Valley, Nevada ©1983
Yamadori are naturally dwarfed trees - "in the wild."
High Sierras, Nevada. Home of High Altitude Junipers. The valley at Reno,
Nevada is approximately 5000 feet above sea level. A small mountainous area
north of Reno, Palomino Valley, where wild mustangs roam in open range is
where some of the country's most rugged plants thrive.
High altitudes with low
oxygen content challenge plants like people, especially in over 100 degree
hot days alternating with cold desert nights in summer. Then, there is
deep snow, freezing temperatures, and biting winds crossing the Sierra Nevadas
from the West. As in the above photo, the area is rocky too, yet scrubby junipers
eek out an existence from within small pockets and fissures in hard volcanic
rock (example below). When these photos were taken, bonsai wasn't
an idea in what we were observing, but nature was; barren, broken, dry, green
needles and dead wood, undisturbed.
Dead wood when old and weathered turns a light gray to white reminiscent of
beached driftwood. The practice of bonsai utilizes this aged wood concept
to aid in the design of ancient looking trees. Likewise, any trait in a tree
that is synonymous with the aging process is copied in the making of bonsai.
The esthetic is of grace, strength, and endurance.
Inhospitable? In the flat valley floor north of Reno, everything about the
land is out of the ordinary. This is a testing ground for survival of the
fittest horticulture! Hardly any water in the surrounding hills in summer...
an occasional rain.. streams have dried back to their underground tables.
Adverse conditions cause spectacular twists, turns, and forms in trees; often
an overall effect is stunted growth or Yamadori. Some of Nevada's gnarled
trees are ancient monuments to many decades of time if not centuries. Any
naturally dwarfed tree is YAMADORI. It starts to become a bonsai
when carefully dug (often over a period of time) and planted into a transitional
container where it can recuperate from the change and have time to strengthen
before training and transfer into a bonsai pot.
left of center on the rock wall is a Juniper Yamadori. Collecting this specimen
would be a good challenge.
of small Yamadori.