I just reread last year's message, and most of it is still true. Life still revolves around getting older, only with more serious consequences as our parents are very near to reaching the end. Susie lost her mother this year, and my parents are in their 80's and not in the best of health. Many of my aunts and uncles are gone, even some of my friends. This has increased my resolve even more. It's time to start doing the things that make life worth living whatever the cost. As my friend Jeff says, he's never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch on it.
On that note, I have been working on finishing projects like a man on fire this year. I have finished the new bonsai display area, doubled the shade house, and made a heroic effort to at least reduce the Jungle area. I doubled the grafts this year, pruned nearly all the specimen plants and have plans to repot many of them this winter to get at least some of them up at the website this year. There is still plenty to be done, but at last the end is in sight.
The New Display Area encased in ice from the freeze protection
The new shade house is especially exciting. It will allow me to organize and clean out the old one because the plants will have some place to go after I prune and repot them. I have a plan to control 'blowover', and if it works, it will really lower maintenance and increase organization. I hope to get busy on this project when we get back from Florida later in January.
The new shade area before the shade cloth went up
A couple of new sections of the pine and juniper area will also go in this winter to take some more of the Jungle plants. Some of those plants are becoming quite nice Nursery Yamadori from the benign neglect of the last nine years. Graydon and George from Florida came and visited for a week in October and carved out a large section of the jungle plants that went into the ground growing area. I really appreciate their help and we had a great time of endless shop talk, good food and drink. The next step is to rescue the Jungle plants that need to stay in pots rather than go into the ground.
Hard pruning all the specimen plants has revealed some really nice trunks, which is now known as the 'field of trunks'. You really can't appreciate what is happening under all those branches and foliage until you chop all the way back to the trunk. They are awesome, and with any luck, I should get a number of these potted up this year and ready to sell. There are four to seven inch corky elms, assorted crabs, a few really nice Zelkova, and other odds and ends. I posted some pictures on BonsaiNut, and I hope to post some more here soon. This is very exciting work, the payoff of nearly twenty years of growing.
The field of trunks
One more addition to the display area will be dedicated to specimen plants that are ready to sell. So, as I pot up the trunks, they will go in this area where they can be tracked and properly maintained. Hopefully that will also happen this winter. The water is plumbed in and I intend to use all of the old benches from the former display area. Just need to design another shade canopy. It's a challenge to provide shade and still deal with all the leaves and nuts from the walnut trees.
2007 was a good propagation year. Not a record number of plants started, except for pine grafts (nearly 500 this year), but enough to fill in the gaps for 2008. I started a good number of 'Evergreen's Roughbark' trident maples. The strike rate appears to be low, but I started so many that I may have enough next fall to fill the waiting list orders. Finally got enough wood to do a crop of Prunus blireiana, and most of them have rooted. Some folks have been waiting for that one for many years. I also managed to scrounge up enough wood to start a batch of Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis', which we have been out of for several years. I am continuing to experiment with Wisteria cuttings, and made a big breakthough on what wood to use. I hope to have some 'Cooke's Special' by fall, if not before. This is an excellent deep purple cultivar and one of my favorites. Also had a minor breakthrough on Hokkaido elm, and a limited supply of them are ready now, albeit a bit small. Syringa patula 'Miss Kim' will be back this year too.
I am continuing to experiment with cutting grown Acer palmatum cultivars, but there wasn't a lot of decent wood this year, so not muc to report. I had an excellent crop of 'Kiyo Hime' and 'Yuri Hime' last year, and these are all progressing nicely. I probably won't sell any of these until they reach one gallon size in about 2 more years. The one gallon 'Ao Kanzashi' from last year are getting very nice now, so if you want one of these you better act soon before they are potted up into 2 gallon size.
I couldn't get any 'Catlin Contorted' elm wood this year, so there will be a gap in the supply. But there are quite a few that will be ready in September, so you better get on the waiting list if you want one of these rare little puppies. New this year is Ilex serrata, Japanese Winterberry. We have both male and female cutting grown plants. You probably don't need a male plant for flowers and fruit, but it may improve pollination. These have small very red round fruits in winter on naked, almost black stems. This is a small shrubby species and is probably best for very small bonsai and winter accent plants. Also, my Princess Persimmon, Diospyros rhombifolia fruited this year, so in a year or so we should have cutting grown plants as well as our seedlings. It has very cute one inch orange persimmons.
Susie and I will be in sunny Florida for a week on our annual pilgrimage to see the old folks, so no shipping the week of Jan. 7. Next ship date is Jan. 14. You can continue to place orders and send emails, but I won't be able to respond until after we get back.
The 2008 Online Catalgo is up!