Bonsai Anniversary - 5 years in review

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So it's my birthday...

In 2005 I decided that the thing I wanted for my birthday was a tree and a pot. It could very well be considered one of the most exciting days of my life.

Yes... I am one of the unfortunate souls who was not born into a bonsai tradition... and fell in love with the idea from Karate Kid, but I never acted on it until I was 34. I had a girlfriend named Barb who encouraged me to do it... because she felt like it was right up my creative alley. So we had talked about getting into it... and while she never really did, I found I couldn't ignore the idea.

For whatever reason, I've been told I am hard to buy gifts for... no idea why... but that's what I am told. So I often tell people what I would like, and am fine with that. So when my now ex-husband wanted to know what I would want, I said I wanted to make a bonsai. He thought that was pretty bizarre... but he had also known me to create interesting things from the oddest materials, so he decided to humor me.

We went to Central Valley Nursery and I looked and looked... and fell in love with this "big" Blue Star Juniper. They also had big bonsai pots... so I spent about $100... and got my first tree and pot, and some "bonsai soil". I never knew about bonsai forums at that point... I was just going to dive in.

Looking back on it, I smile with deep amusement at my enthusiasum and ignorance. It's a miracle the tree is still with me today. The tree had no reasonable structure... I just felt around in the pot and was VERY impressed that it had a 3/4 inch trunk!!! And it was so bushy at it's 15 inch height that surely it would look awesome in the 22" wide 3 inch deep oval that I got for it. And did I meantion it was a garish chinese pot with letters and an etched image on it???

Of course once I got done trimming my "bonsai" and got it into the pot... I realized the pot was HUGE.... so I thought... well I better plant it to one side... and I'll add some rocks and things to fill the space and make it look interesting. I "wired" the tree with stripped unannealed copper wire, and to make it "cute" I put a stylish curly Q at the end of where I wired up the whole trunk.

Eventually even with the tree in one end... and a peice of tree root which my dog had brought into the yard - which was promptly confiscated and added as a "dead lightening tree"... it still seemed empty. So I eventually bought a second smaller blue star, (possibly worse than the first)... and added that to the otherside... hoping for some balance. Added gravel that looked like a dry river bed and was PROUD to display my bonsai on my deck.

Everyone oooo'd and awe'd.... and was so complimentary when they saw it... that the "bug" was born.

Soon enough I discoved BT... and CHAT. Oh my the things everyone put up with in the begining... my enthusiasum might have been annoying, but at the time I was part of only a smmmallll contingent of women on-line, and the only one posting actual trees in short order - so there was a lot of patience exercised with me. I pink up at all the undeserved kind remarks they got... and some people rightly called them crap - and that just because I was a "girl" I was getting attention. Which may have been true to some degree... but I also was willing to listen and be taught. I followed the advice I was given and made great friends with people like RedPine, Grampz, Daytonabonsai, Smoke, rockm, KC (Chris Johnson) and my much beloved Ron Martin.

Eventually jersanct, Irene and many others would come into that picture as well.... and become a treasured part of my life. Between the forum folks and the chat babies (which I was CB #33)... my life was never the same.

Then about a year in, I found Elandan Gardens........... somehow sucked up the courage to ask Daniel if I could pull weeds... and he was so surprised - but not so surprised as I when he accepted. I don't think I've ever actually spent a day pulling weeds... Daniel talked to me for about 30 mins, decided I "got" his philosophies... and put me to work immediately on a 150 yo Lodge Pole pine. Two days and 8 hours of nerve wracking work later, and a relationship was born that is dearer than words. Of course I would have gotten it done faster except he kept dragging me off to show me something cool...lol

Nearly every weekend in the last 4 years has involved Daniel and the garden to greater and lesser degrees.

Early on, I also discovered "Basic Bonsai Design" by David DeGroot... and that radically changed how I looked at material in a nursery... and opened my eyes to the stark reality that garden nurseries would rarely be a place I could find quality material.

The first year I had probably 80% success keeping things alive.... in year two (thinking I was quite clever) I decided to "Get serious" and start making my own soil... it was so darn fun and I thought I was so clever I killed 80% of the trees from my first year with "soil ammendments".... because I thought I could get better success with giving the trees lots of goodies in the soil. I burned them to death.

Since that was also the time I was starting my relationship with Daniel, I slowed down in getting trees... I didn't really need them... I was getting my fill working on world class trees weekend in and weekend out... every holiday, and every day I had no solid excuse not to be there.

I bought almost no trees in year two...

My friendships and confidence both in the art and personally grew tremendously... I was a pretty isolated person up to that time... my world was very small. Bonsai and the internet made my world something amazing... and the people I met were just so kind. It help me change my life.

It carried me through divorce, cancer, and remarriage. Which by the way, was to a BT'er - Eric (ang3lfir3). :D

All this time, even when things were most difficult... tending the trees and nurturing the friendships it gave birth too, were the things which kept me grounded. When 3 dozen roses, given by a dozen friends from 7 countries, showed up at my house a year and a half ago when I was going through cancer, it was one of the most touching expressions I could have imagined. I was so blessed by it.

I've had some things to be proud of in all of it... not the least of which was all the kind support and generosity of sentiment for my daring to put something into the Exhibition... but what a learning experiance!

And throughout it all... that's what it's been... learning, creativity, friendship and joy.

So on my birthday, and anniversary... I want to thank each and every one of you who has played a role in this marvelous life changing experiance. I hope always to give back with the same generosity and kindness which I have been given.

You have helped make my life a wonder... and for that... I am forever grateful.

Your friend in all things,

Victrinia
 
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Fangorn

Shohin
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Very Cool Victrinia, Happy Birthday/Anniversary
 

irene_b

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(((((BBG)))))
You have brought sooo much joy to many of us....
And inspite of the traditional sayings "Bonsaiist eat their young" we all felt blessed to teach/guide you...
Ron and Grampz made a point of trying very hard not to squish any of your enthusiasm.
You bring joy to my heart in all that you have achieved so far but I know you are still growing and learning...You make me proud to call you friend when I see you instructing others....
Love ya kid
Mom
 

rockm

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Vic,

Congratulations on your birthday.

I am very pleased you stayed with bonsai. Your progress in this sport :D has been quite remarkable. One day I will be able to say "I knew her before she became famous." Seriously, your work with Dan is an uncommon and unprecedented apprenticeship. Nothing but good things will come of it.

Here's to another decade or three of your involvement with bonsai...:D:D:D
 

Dwight

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Happy anaversery/birthday/whatever. Just think , we started about the same time and already I kinda think of you as a mentor
 

Bill S

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Ahhhhhhh go on we knew you could do it.:D

Congrats, and Happy B Day to you, were are glad you are here too.
 
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Humble and heartfelt thanks for the comments and good wishes my friends... I am very honored by them... and hope always to be worthy of them as well. :eek:

V
 

Attila Soos

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Happy Birthday Vic,
You are an ispiration to me, and you can already teach us a thing or two, after only a few short years in bonsai. May yours be a long road, deep into this wonderful art form.
 

milehigh_7

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Wow Vic,

What a great story! You know, you are a definite bright spot here. Always a voice of encouragement and moderation to many of the not so moderate points of view. Always kind and gentle but yet strong in how you see things. You are always ready to help also.

You have come so far in your time in the art even though I am sure it is not your way, you have reason to be quite proud.

Thank you for sharing your story and yourself with us. Have a wonderful birthday and may the years with bonsai and the relationships you have gained bring you more peace, joy and fulfillment each passing year.
 

donkey

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Happy birthday/anniversary and a nomination for the most moving thread i have read here so far:D
 

Dav4

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As someone famous once said to some other famous person, "You've come a long way, baby!"

Wow!!...only 5 years in:eek:? Your success is similar to that of a young baseball player that makes it to the World Series during their rookie season. Seriously, I wonder what would be the average age and years practicing bonsai for those that have exhibited in Rochester (I was there in 2008- not many spring chickens there as I recall). Anyway, I echo all the other thoughts posted above and wish you continued joy and success with your bonsai ventures. Happy B'day!!

Dave
 

John Ruger

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Happy Birthday young lady, I turned 31 on June 22...keep doin' what your doin', you certainly add sanity to this thing called "B-nut". It's always a pleasure to read your posts, so keep living the good life and keep fighting the good fight.

Happy Birthday!
 

october

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Happy bithday Victrinia... Wow..5 years in bonsai already.......I think I remember the blue star junipers you are talking about.. Didn't one of them kind of look like a ferris wheel.

You know...I still have all, yes all the pics of your early work, I have this habit of saving things that are meaningful to me....I was debating whether or not to post them here;).. You know, like when parents bring out the photo album and show people pics of you when you were like 2 years old..lol..Anyway, I have the blue star juniper all qued up...lol.....

Actually, I was quite fond of the Hemlock....and also the larch,,and the Lochness pine.....Which I was just lookign at...:)

Rob
 

Smoke

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What a nice letter of aknowledgement. Congrats with "sticking to it".

Five years....hmmm it won't be long now......

When you are ready to make that jump to stones, look me up I'll be there for ya too.
 
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Happy bithday Victrinia... Wow..5 years in bonsai already.......I think I remember the blue star junipers you are talking about.. Didn't one of them kind of look like a ferris wheel.

You know...I still have all, yes all the pics of your early work, I have this habit of saving things that are meaningful to me....I was debating whether or not to post them here;).. You know, like when parents bring out the photo album and show people pics of you when you were like 2 years old..lol..Anyway, I have the blue star juniper all qued up...lol.....

Actually, I was quite fond of the Hemlock....and also the larch,,and the Lochness pine.....Which I was just lookign at...:)

Rob
lol.... I was trying to find a photo of the original potting of the blue star.... do you have that??? :D
 
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hahahahahahhaha.... oh what a hoot.

#2, #3, #4... were all part of the burned to death group... i still have #1 and #5... though neither look the same.... not a ton better... but not the same...lol

These are all early year two.... However I'll have to find the original seikei group photo... and post that... just to have a good laugh. :D

V
 

ghues

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Congratulations Miss Vic and I also echo the comments above.
I look forward to seeing you up this way one day, maybe with Dan's annual venture north?
Cheers G.
 
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