April 10, 2020

My YouTube Debut - Mo' Roots, Mo' Problems

          Hello blog readers! In traditional Ryan Huston Fashion™, I always have a few other side projects to distract myself from what I really should be doing... Luckily for you, today that means you get more bonsai content from me! I should be working on that Seed-Growing-Guide, but I'll get back to that this weekend and you'll still get the rest of that series as scheduled, I promise.




          For our first YouTube video, I explored the roots of a shohin Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). This tree was nursery stock that didn't go the way the nursery intended after the weeping variety that was grafted on died. As a result of its origin, this tree was planted in 100% organic soil (I didn't even realize this was the case until I took it out of the pot!). This allowed me to demonstrate how to safely prune roots and exchange poor quality soil for bonsai soil in a way that will ensure the survival of our tree through this stressful operation. Over the next couple of years, I expect this tree will continue to improve its health and will give us more branching options closer to the trunk for us to have more styling options down the road. Thanks to Sam Miller of Intermountain Bonsai for the pot.

          If you're stuck quarantined at home and 20 minutes of me talking doesn't satisfy your insatiable bonsai itch, I also encourage you to check out one of my other projects on YouTube. I mentioned it in passing last month in my article about our repot of the "Melted Mountain Hemlock", but it's worth highlighting again more prominently here. Another side project of mine is improving accessibility of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association's archive of guest artist demonstrations. Currently, most of these are on DVD - some even on VHS - and club members have not been making heavy use of the club library as of late, possibly due to the increased availability of online bonsai content. The physical collection also has the danger of people losing and not returning our only copies of these demonstrations, as has happened in some cases.
          Last month, I started testing the idea of making this collection available online by posting the complete Colin Lewis Twin Trunk Pine Demonstration onto the new Puget Sound Bonsai YouTube channel. I also took some important highlights out to post as standalone segments. Even though the demonstration was originally filmed in November 2000, the artistic concepts remain unchanged. It's kind of poetic in a way that Colin Lewis's Bonsai Survival Manual was the first book which got me into bonsai and now his demonstration was randomly selected as the first from the archive to get me into producing bonsai content on YouTube... Big thanks to Colin Lewis for his work sharing bonsai over the years, including allowing PSBA to share this demonstration publicly; and thank you to the past PSBA members and present who have made this possible. I hope others find these videos to be similarly helpful!


Full Colin Lewis Twin Trunk Pine Demo here.

Why triangles intersect in art, nature, and bonsai design here.

The fundamentals of structuring twin trunk bonsai trees here.

Why thread grafting is the easiest grafting method in all of bonsai here.

How to use the Slingshot Principal to improve your wiring here.

The fundamentals of developing and defining foliage pads here.

How to design the apex of your twin trunk bonsai here.

          As time allows, I hope to make another demonstration from the PSBA archive available to you all this month. Maybe after my Seed-Growing-Guide is completed, or maybe in the middle of it! I'm always too ambitious with my projects but I'll do my best. 

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