Steve started his bonsai journey in 1984. The same year I started. Steve watched the “Karate Kid” and was inspired about bonsai, as were thousands, by that movie. I must say that I found the movie a great motivator for me as well. Steve’s first tree was purchased from the Barnyard in Carmel California, a business still there today. I shopped that place as well and filled in many of my first back issues of Bonsai Today there. Steves first tree was a crabapple. He still has the bones. It was pretty small when he purchased it but it did die and he never threw it out.
Steve with some pinch pots he made.
Steve and his (dead) first bonsai.
Steve joined a bonsai club in Vacaville California, Soon after a friend suggested he join the Napa Valley Club. Here he would work with Mas Imazumi, well known throughout California. Steve would move to Fresno in 1990 and soon found the Fresno Bonsai Society. In 1993 while taking aesthetic pruning at a course at Merrit College, Steve would meet long time friend Dennis Makashima. Steve would retake the course later along with Bill Castellon and Randall Lee. Steve would become President of the Fresno Bonsai Society in 1998 and keep with the job till 2004. He would later become President for a second time in 2011 and 2012.
In 2006 Steve had a new house built in the country on some acreage. It is here that he would plant his first seedlings into the ground to build trees for the future. Over the years Steve would add additional plots to the growing amount of space devoted to bonsai.
This phase one started in 2007. This is an overview of the plot. It is about 20 by 25 feet and contains tridents, crab apples, twisted pomegranates, black pines and corkbark elms.
The row of lighter colored plants next to the fence are twisted poms about three inches across.
These are some of the pines
Still lots of fat tridents in the ground. One of the things that is kinda weird when looking at a field is that nothing is in pots so there is no spacial comparison that can be made as to how large something is. For instance this trident is about 5 inches across at the soil and about 10 inches tall.
This is one of the smaller pines in the above photo. It seems so small when seen with the larger pines. The trunk on this one is about 2.5 inches across and about 24 inches tall.
Here is one that has been sawed off at the ground. It is about 5 inches tall and three inches across at the soil.
This is the close up.
Here is the big cork bark elm I dug up.
Phase two started in 2010
Lots of pines out here. These are really starting to shape up. I have my eye on one. Need to talk to steve about that…
Here are some recent Itoigawa juniper cuttings.
More tall four inch base tridents. I have two of these I am working on.
Phase three started in 2013.
More pines, crabapple, tridents
Phase three trident
This is where Glenn makes all the cali-dama. The crusher and sifter is on Steves property. Glenn collects the hardpan and has it trucked to a batch plant, where it is broken into 1 inch chunks.
Then he runs it through his smaller crusher to take it down to soil size particles.
Then he sifts it in his recently purchased sifter. It is bagged or put into shipping containers to be sent all over the USA. He also crushes lava in the small crusher.
Steve has a pretty large and impressive collection of bonsai at his house.
Steve is surrounded by grapes. He lives in the raisin capital of the world so grapes around the property is a no brainer. The grapes are over a hundred years old. The study group we belong to will be taking cuttings off these grapes soon for some shohin size trees.
Red tail hawk looking over the vineyard…
Steve has a blog, which is a little dated currently, but he can be found on face book as a regular. Steve teaches workshops at the bi-annual Shohin seminar in Santa Nella and will be there next Feb., he also does aesthetic black pine pruning and keeps busy all summer as well as running the aesthetic pine pruning at Shinzen Gardens in Fresno. Steve is on the Board of Directors of the Shinzen Garden and has been instrumental in helping move the Clark Collection of Bonsai from Hanford to Fresno California where it will be housed in a permanent collection in the Japanese Garden portion of the park. If I’m not mistaken, it should be just beyond the trees in the background.
One of the pines his group maintain.