Monday, September 12, 2011

Fuji Bonsai Nursery in Sylmar, CA

This is the best Bonsai nursery I've seen so far. It is owned by Roy Nagatoshi who has been working with Bonsai for forty four years. He teaches class worldwide and started learning Bonsai from his father. His classes are on Saturday and Thursday mornings starting at 9am and can go on as long as 2pm sometimes or whenever the last person is done working. Roy is a very friendly guy, not pushy to make a sale, and very informative and enthusiastic to chat even when he is in the middle of working on a tree. I felt bad about interrupting him with a bunch of questions but he was always smiling when he answered my questions. He was preparing six grafted Junipers to use as material for the 34th Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention. He had a genuine enthusiasm to meet other Bonsai enthusiasts so he kept the conversation alive by asking me some questions in return. There is a nice Bonsai Gallery in the front.

This is a very nice example of one of his root over rock style for Japanese black pine.
Having visited many Bonsai Nurseries, I notice that there is a shortage of stock of Japanese black pines. That is not the case here as you can see. Roy will not sell a tree if it is in a fragile condition or is in the process of recovering from work done. For example, today he had some nice boxwoods but the branches were very short and leaves sparse so he told me that they will be ready for sale in a year.
Seeing beautiful bougainvilleas like this one makes me want to grow some myself especially since they fit nicely into the drought tolerant group of plants. It's amazing how a vine can turn into a tree!
Some of his trees like this boxwood have a 2 feet wide diameter at the base of the trunk. Boxwood is a commonly acquired plant but it is spectacular when you can transform it into a $275 Bonsai. :)
Roy has an incredible collection of California Junipers. We all want one but they are extremely difficult to obtain. Some of these trees are over 200 years old and cost $18,000 if someone is willing to part with their precious tree. The natural deadwood gives these trees a very rough and ancient look. In my dreams I would buy one and never sell it.
Roy's Dad did grafting work on this California Juniper about 30 years ago and you can't see the scar any more. It's completely healed over and looks very natural. Most of these junipers have been grafted but there is one that is 100% pure California Juniper that is gigantic. Why didn't I take a picture of it? Perhaps, next time... I don't think any of his California Junipers are for sale.
There is a plethora of chinese elm here, but this is an exceptional example of rock clinging style mass planting. This stone is about 3 feet wide by 4 feet tall with tons of elms planted onto it. Very impressive that it is sustainable.
This nursery has the best selection of pomegranate pre-Bonsai material I've seen. The pomegranate I bought from San Gabriel Nursery looks like two straws coming out of the soil. It's quite sad in comparison. This is one of the most incredible Bonsai I've ever seen.
Finally, this is a one of the fine examples of Yaupon Holly Bonsai. Roy has a bunch of these little guys and they look great as small to medium Bonsai. I fell in love with them so I just had to get one.
I bought a 3 gallon Shimpaku Juniper for $45, a 1 gallon Yaupon Holly for $30, and a bag of All Purpose slow release granule Fertilizer 12-12-12 fertilizer for $8. Roy told me to put two teaspoons every 2 months for the 3 gallon juniper and 1 teaspoon for the Yaupon Holly every two months. The visit was very pleasant andI will definitely make an effort to come to his class sometime soon.

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