Spotlight on Artists ~ Glenn VanWinkle   Leave a comment

Glenn VanWinkle

AKA: Ripsgreentree, Itchy, Sleeping Beauty and Santa

0010001It is pretty common knwledge that California per capita probably has the largest population of bonsai practioners in the USA. Among all those practising the art are those that grow material for the art. Glenn VanWinkle is one of those people. I came to know Glenn in 1993. He had come by the Fresno Bonsai Society for a meeting. Glenn has been doing bonsai for many years. I have never nailed it down to the year but I think it was around 1983 or thereabouts. Glenn has a keen fascination with growing material. While he also enjoys the finished product, his first love is the growing of the plants. Once they get a canopy on them he loses a lot of interest in the plants and turns his attention back to the source, growing.

While engaged in the growing of plants, Glenn sought out the best soils possible for growing plants. While his ideas of soil mixes has changed thru the years the mix has always been friable with larger particles and plenty of air. This is what is needed to grow plants healthy. If plants are not healthy then plants don’t sell. During his search for suitable components for soil akadama was of course a good choice. Akadama was scarse back then even in Caifornia and expensive. Lava has always been in good supply as well as decomposed granite and pumice. Glenn came upon hard pan as a soil component around 1993. He crushed the stuff with a wood stump and a single jack sledge hammer. Talk about back breaking work. He saved up his money and bought a small crusher. It would hold about a 1/4 cubic foot of material. It was gear driven and the hard pan is well…HARD and it would break the gears what seemed weekly. The gears were not cheap and Glenn would be down for weeks at a time till he had enough money to buy more gears.

Glenn now has his hard pan broken into 1 inch chunks by a huge batch plant for grinding stone. He then breaks the small chunks in his smaller crusher and then sifts it in his new custom built sifter which can sift tons or more a day.

Lets take a look at what Glenn is growing. Glenn is a lot like me in thinking that it makes sense to grow what thrives here. Glenn has alot of elm, maple, juniper, pine and cali dama.

A couple overview shots.



Lots of elm trees. They grow good here, as well as lots of other places.





He has some real large Seiju/corkbark elms also.





While not overloaded on maples, he does have them. Last year he grew about a thousand tridents from seed put them inbundles of tyen trees and sold them in small plastic pots.




Glenn’s real passion is pine and juniper. He has lots of both. Here he has flats of m pines growing in pond baskets.


There are pines all over the place here.




A representative shohin sized pine.



Kishu shimpaku all over the place. I walk thru here and trip all over the place with cans all over the ground.



Here is a big one just waiting to be styled.



Pines and junipers in the back of the property.


The one with the white trunk is a Ca. juniper



Here is a large Ca. juniper having a trunk layered off.


There are a few large procumbens around.


Did you ever see a dwarf nandina with a base like this? I havn’t.




Posted February 14, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Artists

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