Collecting trip 2008 part I

Bonsai Nut

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Did some collecting today, so I thought I'd post some pics.


Beautiful morning - cool but clear. Not as cold as last year - probably around 50 degrees.


Juniper growing next to a tree skeleton.


This was a huge juniper - easily 12" base at the ground and only about 7' tall. The single trunk junipers are unusual, but they do exist. Sometimes the best jamadori, however, are mult-trunk junipers that have died back to one or two trunks.


I'll be discussing this tree in a separate thread. One of my favorites in a particular area I return to each year.


We've had a fair amount of rain recently, and I snapped a shot from my car of a large juniper that had been uprooted and carried away in a drywash. Given the location of the wash as well as the fact the tree had been dead for a while, I imagine that the tree had either been bulldozed, or had already been uprooted by the drywash last year. Too bad I didn't get it sooner - I rescued a tree I found last year in a similar state.


Here's a nice twisted juniper trunk right next to the jeep road I am on. If you look closely at the base, this tree is close to being killed by the road.


Here's another roadside juniper that I almost collected. However investigation of the root structure revealed that the trunk actually sank quite deeply into the ground and there were two other trunks (now dead) to contend with. I passed it up, at least for now.


Did you remember your rock chisel? This is an example of an uncollectable tree, at least with anything short of dynamite :) The entire root structure is imbedded in stone. Look and enjoy, then move on :)


Valley of the junipers. If you look in the medium distance you'll see an interesting rock formation that was about 10' tall. I don't think anyone stacked those rocks (this was a pretty remote area). I'll probably investigate this area further next time I visit.

Was a quick trip this time - had to be back to pick up the kids from school. I hope to return again shortly before it starts to warm up.
 

irene_b

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I would have to plan a week or months!
That view is awesome!
Mom
 

Bob

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Thanks for the pics Bnut. What county in Ca. were you visiting? No, I'm not trying to hit your spots. I used to live in L.A. before I got into Bonsai. I never looked at the Plants with collecting in mind, but I did alot of hiking and fishing in the area. That's the part I miss the most but then I think of the traffic........Anyway, your photos bring back some good memories......
 

Bonsai Nut

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What county in Ca. were you visiting?

This is out in Riverside county (the county that runs in all directions for ever and ever), but there are areas of juniper scrub in every county in southern California except Orange County. There are actually extensive areas of California juniper in Los Angeles county, though I think it is all/mostly in protected park land (same with Ventura county). However San Bernadino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, and Kern counties all have rural areas of high desert with lots of juniper. And as you head north, you find more and more. You just have to stay out of the national parks and preserves. (Like Mojave Desert - most of which is protected National Monument but there are areas that are not). Many of the old-time bonsai masters in the LA area have over the years found great collecting areas and have standing collection agreements with private ranch owners, etc, who don't really need or care about junipers. There are so many junipers in so many square miles - the trick is finding the places where they grow in the wild and contorted shapes conducive to bonsai. Harry Hirao goes high up in the mountain passes where there are serious winds - in fact I have heard that his collecting trips start out VERY early in the morning and he has everyone off the mountain by 1:00 or so before the winds kick up. There are some areas where residential development is moving into high desert where I like to prowl - there are often great finds to be had when people are clearing lots for development. One of the trees I got last year I truly pulled off the top of a garbage pile.



An example of "bulldozer" bonsai.
 

Smoke

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Not every tree with Harry is brought off the side of a windy mountain. Sometimes you just dig up whats close to the car.....even if it's larger than the car!
 

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So, what did you collect?


Nice area, I imagine we are going to see some awesome stuff.



Will
 

Attila Soos

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Not every tree with Harry is brought off the side of a windy mountain. Sometimes you just dig up whats close to the car.....even if it's larger than the car!

Holy Mackerel, that's funny.

I guess, if one can truly master the art to deadwood carving, one can dig up almost any of these junipers and make a decent bonsai out of it. If one needs more foliage, just approach-graft a few little shimpaku seedlings close to the trunk (the time for that kind of grafting is right now), and take it from there.
 

Attila Soos

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Not every tree with Harry is brought off the side of a windy mountain. Sometimes you just dig up whats close to the car.....even if it's larger than the car!


Al,

Any collecting trips these days?
I am itching to go juniper hunting, and this must be a great time, due to the rains that we had.

Let me know what are you up to.

Attila
 

Smoke

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Al,

Any collecting trips these days?
I am itching to go juniper hunting, and this must be a great time, due to the rains that we had.

Let me know what are you up to.

Attila

Aren't you a member of Kofu Kai? I would think you could get the info from Joe James. I have no idea what Harry's plans are for this year. I was unedr the assumption that Harry was not going to be doing anymore club digs. If I hear something I will let you know. I did find a tree with Harry that he wanted Ray Thieme and I to go back and dig this year. They were going to go and take it in December. They did go, but went during the week and I needed to work. I am sure something will pop up this year. I'll let you know. I showed some photo's of the tree last year.

Harry will be styling a large California juniper again this year at the convention in Modesto, same as the year he did it in Fresno. Ray has been in charge of the tree since it was dug. Ray will be incharge of this new tree also. The tree from the Fresno Convention 2003 was donated to the Collection North in Hayward. This new tree being done in Modesto is for the Collection South in San Marino at the Huntington.

I will be at Ray's house this weekend at the First Annual Central Valley Bonsai Swapmeet. I will try to get a pic of the monster and share it here.

Some views of the monster dug this year and a shot of Harry shadeing.

Cheers, Al
 

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Attila Soos

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Aren't you a member of Kofu Kai? I would think you could get the info from Joe James. I have no idea what Harry's plans are for this year. I was unedr the assumption that Harry was not going to be doing anymore club digs.

I haven't been on the Kofu meetings for quite a while. I used to go more often, but it is a long way from my place (Altadena), so I kind of lost touch. But I guess I should go to their next meeting, may be I will learn about what are they up to.

The Descanso club is much closer to me, just five minutes away. That would be a better choice to explore.

Anyway, let me know if you hear something.
 

Bonsai Nut

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So, what did you collect?

This was a fast trip. I typically go up and poke around a bit, and then return in a few weeks to dig. This time I did pick up a single trunk juniper that had a nice taper to it. Because it was small and came up with a lot of roots, I am confident it will survive :) Collecting something like this is completely different than digging up an older multi-trunk with really deep roots.

 

Bonsai Nut

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Here's another one I just picked up today. This ALMOST breaks my rule of not owning bonsai that I can't carry myself, however as long as a use a pot with handles I can manage it :) Before anyone comments on the soil I just wanted to state that it is transplanted in a very sandy/gravel mix with about 4" of cactus mix on the top. In the photo the cactus mix looks almost like top soil but in person it is actually quite sandy and free-draining. This juniper came out of a rock so it had fairly compact roots.

 

irene_b

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LOL Now son would any of us pick on you about the soil you use?:D
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Tachigi

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LOL Now son would any of us pick on you about the soil you use?

NO! We would pick on Greg to see if he punched holes in that pretty shiny galvanized tub. Hope he has a good chiropractor
 

Bonsai Nut

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NO! We would pick on Greg to see if he punched holes in that pretty shiny galvanized tub. Hope he has a good chiropractor

:) I've got about 100 holes in the bottom. The whole tub is sitting on four bricks to keep it elevated above the ground and allow free drainage. I actually had to buy the tub because the juniper was too big to fit into any of my growing containers.

The primary reason I mention the soil is that I didn't want someone without a lot of experience looking at the photo and thinking "potting soil". The soil up in the high desert is rough gravelly sand with very little organic matter. My junipers seem to do well in 50% cactus mix and 50% gravel. The cactus mix ingredients are: pine bark, sphagnum moss, pumice, sand, and (very little) compost with no manure or sludge. Once you water it and the moss starts to settle, the surface of the soil looks a lot like sand and pumice. I prefer to top coat with cactus mix because it holds moisture better than 100% pumice or gravel, and yet still drains really well.
 

Attila Soos

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That's a fantastic piece of raw tree.

For the record, I can't stand cactus mix because when it gets too dry, it repels water. But I hope it works for you. It would be a real shame to kill that tree.

The good news is that it will rain all this week.
I would still create a plastic tent for this tree to leave nothing to chance.
 
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