Steve and I have been finding some wild trees out there! Some of these are already collected, and some will be. But many will stay right where they are, including the barber pole that we posed with.
These trees are growing in some of the harshest conditions mother nature has to offer.
In our home town at just over 5,000′ the wind often blows 30mph with 50mph gusts; sometimes more. Now imagine that these trees are growing 1,000′ to 5,000′ above that!… On exposed granite mountain-sides! — Snow drifts, wind, sand/snow blasting, drought, harsh sunlight, falling trees and rocks are just a few things that shape trees like this.
One of the most desirable characteristics in bonsai material is character. What builds character? Adversity. (This is true in us as well.) But we’re talking trees here. 😉 There are many different types of character in bonsai art. Masculinity, Femininity, Age, drama, subtlety and Struggle are just a few ideas we use when creating bonsai. (You can create bonsai that look like young trees; but in general, characteristics associated with age make more interesting bonsai.) One advantage to Yamadori as bonsai is that they don’t just look old, they are old. (For those of you who don’t know what Yamadori is… “Yamadori” means “Tree from the Mountain.”)
Just like a bonsai pot keeps a tree growing slowly by restricting root growth (and growth in general), these trees are growing in very minimal space in cracks, fissures and bowls in solid granite. This means a tree only a foot tall can be years, even centuries older than a 50′ tall tree growing just feet away in the ground. They have to be anchored incredibly tightly just to stay where they are with all of the forces thrown at them (this is why only a small fraction of the trees we find are collectible.
More coming soon! Enjoy these pics for now. 🙂