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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bonsai in the Pacific Northwest

As Himself and I traveled around the Seattle area, we went thru Bremerton on our way to Port Townsend.  Driving along we saw a sign that said “Elandan Bonsai”.   Sounded interesting so we pulled in. 

We entered into the shop which was full of all kinds of odds and ends from all over the world.  An ostrich feather might be sitting next to a fossil that is next to a piece of Chinese silk.  VERY fun to explore.  To see the bonsai, you have to pay an admission that was around $7 (I don’t remember as Himself took care of that).  
As you stepped out the back door of the shop, you entered the bonsai garden.  The fantastically landscaped garden is right on the shoreline of Puget Sound.



It really was peaceful walking thru it.  We were the only ones there, largely due to the fact that it was raining the entire time we wandered about.  This is why the photos are not up to my usual standard.  It was probably rather amusing to watch me try to balance an umbrella and snap photos – Himself was wise enough not to comment on the sight! 
Most of the trees are not the traditional medium size bonsai that most are familiar with.  These were large bonsai (hachi-uye, dai, and omono) ranging from 3’ to 6’ high. 






































They were lovely to look at but there was just something about it.  I can’t put my finger on it but I just kept saying to myself “Seriously?”
 

Like this cypress.  He states that being in the water slows the growth and this small tree is 500 years old.  Now I live in the South and there’s quite a few cypress and they don’t have any problem growing very large in the water.  I’d like to know how he decides how old a tree is.


Another “ancient” cypress…


And here is a large tree that he removed everything but one low branch which was wired into this sweeping form. 


This one isn’t even the actual tree he first claims.  He grafted a different variety onto a gnarly trunk. 



On this tree, he planted a different tree into the hollow of a dead trunk making it look like an ancient tree when it’s actually quite young.
Almost everyone tree featured lots of ‘jin’ or dead wood.  What I saw were a lot of large trees (10 – 15 foot tall) cut back severely, with the lopped trunks carved to jin.  In the work yard there was an amazing variety of drills, sanders and saws to achieve this.   

Pretty to look at but I left feeling more like I’d been seeing ‘smoke and mirrors’.   I’ll have to ask the experts in my bonsai club if this is a way of doing things.  Maybe this is the accepted way to do the large trees.  I don’t know. 

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