Since retirement I have a new tradition of my own. I make sure I’m not in Northern Ireland on the 12th July. Some will know what I’m talking about, for those who don’t, please google, I’m not wasting my time typing it out. I’m glad I got away on the 11th THIS is what happened in my home town on the 11th night
Anyway, I escaped to the far end on Ireland, to my friend Mark’s place. Mark has a great bonsai collection but the main purpose of our trip was to relax and both Mark and Val know how to do that well 🙂 Here’s a gallery of the photos I took, all with my phone. They show my continuing fascination with graveyards (sorry) and where taken in Cobh (pronounced Cove for the uninitiated) Ballycotton, West Cork and Lismore Castle in Tipperary. Some nice inspirational trees in there as well of course.
Last weekend I was invited as a guest of Munster Bonsai Club to attend the Peter Warren two day workshop hosted by the Cuan Mhuire Garden Centre in Bruree. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to watch and listen to Peter at work so popped down to road to Limerick to see the action. Peter flies under the radar in the bonsai world, a self confessed self deprecating personality with a unique but practical approach to bonsai cultivation and design, always putting the tree first over the owner. A true tree lover, you could almost call it Budan love 😉
We had two glorious days in the Limerick sunshine and even had to move outside to stop melting at one point. With 6-7 participants each day and a few added observers we had a pretty full house. It was great to meet up with a few people who to date I’d only texted with prior. More bonsai friendship in action, what it’s all about and makes for a fun weekend.
Congratulations to Munster Bonsai, especially Mark and Michael for organising and hosting the weekend. Your club continues to push bonsai learning and September marks 5 years from the point where we started this journey together in a Hurling Club in Cork. A long way in a short time.
Below is a gallery of some of the photos taken included before and after pics for the overly curious and many shots capturing the days activity. Some are a little out of order but you’ll figure it out.
Of all the places I have EVER been, Crater Lake is the most magical I have ever seen. There. That’s a bold statement. I’ve seen some nice spots in my time on this planet but there was something about this place that was magical, spiritual, call it what you will, but it left both of us in true awe at the sight of the place. It helped than there wasn’t to many other people about. It wasn’t hard to wander off along the rim and find a quiet spot were not a single sound of humans could be heard.
It’s the deepest lake in the United Sates and was formed 7700 years ago. The local Indian tribe treated it as a religious site and only people of wisdom were allowed to view it. That’s obviously stopped if I was there, but I take their point. It’s special.
The views as you see are truly stunning and even though I was only able to visit a small portion of the rim due to snow, it was spectacular to see it in this rugged condition. I will be back in the future to ride that rim, all 33 miles of it.
The trees, Mountain Hemlock and Limber Pine were showing every bit of the tough conditions they have to survive in. I stood for a long time studying the deadwood and taking inspiration from natures shaping of these old characters. Surely Mountain Hemlock should be utilised more for bonsai?
I have probably overdone the gallery yet again, but what could I leave out!
Having seen Sequoiadendron Giganteum I was keen to see the best of the Sequoia Sempervirens or Coastal Redwood. This meant taking a bit of a detour between Redding and Klamath Falls. We left Redding and headed west through some beautiful country in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest dropping down into Redwood National and State Parks. Stunning views along the way and even the roadworks at a landslide on the 199 didn’t bother us as we got to stop and see a stunning river gorge.
Our first stop proper was the Lady Bird Johnston Grove of Redwoods. A compact walk through old growth Redwoods with loads of character and a quiet spot with very few tourists about. We were able to stroll through and take it all in. Another one of those special moments on our trip.
We then moved on to Prairie Creek, home of the BIG Redwoods which were a treat to behold. I had a stiff neck the next day, and no wonder, after staring skyward for long periods of the day.
Photos just don’t capture the immenseness of these trees. It nearly takes you to have someone standing in each photo to help capture the scale of what you are seeing. These trees are survivors with many showing signs of fire damage. The deadwood in many places was as exciting to view as the living.
I’ve added some wildlife pics and coastal shots too. A coastline that doesn’t get talked about very much but stunning. I’ve tried to make the images run chronologically but they may be mixed here and there with some from the camera and some from my phone. Enjoy. Next up is Crater Lake, probably my favourite piece of America so far, and that’s saying something.
When I was planning this trip of a lifetime I was in contact with many people about the best places to stop to see old growth trees. I managed to see most of them with a few escaping until the next trip of a lifetime. 🙂 One of my pointers was from Ryan Neil who said I HAD to make it to Point Lobos State Park for the Monterrey Cypress. Boy was he right! The Allan Grove in the Park is a magical place to walk and the photos just don’t do the wonder of the place justice. It’s a quiet spot, not to many people there on the paths so at many points you were on your own and able to soak it all in. The trees really tell a story of life on that coast with deadwood and character in abundance. Some amazing wild flowers and coastline as well, a great accent for the trees. Interesting to see the rust fungus on so many of the Cypress.
Now, the other place, which officially is called ‘the 17 mile drive’, is a, you guessed it, a 17 mile private road around the headland at Monterrey over looking the sea and Pebble Beach Golf Course. You pay $10 for the privilege of taking this drive and getting to see the famous Lone Cypress on the rock and the Ghost tree. As a tree person I found the lone tree a bit disappointing after Point Lobos and the Ghost tree was a dead one nearby. There were literally hundreds of better Cypress across the Bay at Point Lobos and entry to the State Park was also $10. The park also offers up much more in the way of scenery. So there you go, tourist tip of the day. Photos of all below. Some general shots from the park as well showing the coast and the Sealions on the rocks. I’ll put the Lone tree last for you to compare.
Came across this Beech tree on my travels near Cahir Ireland. It may be a ‘Middle of the Road’ Tree, but it’s a beauty. Sadly probably not long left alive in this world. Some nice block work is helping though.