A friend from my bonsai club was asking about digging some shrubs that his neighbor doesn’t want anymore. He knows I like to collect so he asked if it’s hard. I probably should have just said, “Yes,” but I provided a longer answer that I thought I would share with you.
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We don’t ask this question frequently enough: “Why do you practice bonsai?” And when we ask it, I don’t know that many people answer in a way that really helps us understand how different each of our approaches can be. Responding with something like, “I really love trees,” or, “I love the time I spend in my garden,” for example, is not really the kind of answer that is helpful. When I ask why, here, I really mean WHY?! What is your purpose? What are your goals? What sets you apart from others? Knowing your WHY should drive your decisions, your actions, and your interactions with other bonsai enthusiasts.
Knowing your WHY reminds me of the idea of an “elevator speech.” Imagine you were at a bonsai convention and suddenly found yourself in the elevator with your biggest bonsai hero in the world. You introduce yourself, and your hero asks…
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As the seasons change, I like to access how far the trees have developed in any given year and plan for the upcoming year’s development. So far I have reviewed some of the major trees in the collection that had considerable work done on them this year. The most challenging species for my location are the Shimpaku junipers; these are very slow growing and patience is required to allow the foliage to clump before it begins to elongate for branch development. It seems like a painful process of waiting and sometime I concur. Waiting several years for that growth to happen means that beyond re-potting and some thinning there is little that can be done in the design.
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I had planned all year to get to the Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention 41 in Sacramento. This was going to be a historic even with the return of Master Yasuo Mitsuya after an absence of 10 years. He would be joined with Bjorn Bjorholm, Suthin Sukosolvisit. These headlines were joined by Mitsuya’s students. So many master on one stage. Master Kathy Shaner, with other students, Gordon, John, Boon, Mel, and others. A simply historic gathering on stage, all working on trees that would be later auctioned for many thousands of dollars each.
I was able to bring back a tree that Master Mistuya designed 10 years ago to see where it will go from here. I…
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