Hi!

I’m Zach Smith, a 30+ year bonsai veteran. 

And I’m here to provide collectors and experienced bonsai enthusiasts with the finest large collected bonsai available anywhere.  

Swamp Maple Update – Is The End Near?

You may remember this Swamp maples, Acer rubrum 'drummondii' from spring.  I did the initial styling on the tree and potted it in this beautiful bonsai pot.  I then left it strictly alone, except for watering and fertilizing. Today seemed like a good time to check in...

Water-Elm #38 – “Big Hoss” – Made It

This Water-elm, "Big Hoss," is one of the biggest I collected this year.  We brought it home on August 4th.  I cleaned it up, chopped back the roots enough to fit the eventual bonsai pot, and potted it up.  Then I waited. It took a few weeks, but a tiny bud appeared...

Water-Elm #40 Initial Styling

This may be the strongest of the Water-elms I brought home this year.  The shoots grew so fast that I even had to pinch a couple of them so they wouldn't get out of hand.  At 1/8" thick at the base already, there's no way I can delay getting some wire on this tree....

Planning A Classically Styled Water-Elm

There is an ongoing debate in the bonsai world with regard to styling deciduous trees.  It boils down to this: some artists feel that it's not okay to style a deciduous tree in the so-called "pine tree style."  What's the pine tree style?  Well, that's the classic...

Water-Elm #53 Initial Styling

Here's another case where slip-potting Water-elms as they grow out vigorously does not impact their recovery in the least.  You can see the growth just kept on.  So now that we're in another good period for encouraging growth by pruning, I thought it was the perfect...

Water-Elm #35 Initial Styling

Water-elm #35 was slip-potted this past weekend.  I put off styling and especially trimming because the lunar cycle wasn't favorable to pruning for growth.  It also gave me the opportunity gauge how well the slip-potting went.  I can tell you, the tree did not skip a...

Water-Elm #35 Video #2

This is one of the Water-elms I collected on August 4th.  I really liked the natural but artistic look of the clump (not all clumps are worth working on, trust me).  I knew I could make something really special out of this one. In two months' time this tree has put on...

Water-Elm #53 Video #2

I posted Water-Elm #53 Video #1 on September 9th.  Since that time, the trees have grown out very well, so much so that today I decided I could risk slip-potting them.  There's always a risk in doing this, but I've found over the years that the risk is very low.  So...

Remember This Sycamore?

Most of you probably remember this Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis.  From humble beginnings it made its way humbly into a bonsai pot.  At the time, I said it would either end up being great or terrible.  The jury's still out on that one, but today seemed like a good...

Water-Elm #39 Video #2

This is Water-elm #39, the day it came home and was potted up.  I published Video #1 once the tree had started pushing new growth.  It grew so rapidly that today it was time to do an initial styling. Here's the step by step process I used to create the initial design...

What I Do When They Grow Really Fast

This Water-elm, Planera aquatica, was collected on August 11th of this year.  It's a really nice triple-trunk specimen, as you can see.  It came back from collection quickly, and has thrown foot-long shoots.  It's certainly a strong tree.  So what would you do about...

Water Oak #8

Quercus nigra Collect date: 2/24/18 Trunk base: 2.25" Height to chop: 13" Estimated age: 20 years Years in training: 1 Estimated release date: 4/15/20 Video #1   Although this tree obviously grew with great strength this year, it did present me with one significant...

Water-Elm #40

Planera aquatica Collect date: 8/4/18 Trunk base: 2.5" Height: 22" Estimated age: 40-50 years Years in training: 0 Estimated release date: 5/1/20 Video #1 I love the trunk movement and gradual taper of this specimen.  A nice feminine tree.  The nebari is outstanding!...

Water-Elm #53

Planera aquatica Collect dates: 8/11/18, 8/11/18, 8/25/18 Trunk bases: 2", 2", 1.5" Heights: 9", 12", 13.5" Estimated ages: 25-30 years Years in training: 0 Estimated release date: 5/1/20 Video #1 Here's a great example of the principle that sometimes the whole is...

Huckleberry #5

Vaccinium species Collect date: 12/23/17 Trunk base: 3.5" across Height to top chop: 18" Finished height (est.): 22" Estimated age: 35-50 years Years in training: 0 Video #1       This Huckleberry was collected in December of 2017, and allowed to grow undisturbed for...

Bald Cypress #68

Taxodium distichum Collect date: 1/20/18 Trunk base: 5" (5" above the soil) Height to chop: 26" Final height (est.): 36" Estimated age: 50-65 years Years in training: 1 Estimated release date: 4/15/22 Bald cypress #68 Video #1

Water-Elm #35

Planera aquatica Collect date: 8/4/18 Trunk base: 3" Height to highest chop point: 18" Estimated age: 45 years Estimated release date: 4/15/20Water-elm #35 Video #1

The Bonsai South Collection – A Preview Of What’s To Come

Recently I emailed you with news about the changes coming to Bonsai South, and specifically mentioned the Bonsai South Collection.  In this post, I want to give you a preview of what's to come when work on the collection begins in earnest.  Perhaps the biggest change...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 6 – Show And Tell

Today our Water-elm collecting season for 2018 came to a close.  We got a few more really nice specimens.  Check 'em out below. Here's a very nice single-trunk specimen featuring great trunk movement and taper.  The base is 2.5" and it's 16" to the chop. Here's the...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 5

The Water-elm collecting season is winding down.  Here are a few specimens from yesterday's trip. Here's a nice single-trunk specimen with great movement, character and taper.  There are two natural uros from this front view.  I'm looking forward to styling this tree....

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 4

Here are some more wonderful specimens I'll be working on in the future. Here's a terrific clump style with a 3" base.  I was simplifying it (it was a real thick bush), and pretty much stopped when I got to this point. Are all of the trunks suited to the final...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 3

Today we got an earlier start so we could beat the heat.  We also benefited from cloud cover during most of the lifting.  The results would have been just as good, but it's always nice when you don't have to suffer so much. Let's start off with this clump-style...

Big Bonsai Are Impressive – Check Out These Water-Elms

Say what you want, there's just no denying that big bonsai are very impressive - provided, of course, that you start with great material and train it right.  Recently the old longing has returned.  A few decades ago, I set out collecting what Cathy calls "giant...

A Quick Dragon Update

  This photo shows where we left off with my water-elm "Dragon" last fall.  It had grown out very strong following the initial styling, unwiring and then trimming judiciously.  Since this photo was taken in October, the tree didn't grow much more prior to...

The Heat Was Miserable; The Water-Elms Were Great

As many of you know, I collect Water-elms (Planera aquatica) in the heat of summer.  I've collected some in late winter, but the trees seem to respond better to summer collecting.  The big problem with summer collecting, of course, is the heat.  Yesterday the heat...

Here’s Something Expected, And Something Unexpected

We've been following along with the development of this Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, for a couple of months now.  It's a small specimen that I made from a venerable old Crape left to me by my friend Allen Gautreau.  I love the trunk of this literati bonsai, and...

The Mystery Is Solved: It’s A Swamp Azalea

A couple of years ago I went on a collecting trip to a piece of property owned by a client's brother.  I had been hoping to harvest some American hornbeam, but there just weren't any to be found.  I did, however, run across a species I had never encountered in all my...

It’s Time To Make Some More Bonsai

There are distinct phases in the bonsai year.  Spring 2018 is just a memory now.  But that's okay.  Summer is never dull.  While you can't do everything in summer you can in spring, I guarantee you'll keep busy if you know what needs doing and how your individual...

This Is Either Going To Be Great Or Awful

The seasoned bonsai enthusiast often takes on projects that, at least in the beginning, seem full of promise but later on go a bit sideways.  That's another way of saying that trees usually do what they want, and it's not at all unusual for you not to appreciate what...

Watch Me Wire The Big BC – It’s Progress!

Last week I defoliated this very large Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).  Not surprisingly, the tree is already showing new buds.  The wiring needed to be done now! Here's the step by step work I did on this tree.  When you defoliate any tree, it gives you the...

How About This Great Progress With A Sweetgum

I lifted this Sweetgum last year and put it in a nursery container to recover and gain strength.  It was sluggish for most of last year, but I just fed, watered and otherwise ignored it.  As I knew it would, it finally kicked growth into high gear this spring, which...

Have You Ever Defoliated A BC? Here’s How To Do It

If you grow or plan to grow Bald cypress bonsai, it's vital that you learn an indispensable development technique - defoliation.  It may sound challenging at first blush, but it's one of the easiest and most beneficial techniques you'll ever use in growing bonsai....

A Couple Of Quick Progressions I Like

Bonsai is a pursuit that works best when given enough time.  This is fairly obvious once you've studied enough.  It's the old trees that have been in training for decades (even centuries) that command our attention.  Now, with that said I'm a big proponent of bringing...

A Terrific American Elm Bonsai-To-Be

I love elm bonsai.  Among my favorite elm species to work with is American elm, Ulmus Americana.  I found this one almost by accident in early May.  Though I would normally prefer to collect American elms in January or February, I thought it would be worth a try to...

Here’s The Kind Of Progression I Like To See

In the ideal bonsai world we'd collect a tree, watch it bud out and then push nice shoots for us to work with, we'd wire and pot the tree, and it would have developed its complete structure by the end of the first growing season.  Ah, if only.... Well, this looks like...

Do You Know The Best Thing About American Hornbeam For Bonsai?

American hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana, is one of my best deciduous species for bonsai.  It has many stellar characteristics as a bonsai subject, including relatively small leaves that reduce in size readily, smooth greenish-gray bark, and the easily recognized...

Another Cedar Elm Gets Styled

This Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, is now strong enough for an initial styling.  I know this because it has undergone its second round of growth following the initial recovery period.  Notice in this photo the growing tips of the shoots.  There's roots below ground!...

Bonsai Odds & Ends – Tulip Poplar, Hackberry, And Is This A Catbird Grape?

Everybody knows that you avoid trying to make bonsai out of magnolias.  Grandiflora, specifically, with its dinner-plate sized flowers.  No, I don't go there, so this isn't going to be about some valiant effort to overcome the species.  With that said, this Tulip...

The Initial Styling Of A Very Cool Cedar Elm

I collected this Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, in April of 2017. As you can see from this photo, taken in October of 2017, its post-collecting recovery was weak.  You will likely encounter this sort of situation from time to time.  The key is to recognize it and treat...

Designing A Bald Cypress Pairing – Next Step

In early March I created this bald cypress pairing.  On the 31st here's what it looked like.  Not so impressive.  But from humble beginnings.... A month later, the trees had responded like bald cypress responds, and I was able to get the initial styling mostly done. ...

What In The World Do I Do With That?

It has to be the most difficult challenge every developing bonsai artist faces: namely, staring at a piece of material that's all full of growth but which has no clear design in sight.  When I teach workshops the basic issue with every tree we work on is, "What in the...

Let’s See If I Can Add Video To My Blogs

So last year I slip-potted this Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, in September.  It's a nice specimen that looks great with a bit of a slant in its planting angle.  As I've noted before, I need to ground-layer some roots in front of the tree.  This will be a simple task...

A Fun Friday With Cedar Elms

Here's one of the Cedar elms, Ulmus crassifolia, that I collected in March.  It's a smaller specimen, with a trunk base of 1" at the soil level, but it's packed with character.  I've been keeping an eye on it now since it first started showing buds a week after...

Starting Over With A Bonsai – You Will, Sooner Or Later

Last year I was working on this Riverflat hawthorn, Crataegus opaca, for a client who had purchased the tree and was anxiously awaiting delivery.  I had collected it in 2015, and began its training that same year.  The primary work last year was to pot it into a nice...

Art In Small Packages

I've posted blogs about this old Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, that Allen Gautreau and I collected in the early 90s.  He left it to me when he passed.  I've since done some redesign work and put the tree in a different pot.  That's not the topic of this blog,...

My Latest Shot At Swamp Maple

I seldom write about Swamp maple, Acer rubrum 'Drummondii,' not because you can't make nice bonsai with them but because I have had no success collecting larger specimens and maintaining them past a few years.  In about year three they start rotting from the chop...

Repotting Mr. Van Winkle

It's been a couple of years since I repotted my big Willow oak, Quercus phellos.  Last year I named him Rip Van Winkle, because he waited until May to finally bud out.  (I was afraid he was R.I.P. Van Winkle.)  Anyway, when I did the repotting back in 2016 I tried...

Just Had To Share

Chinese Elm - 8/4/14 Chinese Elm - 4/4/18 Not bad for four years' work! The progression has been updated too. Note: Comments are closed. Remember to use the new Insider's Club Form to post your questions and comments. This helps everybody learn and help and this is...

Bonsai South News + Odds & Ends

In the next two weeks we will be launching our updated website.  Cathy has created a wonderful new design, which will be much more functional and easier for you to use.  We'll send out an announcement when we launch. Meanwhile, here are a few...

Hawthorn Gets New Home. Nice!

  If you've spent any time browsing through our site, you've seen my awesome Riverflat hawthorn (Crataegus opaca).  After several years, this tree is really well developed and frankly is one of my all-time favorites. One thing I've come to realize over the past year...
The Bonsai South Collection

Water-Elm #39
(Image #1)

Water-Elm #39
(Image #2)

Bald Cypress #68

Water-Elm #35

Huckleberry #5

Water-Elm #53

Water-Elm #40

Water-Elm #39
Water-Elm #35

Bald Cypress #68

Huckleberry #5

Water-Elm #53

Water-Elm #40

Zach’s Bonsai Experience

Years Experience

Bonsai Articles Written

Bonsai Created

Bonsai Demonstrations

Swamp Maple Update – Is The End Near?

You may remember this Swamp maples, Acer rubrum 'drummondii' from spring.  I did the initial styling on the tree and potted it in this beautiful bonsai pot.  I then left it strictly alone, except for watering and fertilizing. Today seemed like a good time to check in...

Water-Elm #38 – “Big Hoss” – Made It

This Water-elm, "Big Hoss," is one of the biggest I collected this year.  We brought it home on August 4th.  I cleaned it up, chopped back the roots enough to fit the eventual bonsai pot, and potted it up.  Then I waited. It took a few weeks, but a tiny bud appeared...

Water-Elm #40 Initial Styling

This may be the strongest of the Water-elms I brought home this year.  The shoots grew so fast that I even had to pinch a couple of them so they wouldn't get out of hand.  At 1/8" thick at the base already, there's no way I can delay getting some wire on this tree....

Planning A Classically Styled Water-Elm

There is an ongoing debate in the bonsai world with regard to styling deciduous trees.  It boils down to this: some artists feel that it's not okay to style a deciduous tree in the so-called "pine tree style."  What's the pine tree style?  Well, that's the classic...

Water-Elm #53 Initial Styling

Here's another case where slip-potting Water-elms as they grow out vigorously does not impact their recovery in the least.  You can see the growth just kept on.  So now that we're in another good period for encouraging growth by pruning, I thought it was the perfect...

Water-Elm #35 Initial Styling

Water-elm #35 was slip-potted this past weekend.  I put off styling and especially trimming because the lunar cycle wasn't favorable to pruning for growth.  It also gave me the opportunity gauge how well the slip-potting went.  I can tell you, the tree did not skip a...

Water-Elm #35 Video #2

This is one of the Water-elms I collected on August 4th.  I really liked the natural but artistic look of the clump (not all clumps are worth working on, trust me).  I knew I could make something really special out of this one. In two months' time this tree has put on...

Water-Elm #53 Video #2

I posted Water-Elm #53 Video #1 on September 9th.  Since that time, the trees have grown out very well, so much so that today I decided I could risk slip-potting them.  There's always a risk in doing this, but I've found over the years that the risk is very low.  So...

Remember This Sycamore?

Most of you probably remember this Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis.  From humble beginnings it made its way humbly into a bonsai pot.  At the time, I said it would either end up being great or terrible.  The jury's still out on that one, but today seemed like a good...

Water-Elm #39 Video #2

This is Water-elm #39, the day it came home and was potted up.  I published Video #1 once the tree had started pushing new growth.  It grew so rapidly that today it was time to do an initial styling. Here's the step by step process I used to create the initial design...

What I Do When They Grow Really Fast

This Water-elm, Planera aquatica, was collected on August 11th of this year.  It's a really nice triple-trunk specimen, as you can see.  It came back from collection quickly, and has thrown foot-long shoots.  It's certainly a strong tree.  So what would you do about...

Water Oak #8

Quercus nigra Collect date: 2/24/18 Trunk base: 2.25" Height to chop: 13" Estimated age: 20 years Years in training: 1 Estimated release date: 4/15/20 Video #1   Although this tree obviously grew with great strength this year, it did present me with one significant...

Water-Elm #40

Planera aquatica Collect date: 8/4/18 Trunk base: 2.5" Height: 22" Estimated age: 40-50 years Years in training: 0 Estimated release date: 5/1/20 Video #1 I love the trunk movement and gradual taper of this specimen.  A nice feminine tree.  The nebari is outstanding!...

Water-Elm #53

Planera aquatica Collect dates: 8/11/18, 8/11/18, 8/25/18 Trunk bases: 2", 2", 1.5" Heights: 9", 12", 13.5" Estimated ages: 25-30 years Years in training: 0 Estimated release date: 5/1/20 Video #1 Here's a great example of the principle that sometimes the whole is...

Huckleberry #5

Vaccinium species Collect date: 12/23/17 Trunk base: 3.5" across Height to top chop: 18" Finished height (est.): 22" Estimated age: 35-50 years Years in training: 0 Video #1       This Huckleberry was collected in December of 2017, and allowed to grow undisturbed for...

Bald Cypress #68

Taxodium distichum Collect date: 1/20/18 Trunk base: 5" (5" above the soil) Height to chop: 26" Final height (est.): 36" Estimated age: 50-65 years Years in training: 1 Estimated release date: 4/15/22 Bald cypress #68 Video #1

Water-Elm #35

Planera aquatica Collect date: 8/4/18 Trunk base: 3" Height to highest chop point: 18" Estimated age: 45 years Estimated release date: 4/15/20Water-elm #35 Video #1

The Bonsai South Collection – A Preview Of What’s To Come

Recently I emailed you with news about the changes coming to Bonsai South, and specifically mentioned the Bonsai South Collection.  In this post, I want to give you a preview of what's to come when work on the collection begins in earnest.  Perhaps the biggest change...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 6 – Show And Tell

Today our Water-elm collecting season for 2018 came to a close.  We got a few more really nice specimens.  Check 'em out below. Here's a very nice single-trunk specimen featuring great trunk movement and taper.  The base is 2.5" and it's 16" to the chop. Here's the...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 5

The Water-elm collecting season is winding down.  Here are a few specimens from yesterday's trip. Here's a nice single-trunk specimen with great movement, character and taper.  There are two natural uros from this front view.  I'm looking forward to styling this tree....

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 4

Here are some more wonderful specimens I'll be working on in the future. Here's a terrific clump style with a 3" base.  I was simplifying it (it was a real thick bush), and pretty much stopped when I got to this point. Are all of the trunks suited to the final...

Water-Elm Collecting Trip 3

Today we got an earlier start so we could beat the heat.  We also benefited from cloud cover during most of the lifting.  The results would have been just as good, but it's always nice when you don't have to suffer so much. Let's start off with this clump-style...

Big Bonsai Are Impressive – Check Out These Water-Elms

Say what you want, there's just no denying that big bonsai are very impressive - provided, of course, that you start with great material and train it right.  Recently the old longing has returned.  A few decades ago, I set out collecting what Cathy calls "giant...

A Quick Dragon Update

  This photo shows where we left off with my water-elm "Dragon" last fall.  It had grown out very strong following the initial styling, unwiring and then trimming judiciously.  Since this photo was taken in October, the tree didn't grow much more prior to...

The Heat Was Miserable; The Water-Elms Were Great

As many of you know, I collect Water-elms (Planera aquatica) in the heat of summer.  I've collected some in late winter, but the trees seem to respond better to summer collecting.  The big problem with summer collecting, of course, is the heat.  Yesterday the heat...

Here’s Something Expected, And Something Unexpected

We've been following along with the development of this Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, for a couple of months now.  It's a small specimen that I made from a venerable old Crape left to me by my friend Allen Gautreau.  I love the trunk of this literati bonsai, and...

The Mystery Is Solved: It’s A Swamp Azalea

A couple of years ago I went on a collecting trip to a piece of property owned by a client's brother.  I had been hoping to harvest some American hornbeam, but there just weren't any to be found.  I did, however, run across a species I had never encountered in all my...

It’s Time To Make Some More Bonsai

There are distinct phases in the bonsai year.  Spring 2018 is just a memory now.  But that's okay.  Summer is never dull.  While you can't do everything in summer you can in spring, I guarantee you'll keep busy if you know what needs doing and how your individual...

This Is Either Going To Be Great Or Awful

The seasoned bonsai enthusiast often takes on projects that, at least in the beginning, seem full of promise but later on go a bit sideways.  That's another way of saying that trees usually do what they want, and it's not at all unusual for you not to appreciate what...

Watch Me Wire The Big BC – It’s Progress!

Last week I defoliated this very large Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).  Not surprisingly, the tree is already showing new buds.  The wiring needed to be done now! Here's the step by step work I did on this tree.  When you defoliate any tree, it gives you the...

How About This Great Progress With A Sweetgum

I lifted this Sweetgum last year and put it in a nursery container to recover and gain strength.  It was sluggish for most of last year, but I just fed, watered and otherwise ignored it.  As I knew it would, it finally kicked growth into high gear this spring, which...

Have You Ever Defoliated A BC? Here’s How To Do It

If you grow or plan to grow Bald cypress bonsai, it's vital that you learn an indispensable development technique - defoliation.  It may sound challenging at first blush, but it's one of the easiest and most beneficial techniques you'll ever use in growing bonsai....

A Couple Of Quick Progressions I Like

Bonsai is a pursuit that works best when given enough time.  This is fairly obvious once you've studied enough.  It's the old trees that have been in training for decades (even centuries) that command our attention.  Now, with that said I'm a big proponent of bringing...

A Terrific American Elm Bonsai-To-Be

I love elm bonsai.  Among my favorite elm species to work with is American elm, Ulmus Americana.  I found this one almost by accident in early May.  Though I would normally prefer to collect American elms in January or February, I thought it would be worth a try to...

Here’s The Kind Of Progression I Like To See

In the ideal bonsai world we'd collect a tree, watch it bud out and then push nice shoots for us to work with, we'd wire and pot the tree, and it would have developed its complete structure by the end of the first growing season.  Ah, if only.... Well, this looks like...

Do You Know The Best Thing About American Hornbeam For Bonsai?

American hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana, is one of my best deciduous species for bonsai.  It has many stellar characteristics as a bonsai subject, including relatively small leaves that reduce in size readily, smooth greenish-gray bark, and the easily recognized...

Another Cedar Elm Gets Styled

This Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, is now strong enough for an initial styling.  I know this because it has undergone its second round of growth following the initial recovery period.  Notice in this photo the growing tips of the shoots.  There's roots below ground!...

Bonsai Odds & Ends – Tulip Poplar, Hackberry, And Is This A Catbird Grape?

Everybody knows that you avoid trying to make bonsai out of magnolias.  Grandiflora, specifically, with its dinner-plate sized flowers.  No, I don't go there, so this isn't going to be about some valiant effort to overcome the species.  With that said, this Tulip...

The Initial Styling Of A Very Cool Cedar Elm

I collected this Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, in April of 2017. As you can see from this photo, taken in October of 2017, its post-collecting recovery was weak.  You will likely encounter this sort of situation from time to time.  The key is to recognize it and treat...

Designing A Bald Cypress Pairing – Next Step

In early March I created this bald cypress pairing.  On the 31st here's what it looked like.  Not so impressive.  But from humble beginnings.... A month later, the trees had responded like bald cypress responds, and I was able to get the initial styling mostly done. ...

What In The World Do I Do With That?

It has to be the most difficult challenge every developing bonsai artist faces: namely, staring at a piece of material that's all full of growth but which has no clear design in sight.  When I teach workshops the basic issue with every tree we work on is, "What in the...

Let’s See If I Can Add Video To My Blogs

So last year I slip-potted this Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, in September.  It's a nice specimen that looks great with a bit of a slant in its planting angle.  As I've noted before, I need to ground-layer some roots in front of the tree.  This will be a simple task...

A Fun Friday With Cedar Elms

Here's one of the Cedar elms, Ulmus crassifolia, that I collected in March.  It's a smaller specimen, with a trunk base of 1" at the soil level, but it's packed with character.  I've been keeping an eye on it now since it first started showing buds a week after...

Starting Over With A Bonsai – You Will, Sooner Or Later

Last year I was working on this Riverflat hawthorn, Crataegus opaca, for a client who had purchased the tree and was anxiously awaiting delivery.  I had collected it in 2015, and began its training that same year.  The primary work last year was to pot it into a nice...

Art In Small Packages

I've posted blogs about this old Crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, that Allen Gautreau and I collected in the early 90s.  He left it to me when he passed.  I've since done some redesign work and put the tree in a different pot.  That's not the topic of this blog,...

My Latest Shot At Swamp Maple

I seldom write about Swamp maple, Acer rubrum 'Drummondii,' not because you can't make nice bonsai with them but because I have had no success collecting larger specimens and maintaining them past a few years.  In about year three they start rotting from the chop...

Repotting Mr. Van Winkle

It's been a couple of years since I repotted my big Willow oak, Quercus phellos.  Last year I named him Rip Van Winkle, because he waited until May to finally bud out.  (I was afraid he was R.I.P. Van Winkle.)  Anyway, when I did the repotting back in 2016 I tried...

Just Had To Share

Chinese Elm - 8/4/14 Chinese Elm - 4/4/18 Not bad for four years' work! The progression has been updated too. Note: Comments are closed. Remember to use the new Insider's Club Form to post your questions and comments. This helps everybody learn and help and this is...

Bonsai South News + Odds & Ends

In the next two weeks we will be launching our updated website.  Cathy has created a wonderful new design, which will be much more functional and easier for you to use.  We'll send out an announcement when we launch. Meanwhile, here are a few...

Hawthorn Gets New Home. Nice!

  If you've spent any time browsing through our site, you've seen my awesome Riverflat hawthorn (Crataegus opaca).  After several years, this tree is really well developed and frankly is one of my all-time favorites. One thing I've come to realize over the past year...

We Do More So Our Members Can Have More

Our trees are collected and field grown … which means we raise them. We choose only the best because we deserve … and you deserve … only the best.

New Bonsai Blogs

How-to articles that show you, step-by-step, how Zach develops both stock material and finished bonsai. Images are included; videos are available to members.
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One-Of-A-Kind Trees

Fine quality collected and field grown deciduous trees that are cared for and designed for at least two years before release to our members.

The Bonsai Files

Access to general and how-to articles, the Bonsai Files, that are detailed and filled with bonsai images

Gallery

Tons of pictures detailing the progression and craftsmanship of Zach’s unique bonsai. While “how-to” videos are available only to members of our Collections membership, our hundreds of images can help you.

Workshops

One-on-one, private workshops and group workshops with Zach are held in beautiful St. Francisville, LA. Lunch is always provided and you can choose your tree once you are at our gardens.

Videos: Design History

Our videos show you they life of the tree. From collection to release for sale, you’ll witness every step of care and design so you can know the entire history of your tree.

Contact Bonsai South

Questions about our Collector’s Membership? Purchased a tree from Bonsai South and want some insight?
Drop us a line.

Address: 9116 Dorothy Lane
St Francisville, Louisiana 70775

Phone: (225) 784 – 2168