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Posted by George - February 27th, 2010
Tomorrow I will be going to Oakland for a show and sale at Lake Merritt in Oakland. I will be leaving here at 3:30 am and will be home at around 11:00pm. There is an auction on Saturday(today), but I have not seen anything I want. The show and sale is from 9:00am – 4:00pm. After the show I will go to my daughters house to pick up a few boxes she wants me to take back. Then we go out to dinner at a place of her choice, usually Japanese food or she also likes Thai food. Then it is a long grueling 4 hour trek home. At least the weather will be on my side for a change. Almost every year, there is rain on Sunday. It is suppose to be clear tomorrow. I hope the weather people have got this one right. I hope to see some of you at the show. If you read my blog, come by and say hello. If you mention that you read about the show in my blog and you buy something, I will give you a 10 % discount. See you in Oakland….
I know what you’re thinking, Is he nut’s? Well yes, maybe I am a little crazy. Let me tell you my three reasons that I like weeds. It gives you a great aerobic workout! We have just under 2 acres and everything is hand weeded. We use a tractor to go through the rows and we weed around all the trees in the field and in areas where the tractor can’t go. Second, if there are weeds, that means that it must be raining a lot. Rain is something that we need. I don’t have to water and the plants really appreciate a good drink of water. When I go outside after a rain, I can really see a difference in the trees. The foliage looks greener(truthfully some of that is from the dust being washed off of the leaves). The bonsai’s look fresher because all the build up of salts in the soil is rinsed away. The third reason I like weeds is that if you are complaining about weeding and tired from all the weeding, you are alive and well! It certainly beats the alternative. After I spent most of the day weeding, I spent a few minutes grafting pines. Its nice to do something tedious after a hard workout. I grafted a few yatsubusa pines and cork pines onto our Mikawa pine understock. Normally we graft about a month earlier, however I had to go to several conventions and had a lot of customers to take care of. I tried something a little different this year. I normally graft the seine wood very low on the plant, water it well and put a 1 gallon freezer bag over the one gallon pot. This year I grafted the tree, and transplanted the whole thing into a shallow 5 inch bulb pan with bonsai soil. Then I watered well and placed the entire thing in the 1 gallon freezer bag and zipped it up except for about an inch for a little air circulation. If I have time I will take some photo’s of my new method and I will let you know how they did. I already gave you three reasons for liking weeds, but I thought of another — weeding gives you a good nights rest…..
Today is very dreary outside. I am taking today off to recover from the week. Of course it has to rain on my only day off. Tomorrow I am going to be getting trees ready for the Show and Sale for the Golden State Collection North at Lake Merritt. Lake Merritt is in Oakland and the show will be next Sunday. Saturday they hold a auction and Sunday there are vendors, workshops and demo’s. There is also sales of trees that are on consignment. The problem with the consignment room is that when it opens there is a stampede of people going in. I have to sell trees, so I do not get an opportunity to browse through the trees, pots and miscellaneous item until things quiet down. By the time I get to look around, things are pretty well picked through. However, there are always bargains to be found. The high end stuff gets left over. So does the stuff that nobody wants. Throughout the day, the prices start to get lower as they try to clear the room. It is a game of chicken between the sellers, who really don’t want to take the items home and the buyers who have to transform the trees into something. In other words, another project to work on. When the prices get low enough, I start buying. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. Three years ago, someone was wheeling away a large Montezuma Cypress with a hollow throughout the trunk from top to bottom. There were many prices lined out starting from 450.00 down to 225.00. I asked if the tree was still for sale. I was told that I could still buy the tree. I tried not to look too anxious, but the 30 inch wide unglazed brown Japanese pot that the tree was sitting in was well worth more than the asking price. The tree was not bad but needed work. The tree is now a specimen that has a place of honor at our nursery. The rough textured trunk with the hollow through the trunk is highlighted by the soft green foliage that floats out from the branches. I placed the tree in an unglazed red Japanese pot that is narrower and shallower than the previous pot. The color of the pot makes the rich color of the trunk jump out. I hope I find some more bargains and I hope to see many of you there next Sunday….
It is so foggy this morning that I can barely see anything out of the window. The last few days have been quite pleasant. This morning it is foggy and damp, which is our usual summer pattern. I have been transplanting and ordering some trees for the nursery. I have also ordered 6 yard of nursery mix so that I can transplant many of the plants to larger containers. I have not raised prices on the containers for about 5 years. So I need to put the trees in larger containers. I am behind on my transplanting. Truthfully, I will never catch up! So now is the time to walk around the nursery and find that hidden gem that I have not had time to transplant. A few weeks ago, someone came to me with a cork oak in a one gallon can that had nearly a 1 inch trunk. He asked me if it is still priced as a one gallon tree. I told him that if I did not put it in a larger container, he gets it for the same price as all the other trees in one gallon containers. I had better go outside and start transplanting before I end up giving away trees….
Growing bonsai trees on the Central Coast of California has its advantages. Yesterday was just beautiful. Our daytime high was in the low 80’s. I had a few customers yesterday and I had a very nice time helping them. Some of the trees are starting to push growth. Others are not doing anything. We are suppose to get rain over the weekend. It has been nice to have a few weeks of dry weather. I had to go to my tax man in the afternoon(I would rather go to the dentist for a root canal). He had some good news for me and some bad news. The bad news was that I owed money after doing my taxes. The good news was that it was not as much as I had anticipated. I was happy to go back to work after meeting with him. I have been busy weeding the nursery. I am just weeding around the trees. The aisles that you walk through have weeds that are getting quite tall. We will use the tractor to rototill the soil after the rains end. I have also been planting trees in the ground. Some to replace trees that I have dug out and others to increase varietals that have been selling well. The only problem with field growing is that it takes many years before the trees that I plant are able to be sold. Therefore I am counting on the trees that I plant now to be in demand in the future. Today looks to be another beautiful day….