Ryan's Before & After Bonsai Portfolio

Ryan's Mountain Hemlock Yamadori - 2017-2019

          I acquired this tree for my personal collection from a fellow Dan Robinson student who was moving to a new house and did not have enough space at their new place. It was originally collected in the cascade mountains by Will Hiltz, carved by Hansy Lopez Pera, and the foliage was styled by me. I had to sit on it to allow it to become healthy for a few years before I had a styling direction in mind. I'm happy to report I gained a lot of confidence in wiring over the course of giving this one such detailed attention in the winter of 2019.

Dan's Japanese Black Pine - 2016-2018

          This is one of Dan Robinson's many Japanese Black Pines which he has grown from seeds for 50-60 years. To this day he still has more in the ground progressing towards their exciting lives as bonsai. This tree was originally a bit of an exposed root style, but it had lost some of its stability as a one or two structurally important roots had died and the tree became more top-heavy with age. Dan's solution was to make the tree look more dramatic and powerful by planting it into a lava rock. Here is the before and after of that work which I was happy to help with.

Dan's Juniper Forest Rock Planting - 2017

          This is a forest that Dan inherited from a club member. It was originally a forest of young seedling junipers, planted as part of a Puget Sound Bonsai Association workshop. The former owner did not repot the trees often and the trees grew slowly with some minor styling. Even with little hands-on work, these trees look pretty cool a few decades later! Although for them to earn a spot in Elandan Gardens, of course, Dan had to bring the planting to another level. His theory with rock plantings is that they can be used to accentuate trees that lack visual strength. With the cavities of the rock accenting the forest planting, the composition is now much more dramatic.

This group planting was originally featured in my March 2017 blog "A Rocky Obsession".

Decandling Dan's Japanese Red Pine - 2017

Protip: Focus on the images in the gif on the first cycle and read the captions on the next. You'll be less stressed that way.

An example of my work as an apprentice at Elandan Gardens. 4 years of decandling pines... it changes you. Luckily all the holes in my hands have now healed!

Thinning Dan's Alaska Yellow Cedar - 2017

Protip: Focus on the images in the gif on the first cycle and read the captions on the next. You'll be less stressed that way.

Thinning Alaska Yellow Cedars and related Thujas are very time-consuming tasks. The perfect job for an apprentice! Pruning fronds in this way results in the regeneration of smaller fronds as well as backbudding for ramification.

Cleanup & Cutback on a client's Laceleaf Japanese Maple - 2018

Old Japanese Maples are a pleasure to prune! They just need their regular maintenance, otherwise it is a much more involved process to reset their structure. This was a tree I pruned for a client. Due to the major reset, further years of monitored growth are needed.

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