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  • Tom Lau

Roy Nagatoshi Master Artist of October


We had Roy Nagatoshi owner of Fuji Bonsai Nursery in Sylmar be our guest demonstrator of the month of October. Roy showed us how to get from raw collected tree to possible show tree by grafting. We had a small group this month due to the overlapping GSBF Convention going on in Sacramento the same Thursday. We still had a good turn out of people even with the convention running at the same time.

Roy started the club meeting with some bad news. He does like to drive in the rain and it started to sprinkle around his nursery. He was about to cancel for the night but, trooped on despite precipitation in the air. But, in his haste in escaping his nursery. He had left his box of tools and wire at the nursery while loading everything else for the meeting. Lucky, Lindsay brought his bonsai toolbox to save the day.

Roy started the meeting with a bit of a background of who he was and how he got into this art form. Roy explains he is a 3rd generation Japanese nurserymen and was born in the United States but grew up in Japan until the age of 13. Which puts Nagatoshi-san into some unique abilities. Roy can speak, write and read in Japanese. Which gives him total insight of Japanese written literature on Bonsai. Also having the ability to speak fluent Japanese helps Roy converse with other Bonsai Artists from Japan.

Tonight's victim or better known as the star of the show was this collected California Juniper by Harry Hairo.

Tree was grafted by Roy in 2014 using the approach graft method. You can see the scion pot in the picture above.

Upclose of the union point of the grafted.

Roy starts to remove all the native foliage of the California Juniper. Usually, this is done when the scion from the graft has taken and gives the graft branch to be the dominant leader of the tree.

Roy continues to clean up all branches not used in the overall appearance of the tree. He also removes any crotch and native foliage has he clears the main trunk. You can see on his face he enjoy's this part. As Nagatoshi-san says, "its not my tree!"

All the other branches not used in the overall design are jin or sharied. Above, Roy starts the jinning process of one of those branches he removed.

He is a picture of Alex (Roy's Right Hand Man at his Nursery). The audience comes up for a close up look of the work so far. All the nongrafted live branches were removed so far.

Roy goes on and explains that this is as far he can take this tree today. At most demonstration, the tree is given its first styling. Roy explains, we already stressed the tree today and it does not need any more stress in its life so far. Roy's goal is to let the main branch grow wildly for about 2-3 years to get some length on that main branch. This 2-3 year waiting period will do couple of things. 1) Improve the stats of the tree. 2) Letting the branch lengthening for easier styling. 3) Winter is approaching and the tree will slow down for dormance soon.

Roy realized that this is not the front of the tree after stripping down the tree to the graft. Roy explains that yes the main tree is obvious but the root and the jins in this current position is just plain boring and uninspiring.

Roy turns it 180 degrees and shows off the true front of the tree. He continues to explain that this side has a better nebari and the jins look really good from this side. Also, the graft has a slightly forward bend where he had planned the movement of the apex of the graft from the beginning. The tree was not raffled off as it was Big Joe's tree to begin with. But, Roy did bring a Brazilian Raintree that he donated to this month's raffle.

The winner of the Brazilian Raintree was Debbie Jigamian as Roy as renamed the "Spy".

#RoyNagatoshi #CaliforniaJuniper #clubmeeting

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