June 7, 2022

Chase Rosade: The Humble American Bonsai Pioneer - Bonsai Time Podcast Ep 05

             The Bonsai Time Podcast is back! For our fifth episode, Kevin traveled to Rosade Bonsai Studios to interview a man by the name of Chase Rosade. This interview covers many seasons of Chase's life over his 50 years in the bonsai scene including the 8 month and 10,000 km journey he took to reach Japan; his initial training at a bonsai nursery in Japan; stories from collecting yamadori with John Naka, Ben Oki, Dan Robinson, and Larry Jackal; and Chase also shares details about the contributions of his late wife, Solita Rosade, to the world bonsai scene. Chase and Kevin covered a lot of ground in this interview; we hope it will inform and entertain you and invite you into the world of Chase Rosade!

Lastly, Chase is one of several prominent bonsai artists who will be in attendance at the upcoming Columbus Bonsai Society 50th Annual Show taking place in September. See www.columbusbonsai.org for more information.

In addition to the video and podcast versions of the interview available below, Kevin also mentioned in the interview the trees which he was helping Chase repot during his visit. Those images are available at the bottom of this post.

Video interview available here:

Podcast format available here:

June 5, 2022

Recapping the first annual Columbus Bonsai Society Invasive Yamadori Dig with the Columbus Metro Parks

Source Material: April 2022

            As spring continues to hum right into summer here in Ohio, let's continue our series on the invasive honeysuckle species common in the eastern US. As already outlined in the previous article in the series, several distinct species of invasive honeysuckle (genus Lonicera) are similar in their characteristics, similarly suitable for bonsai, and have even yielded some show-quality bonsai specimens by prominent artists. These species are the Japanese honeysuckle/Lonicera japonica, Amur honeysuckle/Lonicera maackii, Morrow's honeysuckle/Lonicera morrowii, and Tatarian honeysuckle/Lonicera tatarica (see here for more info on these species and their bonsai suitability). Furthermore, the fact that these species are invasive makes them a doubly attractive candidate for practicing collection of wild bonsai due to their abundance and the many interested landowners who are eager to be rid of them! The topic of collecting these wild prebonsai specimens brings us to today's topic - recapping the creation of a collaborative event with the Columbus Metro Parks to remove these unwanted invasive honeysuckles from city parkland and save them for members of the Columbus Bonsai Society (CBS). This event focused on invasive species removal could be a model for bonsai practitioners in areas where public land does not normally permit tree collection and for those who live in urban areas without access to private land for wild bonsai collection. 

Sections

  1. Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica & related species.) for Bonsai (last time)
    1. Examples of Honeysuckle Bonsai
    2. Identifying Candidate Honeysuckle for Bonsai
    3. Observations & Comments on their Suitability as Bonsai
      1. Ability to Ramify
      2. Response to Trunk Chops
      3. Wood Durability/Deadwood
      4. Wiring Branches
      5. Shallow Root Systems
  2. Recapping the first annual Columbus Bonsai Society Invasive Yamadori Dig with the Columbus Metro Parks (this time)
    1. Event Motivation & Creation
    2. Event/Collected Trees Album
    3. Event Potential for Future Years
  3. Invasive Trees & Shrubs with Known Bonsai Potential (next time)
  4. Blog Announcements
  5. References

The botany professor-style hat proves function > fashion whether digging in the sun or rain! Also pictured, my new 8-foot honeysuckle raft which occupied the entire length of my SUV. This is one bonsai that will likely just live at home permanently, or perhaps in the future, I will divide it into 2 trees that are more portable.

May 11, 2022

Apprentice Talk & Bonsai Brainstorming with Julian Tsai & Andy Bello - Bonsai Time Podcast Ep 04

           Hear ye, hear ye! Today marks the release of the fourth episode of the Bonsai Time Podcast hosted by myself and a fellow Columbus-based bonsai friend, Kevin Faris. In today's episode, I dug up the pilot test interview I did back in May of 2020 with Julian Tsai and Andy Bello. Julian is a former apprentice of Fujikawa Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Japan and Andy is a former apprentice-turned assistant curator at the US National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington, DC. We discussed our observations in bonsai around the world and spent the last half of the interview brainstorming styling ideas for reader-submitted trees. Hopefully seeing our thought process can be helpful in styling trees in your collection! We welcome submissions of additional trees for us to discuss in the future here

Find our episodes on YouTube!

Or, find us on your preferred podcast app through the link below.

May 4, 2022

Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica & related species) for Bonsai

            It's May which means that trees here in Ohio have been slowly waking up and spring is creeping northward! This also means we just passed the best time of year to root prune trees for repotting or for collecting wild trees to train as bonsai. Although collecting wild bonsai is an exciting method to gather prebonsai, many bonsai artists are unable to utilize this source of bonsai material due to a lack of access to public land where tree collection is permitted or some novices with such access may just be too intimidated by the prospects of killing trees during transplanting. One solution to both of these issues is to coordinate with local governments on removing unwanted, invasive species and attempt to utilize those species for bonsai. This three-part article series will cover a story of local collaboration in Ohio doing just that. I am happy to report that the Columbus Metro Parks now have a few less invasive Japanese Honeysuckle to worry about and the members of the Columbus Bonsai Society were allowed free access to digging wild bonsai material from our local forests. Additionally, this event allowed interested CBS members to learn about digging wild trees in a guided and hands-on fashion while also practicing guilt-free on material that is limitless (invasive trees) which would otherwise be destroyed during the city government's efforts to maintain native ecosystems.

            Today's portion of this 3-part series will focus on the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle and related Lonicera species which we collected at the CBS Honeysuckle Dig event last month. Below you will find specimen bonsai showing the potential of these species and observations from the woods as to which honeysuckle trees may make good bonsai. Future installments will cover the club dig event itself including essential information on the basics of what tools are needed and how to dig from the deciduous forests of Ohio. Finally, the last article in the series will cover other invasive species of the United States (with links to resources for other locations around the world), highlighting those which have known bonsai potential.

Sections

This honeysuckle was collected by the late Nick Lenz and has been styled and cared for by Nick's student, Andy Rutledge (Source). The face carved into the tree fits nicely with Nick Lenz's signature macabre and fantastical style; you can see more examples of this style in an earlier article I wrote on the subject.

April 22, 2022

Rob Hoffman Explains Basics of Wiring - Columbus Bonsai Society Full Lecture

            If you are a new bonsai artist and you wondered how Todd Schlafer pulled off his stunning Rocky Mountain Juniper transformation for the Columbus Bonsai Society last fall, you may have noticed the importance of wiring the branches to control their placement. Wiring is a fundamental skill in bonsai which I have touched on a handful of times in past articles which can really only be learned by hands-on practice. If you would like to start on the path of learning how to wire branches and turns to accelerate and improve the styling of your bonsai, enjoy Rob's wiring 101 lecture from the February CBS Meeting which I have just posted on the new CBS Youtube Channel. You may find it useful to watch this video with some sample branches in front of you to practice wiring. Or if you are working on wiring a tree, start wiring and then watch this lecture after you have been going a while. I make these suggestions because once you have some hands-on practice, a lot of what Rob is talking about will make more sense.

            Many thanks to Rob Hoffman of Yume-en Bonsai for everything he does for the Columbus Bonsai Society, including providing this lecture and allowing us to share it! Find Rob's nursery in Marysville, Ohio.