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  • Writer's pictureTom Lau

GSBF Convention Tribute to Mountain Goat aka Mr. California Juniper aka the late Harry Hirao

I'm still shocked to see how much Harry has impacted our bonsai lives. Many have gone rock collecting or California Juniper collecting with him. I'm a rare person that has never collecting with Harry. But, I did have a chance to talk to him one on one on several ocassions. But all conservations revolved around Junipers or Eel River.

I did have the opportunity to visit his personal home when he was still alive. I was surprised to see the depth of California Juniper in my life! From his collection of stones and junipers this man had a single vision and it worked. Many people can not say they gave somthing that Harry has never owned. But, I am in that rare catagory. I'm was able to give Harry his very first coprolite! Thats right dinosaur poop! You should have seen the smile and laugh I got out of him.

Kathy Benson put a small tribute of a tree Harry donated to the Huntington with some help with Ann Erb. The "display" was to invoke the high desert of Jawbone Canyon where this tree was once living for hundreds of years.

Cheryl Manning also put a small tribute of Harry's tools on display. What was amazing was to see photos of Harry carrying a California Juniper strapped to his back in his golden years of collecting. If you know Harry its go big or no "Master Piece" for you.

Finally, I made a shaky version of Cheryl Manning's video tribute at the GSBF Convention Saturday Dinner. Thank you Harry for everything you have done for California bonsai and your legacy will continue for many generations.

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