Ethics of Collecting: Backcountry Bonsai

Michael Hagedorn

Collecting has been a thing for years in North America. And like many places, we do have eye-candy in wild areas that supports our bonsai desires. Wherever you live, if you go out seeking trees, please educate yourself in how to do it. Or buy trees from those who do know.

Dan’s words about this subject are so good they deserve repetition. I’ve been wanting to write something about this topic for a long time, and yet it was done with such care and heart here on the Backcountry blog that I’d prefer just to share it:

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New Apprentice at Crataegus: Jarryd Bailey

Michael Hagedorn

In the summer of 2016 a visitor from Tasmania dropped into our studio for a visit. He spent a few hours with us, and asked if by chance there were any openings in classes the next couple weeks. As it happened, there was an unexpected opening and we were able to spend three days in a Seasonal session with Jarryd Bailey, from Hobart, Tasmania. At the end of the session he asked if there was a possibility of an apprenticeship.

After a year and half abroad busily buying an antique home and getting married, Jarryd arrived in early February 2018 to start his apprenticeship. He’s receiving a lot of cheering support from back home, I even got a note from a past professor telling me to be sure he got his homework in on time.

We’re learning heaps (a word we’re learning has many applications) about Jarryd’s past life in marine…

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Jin and Tonic??


I have taken the head staggers and have made a couple of drastic additions to my large larch. Time will tell whether or not I was wise.

I have added two large jins to the tree that I think work well at first appearance.  The first one comes out of the top of a curve in the trunk and up quite a way through the branches to break out of the apex foliage.  I think it looks quite good at this point. The only question is that when the tree drops it’s needles in winter will the long extension be seen to be too straight ? if it doesn’t work it can be removed and given the fact that larch callous very quickly the wound will be well disguised in no time.

The second Jin works lower down on the trunk works very well I think and I am well…

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River Trail Nature Center: Birdwatching, Hiking, and Much More

Nature in Chicagoland

IMGP3604Where: 3120 Milwaukee Avenue, Northbrook, IL 60062, 847/824-8360, Web

Visited: June 23, 2017 and April 18, 2017

Quick Review: A nature center that features:

  • Beautiful views of the meandering Des Plaines River, great birdwatching, and three easy-to-hike trails through forest and wetlands.
  • Many birds. Yes, I know I just mentioned them, but they’re worth another mention. They are everywhere. A nature center ranger gave me this report: “At the feeders, we regularly get ruby-throated hummingbird, blue jay, red-winged blackbird, mourning dove, house sparrow, woodpeckers (red-bellied, downy, and hairy), Baltimore oriole, cardinal, and Cooper’s hawk. Near the river are Canada goose, mallard, tree swallow. Soaring overhead are red-tailed hawk and turkey vulture. There are also house finch, goldfinch, black-capped chickadee, and white-breasted nuthatch. Besides the regulars, there are more than 96 species recorded here and in the surrounding forest preserve. Happy Birding!”
  • A Noah’s Ark–menagerie of other animals for viewing—from…

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De Bos Wetland trail. Wednesday 25 April 2016


A large group of Wednesday botanical enthusiasts set off on Wednesday on the new trail that Frank Woodvine has laid out on De Bos farm, next to De Bos dam on the Karwyderskraal road, in the Hemel & Aarde Valley. The trail will be self-guided with arrows indicating the way and numbered posts with a descriptive guide explaining features of interest at each post. The trail starts at De Bos’s new restaurant and wine tasting centre, passes though wetlands with rich bird and plant life as well as vineyards and orchards and reaches the lowers slopes of the Babylonstoring mountain range. Here the fynbos was spectacular. Protea lacticolor was in full bloom. We were thrilled to find Amphithalea tomentosa and the rare Audouinia capitata both in bud which warrants another visit soon when the pretty Erica peziza will be in flower too. There was a beautiful Aspalathus we need to…

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