The Patient Magic of Michael Roberts: Part I

Michael Hagedorn

Michael Roberts is one of my bonsai heroes. He’s worked quietly in Southern California for decades, creating bonsai that you can’t make any other way other than to throw years at them.

This post and the next one share several of his long-term adventures with Cork Bark Elm and Cork Oak. I’m thrilled that he agreed to share the photo histories of these magnificent bonsai.

DSCN0217.jpg

The young Cork Bark Elm that Michael Roberts started with.

Michael writes: “Originally purchased in 1996 from Kimura Bonsai Nursery [California], this tree was box grown from 2000–2006.”

big cork bark elm 2009

The same Cork Bark Elm in 2009.

big cork bark elm 2012 fix

2012. A sweet bonsai already, but Michael isn’t done yet…

big cork elm 2016

2016, displaying a fair bit of dignity.

6. Big Cork Elm - Winter Silouettes 2022

And in 2022. Now 35” tall. 20 years from that young tree. A tree at this level could hold its head up in any show around the world.

Big Cork Oak 2003 box

Here’s another Michael Roberts tree…

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