February 21, 2020

Interview with Bonsaiko - NWFGS 2020

Source material: Feb 2017-2019

     Well, friends, that special time of year is almost here again. Yes, early spring means repotting season to us bonsai artists, however, in Seattle it also means it's time for the largest flower and garden show west of the Mississippi River.  Returning readers may recall that I have already written about the Northwest Flower and Garden Show several times to highlight the display gardens I helped the Elandan Gardens team create every year (see the 2017 garden here and 2018 one here). In preparation for the 2020 Northwest Flower and Garden Show, I wanted to share the work of another local landscaper featured in the show - the current president of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association, owner of Redwood Builders Landscaping, and writer of the bonsai blog Bonsaiko, Tony Fajarillo. I consider Tony to be one of the most skilled bonsai artists in the local club and his wealth of yardadori (landscape-collected specimen) turned into beautiful bonsai gems attest to that. Today we will review his past work at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show and ask him what we can look forward to for this year.

Sections:
1. 2017 - Mini Garden
2. 2018 - "Pot Party"
3. 2019 - "The Isles of the Blest: Tao Myth
4. 2020 - Interview with Bonsaiko / Tony Fajarillo

Tony calls this his "Flying Dragon" juniper. I was amazed to learn that this is a phoenix graft - a live tree grown between a dead one! The interplay together so beautifully I never would have noticed. This bonsai was featured in his 2019 display garden called "Pot Party".

January 9, 2020

Clean, Cut, & Carve. Zelkova in Autumn

Source material: 2019, December 4-8

          Today we're discussing my small Zelkova, aka Japanese Elm, which I introduced you to previously in my Halloween bonsai post. Fall and winter are a great time for improving the branch structure on deciduous trees due to all their glory or faults being laid bare by the lack of leaves. Many Japanese artists prefer to display trees deciduous trees in winter as they consider the underlying structure to be the true indicator of their skill and their tree's beauty. My goals at this time were to clean old leaves off, cut branches which had gotten too long (setting up growth where I want for spring), and carve a few old wounds which I thought would look better as natural deadwood than as a flat cut that would take years to hide.

Sections:
1. Clean
2. Cut
3. Carve 


One task I finally got around to doing this time was to carve a large old pruning scar. More on that later.

December 19, 2019

BYOB? Bring Your Own Bonsai, of Course!

Source material: 2019, October 28

          Some of you may already know I participate heavily in Seattle's bonsai community through the Puget Sound Bonsai Association. We aim to share bonsai with the public around Seattle and to help local bonsai artists elevate their skills. To that end, we often have guest artists come to lecture and demonstrate how to work various species or how to use different techniques. Around once a year though, instead of hosting a high-profile artist, we host a "Bring Your Own Bonsai" Workshop where all members can work alongside other members. This sort of atmosphere allows newer members to get advice from more experienced bonsai artists in the area and allows more experienced artists to see what other people in the club are working on. The event is one of the more enjoyable club meetings of the year for me because I get to talk to many more members than I usually would during a typical guest artist demonstration - I would highly suggest other members incorporate such a community-building event into your schedules. Now that my advertisement for why you should join our club is over, here are the two trees I worked on at that meeting.


Closeup of my privet. Here in Seattle, moss creeps up the trunk very easily in winter. It makes for a nice photo, but I wouldn't leave it on for too long unless you want a temperate rainforest vibe.


December 12, 2019

Haunted Hollows - Halloween Bonsai!

Source material: 2019, October-November

          This week, I am especially happy to share that I have finished applying to my Ph.D. programs! Now I can finally return to my more creative pursuits and share them with you all again. Luckily, I have recently been inspired to create some new, unique, and seasonal ways to display bonsai. My first-attempts at Halloween-themed bonsai displays are cataloged here.

Sections:
1. A Pumpkin Painting
2. A Pumpkin Accent
3. A Pumpkin Pot

My mountain hemlock with a mountain jack-o'-lantern backdrop and my spooky flashlight face as the accent.

October 20, 2019

Visiting Bonsai Echo

Source material: 2019, October 13

          Last week, I was fortunate to meet with another local bonsai artist named Jared. Under the name "Bonsai Echo", he has become very active in the online bonsai community recently sharing his work on InstagramYoutube, and his facebook page. He also recently began a bonsai sale of some of his prebonsai and styled bonsai. Of course, I was tempted to check out his collection on my way back from working at Elandan Gardens last weekend. I'm always open to connecting with other local bonsai enthusiasts, especially those who also make an effort to share their work online. When I met Jared, I photographed a small portion of his collection (not all of which are part of his sale). He hasn't been doing bonsai for very long, but he already has some impressive skills! Please enjoy his work as I get to work on making time to sort through pictures of my own trees. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end for my recent blogging drought. :)

P.S. If you'd like to buy any trees from him, you must make an appointment to meet in person with him. He does not ship trees at this time. Click here for more details.
Blue Atlas Cedar. Check out the unconventional movement on this one.
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