Friendship: Serendipity of Bonsai

I’ve been wanting to write  a blog post about this tree for sometime but what to write about it, it’s challenging to decide.  There could be several possible topics that could be written about it but what I will attempt do convey is how this tree developed beautifully throughout the years but how it also became a symbol of friendship.

Around 2005(2006) when I was responsible for bringing in guest artist to Puget Sound Bonsai Association for their monthly meeting demonstration.  I brought in Boon Manakitivipart to the club since I’ve taken his bonsai intensive class before and he is an excellent teacher.  When Boon got here, I took him on a tour at the Elandan Gardens.  At the time my friend Don Guilliams ( who started with the club about the same time I did) volunteered to go with us on the trip.  During the trip I wanted to buy a nice collected tree to develop into a bonsai from Elandan (Dan Robinson).  I asked Boon to help me select a tree.  He picked this cascading Hemlock.  I vaguely remember him saying that this tree could be developed and be shown in a relatively short time.  I got the tree and initially styled it.  As much as I could I kept it healthy but still some branches died back.

Throughout the years I’ve brought it to study groups and workshops to be worked on.  Among some of the bonsai artist that have seen and help refined it were Michael Hagedorn and  Walter Pall.

It has developed nicely and I have used this tree as part of my garden show displays.  During those times my friend Don Guilliams have always half jokingly and half seriously shown interest in buying it from me.

One year, I was needing to bring in some cash for my business and as hard as it was, I was looking to sell the best bonsai in my collection.  My friend Don was there and ready to help.   It made it easier to sell it to him because I know Don will take very good care of it and I’m still able see it (although he jokingly said, I will have limited visitation rights).  Don immediately took on the task of improving this tree.  It was my original intention to repot the tree but never found a pot that I like.  Don repotted the tree into a taller pot.  Don also got Michael Hagedorn to masterfully refine this tree.  The result is a world class bonsai tree.

About a month ago, Don, moved to San Diego ( a place he always wanted to retire).  San Diego is a beautiful place but unfortunately not a place for a high altitude and a cooler loving tree like a Mt Hemlock.   A good friend that Don is, he gave me the first opportunity to buy the tree back from him.  I gladly bought the tree back from him and now back in my possession.

Now when I  look at this Mt Hemlock, I think of my friend Don. Through the years we’ve stayed connected through our love for bonsai but Don has always help me with other  things mainly with my business,  as he helped me get connected with the NW Flower and Garden show people and referred me to several folks.  As a former executive, he has given me invaluable advise.

Bonsai is a great endeavor, you can take great tree like this 300 year old Mt. Hemlock, that  probably could have lived happily up in the mountains for another  300 years, put it in a pot and make it even better for us  short-live humans to enjoy.   While doing bonsai, you  may run into people like Don that their friendship is greater than the bonsai trees themselves.

The tree when it was on display at the Pacific Rim Bonsai Museum. Don Guilliams trees were featured during their “Hidden Treasures” exhibit. I also use this photo as a backdrop for my blog and as a featured photo for my previous post ” 5 Health Benefits of Bonsai”.
Aviary Photo_130774870218255485
Looking at the tree on its side view. Photo taken recently.
Aviary Photo_130773385949811420
Recent photo of the tree. The tree is happily growing.
Close up of the tree in winter of 2012.
2012 photo of the tree in a shallower pot.

Published by tony bonsaiko

My little trees are my daily reminders of our grand connection to this beautiful and mysterious universe.

11 thoughts on “Friendship: Serendipity of Bonsai

  1. What a wonderful story Tony. I didn’t know the background of this tree until now. You have an amazing touch with them, a definite gift from God.

    1. Hi Tony, I’ll have to read this next month after my operations. My eyes aren’t strong enough for the fine print. I just got back from 3 weeks in Europe visiting with Heather in London and Ireland, and a side trip to Barcelona. I had Patti take a picture of me in the t-shirt you made standing next to a plaque in the Sagrada Familia with the Lord’s prayer in Catalonian. I will send it with a few pictures of Stonehendge, Windsor Castle and some of the other phenomena we witnessed. Happy New Year, Brian

      1. Happy New Year Brian! I saw some your travel pictures. Looks like you guys had a great time. I didn’t know you are going for operation, good luck and I will pray for you. Yes, love to see photos of you with that shirt. Thanks! Tony

    1. I still can’t see well enough to read this, but will save it for post-op. We need to schedule a planning meeting with Stefan and Guy.

      On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 8:21 AM, BONSAIKO wrote:

      > africanbirding commented: “Reblogged this on Wolf’s Birding and Bonsai > Blog.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: