Apologies for the lack of posts recently, it has been a very busy two weeks. The photo shoot will Bill Valavanis and Jonathan Singer went very well but it tested my bowing skills to the max. Running around to all the big names in the Bonsai world and trying to balance the needs of the photographer with the need to be polite and respectful of The Chief's (and therefore my) standing with everyone was an interesting experience. Not at all negative but it required some serious consideration and carefully chosen words. I think that I did a good job and even had a bit of a laugh with Mr. Kimura...a first in my Bonsai career. He was actually pretty friendly to me, except when he too criticised my Bonsai Focus article for not being dramatic enough...you cannot win I guess. At least it meant that he approved of Ryan's work, which lets face it, was pretty damn good.
After a week of very interesting photo shoots I made the long trip to Kennet Square in Pennsylvania, home of the finest single collection of trees in the US, if not the western world. I have been here for a few days working on Satsuki, getting them into shape after flowering and back on track for a good wiring and styling session in October/November time. Now is not the best time to be wiring satsuki as the bark is very tender and tends to scar very easily, especially when using heavy wire. As time is limited and the trees numerous, wiring is being left until a later date and I am just pruning my way through them. I had repotted a good number of them in the Spring and so it was good to see that many had responded well and had grown dramatically. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a good outcome to your work. It is always a concern when working on customers trees that after you have left they go down hill. Thankfully that is not the case here and several trees which were on deaths door are now pushing strong shoots and looking good.
Pruning satsuki can feel very much like topiary at times but it should not be...the essential idea is to remove as much of the woody, thick and short branches in favour of new green shoots, prune back to stimulate new growth and to prune in such a way that it will grow into shape. There are some advanced techniques for doing that, but at 3 am after several Heineken and a flight to catch tomorrow, I won't go into them. Plus, I have to keep a few secrets to myself ;-)
Tomorrow I will be in flux again, finally returning back to the UK and home to my own bed. I have slept there less than 10 times this year. 10 times. It is enough to cause divorce proceedings. Thankfully I will be at home for some time and will be basing myself around a computer for a vast majority of it. I have text to write for two books now after being asked to write some high level text for the photograph project. This will be a challenge as I have to appeal to a non-bonsai audience who is erudite and highly critical. Explaining Bonsai ideas to a bonsai audience is hard enough. I will have to get my serious organised hat on and schedule everything so that I am not wasting time catching up on missed TV and the Women's world cup, which by the way is phenomenal value for money. Maybe it is just the great coverage in the US, or the genuine heart with which they play but I'd rather watch Jill Scott than John Terry.
There will be changes afoot on the saruyama homepage, I have been going over my bandwidth limit so things are getting fixed. Keep a look out for that and also some postdated blog posts. I have about four or five little projects that I haven't gotten around to.
Stay fluxy (San Diego).