Back from the Convention.

Yesterday I returned home from the GSBF convention in Sacramento.  I met a lot of nice people and caught up with old friends.  I had great sales over the weekend.  There were a lot of new faces to bonsai.  I had a lot of bonsai people purchase trees from me, but I had a lot of non bonsai people purchase from me as well.  I had one customer that came by to see the displays and decided to stroll around the vendor area.  He asked me what type of trees would grow well in his area.  I explained that junipers and most deciduous trees would work in his area.  He decided to buy one of each.  Today I spent some time unloading my van and watering trees.  I also had to go the bank.  In between all of the things I had to do to catch up, I had three customers that I needed to help.  There is never a dull moment at the nursery.

Packed and ready to go!

Today I spent most of the day loading up my van for the GSBF Convention in Sacramento.  I put in my racks and loaded them up with wonderful product.  In between it all, I managed to ship a tree and help a customer purchase a tree.  He ended up purchasing a tree out of my van.  The next four days will be fun, except for the five hour there and back.  At least I can drive 70 mph on the 5.  Tomorrow will be a long day.  It will start for me at 3 in the morning.  After arriving at around 8 am, I will start setting up my tables.  That will only take about 20 minutes.  Then it is time to relax, talk to people and sell my wares.  I have been asked to participate in a round robin demo and I decided to take a nice large procumbens to work on.  I do not know how it will turn out, but I am certain that there is a very nice tree hiding under all of the foliage.  My Father will be at the nursery but he will defer all questions to me.  So if you really need an answer about a tree at the nursery, you will have to email me at  or have my father give you my cell number.   He knows the pricing on most items, but there are a few that he will have to consult me on.  So you may want to plan your visit accordingly.  I hope to see many of you in Sacramento.

Wet start!

This morning started with heavy drizzle.  Wet enough to be annoying, but not wet enough to help the plants.  I had a number of customers today.  One customer came by to pick up a nice Japanese black pine landscape tree.  Another came by to tour the nursery.  Another customer was traveling up the state and decided to stop by and purchase some trees.  In between helping the customers, I continued working on pruning the field grown trident maples.  The ground was a bit wet, but that is the perils of working at a bonsai nursery.  As I pruned back the trees, I noticed several trees that were quite outstanding.  If you are interested in a trident maple, you may need to come by and select a nice field grown trident before someone beats you to your tree.  On a side note, I was working on the trident maples and the sun peeked out for a few minutes.  I saw movement out of the corner of my eye so I looked at the direction of the movement.  There was a young lizard that had moved onto the top of a trident that I had worked on minutes earlier.  Since the trunk was large and had no movement, I had cut it flat to allow another side branch to grow up to improve the movement and taper of the tree.  This was the perfect place for the lizard to sun himself.  So there I was a few inches away from the lizard.  I was starring at him occasionally and he was starring back at me.  I continued working on pruning the next trident maple and the one after that.  Now I was about a foot away from the lizard and he was still starring at me.  I decided to test the lizards bravery.  Normally, just stepping closer to the lizard would get the lizard to scurry away.  This lizard was holding his ground.  He was still staring at me cautiously, but he didn't move. I don't know what the lizard was thinking, but perhaps he didn't run because he was young and didn't realize that I could be a predator and that he should run.  Maybe he liked my smiling face and realized that I was friendly(Not!), but he was still sitting there.  I moved my hand inches from him and he still didn't move.  I put my index finger right in front of his face and momentarily, he licked my finger.  Now I don't know why he did this, but he did.  It could be one of his sensory reactions to see what was confronting him.  Now I decided to put my hand directly in front of him.  He tilted his head and stared at me for a split second and he crawled up on my hand and went onto my forearm.  He stopped, tilted his head and just starred at me.  I slowly moved my arm closer to my face to look at him.  He was now inches from my face, but he just continued to stare.  After a few minutes, I decided I would put him back down onto another trident maple that was a little further away so he could resume sunning himself without being bothered by me.  So I walked up to another trident maple that had a similar flat top and I extended my hand in front of the tree.  He tilted his head in what seemed to be an understanding of what I wanted him to do and he scurried onto the top of the tree.  I looked back at him and he at me and I went back to work.  That was one of the strangest experiences that I have had.  I have gone to different peoples house(friends of my wife) and their dogs always run up to me and want to play.  Many of these people tell me that their dogs never just go up to people and want to play.  So many of them have jokingly called me a dog whisperer.  Maybe I am also a lizard whisperer?..........

Removing more Japanese black pine air-layers.

after removal

after transplanting and cleaning

close up of air-layer
Today was another hot day.  It reached near 90 degrees.  I was working on pruning the trident maples in the field and weeding around them.  After a few hours of doing this, I got too hot.  I walked over to the pine air-layers which I did around two years ago.  Most of these were girdled with wire.  This method works, but takes much more time then my other method of removing the bark.  Any way the reason for looking at them was because they were in the shade.  I think being in the shade also slows there root growth.  I looked at a few of the remaining air-layers and noticed several of them were rooted nicely.  So I removed the air-layers and worked on transplanting them.  After I removed them, I cleaned some of the old needles and removed some of the unwanted branches.  After I cleaned them up, I transplanted them into a 6 inch bulb pot.  When I air-layer the pines, I use a 4 inch bulb pot.  These trees will be fun to work on in the future.  They have good structure and a nice flare at the area of the air-layer.  I have included photo's of the process so you can see the difference between removal and when they are cleaned.  Click onto the photo's and you will see a closer view of the tree.

Beautiful day for working on bonsai’s!

Today I continued on weeding a few rows that I have left.  I have a few rows of crabapples and then it looks like I might be able to start on the trident maples.  Some of the tridents have begun to drop there leaves.  I also worked on cleaning up some pines that I had dug out earlier in the year.  Some of these that I was working on might be ones that I may have to keep.  They have a nice size with nice movement.  I have also been working on cleaning up the trees that I am preparing for the GSBF convention in Sacramento.  I have been asked to participate in a round robin bonsai demo.  I have to decide which tree I want to take to work on.  Although things have slowed down a bit, the work never ends.  The last couple of days I had an interesting thing happen.  I had a couple of nice ladies that were traveling through.  They were in Southern California and were making their way home to Santa Rosa.  They decided to do a search for bonsai nurseries on the Central Coast of California.  My nursery came up on Yelp.  Apparently someone has reviewed the nursery on Yelp.  These ladies wanted a juniper to put in their garden over a dry creek.  I helped them shape a nice juniper and they drove away quite happy with their purchase.  A couple of days later, a young couple came to the nursery and I asked them how they heard of the nursery?  They replied that they had done a search of bonsai nurseries in San Luis Obispo and our nursery popped up.  The one they clicked on was the review on Yelp.  Now this was quite odd.  No one has ever commented on finding me on Yelp, but two customers in a matter of three days found me through Yelp.  What would we do without smart phones and the internet?

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