Archive for the ‘Spotlight on Artists’ Category

Local Artist: Mike Saul   1 comment

Today we had a small get together at Steve DaSilva’s place with a basics course on repotting, sifting soil and digging trees from Steve’s field.

Master Saul, showed us the finer points of repotting a small juniper. Mike is meticulous in his style of working on trees. Much of this is probably due to his work with Ryan Neil, who to, is very meticulous about not only his work but how he teaches. A lot of responsibility is shouldered by those willing to get up in front of people and teach this art. Nobody is ever going to complain because you taught and showed them the right way. That’s what Mike did today. If you were not there today, you missed a great opportunity for some bonsai comradery, repot instruction, use of the greatest soil sifter known to man and digging trees from a great field.

Mike started his talk with preparing the pot the tree will be placed into. This pot needed wire ties and screens affixed. Mike showed the proper way to bend the screen staples to hold the screen into the pot.

He also told the story of wasting wire by cutting it longer than necessary for affixing the tree into the pot. A neat tip: just wrap the wire around the circumference of the pot and allow that length for the tie wires. Easy peasy.

You can almost read Mikes mind here….”Yes, I was getting to that”

Mike now has his pot prepared and is ready to remove the tree from the pot and do the root trimming. Mike shows us how the tree should be placed in the pot making sure it is off center. In this case since it’s a slanted tree it needs to be very close to one side.

After a 15 minute wrestling match with the tree he was able to free it from the pot without breaking it. Mike is a gentle and patient guy, I would have taken a hammer to it.

Mike takes his time and reduces the root ball until it fits into the pot with about 3/4 inch all around for soil backfill.

Mike puts a scoop of soil in and checks the height. He says the height is important because if planted too high the force of watering will eject soil from the pot exposing roots.

Another half scoop of soil under the core and he places the tree and squishes it in. “Squishes it in” is a technical Japanese term used in Japan during repotting.

Sit back, relax, take it in, “Is this what I want?” Once its backfilled it’s done. Screw it up now and you have to wait another year to fix it.

Upon the obligatory rest period for reflection, Mike backfills the pot with the correct soil. This is a proprietary blend he has purchased pre mixed and sieved for size. He runs it thru the screens one more time to remove dust. Mike uses the chopstick for moving soil down to the bottom of the pot. Mike says it’s important to make sure there are no air pockets that could cause the roots to die.

These are not mere cheap chopsticks, these are traditional Japanese signature chopsticks from Sakura Chaya. Check the registry on the Ginza, they will be there.

Soil is tamped down and we see Mike holding the tree by the trunk assuring us that the tree is affixed properly in the pot…as long as a wire doesn’t break or a wire doesn’t shift in the hole we should be good for the season.

Mike compresses the soil and covers it with a fine layer of Goki Moss, (chopped orchid moss) to keep the soil from washing out of the pot until the moss helps establish roots at the soil surface.

Now….the look I have seen a hundred times!! It’s after the work is done and you take that last look at the tree and notice that you needed to bring the front of the tree a little more forward in the pot. It feels as though it tips backward, and it may not, but it’s a feeling the compositions will make you feel.

Next year Mike!

The tree is complete. Mike said he will water it in when he gets home and he allows the water to run for a couple minutes until it runs clear. This assures any dust in or on the soil will be rinsed from the pot. I personally wish to thank Mike for picking up the reins and doing this kind of stuff. This is invaluable information and every new person should see this again and again until it is retained to rote.

I been doing Bonsai myself for 36 years and I know I learned a couple things, Mike Saul, ladies and gentleman.

Posted January 18, 2020 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Artists

Ted Matson at Round Valley Nursery   Leave a comment

It’s been 9 months since Teds first workshop at Ed Clark,s Round Valley Nursery. This was a follow up to the work done in March, and since most were pines, this late Fall workshop was great for working Fall maintenance.

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Saturday morning class had about 12 students.

 

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This year I sat in one of the green houses and just wired trees. Lots of trees to wire. Take my pick and just wire.

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And some afters.

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Some views of material. Some chojubai coming along.DSC_00400040

 

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Posted December 12, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Artists

R I P Harry Hirao   3 comments

Harry Hirao, aka, The Goat, Mr California Juniper

 

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Harry Hirao. I have known this man a long time and his contributions to bonsai will be missed.

On March 12, 1917, Bonsai Master Harry Hirao was born. At the age of 6, Harry left his hometown of Lafayette, Colorado with his parents, to live in Japan with his grandparents because they were getting old. At age 16, Harry came back to the U.S. to live with his relatives on the farm.

Harry married Chiyoko Alyce Yamamoto on September 27, 1941. They lived a simple life as farmers growing vegetables on their farm and raised four beautiful children, two boys and two girls.  

Harry and his family left Colorado for California on March of 1957. With the help of relatives, they started a landscape gardening business. Several years later, Harry heard of an old friend, John Naka, teaching bonsai. Harry joined the class in the early 60’s and was a devoted student for 15 years before becoming a bonsai teacher himself.  

With his long time friend, Larry Ragle, they formed Kofu Bonsai Kai in 1977. Harry was fortunate enough to be able to obtain permission to dig California Junipers on a property in Tehachapi for Bonsai. To this day, many of his students and friends are able to acquire California Junipers from this site. Harry’s favorite plant for bonsai is the California Juniper and is also an avid collector of Suiseki.

Harry Hirao and Larry Ragle, Co-founders of Kofu Kai

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A perfect day for Harry is in the mountains of Tehachapi California searching for just the right juniper to dig. The day would start like this.

 

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Harry would go on to style many trees for GSBF. Large trees dug by his long time friend Ray Thieme here in Fresno.

This tree donated by Ray sits in front of GSBF Collection North. Harry styled this tree with friends in Fresno at GSBF Convention Fresno, 2003.

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Here are a couple shots of Harry and the tree. In the wide shot with Harry on the ladder being steadied by Kaz Mori, Mas Imazumi stands off to the side. Mas would die a few months later. Yours truly with the tree, much thinner.

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During the GSBF convention Modesto in 2008, Harry and friends would style this monster California juniper for the entrance of GSBF Collection South, again donated by Ray Thieme. During the repotting from grow box to bonsai pot, the tree died.

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l to r, Sam Adina, Ray Thieme, Charles Nelson, Harry Hirao, and Peter Macasieb.

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Harry has a tree it seems at every convention. Here are some of his trees over the years

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Harry’s love of collecting stones, Suiseki, is also legendary. His daughters graduated from Humboldt University and his trips there to visit always included some camping and collecting on the Eel River. This is Harry’s permanent collection at the GSBF Collection South

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This stone on display at a GSBF Convention is cold black and from the Kern River in Bakersfield.

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Harry loves the Convention experience. This is his time and it makes him feel good to walk around and just people watch and talk with those that appreciate bonsai. Here Harry relaxes with my wife.

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Harry would pace the aisles just watching the bonsai scene unfold. Anyone who has attended a GSBF convention will appreciate this view of Harry, it is one that I have followed numerous times on my way to the vendor room, exhibit room or a workshop.

Harry, you will be missed, say “Hi” to your ole friend John for me.

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Posted July 24, 2015 by California Bonsai Art in Spotlight on Artists

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Serendipity !!   2 comments

The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines serendipity as the occurrence and development of events by chance in a satisfactory or beneficial way, understanding the chance as any event that takes place in the absence of any obvious project (randomly or accidentally), which is not relevant to any present need, or in which the cause is unknown.

….and so it was that I might be sitting in my truck early to today’s Ted Matson workshop. It occurs to me while I peer out my windshield in the fog of morning and only a few sips of coffee that what I see before me are large trident maple trees. Not just average tree but trees growing in a college parking lot to shade cars. In this picture the Botanical lab of the college is in the background and my truck is parked in the foreground. In front of that is a trident maple tree.

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Now the tree on its own is no big deal. I am sure there may be many places in our fair town that have trident maples in the landscape. It used to be a fairly common landscape tree. What is a big deal is the fact that I am always on the lookout for fresh seed. These trees have seeds up the wahzoo. I was barly able to contain myself at the sight of all the seed hanging from these trees. Guess where I will be come September?

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Just this clump alone on the end of a small branch probably has 500 seeds!

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A few minutes later, club members begin to arrive. The gate is unlocked and everyone begins loading in their trees. Ted Matson begins his workshop with a juniper from David Soho. This thing was a monster and Ted had him prune almost everything off of the thing except a trunk line that ran out rather horizontal finishing with a rather semi cascade Bunjin. It will need a few years to fill in but I think it was the right decision for the tree.

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David pruning off the old branches. You could almost hear a small moan from David every time the concave pruners made a kerchunk noise!

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Steve DaSilva brought this twisted pomagranite to work on. Ted explained that this tree suffers from many years of growing without cutting back. Many of the branches are 1/2 inch in diameter and bone straight. All of the branching was cut back nearly in half.

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Now this tree is looking more like a tree. Nice work.

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Ray Thieme, future subject for an artist spotlight, brought this huge shimpaku juniper. Ray purchased it via Glenn VanWinkle who aquired it from Mas Iishi. It is kishu grafted on to prostrata understock.

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After some instruction and comments from Ted, Ray begins the work. Lots of cutting….

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…and sawing…

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Ray ran out of time and will do more of the cleaning and begin wire at home. So far the tree cut out quite well. The trunk is a full 2 inches across.

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Ted Matson Workshop at the Round Valley Nursery   Leave a comment

Ed Clark, owner of the nursery arranged for a Ted Matson workshop back in March. Due to stand commitments, shows, vacations, Easter and Mothers Day, most of my weekends have been taken up by something. It is now time to show a little of what went on over that weekend. Ted is always a good teacher. His expertise in a number of plant materials, his love of shohin, and the material provided by Ed were a match made in heaven. The workshop consisted of a two day affair with each day broken into separate morning and afternoon sessions. Each day was a repeat of the morning or afternoon before.

Ted started out by telling us the many attributes of the way Ed was growing the material here. Ted was also savvy of those that think this material is too twisted and has too much movement. Ted explained that these trees over the next couple of years are going to mellow out and become fine bonsai due to pruning and growth on top of growth. Ted explained that having seen material grow for bonsai all over the United states that this material is different because care has been taken to keep the movement up while the plant is growing. Ed doesn’t just stop and allow the tree to twist and turn and then allow it to grow pole straight the next year. There are growers in Southern California mentioned by name that have allowed this to ruin what would have been good material.

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Ted used some trees from the nursery and also brought some material he had bought earlier and worked on it some and then used for demonstration.

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Lunch was provided in the workshop and Lind Clark did a great job with a buffet style lunch. We killed an hour and then hit it again in the afternoon.

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This was some of the people from the afternoon session.

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I worked on two pines during the workshop. One I had bought specifically for the workshop and the other a tree I purchased during the lunch break for the second session.

 

Here is the tree I purchased earlier and worked on in the morning.

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This is what it looked like after the first pruning and some wire. Pretty scary.

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This is what it looks like tonight. I am very happy with its growth, and it looks like there is going to be a good tree in here.

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The second tree was purchased right at the nursery for the workshop. I had brought three others to work on but for some reason this one caught my eye. Ted had said something about these trees that made me pause a little. He said instead of looking for the best ones to work on, sometimes it makes more sense to look for those with the most faults. These are the trees that have character and feeling. So I picked out one that had some faults and will see what I can do with it.

 

This small tree had some reverse taper and lots of wire in the trunk. It had a rather gnarly shape and looked like it could be a good tree later on.

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The tree was pruned and wired.

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This is how the tree looks tonight. It is growing strong and like all Ed’s trees the needles stay firm and short. Lots of choices for an apex and the branches have lots of shoots. I am happy with this one as well.

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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.

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

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He has some real large Seiju/corkbark elms also.

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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.

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

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There are pines all over the place here.

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A representative shohin sized pine.

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

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Here is a big one just waiting to be styled.

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Pines and junipers in the back of the property.

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The one with the white trunk is a Ca. juniper

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

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There are a few large procumbens around.

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

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

Spotlight on Artists – Steve DaSilva   4 comments

 

 

 

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.

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Steve and his (dead) first bonsai.

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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.

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The row of lighter colored plants next to the fence are twisted poms about three inches across.

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These are some of the pines

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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.

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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.

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Here is one that has been sawed off at the ground. It is about 5 inches tall and three inches across at the soil.

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This is the close up.

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Here is the big cork bark elm I dug up.

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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…

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Here are some recent Itoigawa juniper cuttings.

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Chinese quince

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Hornbeam

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More tall four inch base tridents. I have two of these I am working on.

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Phase three started in 2013.

More pines, crabapple, tridents

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Phase three trident

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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.

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Then he runs it through his smaller crusher to take it down to soil size particles.

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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.

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Steve has a pretty large and impressive collection of bonsai at his house.

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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.

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Red tail hawk looking over the vineyard…

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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.

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One of the pines his group maintain.

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Steve also working at Fresno City College, organized two exhibits of bonsai paired with art as well as a winter silhouette exhibit. Both recieved great reviews.

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Ed Clark….redux   4 comments

This is the follow up to my post about Ed Clark. While I have several trees from the man he lives a good hour and a half away so I have never taken the time to go see what he has. That was my first mistake.

The nursery is tucked right up next to the foot hills and the canopy of trees and shade structures and hoop houses, of which I seen about five or more with several acres under shade cloth. I was amazed when I started to look around. I could hear a radio blasting country music so I followed the sound. I found Ed there in the midst of several benches of pines busy pulling needles, cutting candles and cleaning weeds out of pots. He was also potting up some material into larger containers. I had mentioned that Ed did not have a lot left from the old days, but I did see quite a few older maples in large containers and he had these cool tridents over some really black limestone type rock. Very cool to see these.

Second mistake, I did not have my camera. I took all these pictures with my Iphone, and while some are really good, some are so so, and some are kinda blurry. I think we can get an idea of the scope and breadth of the place from these photo’s. Keep in mind that back in his commercial nursery days he had no benches. Older now and he said he did not want to bend over if he could help it. he built all the benches you see in the photo’s. Ed told me he spent $5,000.00 just on bench material.

On to the photo’s.

I have tried to break this up into logical blocks of the same kinds of trees, although I walked thro so many hoop houses with benches full of hundreds of pots of trees in age groups. I try to start with the young ones first and move to the larger of the species. Don’t worry too much, it’s all tree porn. Ed Clark showing me around on a drizzly day.

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These are some of those tridents on the black rock that are over 30 years old.

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These are just some odd tridents hanging out on benches.

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These are twisted pomegranate. Ed has hundreds of these all started from cuttings. Many of them have had the wire thing done to them also to try to introduce some movement.

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All the previous photos have been the pomegranates. This bench with those on the right are full of movement also.

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This is some of the material from many years ago. There are large maples in here and many of them are very difficult to find cultivars.

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I wanna go back for this one. I told Ed to save this for me and I will dig it out when down next. Kashima Maple

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Here’s a big block of procumbens with wire.

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I will let the Itoigawa speak for itself. Ed says he has just reached the point where he has enough material to keep the wire going on the trees and adding movement. wire on the pines is easy peasy, Ed says the junipers are more tricky because they break so easy.

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By far Ed has mostly pines that have received the wire. He has house after house full of pines. I would easily estimate there well over a thousand or more trees here.

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In this next photo one can see the small trees on the right that do not have many needles. These are banshosho dwarf pines that have been grafted onto mikawa understock.

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Lets just look at some of these trunks. I was mesmerized and my arms were shaking like a dog shitting peach pits. Blurry yes, but still worth it.

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Here are a couple of shots of young pines with the wire embedded at the beginning of the process. It seems that there are not that many twists and turns, but as it grows and swells it must find new paths to grow which adds all the character.

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Larger pines in baskets. These have been taken from round containers and placed in pond baskets. Here they will bulk up and gain girth for larger shohin type pines.

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My hand for comparison. These trunks are fully 1 1/2+ inches across and about 6 inches tall.

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Pines in long cups for stones. The roots on these are growing length in an effort to merge them to stones in the future.

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Large pines growing out. These pines are in baskets and then buried in these 25 gallon large nursery containers. This provides a controlled setting but gets as much growth as being in the ground.

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My hope is that I can convince Ed for me to style this tree.

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Artist Spotlight – Ed Clark   Leave a comment

 

I ran into Ed Clark several year ago during meetings at the Fresno Bonsai Society. Ed always graciously donated maples for the yearly exhibit for the club to sell and raise money. It was not untill several years later and the bonsai swap meets that we became lasting friends and bonsai colleges. I gave the assignment to my bunker partners Curt and Rod to interview Ed for the bunker. I introduce Ed Clark.

Ed graduated from college with a degree in plant sciences and set up shop soon thereafter in 1972 growing maples for nurseries. Commercial growing is much different from growing material for bonsai. The commercial grower is interested in only growing the plants long and slender and potting up when necessary. At the height of his commercial growing Ed propagated over 200 species of maple. During this time he had as much as 15 acres devoted to the growing of maples.

In 1981 Ed threw in the towel and decided that commercial growing of maples was pretty hard to do in the central valley heat. He did landscaping for a number of years and decided to open a retail nursery with all the maples he had still growing. Growing trees for the public, and selling tree to the public are two different animals. The property was cut back to 5 acres and the nursery was doing well.

In the early eighties Ed tried his hand a bonsai. While he has many trees from this era many of them are now gone. I have one of them and have shown it many times as the Wizard of Oz tree. Ed had renewed interest in bonsai in the nineties and his interest has been energised recently after a meeting at his nursery with George Muranaka. During this time George and Ed compared notes and traded stock. George showed Ed his techniques for twisting black pines. Ed was very interested in this technique. Ed saw some very unique trident maples growing over stones. Since Ed was already growing tridents the switch to stones seemed a no brainer. No one I know of is producing tridents over stones at a commercial level. Next Ed had seen some Itoigawa juniper and fell in love with the material. Since pines and juniper were out of Ed’s wheelhouse, much of his expertise so far has been experimental. Ed has taken many trips to Oregon to find juniper is liners but has had little luck in finding them. Once they find out he is a propagator and grower they seem to become very greedy with the material. He began looking for a larger specimen to work with with the right attributes for bonsai. Again the growers were tight fisted with the stock.

Ed was able to find some large junipers to take cuttings from and has not looked back. He has hoop houses that he propagates his material in and they are full of young and medium-sized specimens. The juniper has also undergone the twisting program for bonsai interest. His junipers are now really looking good and I will update this after a visit in March with better photo’s.

This is a shot of Ed Clark in front of his booth at the 2014 Fresno Swap meet. In this shot can be seen a large trident on the left and many small pines and Itoigawa twisted up and ready for bonsai.

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Some of the twisted pines.

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Trident over rock. Ed has lots of these going for the future.

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One of the larger Itoigawa

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These are a few of the maples and pines I have bought from Ed over the years. Many of them are in production on their way to becoming bonsai. This trident I bought from Ed at this years GSBF convention.

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This is after I took off all the branches for the production of bonsai. Its not that one can’t use the branches that are on the tree, its just that I want the branches in different places and I want them to have scale and taper with the trunk.

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This was a Fresno swap meet purchase a few years ago. Once again I took off most of the branches.

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Here it is in training after two years. I call it Pit Bull.

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The first year I met Ed at the Swapmeet, he had these maples in plastic bags bare rooted. I bought four of them.

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This is how this one looks now. This year it will be planted in a bonsai training pot and ground layered to get rid of that root base, then it will be on its way to better bonsai.

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I purchased this tree in 2011 from Ed at the Fresno Swapmeet. This is one of the trees he started in 1981, 34 years ago. He was training this as bonsai.

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This is where I am with the tree currently. Ramification is slow but is coming along. The roots on this one were in really bad shape. It is just now starting to become strong again. this should be a good year for the tree.

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This is a sampling of the shohin pines I have purchased from Ed. These are the result of learning the techniques from George Muranaka and then moving on and working it on his own stock. I suspect this is all the result of the video’s shown by Lindsay Farr and his World of Bonsai series. This technique leaves the wire in the trunk building girth fast, using a low sacrifice and letting it grow. This is just a small sample of those I have. I think I have ten of these now perking along towards becoming shohin bonsai.

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In March of 2015, Ed and Linda Clark will be the host of a Ted Matson Shohin Workshop. It will be a four session seminar, with two each day. I have signed up for both  on Saturday. Ed will have all of his material there for sale or you can bring your own material for Ted’s assistance

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Here are some close-ups of some of the material that Linda sent me in an email for the seminar. these are just representative shots as there is so much that nearly anything can be found. These pics of the pines are taken right in the hoop house and will be available for selection on the day of the seminar. I may buy a dozen or more again

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Here is a shot in the hoop house with the pines. All of these have been wired and are prepared to grow thick trunks. He told me he has some of these in the ground and I can look for something out there if I want. Who would turn that down.

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This last shot is the hoop house with the Itoigawa in it. These too are all twisted up and are ready to be turned into great shohin junipers. The trunks on these range from 1/2 inch to an inch. There are also some large ones on the ground in pots that are twisted up but larger. There are also some in the field.

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There you have it. Ed Clark in my backyard. What a lucky guy I am. Will be visiting the nursery soon to add more pictures.

What a great way to start the year…2015 promises to be something really special. I wish to thank Curt and Rod for their help in composing this entry for the Bunker and hope to see more work from them soon. They are a hoot.

Yoshio Fujimoto   3 comments

Yosh, as he is called around here is 93 years old. He is not sure about that really. After the war he set up in California to be a landscaper, as many Japanese Americans did after the war. He found that most of the good accounts in Fresno were under the care of landscapers already. It was at this time that he felt starting a nursery would be a good idea. While buuilding his landscaping buisness from scratch, he planted his first maples to be parent trees for the seeds he would need to keep in nursery business alive. He would specialize in red maples. His nursery contains red and green maples, trident maples, juniper, Japanese yew, podacarpus and crape myrtle. Many of the trees that were started from seed in the sixties and seventies had been boxed and sold off during the housing boom of the beginning of the new century. What is left now are the trees mostly planted in the early eighties. The recent tree I purchased there was planted from seed in 1983. Had it not been grown in a container it would be 7 inches across and fourty feet tall by now.

Yosh started dabbleing in bonsai in 1957 and began working trees he dug from clients yards, much the same way the Los Angelas crowd did during the same years, guys like John Naka. Even though he started the nursery with making trees for clients yards, it was not long before other in bonsai began seeking out the trees of Yosh for bonsai. Many famous bonsai people from the north and south in California sought the trees of Yosh for their collections.

Yoshio Fujimoto stands behind a pickup full of plants bought at his nursery.

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Yosh writing a thank you card to Kenji Miyata in Kanji.

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My teacher Katsumi Kinoshita  and Yosh.

 

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Left to right, Katsumi, Yoshio and Mike Nishitani

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Yoshio doing the hard work for Toshio. Toshio Saburomaru, known as Yosh and Tosh conduct a demonstration for the Akatsuki Bonsai Society in 1988. Tosh was the clubs sensai for many years until failing health kept him from making the trip from the Bay area to Fresno in the central valley.

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Tosh behind the plant with Yosh to the left.

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Some views around the nursery. Lots and lots of Japanese maples.

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Junipers are around, you just have to look for them

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This yew is a plant I will go back for.

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Looking around one can find these rough bark maples mixed in with other maples.

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My friend Chuck purchased this five trunk clump. It has a rough bark tree in the mix, very unusual.

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Some of the old wood nursery containers can be seen here. There is a huge pile of them somewhere. I don’t think I took a picture. These were from the decades of using these trees as landscape material. all the trees are mostly in 25 gallon black nursery containers.

 

 

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Here we switch gears and drive over to Yosh’s house. Here we can see his collection and the trees used for the seed from the entire nursery.

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This little juniper is one I mentioned to Yosh I would like to purchase if he decides to sell it. I can see a great shohin tree in this material.

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You don’t often see bonsai made from ivy. This one has a nice form

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Pretty big trunk from an ivy.

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This verigated cascade ivy has a monster trunk

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This is the larger green maple used for seed.

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This is the trunk on the Oshio Beni in his backyard

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Here is the canopy on the fourty foot tall red maple.

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