Hmm. didn't really think i'd ever find myself posting about my bonsai again.

Malix

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So Wow.

I did not see this coming. I started collecting and developing bonsai in around 2002 or so . Around the time I turned 30. Fell hard for it and collected some material (a few high quality) I thought I'd develop it into old age. Then in 2006, I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my brain brought on most likely by the raging leukemia i was unaware of. Couple miracles later i beat the 10% chance of surviving the bleeding in my brain, all while my son was 3 months old, but I made it through . After making it through the stroke and while learning to deal with living with the leukemia and the treatment we decided - life is short -and we moved to northern california where my wife is from. Wine country. Took about 5 years before I started feeling normal then in 2010 we bought a burned house on a couple acres in the country for a song and began to rebuild it. Spent the next 10 yrs with fullsized oaks, walnut, redwood, maples, and an orchard with almost 50 apple trees to look after . Picked up woodworking, vegetable gardening, chickens and began to build and improve the land and our home with no time spent on the poor bonsai relegated to a spot in my yard that made it inconvenient to water them.

I sadly lost a few. mostly the smaller ones. but the bulk of the material made it through. The trees were located about 60 feet from the hose bib and dragging the hose out constantly while always being pressed for time meant that at times the trees took a back seat. I kept em alive but with deterioration happening as the years went by. Many a night over those years did I stay awake in bed feeling dread wanting to sell them but feeling stuck with no easy way to sell them without investing lots of time I didn't have to the process of finding new owners. Even showing them would be difficult as I was not fenced in all the way around the property so anyone could have walked onto the property to help themselves. But I feared most that they might not make it .. And so it went year after year.

About 5 years ago I put in a large vegetable garden with raised beds but I put them in near the drip line of some dawn redwoods as it was the best I could do location wise. Well that was a bad call. Redwoods are greedy trees. they came up under the boxes and colonized the raised beds choking out everything planted in them. This year I decided to rebuild the garden. A huge project as it would call for building boxes completely elevated off the ground. Well as I began the project My dad and helper said" why don't you nix 2 of the 12 large boxes and put the bonsai in there. Hmm. Sure why not. At least I'll be able to water them more easily i thought..

Well this changed EVERYTHING. The moment I moved them onto the tables I built for them. They were at eye level and I could SEE them again. I could see the trunk lines. I could see all the things that i liked about them. they were brought front and center for me to once again remember why I loved these little trees.

And then Corona hits. this allows me time . especially time to repot 12 of the 17 trees. The ones that have most desperately needed it. I have spent the last month of my life outside in the yard rain or shine. repotting pruning, analyzing. etc.

I can see that I likely lost about 8-10 years of development on these trees avg. in some cases more. But they are in fresh soil/subsrate. The roots have plenty of room to grow and they will regain their vigor over the next year or two. Its a great feeling to break out the old set of tools. Put a razor sharp on my shears, concave cutters, root cutters, etc. and go to work. It feels good to be back at it. Now that I have moved through the bulk of the backlog of work needed to begin to bring these trees back into development I feel good about the years to come. I am not so behinds as to neve be able to catch up . But now its a manageable workload. something to look forward to not dread.

I'll be posting more on individual trees as here are some design opinions I'd like to gather as I look forward to the next few years of development. but for now here are some pics.

The Garden (primarily a vegetable garden, but it has a hose about 4 feet from the bonsai tables and I have installed an automated timed watering system for the bonsai with their own valve and micro sprinklers so that I can water them while. I'm a way or in the heat of summer they can get a misting a couple times a day to cool them down and humidify the tables.

IMG_5307.JPG
IMG_5316.JPGIMG_5363.JPG
IMG_5364 2.JPG
IMG_5362 3.JPG
IMG_5361 3.JPG
 

Malix

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San Jose Juniper w/ Kishu grafted on. I added the small secondary tree to make a twin trunk a long time ago. this one just got transplanted to a larger wood box. Will restyle in a year or two depending on vigor.
IMG_5376.JPG
Triple trunk Korean Hornbeam. Tree imported from Korea. Has lost some branches over time. The secondary trunk is lower than it used to be. And the tertiary trunk I shortened about 8 years ago after thread grafting a new shoot as that trunk was overly long and made the tree visually to heavy to the right. I now need eventually remove there thick root on the left and rebuild branching. I did not repot this one. will do next year. But I did trim and do some light wiring. will also need to address straight section of main branch on left side. Likely try to graft onto it to create for movement in it.
IMG_5383.JPG
 

Malix

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Prostrata Juniper. I bought this s nursery stock. And carved it green to create the large shari on the front. I plan to graft some kishu foliage onto it as I do not like the natural foliage on their variety. Its basically just a trunk at this point but its got good bones. Freshly repotted into a large box. there is a nice nebari hidden under that soil. will begin to uncover it once it starts to grow well.
. IMG_5395.JPG
kabudachi Korean hornbeam. Also imported from korea originally. this one had five trunks when purchased but it was in bad shape when I got it. several trunks had not branching or were half dead. So I replaced the worst trunks with shoots from the base or by grafting. But then I also lost there top half of the trunk on the 2nd from right. will try to decide to replace the trunks on the right or thicken the main trunk via sacrifice branches to even things out. Still deciding. New box new soil. I also wired this one up a bitIMG_5402.JPG as it was healthier than most of the others and should tolerate the work well.
IMG_5401.JPG
 

Malix

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large Cal Juniper with shimpaku grafted on. purchased from Roy Nagatoshi in Socal Likely in 2002 or so. Have been perplexed by chosing the front on this and have waffle over the years of final design. Still not sure.
IMG_5354.JPG
IMG_5352.JPGtill
 

Bayard

Sapling
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Now that´s a nice "garden", you actually gave me some "Must have" feeling, *running outside".
 

Silentrunning

Chumono
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Boo hoo! Sack up mate! Everyone has a sad story. Post happy stuff

Really? This is your response to the above postings? His entire contribution to this thread seemed to be full of happiness and positive energy. I won’t say anything negative about you but your post certainly doesn’t reveal a person of intellect and character.
 
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Inspiring story and nice trees too.
Have you gotten a chance to work with Roy Nagatoshi? For non-bonsai folks I like to explain the Karate Kid III related provenance of one of my junipers styled by him. He is a great teacher too, and this coming from a stubborn student.
 

Colorado

Chumono
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Wow, what an exceptionally heartwarming and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it.

It looks like you have a beautiful property and some nice trees. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Welcome back to Bonsai!
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Nice Chicken coop!

Sorce
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
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That is a bathtub of a Sara Rayner pot underneath that hornbeam! Nice! welcome back!
 

Malix

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Boo hoo! Sack up mate! Everyone has a sad story. Post happy stuff
Haa haa haha ha😂😂

Did you skip school while they were teaching reading comprehension? Or did you stop reading my post half way cuz it was too many words for you? Or are you just a sad person who sees everything through the lens of their sadness. Or maybe your just a dick..

It is a happy story.. life is lAMAZING!! The point of the story isn’t the sickness part . That’s just context . The point is that I thought I’d lose the bonsai to lack of time for it. That they could have died. Woulda been such a waste. But thankfully I’m back in the saddle. They’re back on a path of development.

Any hoo. For any others out there who might read my original post that way( a sad way.)
Any sickness stuff was left in the past. I don’t even think about it cuz i live same as any healthy person cuz I am one. Do what I want . Eat what I want. And bust hump working every day because it’s what I like to do. I like to build, create, and maintain things and the life I have provides the opportunity for it. And in some way covid19 has provided the extra time to reintegrate the bonsai into that cycle of building, creating, maintaining.

see! Even makes the corona virus thing into a positive, mate..

( this is my reply to that poster. I won’t be replying anymore on this point unless it’s constructive. not looking for a flame war as those are lame)
 

j evans

Omono
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Congrats on your victories and thanks for sharing. Wishing you all the best to come. Glad you are back into you trees.
 

Malix

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Wow. You made me tear up. My mother-in-law is winning the war against lung cancer. This story hits home. I love hearing success stories like this. Your an inspiration to us all. Thanks guy.
Health issues can be rough. But my experience show that hard times can be the catalyst to great things. If we try to find the lesson in every situation. It can be painful and hard but I swear that my health problems were the best thing that have ever happened . to me. They caused a chain of events that have led to me living my dream life. Prayers and best wishes to your mother in law and your whole family..
 

Malix

Yamadori
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Inspiring story and nice trees too.
Have you gotten a chance to work with Roy Nagatoshi? For non-bonsai folks I like to explain the Karate Kid III related provenance of one of my junipers styled by him. He is a great teacher too, and this coming from a stubborn student.
No. I never got to work with Roy. But his juniper was the one I fretted over most. his father collected it. It was the one i felt the most guilt over in all this. But it’s a tough tree as proven by its deadwood. But Roy was great to deal with.
 

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