Rooted In Stone


old am I.
Seated up high,
high on this cliff.
I’ve seen much,
much more than you know.
Secrets I hold, secrets to keep.

Beaten and torn,
ravaged by time,
my body does show,
wounds of long life.
Of life and death,
my soul does know,
for year after year,
parts of me die, yet other parts grow.
Fire and Ice, have left their mark,
yet sun and rain, have given me life.

Friends I have known, though few they have been:
The eagles fly by, or nest below.
Newborns each year, learn to fly.
Once before, an Indian boy,
would sit alone, carving his stone.
I’ve watched the elk rut, and lions on hunt.
Yet few have seen, few even know,
that I am up here, rooted in stone.

Far below,
my brother fell.
To root in the earth,
instead of stone.
Much taller is he,
but stronger am I.
Twins by birth, we grew.
He grew much faster, faster than I.
But he is now gone, his skeleton left.
I will live on, just as I have.
Atop this great cliff,
Stout and stiff.

On grassy knoll,
The mighty oak grows,
strong and proud,
his size is immense.
But his life is still short,
much shorter than mine.

At river’s edge,
the maple may grow,
elegant and light,
she’s pleasing in sight.
Color and grace, beauty in full.
Though her life is still short,
much shorter than mine.
I’ve seen them come,
I’ve seen them go,
for I grow slow, slower than slow.

I’ll tell you one secret,
only just one:
of how it can be,
how one so small
mountains may move.
It takes but time,
persistence and time.
Long ago, my seed fell here.
In this small crack, a crack in stone.
Here my roots grew, here they clung.
To this stone, my roots did hold.
And through this stone, my roots have spread.
Bit by bit, this mountain has moved,
pushed by roots, so small and soft.
It takes but time,
persistence and time.

Few have known, few have seen,
this very old soul, rooted in stone.
Until one day,
a rugged young man,
least young to me,
Strong and weary,
did climb my cliff.
To sit nearby,
and study my life.
He looked for my soul,
then he did smile.
Few before, could see this soul.
None saw my story, my story of life,
but this man could see, could see my soul.
His grip was strong,
yet his touch was light.
Wisdom and care,
guided his hands,
as he gathered my roots,
encased in stone.
He carried me down,
down this mountain,
to a town and a home,
a home full of life, children and wife.
There he waited,
patiently waited,
for me to grow, and grow I did.
When I was strong,
another man came,
less rugged, yet joyful and wise.
An Artisan, this man searched inside.
Inside my soul, he saw what he could.
Shaping my crown,
with vision and care,
to highlight the best,
the best of a life lived long in stone.

From there I moved on,
my roots now in clay that is fired and strong.
I have a new place, a place of honor.
Some people come, peering at me.
Admiring my form, searching my soul.

Time to time,
on special occasion,
I sit on a stand,
Shown in great glory,
for many to see.
Honor and reverence,
this soul does feel.
For many now look,
who could not before.

Friends I have now,
more friends than before.
Some for my looks,
a few for my soul.
Some do listen,
some will not,
for the secrets I keep,
the secrets I hold.
Though many may look,
still few can see,
this very old soul.
The soul of a tree.

Do I miss, you may ask,
my life on a cliff, the view I once had?
One thing I know, one thing to share:
Be content, for there lies peace,
peace to make, a life complete.
Friends may come,
friends will go,
Some shallow, some less so.
Be friend to all,
then you will see,
then you will know,
this secret, this secret of mine.

One thousand Years,
long years on a cliff.
I’ve seen many things,
many changes I’ve felt.
I’ve seen Nations come, I’ve seen them go.
Yet as they pass by, new friends I have made.
A family I have,
I am now loved,
loved by many,
who come to see,
to see an old soul.
My soul has not changed, only my seat.
Now I sit here, peaceful and calm,
this place of honor, to call my home.
Here’s to one thousand,
one thousand more,
years of this life,
The life of a tree.

Once shaped by nature,
both cruel and harsh.
Now shaped by hands,
hands of an artist.
Long have I lived,
and longer I’ll live.
Passed along, from one life to next,
by more than one man,
more than one artist.
A legacy I’ll leave,
of patience and time.
Once rooted in stone,
now rooted in culture.
teaching of life,
long lasting life.
Come and see,
come to know,
this soul I’ve been given,
The soul of a tree.


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Characters in this poem include: Steve Varland, Michael Hagedorn and no tree in particular. At least, I used them as inspiration. Hopefully they don’t mind… lol.

Thanks for reading.


© Dan Wiederrecht 2014

The ‘Helix Root’ Limber Pine Styling-

Steve and Jim (A friend and local club member in WY) just returned from a Seasonal with Michael Hagedorn. Here’s a bit of what they were up to. This Limber Pine is one that Steve collected several years ago. It turned out great, and I’m excited to watch it develop! I wish I could have been there. Maybe next time! 🙂

Michael Hagedorn

Until a couple of years ago, I’d never worked with Limber Pine, one of our North American white pines. It’s growing on me. Buds back well, nice short needle, strong. Has a nice name, Limber Pine, which comes more trippingly off the tongue than Loblolly Pine, for instance. And it has great deadwood features.

This Limber Pine was styled in a Seasonal Workshop a couple of weeks ago. It was collected by a student of mine, Steve Varland of Backcountry Bonsai, who was able to be in the Seasonal to help style it. Loads of fun!

Photo essay follows our journey with this tree-

DSC_0267 Limber Pine from one side…

DSC_0270 …and from the other side.

DSC_0271 And a couple of shots of the base, with the ‘helix’ roots.

DSC_0273 Other side.

DSC_0300 We discovered that a large area of the trunk was dead. That is, not obviously dead. We might call it ‘pre-shari’…

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The Great State of Wyoming!!!

First off, we’ve changed the site up a bit and added quite a few more trees.

Second, I thought you might enjoy these time lapse videos by Nicolaus Wegner. If you want a glimpse of the great state your trees are coming from, you won’t get much better than these videos! Or you could always come for a visit! 🙂

Wyoming Wildscapes II from Nicolaus Wegner on Vimeo.

Wyoming Wildscapes from Nicolaus Wegner on Vimeo.

Stormscapes from Nicolaus Wegner on Vimeo.

Old Trees 1- “Dielman’s Monarch”

I apologize for the slow blogging lately. We have a few longer posts we’re working on as we get time, but for now I thought I’d put up some interesting links I’ve come across featuring an old Limber Pine in the mountains of Oregon. We’ll try to make this a series featuring ancient trees as we find great information to share.

(These pictures are from the “Ascending The Giants” website.)

This tree is partially hollow after many years of decay so the exact age is not known. But estimates have put this tree between 2,000 and 3,000 years old. It’s truly a majestic tree if you ask me!

This is a great video featuring two 69 year old brothers climbing the mountain in search of this Limber pine.

Here’s a great site, and article, featuring this tree.

There’s a bit more information here as well: (This site has tons of great information on Conifers all around the world.)

Thanks for reading and thanks for following us!

Next we hope to cover the oldest known single living tree in the world; A Bristlecone Pine in the mountains of California that is 5,062 years old!!!

God Bless,

A bunjin Ponderosa pine gets a new look-

Michael and his students did a great job on this pondy! (Originally collected by Steve! An official Backcountry Bonsai tree!!!) I can’t wait to see it with more ramification, and in a pot!

Michael Hagedorn

Here’s a photo essay of a Ponderosa pine styling that we did last month with a few Seasonal students-


The pine after some cleanup on the deadwood, but before doing anything else. The next three photos are each turned another 90 degrees.




This was our favorite front. Avoiding the long slow curves, the trunk comes toward the front near the top and the line was the most un-S-curve-like one we could find.


Tom and Steve cleaning the deadwood, which had some dead bark attached.


Chris cleaning the trunk. It took us a good six hours to prep this tree, but only one hour to actually wire it.


Bobby got in on the action too-


Totally wired tree, at our chosen front, before setting the branches. We kept spraying the lime sulfured areas lightly to release the yellow sulfur.


After branch setting, 33″/84 cm high. Most of the sulfur was gone…

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Fall Color – Maples 2013

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Alright, I know this is a blog about Rocky Mountain Yamadori… but since we just had a beautiful fall here I thought you might enjoy some color.

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First off, for those of you who are not bonsai nuts like Steve and I, here are a few things you should know: 1) Bonsai trees are real trees; they go through the exact same seasons as any tree growing in the ground. 2) There is no particular “bonsai tree” species. Bonsai can be created from any type of tree, though some do make better bonsai than others. For example, trees that usually have very large leaves and thick twigs aren’t easily used for these miniature creations. 3) Since trees need their seasons, we do NOT keep them indoors. Tropical trees are an exception to this in temperate climates, BUT they are still far happier outside during the summer. 4) It’s easier to observe the seasonal changes of deciduous trees, but this doesn’t mean that coniferous bonsai don’t need seasons. Any tree that naturally experiences changing seasons will grow tired and eventually give out if seasons (seasons of growth, renewal and rest) are not allowed.

Now on to the trees! Maples are one of my favorite species of tree. Here are a few of mine; I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

First up is a fall progression of my best Trident maple:
(Thanks to Don Blackmond at for allowing me to use his sale pictures.)

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Next up is my Deshojo Japanese Maple: (The first picture is what the leaves look like in spring. In spring the whole tree should be this color!)

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Here’s a small Kiyohime Japanese Maple I’m having fun with. I unfortunately didn’t get much fall color, but I included some Kiyohime spring color.

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How about a Hedge Maple forest planting:

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And here are a few more pictures of random maples, including a rough bark Japanese Maple (Nishiki Gawa) and some Amur Maples that are in early training stages. The Amur’s have amazing color!

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And finally, since this is a Yamadori blog… here’s a before and after fall picture of a small Rocky Mountain maple I collected this year.

Now, what you all really want to see… Here’s an idea of what’s coming up! Be watching for a new page featuring our collected trees, up soon!

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I hope you enjoyed the fall colors as much as I did! And I hope you’re looking forward to our collected trees!

God Bless,

2013 Virtual Tour of Crataegus Bonsai

Here’s a post from Michael to give you all a glimpse of where Steve and I’ve been taking classes. I’ll have a post together about our last seasonal soon. We love it there, and always learn a lot! Enjoy!

Michael Hagedorn

It’s been a year since sharing photos of my yard. The moss garden, which definitely takes a pause in the full sun here in Portland, Oregon, USA, is taking off again now with the helpful rains. It has a bald spot in the middle where I originally had a nice crop of Kinnikinnick growing, but it turned out to be a haven for weeds. So now the moss is colonizing that area.

Otherwise, there is only one thing blooming on the accent bench this late in the year, a Birdsfoot Violet. And fall color is just beginning to show up on the deciduous trees. Enjoy!

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