Last week I made a trip Louisville, Kentucky. I had an awesome time thanks to Russell Stevens, Steve Hammel and the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society. It was a busy trip, working on a lot of trees, but it makes it all the more fun when you get to work with some nice people and talk bonsai non-stop.
I spent the first day with Russell. I wired up a Scotts pine and Ponderosa pine. We cleaned up a number of other trees and talked about his collection. Russell is a hard worker, continuing to improve his eye for design and elevate the quality of his collection. We had a free morning and afternoon the following day and he took me to Cave Hill National Cemetery. Cave Hill is a 296-acre Victorian era Cemetery and arboretum. It is the resting place for Colonel Harlan Sanders and most recently the great Muhammad Ali. It is also home to some really old trees. Russell and I spent a while wondering through the cemetery discussing horticulture as we visited some really cool trees.
Cave Hill is also home to the largest Ginko tree I have ever seen. The tree is rumored to be two centuries old.
Russell took me to meet Steve Reeves, a local potter who is making bonsai pots. We had a good conversation talking about his pots, what I typically look for in bonsai pottery and our general love for pots. Mr. Reeves was very kind and gave me a gift to take back home with me.
That evening I did a demonstration for the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society. One of the members is an owner of Against the Grain Brewery in downtown Louisville. We had a private room to ourselves and a waitress who provided beer throughout the demonstration. I was given a large San Jose juniper to work with. It was healthy and had grown long and leggy. My task was to do an initial styling, getting the bone structure of the tree set.
On Saturday was led a club workshop. It was another long, busy day working on a lot of trees. Everyone had a great time!
I spent my last day working with Steve Hammel. Steve has a discerning eye for bonsai and he too is looking to have a collection full of quality trees. I wired up a cascading ficus and a ponderosa pine. We also thinned out a few black pines and talked about branch selection, structure and overall evening the strength of the tree.
Thanks again to Russell and Steve as well as the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society for hosting me. I can't wait till my next visit!