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Shohin Elaeagnus pungens yamadori from Japan

By 9 September, 2020Bonsai, bonsai, bonsai

I think it is worth to tell this short story which basically is about passion, hope, determination, consistency and TLC (tender love and care) for bonsai. One day in 2004 , I remember it like it was almost yesterday, I was trying to convince Oyakata to take a trip so we could dig some yamadori. I imagined spectacular trunks of juniperus or pines that I could see in magazines and books. My dream was to dig some brutal material and try to make future bonsai from it. 

That day came sooner than I expected. Oyakata, tired of my whinging said, lets go. I was so surprised as we did not prepare anything special, just a shovel and that was it. I asked myself how the hell are we going to dig monster trunks with only a shovel? We took his small car and drove maybe half an hour and in the jungle close to Nihondaira, Oyakata stopped and said, ok here we are! Again, surprise! It was not a mountain, nothing at all, just hills. I was so disappointed and asked him what are we looking for here? He just said Elaeganus and left with a shovel. I followed him as I did not even know what Elaeagnus looked like in the nature.  A few minutes later he said, here dig it. Then another one and then another one. Nothing special, just trunks like any others trees. 

We dug a few of them, came back to Tasihoen, washed the roots, chopped all of the trunks leaving only the stem and base, planted them in small pots and this was it.

My dream of huge junipers and pines did not come true but I learnt a lot from this lesson and I am thankful to Oyakata for giving me this lesson. 

Little by little, branch by branch, Oyakata taught me how to form the trunk, close the scars, build branching and tapering and like this till 2008 when i finished my studies in Japan.

When we moved to Spain in 2008, I took one of those Elaeganus with me. I continue to work on the tree and ramify it every year. I was hoping that the tree will finally flower one day but it did not happen for so many years. I lost my passion to maintain it and decided to sell it. I tried for a few years but no one was really interested to buy it. I never put it aside and every year I build up ramification as bonsai is never finished and we have to take care of it even if it is not our favourite tree anymore. 

16 years since I dug it out in Japan, this year the tree gave me an enormous surprise, for the first time it is flowering like never before! I am very happy that our paths did not separate …