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The Bonsai of Michael Hagedorn


All today's trees are courtesy of our friend Michael Hagedorn. Here's what he had to say about this one: About 4 1/2 years ago I grafted this Rocky Mountain Juniper (collected by Randy Knight) with some curious shimpaku foliage that I took a shine to. The shimpaku foliage was a bit coarser than we see normally, and I thought it would look good on a tree with a rugged, expressive character.

Another Rocky mountain juniper.

Another one! Michael's story: This tree is special for two reasons. The first is because my friend Troy Cardoza collected it. I like having trees that link me to other people. And it’s also special because it’s quite small for its age, with some great sinuous lines.

A tree with strange credentials. In Michael's own words: Most young bonsai plants are put in larger pots or in the ground to bulk them up. This is one example of a tree grown only in a very small pot, for 30 years. We don’t get a large trunk that way, but the gain is in micro-detailing.

The juniper featured here started as an Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana. I say ‘started’, as I grafted the young plant with Kishu shimpaku, and after that only the lower half of the trunk was Red Cedar.

And believe it or not. Here's where it started.

Michael titled this one The ‘Helix Root’ Limber Pine Styling.

Here's part of what Michael had to say about this one: This Japanese Maple ‘Beni-Kawa’ has a delicate rose color to the branches. It’s a subtle wash of color that could easily be upstaged by pot color. And arguably this quiet red color the most important feature of the tree. We want to see it. And we have to be careful not to obliterate it.

The Blaze of Autumn Sweetly Burns, with a title like that you’d think I was lost in a poem by Tennyson. But I was only looking at a tree in my yard.

Vine Maple Bunjin on Rock, we'll let Michael speak for himself: I collected this tree about five years ago, and put it in a nursery pot to recover from the indignity. It was deep in the back of the bonsai yard, nearly forgotten (John, my apprentice, assures me it’s been watered at least every September), and every month or so I’ve thought, ‘Really have to do something with that…’ This week we had some extra muck at hand and this composition was the result.

Arizona Alder in Unusual Container: This planting was originally composed by Oregon bonsai artist Greg Brenden. The container is a concrete water meter cover, stretching the boundaries of what might hold a plant. We’ve been encouraging a kusamono-like wildness to its style since acquiring it some years ago.

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