Western Hemlock

I am on superlative overload. How does one write about the quality of trees at the Bay Island Bonsai exhibit without repeating one’s self? Let’s start with a few of the better known trees:

Scott Elser’s western hemlock:

It’s easy to see why this tree won the “Best Conifer” award at the National Exhibition. Its naturalness and verdant growth play well against the design Scott chose for it. Incredibly, he tells me that it’s only been in actual styling development for a couple of years. He collected it about 15 years ago from a roadside cut, and has done wonderful work with it in the last few years. It’s a softer style than one that’s “cherried out” with every shoot wired within an inch of its life.

Notice also the frame Scott came up with to hang his scroll. When there is no good way to secure a scroll in a display, this is an elegant and simple method that looks wonderful with the tree. Here’s a pic of Scott with his tree. Way to go, Scott!

Finally, here’s a bit of a closer view of the tree. Scott tells me the judges in Rochester like the slightly wilder look of the foliage over something that would have been too groomed.

I do feel very fortunate to be associated with people like Scott Elser. It’s always a pleasure to see him when I get out that way.

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