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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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pedestals and Hot Dogs

     Almost two years ago, the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club took a tour of Michael Himes's bonsai garden. Mr. Himes is CEO of one of the USA's largest gasoline and diesel fuel wholesalers, and his collection is housed on a specially-built deck on the second floor of his company's office building. I wrote about that visit in this post. (The link will open in a new window; when you close that window, you'll be returned to this page.) At that time Mr. Himes's trees rested on temporary bases made of stacked concrete blocks surrounded by narrow bamboo matting. 

One of our members, Ryan Wilmer, has a small concrete business. Some months ago, he and his crew replaced the trees' temporary bases with permanent concrete pedestals. Last weekend we paid a return visit to Mr. Himes's collection to see the results of Ryan's efforts, as well as to visit the bonsai again.

For any who don't know, a bonsai is customarily displayed on a stand. These pedestals function as all-weather outdoor stands. Each one is designed to harmonize with the bonsai it supports, just as a stand is chosen to complement the tree it holds.

In my opinion, Ryan Wilmer and his crew did a very good job. Congratulations, gentlemen!

A yamadori ponderosa pine on its new pedestal.
"Littlefoot," a Ficus microcarpa var retusa and Michael Himes' first bonsai.
The low, wide stand matches the low, wide design of the tree.

No pedestal was made for "Bigfoot," another F. microcarpa var retusa and perhaps the pride of Mr. Himes's collection. That's because, at roughly 5 feet high from the soil surface and weighing hundreds of pounds, "Bigfoot" sits permanently on a wheeled metal cart that is also a humidity tray. No other arrangement would allow it to be taken out to the deck in spring and back inside in the fall, given the layout of the building.

"Bigfoot," easily the most eye-catching tree in Mr. Himes's collection.
Bigfoot was putting out a flush of new leaves when we were there, and I got a close-up.

The bronze-yellow of the new leaves is set off nicely by the green of the mature foliage.

After this stop, we were invited to the home of Cody Harris, our club vice-president. Cody is fairly new to bonsai; very enthusiastic but also quite serious about the art and eager to learn. Cody's father George already uses Japanese esthetic principles when pruning in-ground trees, and it won't surprise me if he too jumps into bonsai in the near future. The Harris family's hospitality left nothing to be desired: opening their spacious garage for a place out of the sun where we could gather, and grilling hot dogs for the mob that had descended on them!

Cody's hand-built bench. Some of his selections show a good eye and some careful thought.
This bougainvillea particularly caught my eye. When it's finished, I expect we will see a great deal of character in something not much taller than my handspan! I'm looking forward to it.

Forgive the cluttered background, please. I think you can still see the bougie clearly enough.

At the April meeting of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club, we played in the dirt - or, to put it in more dignified terms, we made clay pots and trays, many free-form, under the guidance of an experienced member, Mark Sturtzenberger. Once I have mine back (I made three) I'll write another post about the whole process, and the fun it was!

Until then!

:-)  :-)  :-)

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