Fifth Annual Japanese Pruning Workshop Provides Lessons with Visual Delights

Posted in Feature, Gardens, More Stories

Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
May 6, 2015

The Northwest Language Academy presented their Fifth Annual Japanese Pruning Workshop with Masa Mizuno at a home on The Headlands in Clinton, the south end of Whidbey Island, this past weekend.

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Josette Hendrix and Masa Mizuno

NWLA director and founder Josette Hendrix welcomed 40 guests to the workshop and introduced Masa Mizuno, a Master Gardener who is past Landscape Director of the famed Japanese Garden in Portland, owner of Masa and Associates and a consultant to many fine gardens throughout the Northwest. Josette explained that NWLA seminars, through cultural enrichment, “make it possible for the local community to become residents of the larger global community.”

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Masa approached a healthy, but awkward, Japanese Black Pine that had encircled and camouflaged an interesting large rock. He startled onlookers with the decisive first cut. “Now that we have begun, the rest will be easy,” he said.

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After he reshaped the tree, he and assistant Sam Hendrix relocated the one-thousand pound boulder with a tripod and a block and tackle.

The result? Outdoor in-ground Bonsai!

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He then approached a wild and wooly Contorted Larch that had grown like a lanky teenager. After pondering its shape he applied the tools of his trade and gave the tree its first haircut, chatting amiably all the while, explaining how it should fit the landscape.

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Masa invited Zina Sangarova, from Shoreline, to help clip the larch.

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Zina Sangarova, from Shoreline assisted in clipping a larch.


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A gumdrop-shaped weeping maple was the next target. He discovered the internal structure of the bush, trimmed foliage and exposed the hidden tree within.

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Attendees enjoyed a Japanese lunch on the sundrenched deck with salmon, shrimp, sushi, seaweed salad, soba, grapefruit ice cream and green tea “matcha” shortbread cookies.

9.Blue Heron, Maxwelton Beach

Proceeds from the seminar and a silent auction of this image of a Blue Heron taking flight from Maxwelton Beach, donated by event photographer David Welton, will provide scholarships for children to attend NWLA language immersion summer camps.

Image at top: Masa considering a Contorted Larch that had grown like a lanky teenager.

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David Welton is a retired physician and staff photographer for Whidbey Life magazine. He thinks and processes information visually and, therefore, (he says) is a man of few words with limited verbal communication skills.


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