A long long day

A long long day

Today has been one of those days that felt like a week…just seemed like it would never end. It started slightly hungover at 5 am, rolling out of bed and into the shower. The old saying is true…wine then beer does makes you feel queer. Need less to say a shower and then the prospect of driving an hour to a customer’s place soon made me feel better and off I set to drop some trees off, ask him to display at an exhibition and also get him to buy a new pot for one his trees. He had asked for a pot but the one I had was double the price he wanted to spend. It was a nice pot and fitted perfectly the tree so it was not a hard sale. I had to play the hard done by apprentice card a little…”If I go home with this pot I will be in trouble!”. I have know the customer for seven years and he likes me and asks for me to come and tend to his trees three or four times a year. I will be going later in the month so I will take pics then.

Back to the garden and had to start work on this Juniper. Belonging to a famous friend of the garden, it has suffered from many years of inattention and the branch structure has become difficult to use. It is a grafted Itoigawa tree and it is the a leaf type which doesn’t grow much and turns into dense pom pom’s unless regualrly worked on. It hasn’t been so there are lots of woody branches with tiny tufts of foliage on them..still I had to get it done today so it was a stupidly rushed job and I’m almost embarrassed to post the pictures. It was alright given the start point but nothing too good. Just by cranking the apex back improved the tree incredibly. I should have stopped there…wiring is a difficult job at Shunkaen especially during the day when so much is going on…keeping an eye on the young lads prepping for the satsuki show…talking to the old men and sorting out my owm work.

I am falling asleep as I write so I am off to bed. Another 5 am start tomorrow….After a few hours sleep I am going to finish off this entry.

So the Juniper was finished in a hurry, a terrible wiring job but to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it…why? The tree will go back to the owner who simply doesn’t care any more. He will ignore the tree until the wire digs in and branches start to die off. It is hard to motivate yourself when the audience is not appreciative. I know this is the wrong attitude, it should be done properly for the sake of doing it properly, but when there are a hundred and one other things to do at the same time, values like that go out of the window.

The preparation work for the satsuki show involves collecting all the club memebers trees together, tarting them up with a bit of moss, cleaning the pots, old leaves, withered flowers and then finsing the cheapest table we can to put it on. Why cheap? They almost always get broken or water stained at the show. There is a group loosley associated with the garden and we act as a focal point and free labour. The first load of trees went out this morning to Kanuma, the satsuki centre. Tomorrow I will be taking the second load up to Tochigi to another show. This is slightly more popular as it is sponsored by an electrical store and the prizes include plasma televisions and kettles. The other show you get a bag of rice and some miso. Go figure.

We have one tree which will be in the running for best in show. It is a big Osakazuki…pics tomorrow when it is in place.

I finished the day off by starting work on a tree which I wanted to buy…but had to let the Chief take precedence over..one does not out bid the Chief when sharing the ride home! We went to a small auction last week at Seiko-en, the garden of Yamada Tomio, or rather his daughter Kaori who is very popular doing Saika Bonsai…a hybrid of kusamono and pop bonsai. We had a meeting of the Nippon Bonsai Sakka Kyoukai, of which I am a member (ridiculous considering I cannot qualify to be part of the European Branch ;-). I have always been attracted to the hands off style of Seiko-en which has been handed down from old school times. Yamada-san has a very sharp eye in respect to classic bonsai and also tree/pot combinations. I was amazaed to see just how little his trees had been worked and also how dry he kept them. Thats why his five needle pines look so good….anyway, during the auction he made a disparaging comment about a literati pine which had been fully wired out and styled to make it look perfect…” If you hadn’t wired it then I would buy it. Now all it’s good for is scrap value”. Harsh but a very fair comment. With that in mind I am attempting to make this triple trunked five needle pine in the classic style that will appeal to such a discerning eye. More on this later.

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