FANNING THE BONSAI FLAME
AND PASSING THE TORCH!
By David Fukumoto (Fuku-Bonsai)

      

             It was a delightful day when John and Diane Bradshaw of Lake Oswego, Oregon visited us in February of this year.  The Bradshaws are repeat customers of many years and previously visited us in January of 2007.   They told me their plants were doing fine and that the 4LL8 Roots of 2007 had done especially well. They promised to send a photo of it. 

 

             They liked the idea of our workshops and John selected a nice 8LS8-Roots and with a #17 Conversion Kit was ready for an Advanced Workshop!  Because he had some growing experience, he had no problems on general techniques. 

 

              The major lesson was on how to lengthen the roots, how to create and control the root buttressing, and how in tropical bonsai we keep the buttressing above the level of the pot and use the aluminum foil collar (with air holes) until our gravelly mix firms up and is filled with new roots. 

 

              We're not too concerned about appearance and use techniques that are effective such as tying down over the tree to assure that the tree is anchored solidly so the tree does not shake and the roots develop quickly.

 

             John liked the idea of teaching his grandchildren,  ordered two more Introductory Workshop Packages,  and promised to send me photos and captions.  He did and his report follows.

        My love of plants is attributable to Diane`s Mother Emma dating back to the 80`s and her gifts to me of Hawaiian plants. During the early 2000`s Diane and I discovered the Fuku- Bonsai Cultural Center and between our visits and e-mail orders my business office and our home both look like a Bonsai world.

         This last February Diane and I visited David and Myrt at their Center and David graciously spent over two hours with me teaching me the basics of the proper technique of creating a Bonsai with a larger Schefflera plant that is on our office manager’s desk.  I was impressed by what I had learned, so I also ordered two smaller plants kits that I planned to give to and teach our two sets of Grandsons.

         Our two older Grandsons Findley,14 and Max,13, with my tutelage, and David`s good kit instructions assembled their Schefflera Bonsai in about one hour. Findley commented that it was enjoyable and a good Grandparent/ Grandson activity. Max said it was fun and he looked forward to watching it grow.

         The other Grandson duo Jack,6 and Ike,4 were surprisingly engaged and attentive and Jack was heard to say that planting it was the best part because they got to tie the plant to the bottom of the pot. He also mentioned that he had learned to water their plant from the bottom. Ike was pleased and he liked putting the “dirt” in.

         Diane, as she described herself a “bystander” in February at Fuku- Bonsai said she was very impressed with David`s enthusiasm and desire to share his knowledge and Bonsai techniques with students and adults. She notes “he is a gracious man and teacher”.

         Warmest,    John Bradshaw

          COMMENTS BY DAVID.    We're small enough to enjoy visitors who seek us out.  We've been a certified export bonsai nursery shipping to all states since 1974 and the great majority of our visitors are repeat visitors or website customers who seek us out.  Many seem surprised that we're a small company and that we're located off the paved road and they navigate though potholes to get to us.  The neighbor says that some see our sign, can't believe we don't have a paved access road, and turn around and leave.

           We get a lot of referrals from the visitor industry and the bed and breakfasts who tell us their guests really enjoyed their visit, but we need to fix that road!  Things move slowly on the Big Island, especially if you bought a 12-acre former sugar cane field.  With the sugar industry gone, there's a lot of other unpaved cane haul roads that are not paved.  But our turn comes soon and we're told the road will be brought up to "Hawaii County Standards"  soon!!!

           Most bonsai nurseries will not offer premium prepared bonsai stock that have a lot of trunk character, low branches, and a shallow root system that are 3 to 5 years in training.  The most difficult work is already done and its more profitable to hold it for a year or so to sell it at a higher price.  Our Introductory Workshop Package are our contribution to those who want to learn (or teach) bonsai in a high-success manner.  Most adults have no problem putting together the basic beginner kit.  And upon doing so,  like John can coach and teach others.  We're delighted that more are using our kits to teach other family members,  clubs and groups.  Please contact me if there are questions.  Quantity discounts and teacher aids available.

          ~~~David  (david.f@fukubonsai.com)

 
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