Return to the Bonsai

We went to the Hidden Lake Garden in the Irish Hills section of lower Michigan with two primary intentions; to visit the bonsai display behind the Observatories and to have a picnic lunch. Thursday was the best day for us (no doctor/dentist appointment that day) and what a lucky choice that was as it is the day that the volunteers come in to prune and care for the bonsai trees.

The gentleman above was shortening/pruning the “candles” from this evergreen to slow growth and maintain shape. We made a quick duck behind some fencing to take a look at the plants they hold in reserve for rotation to the display. There were a couple of specimens that showed me what they look like before pruning.

My last post was of photos taken of this bonsai exhibit back in 2017 and I posted this next photo stating I didn’t have any information but thought it is an apple tree.

It is an apple tree, first potted in 1969 and at that time it was estimated to be 11 years old and a volunteer provided me the “rest of the story.” It was started by a farmer who potted it from his orchard and it bears apples about the size of a golf ball. If you look close you can see the fruit forming on the plant that was just past blooming at this visit.

There were at least six volunteers working, moving smaller plants into their work garage for trimming. They worked with great concentration, taking each snip very seriously although they were very eager to chat and answer questions.

Besides getting an inside look at operations, I also focused on taking photographs of trees I hadn’t previously seen because of the rotation of exhibits and collecting identifying information in anticipation of writing this post.

The above gallery of photos are the ones I found most interesting on this visit. You can see bigger photos and get information by clicking on any of the photos.

I think this post is a good one for the Lens-Artist Challenge #149: Cool Colours – Blue & Green. Not only is the foliage of most of these bonsai plants green (or mostly green) but I think this would be a really “Cool” hobby for someone a bit younger than I am. My part in bonsai growing will be as the appreciative spectator.


I have so many files of photographs that need to be culled of “just-bad-photos” and the remaining photos tagged so they don’t get lost forever. This morning I decided to do just one file and post a photo or two from that file. That’s all. I can do it.

I didn’t go way back to where I used a different filing system (Lightroom catalogs took a long time to figure out), I went to 2017 to pick up where I left off when I was last in file-cleaning mood. That file was from Hidden Lake Garden in southern Michigan but I didn’t want to post spring woodland photos from there from 2017 because Jim and I have planned a picnic trip there tomorrow. But I went ahead and cleaned out the file that had a surprise at the very end – photos of their bonsai collection.

The one above is a Shimpaku Juniper and is over 100 years old. I love pruning shrubs but it would stress my mental well-being to make me wait 100 years to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I wonder how many owners this has had.

I didn’t photograph information about his one but I vaguely remember that this is a flowering apple. I found it quite amazing – maybe I will be able to get information about it tomorrow.

These are American Larch that were first planted in 2003 and were 3 years old at that time. I took photos from different perspectives but really love this one because I feel like I’m looking into a mountain forest.

This is a Cameo Flowering Quince that was potted in 2001 when it was 4 years old.

I think this is amazing – and I hope I’ll be able to find information tomorrow.

This is a Cotoneaster in bud, potted in 2003 when it was 26 years old.

I think Jim would enjoy visiting the bonsai display and I would love to get information on the ones I hadn’t back then and take photos of some of the ones I passed by back in 2017. Back then I used my 55-200 mm with photos taken at 55mm – tomorrow I’ll use my 50 mm lens.