Wonderful articles on Naka, Valavanis

rockm

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I ran across these articles on Cheryl Manning's website. Cheryl was one of John Naka's students. She profiles histories of some of Naka's and Bill Valavanis' collected specimens.

http://betterbonsai.com/profiles/profiles.html

I've looked at all of these Naka trees in person for years at the National Arb.. Never knew their histories in quite so much intimate detail. Makes them all the more wonderful.

Such rich detail, history and heart in these trees and this work...so much for Walter Pall's "greatest bonsaiist" rating...:)
 

yenling83

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Great site, thanks for sharing, fun and interesting to read.

Question about the article "The Mighty Oak": It says that John Naka's oak, had it's apex die several times and he had to drastically restyle it. Is this a common problem with Oaks? or does anyone have any additional information about this? My favorite tree I own is a coastal live oak which I collected in Lompoc as did John Naka. So far it seems to be really healthy, but I have only had it for one season.
 
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irene_b

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Great site, thanks for sharing, fun and interesting to read.

Question about the article "The Mighty Oak": It says that John Naka's oak, had it's apex die several times and he had to drastically restyle it. Is this a common problem with Oaks? or does anyone have any additional information about this? My favorite tree I own is a coastal live oak which I collected in Lompoc as did John Naka. So far it seems to be really healthy, but I have only had it for one season.
Don't forget that times have changed in the way we care for trees now as opposed to what was known and available back then.
 

Mike Page

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Is your oak an upright tree or a cascade? It it's upright, I don't think you have anything to worry about. It's not uncommon for the apex of a cascade, or lowest part of the drop to die back, no matter what the species. It seems that trees prefer to grow up, not down.
Some people make special holders for the cascade pot to point the "apex" in a more upward direction.
BTW, I have several coast live oaks in my collection, and have never had apical dieback.

The attached image is a coast oak in my collection. It was collected by Tosh Saburomaru in the 1970's I've owned it since the early 1980's

Mike
 

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yenling83

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It's an informal upright. Thanks, just curious if something was funky with coastal live oak. Where I live I am surrounded by Oaks and they appear to do very well. I have collected 3 so far and they all seem to be my healthiest trees. Thank you for the info. Very nice oak Mike!
 

Attila Soos

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Wonderful stories. Nobody can inspire like John did.

My favorite one is about the pomegranate that John tried to steal from government land:

"Good morning officer,....we knew that we were doing wrong, so we came early" - priceless.:D:D
 

Attila Soos

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...so much for Walter Pall's "greatest bonsaiist" rating...:)
John's special place in bonsai history does not take away anything from Walter's own story. I am sure Walter has his own cult following. I know John was surrounded by his studend not unlike Jesus was by his disciples. :) I know because I've seen his entourage, and I'm not kidding, Jesus came to my mind when I saw the procession.

One day, when Walter is long gone, he will be a legend as well. But he better start working on a book, or else he will only be remembered in the oral tradition, or folklore. :)
 
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amkhalid

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This is cool, hearing the story behind these trees. The only thing better than a great bonsai is a great bonsai with a story.

@Attila,

I think Walter mentioned that has been working on a book (or maybe even has finished it) but has found getting it published to be a pain in the ass for a number of reasons. (hopefully I'm not getting the story totally wrong here)... nevertheless, bonsai books are probably not big business for publishing companies...

In the meantime, he should make it an e-book and sell it off his website for 100% profit! Screw the middle man! I think the bonsai community is an honest enough bunch that they wont start emailing it around to all their friends and family...

Or maybe I am being naive.
 

bonsaidad

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I would have to say looking at cheryl Manning's site the picture of John Naka sitting in a huge bonsai pot is a once in a lifetime photo. Thanks Cheryl for this look at a great man.
 

Attila Soos

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In the meantime, he should make it an e-book and sell it off his website for 100% profit! Screw the middle man! I think the bonsai community is an honest enough bunch that they wont start emailing it around to all their friends and family...
I agree, one can't really go wrong with an e-book. I still remember Andy Ruthledge's e-book, I read it several times over. I saw it as a great success.

A lot of people post pictures on the Web, Walter included. But there is nothing like a picture accompanied by a great story - and that's what a book is. Which brings us back to Cheryl Manning's website.
 
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TimD

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A truly wonderful man. I never had the chance to meet him but have snapped many a chop stick in his honor. :)
 
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