Mondo Burley

Mondo Burley

Last night American Bonsai Association Sacramento had their annual auction. Wow! There were some amazing trees, most of which quickly lept out of my price range. I had a chance at a rare kind of Japanese Shimpaku juniper (shohin) and let it go knowing I probably cannot care for it where I am currently living . . . a combination of the water and the sun exposure. This little guy needed TLC that my current “yard” can’t offer. Sure was purdy tho’.

What I did get was a nifty olive, a tri-trunk dwarf Alberta spruce, and a swell pot. Today, the olive:

I’ll call it “Mondo Burley” because it is both. Mondo because of the size, burley because the old trunk is: One. Big. Burl! It will need a pot that is at least 11″ (28cm) by 8″ (20.5cm), and is strong enough that it will be able to hold its own, very well thank you, in a larger pot. I’ve got one in mind that you’ll see when Mondo Burley gets repotted. It stands 20″ (51cm) tall. Yes, lots of bonsai are larger, but it’s no mame (bean-size). I picked the burl photo figuring you all know what an olive tree looks like. (Someday I’ll figure out how to post multiple photos.)

I feel really fortunate to have gotten this tree for the price. There were three other olives this size and a dwarf Greek kalamata. They all came up for auction late in the evening. The kalamata soared in price – an unusual tree in this area, maybe (???) brought from Greece as its former care taker is Greek Orthodox. The other biggun’s were auctioned first. They all had trunks with saw cut surfaces that will be great for carving. (I’m still focusing on styling.) Mondo Burley was last on the block and the olive enthusiasts must have been worn out or had gone home. Sold! for a single Andrew Jackson!!

Today, was mostly clean up work, removing leaf fall, spider webs, and what I think is Alaskan Malamute fur. I snipped a few dead branches and took a little time to get to know the tree and appreciate the bark and dead wood. I’m wondering how it would look to rub the dead wood with olive oil instead of using lime sulpher. Maybe too shiny? My idea is that it will renew the original color of the wood. But then, maybe it will attract bugs. Time for more research!

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Odd Auction

Odd Auction

Took a bike ride to post a letter and buy cat food – gotta keep the “Accent Cat” happy! There’s a letter box outside the drug store and the store sells nursery plants. Ah, ha! Now you know where this is going.

About 4 feet from the box there’s this bloodgood maple that looks like it’s over due for water but is otherwise healthy. I tell the cashier that it is dying (which is true if they kept on their current watering schedule), and can I get it at a deal? They offer at 50% off (original price $50). I offer $5 less. After a minute, another employee comes along and jumps in the conversation. He goes outside to look at the tree and the cashier says she’ll give it to me for $20. The guy outside brings the tree in saying, “How about 10? I mean, look at this” (showing me the nicely developing nebari). “Yeah, I see,” I say, quite neutrally. He looks at me, “You can’t have it for a penny over $10!” What could I do? He insisted! So I paid them and drove back to pick it up later. (Yes, I remembered to buy cat food.)

At home, I put in a little time release fertalizer, a bit more soil, and soaked it to be sure the entire dirt pack it’s potted in (sigh) would get wet. Now it is draining and sitting for a bit. This afternoon I’ll take off all the curled, browning leaves and cut it back some to encourage new, back growth. Repot in the spring. The days are too hot to repot maples. My thought now is to make it a bunjin / literati with that bottom branch as the apex, but I’ll wait and see how it looks in the spring.