Friday, July 29, 2011

Jim Barrett

I recently made a trip to the West Coast and was able to squeeze in a few nursery stops. Since life largely revolves around traffic in L.A., I wasn’t sure what to expect as I began my trek, but after an anxiety-tinged commute from Costa Mesa to the L.A. area, I finally made it to Jim Barrett’s place in Arcadia. It was a muggy, hot day, but the air was relatively clear, so I was continually distracted by the mountain range to the north of Arcadia. As I pulled on to Jim’s street, I noticed a beautifully styled pine near the street’s edge. It was a Japanese Black Pine that Jim has been training for a number of years, accented by Black Mondo Grass.


As I pulled up in front of Jim’s house, I noticed a massive Ginkgo, but the base was gnarly and it had a different form than the mature Ginkgo’s lining the street in downtown Lincoln. It was a Chi Chi cultivar that Jim has grown from a cutting since the ‘60’s. The growths that develop, called Chi Chi, from the main trunk can also be seen on other Ginkgo cultivars once they reach a certain age, so the ‘Chi Chi’ cultivar is known more for its distinct growth habit – producing a large number of main and secondary branches, which is unusual for Ginkgo. Also, it does sport smaller leaf, making it ideal for bonsai.


Jim recently decided to part with this Twisted Trunk Pomegranate (more about these in a future post) and was discussing the purchase with a potential buyer over the phone. 

After viewing his collection and the stock Jim had for sale, I made it into his pottery shed, which featured a number of his own designs, but also a nice collection of Chinese and Japanese pottery. This page from the Brandywine Bonsai Society’s site shows the variance in Jim's pottery. The rest of the afternoon was spent viewing his pottery catalog and discussing bonsai over a cold beer.  Perfect.  Check out the rest of the photos...

Sunday, February 27, 2011


This Japanese Apricot came to me via Luigi Trapani of Southeast Bonsai Studio. Of all the diligently refined trees sitting on Luigi's bench, this one really communicated to me. During one of our trimming sessions, Luigi kindly allowed me to work it. I ended up leaving Savannah with it after parting with some of my nice J. maple stock. I've determined that it could have two fronts, so I plan on moving it to a round container when it begins to break dormancy. Still looking for that right container. It is a pink blooming cultivar, but I have not exposed the tree to warm enough temps to induce blooming.

I like the angle on this first photo...