One of the nice things about participating on bonsai forums is that you can meet some nice people, some of which you’ll probably never meet personally in your life time because of the fact that where they live and where you live might not make it possible. But just having that common bond of bonsai brings you and them a little closer even if the distance is a great deal.
But what if you meet someone online who is closer than you’d expect and he or she has taken an interest in your work and would like to have you work with one or even some of their trees? This has happened to me a few times and has worked to benefit both of us.
It is also the reason for this article this month. I had a person contact me back in January of 2006 who I had known from one of the bonsai forums. It turned out that he didn’t live as close as I would have liked, but not really that far off either. He told me he had a tree, a shimpaku that he wanted me to style for him, and he was willing to travel the distance for me to make this possible.
I had never really done work for anyone other than myself when it comes to styling, but I love working with shimpakus and the challenge was beckoning me to take him up on it.
We finally set up a date when he would drop the tree off with me and allow me to work on it at my own speed. I think he was kind of stunned when the next day I sent him a photo of the finished tree.
Below is a picture of the tree as it was shown to me before I agreed to work on it.
As I said, I love working with shimpakus and couldn’t wait to get going on it. It was as much fun as I could handle while working on this tree. I became oblivious to everything else at the time and just dove right in.
Here’s what I ended up with after a few hours of nothing but shimpaku pleasure.
It was mid winter so after about a month I went ahead and repotted the tree for him also. As you can see after only one month the tree is growing rapidly.
Just before spring arrived I had come to face the fact that it was time to send the tree back to its owner who was eagerly awaiting its arrival. I have to admit there was some sadness there on my part.
A few months later I asked my friend to send me a pic of the tree so I could see how she was coming along. The tree at this point was starting to get just a bit more foliage than what I would have liked, and I suggested to keep up with the pinching so it wouldn’t lose too much shape.
Now one thing my friend does know, and that is how to feed a shimpaku and keep it just as happy as can be. Sometimes the things we love the most, are the things that may somehow get away from us if we’re not careful, which I believe is what happened here.
As I mentioned in my last article, these guys will get away from you real fast if your not careful, as shown below.
This past August My friend e-mailed me and asked me if I would like to buy the tree since he was thinning out his collection. He gave me first shot at it with a price that I simply couldn’t refuse. I felt kind of bad when I let him have his tree back after the original styling, and now it was like having and old friend coming back, but this time to stay. He sent me a pic of what she looked like and I was stunned. I didn’t think a shimp could put that much growth on in a little over two years.
I knew I was in for quite a task. For me it’s a lot easier to style a tree from scratch than it is to clean one up. I took this pic just before starting the task.
Actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as I could see from the start what needed to be done. After a good clean up, rewiring would be the next step.
Finally the tree is starting to look handsome again but still needs a lot of refining as time goes on. As you can probably notice, again as with the last tree in last months article, I opened and thinned everything out so that everything as much as possible, is in proportion to the trunk including the foliage.
I’ll have to keep up with my pinching and be careful not to overpinch and start getting die back on the branches or the tips of the foliage, I will try and repot her into a more shallow pot and also try and correct the root problem if possible, but most of all I will enjoy having my old friend back again as she delights me with her simple charm and beauty.