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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Club Visit to Michael Himes' Collection

     A gentleman named Michael Himes is the CEO of one of the largest wholesale dealers of gasoline and diesel fuel in the USA. He is also a bonsai enthusiast, with enough disposable income to invest in high-quality trees and to build a second-floor "bonsai deck" at his company's headquarters. Last August 8th, he invited any interested members of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club to enjoy a visit to his collection.

Let me take you on a photo tour.

There is a door at either end of the deck; this is the view as you step thru the south door.
The whole bonsai garden is tastefully designed.
Moving forward, you pass this bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and shimpaku juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Shimpaku',)
with the Fort Wayne skyline behind them.

A closer look at the bald cypress, designed in the "flat-top" style developed in the southern US. I think it's a collected tree.
Can't you imagine it standing tall in the Okefenokee swamp?
This podocarpus (Podocarpus spp.) has an excellent base.
A collected Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scoplulorum,) purchased, I believe, from Golden Arrow Bonsai;
 and Guy Guidry's replica of John Naka's famous composition "Goshin." 
The design of the RMJ is still being developed. It could be stunning in a decade or two!
Like the original, Guidry's replica of "Goshin" uses feomina juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Foemina'.)
A ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) collected in Colorado.
Back under the pergola and looking toward the north door, which is hidden by "Bigfoot."
What is the other tree called? "Littlefoot" - what else? <grin>
"Bigfoot," easily the most spectacular of Michael Himes' bonsai, is a Ficus microcarpa  and stands
a few inches over 6 feet high (approximately 190 cm.) including the pot and tray. Every spring it has to be trimmed
before it will fit thru the door to summer on the deck.
"Littlefoot," another F. microcarpa, was Michael Himes' first bonsai.
Both "-foot" Ficus were purchased from Miami Tropicals.
Not all Himes' trees are necessarily spectacular. This very decent mid-sized schefflera sits across from "Bigfoot."
From the north door, with "Bigfoot's" foliage visible to the left.
Michael Himes is an enthusiast who collects bonsai and enjoys them, but leaves their care and styling to others more knowledgeable in those areas. From time to time he hires a recognized master (Guy Guidry being the latest) to work on his trees. And for their everyday care, Darlene Kittle, the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club's current president, serves as paid curator of the collection.

Two of Michael Himes' bonsai are not on the deck, but sited beside an outdoor pond-and-rock feature. Darlene took us around to see them as well.
Darlene beside Himes' second Podocarpus, with a bald cypress behind her and to her left.
The top of this tree died after it was wired, and the tree will have to be re-styled.
I tried to get a camera angle that would avoid having the tree's foliage almost lost in the background,
but with the rocks and pond that proved impossible. You can still get an idea of the tree's design.
I hope you enjoyed the little "tour." And with this post, I have caught up when it comes to sharing recent bonsai events. Now, forward on the blogging.

:-)  :-)  :-)


  1. I was there! It was such an interesting place. You descriptions make it even more enjoyable and educational. Thanks!

    1. Yes, it's an interesting collection, isn't it? Thanks for your kind words about my descriptions.