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Collecting for Bonsai – Roadside Attractions 1

>> Ben: We’ve all done it. We’ve all driven down the side of the road and just said, ‘Hey! That’s a tree I could go for!’ ♫ bluegrass music ♫ The Department of Transportation, whatever state you’re in, generally mows down the edges so you can have a good line of sight. And that can be beneficial to bonsai hunters, because you can find some very interesting things that may or may not be useful. Look at this hornbeam. This is just awesome. This thing is probably about 4″ – 5″ right there. I’ve got this big long branch that’s next to me. I wonder how well it’s rooted in the ground. Yeah, it’s pretty solid. Got all these rocks around here that will make it very difficult to get out. There’s also, right behind it, right there, a Virginia juniper, which also might make this difficult. But, this tree – I might just have to consider what I can do.

Look at this guy. If you can see it. I don’t know. It could make some interesting stuff. Something to keep in mind. It’s loose, which means I can dig it up. The roots, because I’m looking downhill, the roots are probably coming up this way. So, I need to keep that in mind. Which means this thing is going to be slanted out, and be kinda funky. You know, it’s got some large sections to it. You can see there’s a scar right there, and starting to callous over. I may be able to clean that out, or leave that and clean this out. I like working with this material because one It allows me to toy around, experiment a little bit without really worrying of damaging a really nice yamadori. And you never know – you might come up with some really interesting things in the process. You get a lot of funky looks working on the side of the road, but it’ll be worth it. Here’s a needle juniper – common juniper. You can see, it’s got a pretty interesting trunk here.

Hand for reference. This is in a ditch. Alright. Whoa, look at th.. Awww! Fooled! I thought that was a nice live tree. Nope. That one’s toast. As always, be very careful when you’re working on the side of the road. Here, the Department of Transportation has cut away this guy, right here. This is big. The base is probably 9″ in diameter. Look at that beauty. There’s good and bad points about this: One: It’s already been cut; I can clean up some of this. Two: it may or may not pop out. Three: Getting that baddy out of all this rock.

And this stuff is loose It can fall into the road, which is not good. One: for safety reasons Two: For the annoyance of people who are trying to get by. It’s something to think about, though. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s it right there Look at the shape, the curve, the interest And, it’s right in the middle of a rock. It’s really loose. There may be, right here, where this rock is, there may be just a little bit of an indentation that could probably be hidden either by soil, or it could be hidden by rocks and moss or something.

We won’t even know until we dig this up in the spring. But, i’m getting this guy. Look at that. Just curve, curve, curve, curve and it’s got all these beautiful little flutes in there, that I just love. As always, it’s best to get permission from the owner no matter who it is. That includes the Department of Transportation who maintains the roads here.

I have called the Department of Transportation before, and they have given me permission, But, rules change from year to year. There’s always the possibility that what was relevant one year will not be relevant the next. So, I will be calling again this year to check and see what the possibilities are if I can. Generally, for me, it has been 20 feet from the road. It might now be 15 feet which limits what I can and cannot take. It’s always best, because otherwise, you might get arrested. You might get shot at. You might get in a lot of trouble. So, let’s avoid that as bonsai enthusiasts. We want to be respectful of other people’s property, and, that will make things better for everybody. If we have bonsai artists just going in collecting whatever they can find off the side of the road without asking permission it puts a bad name on everybody. Let’s avoid that at all costs. ♫ bluegrass music ♫ .