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

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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

  1. Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica & related species.) for Bonsai (this 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. Combining Yamadori Education with Invasive Plant Removal - A CBS Collaboration with the Columbus Metro Parks (next time)
  3. Invasive Trees & Shrubs with Known Bonsai Potential (next next time)
  4. Blog Announcements
  5. References

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.

April 16, 2022

Reflections from Working with Dan Robinson - Bonsai Time Podcast Ep 03

         Dear readers (and listeners)! Today marks the release of the third episode of the Bonsai Time Podcast hosted by myself and a fellow Columbus-based bonsai friend, Kevin Faris. This episode focuses on reflections Kevin and I had after working with Dan Robinson at his world famous Elandan Gardens. We specifically discussed more detail behind where you can look for inspiration for Dan's naturalistic styling ethos of ancient trees, as well as some technical tips to make gnarly trees in Dan's style.

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March 23, 2022

Introducing Your Hosts! Goals for Bonsai and for the Podcast - Bonsai Time Podcast Ep 02

        Readers, today marks the release of the second episode of the @bonsaitimepodcast hosted by myself and a fellow Columbus-based bonsai friend, Kevin Faris. In this shorter episode, Kevin and I discussed our backgrounds and goals in bonsai as well as our goals for this podcast going forwards. We are only getting started so I hope you enjoy the ride!

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