In this post I am going to show you the collection of a client we have who lives in Gunma. Gunma is located about an hour southeast of Nagano. The first half of these pictures were taken last fall. We had made a trip to clean old needles from his pine trees and a general cleaning of any weedy pots. The second half of the pictures were taken in mid February. We had made that trip to deliver a few trees and do some work on a few of his juniper trees, but it snowed and…well you’ll see.
These trees sat under a covered area toward the side of the house. Gunma has very hot summers so many of the smaller and deciduous bonsai are kept in the shade during these hot days.
When this client decided to build his garden, Oyakata assisted him in creating the layout. Its is very cool to see gardens like this as it gives me ideas about how I will design my garden once I return to America. Many houses here in Japan take pride in the layout and beauty of their yards. You typically don’t see large areas of grassy lawns as you do in America. I find myself snapping pictures as I walk around town of cool features and design ideas I find appealing.
Though most of this collection is made up of white pines, red pines and junipers, there are a handful of deciduous bonsai such as this chinese quince.
And then there was Winter….
On this day we woke up early to make our way to Gunma to do some work at the clients garden. On our way there it began to snow. When we got to Gunma we found about a foot of snow had fallen.
So our work that day went from cleaning up bonsai to cleaning snow off bonsai. We used brooms to knock the majority of the snow off the trees then our hands to get as much of the rest off as we could. We were to use our bare hands as to best protect the trees from damage and by the second tree, I couldn’t feel my hands. It took about 30 minutes to clean most of the snow off and then we were finished for the day.
As we were about to get onto the interstate and head back to Obuse, we found that they had closed the road heading north, the way we needed to go.
The interstate to the south wasn’t closed so we decided to head that way for a few exits then get off and make our way back on the back roads. The road was closed beginning at the exit were at and a line of traffic had built up to the south for a few miles.
The interstate roads were not too dangerous, but when we got off the main roads and onto a small winding road up the side of a mountain, my adrenaline was pumping…
Oyakata was fishtailing up this mountain road. He has lived with these type of conditions for most of his life and it showed. We were speeding up this road and I’m not sure if it was because he was afraid of stopping and getting stuck or he was having too much fun…by his many evil chuckles, I think he was having fun!
By mid afternoon we had made it back to Obuse safely. It was a fun day seeing the countryside covered in snow from the inside of our van coffee in hand and not a broom. But with all this snow there was one thing in the back of my head the entire day…wish I had my snowboard!
Thanks for reading!