trees into a UHaul and drove my trimmed-down collection across the country. Since then, I’ve also found time to scout for local Ohio yamadori, service trees for my first local client, attend two workshops at Yume-en (Rob Hoffman’s new bonsai nursery in Marysville, OH), assemble my first grow tent for overwintering my tropicals, collect new seeds stock for 2021, and join the Columbus Bonsai Society’s Board for 2021. All of these and more from my archive could be future blog posts so stay tuned!


A young Brewer's oak seedling emerges!

January 28, 2021

Where's Bernie?? Bonsai Edition


  1. Bernie in Elandan Gardens
  2. Bernie as a Mudman
  3. Blog Announcements

          No doubt most of you have seen the meme going around this week based on Senator Bernie Sanders braving the inauguration day cold bearing his now-iconic mittens and practical Vermontian fashion sense. Political leanings aside, Bernie's inauguration sighting has quickly exploded on the internet as netizens place the Senator in their own photos around the world. The senator is even selling T-shirts and sweatshirts featuring his inaugural meme and is donating 100% of the proceeds to Vermont charities like Meals-on-Wheels which helps feed low-income seniors. Naturally, I had to join in on the fun! Not only is this meme a good opportunity for some Bernie bonsai sightings, but I'm also glad to have the excuse to go through my old Elandan Gardens photos and to play around in Photoshop again. Without further ado, enjoy my Bernie-fied walk down memory lane at Elandan Gardens including some experimental ideas with Bernie standing in for traditional Chinese mudman figurines.

          So sit back and enjoy the refreshing taste of this fresh can of memes I've cracked open for you. If you need to spice up that work-from-home life, feel free to use these as ZOOM backgrounds or you can put Bernie in your own photos through this free photoshop-esque template

Bernie at Elandan Gardens

Bernie admiring one of the many old ponderosa pines by collected and styled by Dan Robinson.

July 17, 2020

Farewell, My Beloved Puget Sound Bonsai Community

Dear Puget Sound Bonsai Community,

          Many of you know me as the guy who nags you to put a tree in our annual Spring Show, others may know me from working together at Elandan Gardens, and few of you even took me on my first yamadori collecting trips before I even had a car. My deep gratitude to the friendly and knowledgeable bonsai community here in Seattle makes my leaving all the more difficult, but unfortunately, my next step has arrived. I am excited to share that month I'll be starting a microbiology Ph.D. at The Ohio State University!

The Gnarly Bonsai Crew from Elandan Gardens at the 2017 NW Flower and Garden Show. From left to right: Kyle, myself, Dan Robinson, and Hansy.

May 8, 2020

Ryan's Bonsaiclopedia: Germination, Taproot Removal, and Trunk Training - Oh My!

         As I've said before, there is a widespread, primal appeal in watching a seed sprout firsthand. The bonsai community can and should harness this craze for bonsai seeds by informing beginners rather than shaming them for not starting with more established prebonsai material. I hope that through my comprehensive Bonsai-From-Seed Guide, more of you will readers become disciples of our bonsai hobby and more of you will be successful at creating beautiful trees you can enjoy for decades to come.
          Last month in my serial Bonsai-From-Seed Guide, I already discussed some basic knowledge about the pros and cons of alternative ways to start a bonsai tree and bonsai seed myths which will hinder your seedling's progress if you aren't armed with the correct knowledge. This week, I'm going to start exposing the step by step, year-by-year methods you will need to employ as you watch your seeds sprout and grow. The transformation of your seeds into the bonsai of your dream won't happen just by waiting, it happens with because of your guiding hands (but yes, also with lots of waiting)!

I know glamorous pictures of mature bonsai get more attention, but like the seeds you will plant, today we are starting humbly - with a handful of larch seedlings. 

April 24, 2020

Three Bonsai Buds on a Branch...

          You've heard of the phrase "As close as three peas in a pod", but what about "three buds on a branch?" It has a nice ring to it too, doesn't it? Introducing "Bonsai Buds" - another idea of mine born out of quarantine boredom. Bonsai Buds will be a bonsai-themed talk show through which I look forward to getting to know other up-and-coming members of the bonsai community. I have no idea how frequent Bonsai Buds will be, but I look forward to using this show as an excuse to interview prominent members in the bonsai community, pick their bonsai brains, see what projects they're working on, and get styling advice for you all. So, if you are stumped by any trees in your garden, please submit a few photos or your questions here!

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