Shore Pine Yamadori Availablity

Here are some Pinus contorta contorta that are available;



Single trunk very old Literati – $400 30″ tall wide root base



Nice thick base very old and twisted $300″ tall



Nice twisted old Shore Pine – 3 gallon pot 20″ tall – $150




Another Shohin Literati – corky bark  1 gallon container – $150












Very Large Shore PIne in a 10 gallon container the base is 8″ across $1500 height is about 24″



Jack Knox: The difficult life of Bonsai Bob


Now that he is dead, apparently by his own hand, you wonder if Bob Deryk — Bonsai Bob — just couldn’t stand the idea of going to prison, of losing his wilderness home.

A childhood in a Japanese concentration camp had left him with a lifelong fear of being locked up again. The experience shaped his life, and brought him to the unfenced, uncrowded refuge he carved out of the forest beside the Sooke River almost 20 years ago.

His body was found just a stone’s throw from his cabin on the weekend, less than two weeks after it was learned he had, at age 74, been charged with sexually assaulting two minors.

News of his arrest bewildered some of his friends and outraged others. “He was a popular man in the community,” Staff Sgt. Stephen Wright, the head of the Sooke RCMP detachment, said Monday.

In truth, without knowing more about the case — privacy rules prevent police from saying much — it’s hard to either defend or condemn Deryk.

What is known is that his story had a sad start and a sad end. He told the tale seven years ago, surrounded by the hundreds of bonsai trees that gave him his nickname.

He was just three years old when the Japanese invaded Indonesia in 1942, rumbling down the road in trucks into which the confused Dutch colonials were herded.

Males over 14 were stuffed in one camp, women and children in another. Deryk, his brother and mother ended up in a sealed-off corner of Jakarta, six families to a house.

They almost starved, mostly ate mung beans. Without medicine, beriberi, dysentery and other diseases were rampant. “My mom said six more months and we would have died.”

Every day at noon, the prisoners were herded into the square to stand and bow before the commandant (later executed as a war criminal) in the scorching sun. Sometimes, the guards would keep the women and children standing all night, seemingly on a whim. Sometimes a woman would be forced to bunny hop along the line of prisoners, and, prodded by rifle butts, keep on bunny hopping until she dropped from exhaustion. Then the guards would beat her to death. “They did horrible things. The women were beaten left and right.”

Deryk said the experience left him, and the other survivors, scarred. “We’re known as the Forgotten Ones,” he said. “We’re all totally screwed up.”

Even at his Sooke Potholes cabin, he kept a bag packed with essentials, just in case he needed to flee again. “We all live with a little suitcase in a corner of the room,” he said. “I’m always looking down the road, wondering: ‘Are they coming to get me today?’”

Deryk immigrated to Canada in 1957, ending up in Victoria as the gardener at Fable Cottage before it was barged off to Denman Island in 1993. In 1994, he came to the Sooke Potholes, where then-owner Albert Yuen wanted him to grow food for the lodge Yuen was building there. Deertrails lodge was never finished — towering stone chimneys are all that remain of that dream — but Deryk remained in the nearby cabin, which he gradually transformed from a dilapidated shack into a rustic idyll, albeit one with no electricity or running water. He stayed on as caretaker after The Land Conservancy bought the property.

He also patiently tended the hundreds of bonsai trees (“living art,” he called them) that brought a fame he didn’t really want. Deryk was private — though hardly a hermit, those who knew him say. It was hard to remain reclusive with all those boots tromping through Sooke Potholes regional park.

In a grim aside to a grim story, Sooke RCMP were told Sunday night that someone had stolen some bonsai trees from the property. That was just a day after a friend found Deryk’s body in a barn-sized CRD shed near the cabin — a home he had stood to lose.

He had been reported missing last Tuesday, prompting a search that included more than 50 people on the ground, an RCMP helicopter, Mountie divers and the Cowichan Valley swift water rescue team, among others. The sprawling structure in which Deryk’s body was found had been among the first sites searched by a police dog.

Deryk had disappeared days after police issued a statement saying he had been charged in relation to incidents last September involving children who were 12 and 13 at the time. The RCMP were looking to see if other complainants wanted to come forward. Wright said Monday the investigation remains open.

For Bonsai Bob, though, it’s all over. “It’s a sad ending,” Wright said.

© Copyright 2013 Times Colonist

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Final Collecting for the Year


DSC_1839A tree that called out to be collected – I had to cut off all of the lower branches – almost slipped off the cliff doing it. It was a ways down to the bottomDSC_1844All the branches cut away dug loose and ready to haul back to my truck.DSC_1843IMG_1465IMG_1466It is a double trunk but I might try a ground layer on the smaller trunk instead of cutting it off right away.IMG_1483IMG_1480I got lucky and found a smaller tree with a very large base trunkIMG_1477IMG_1476IMG_1479IMG_1468Final Collecting for the YearIMG_1457I decided to collect this large tree after seeing it for the last 15 years. I swear I heard a voice saying – please take me please. So I took the tree home.IMG_1475At home heeled in fish compostIMG_1463A double trunk I collected

October Collecting


Image 2A group of us got together to go collecting for Pinus contorta contorta (Shore PIne) Left to right Mark Patterson, Peter Woodland, Teague (Victoria) Gordon Cowen (Nanaimo) Peter Wilson and myself on the end (Campbell River). A very fun day for all of us. All pictures courtesy of Mark PattersonImage 7Me checking out the roots of a nice Pine – Teague was watching but posed for the shot.Image 1ImageTree was growing in a pocket in the rocks, I exposed the edges of the roots and then found the best leverage point to pop the tree out of the pocket.Image 5Done got the tree out with plenty of small surface roots.Image 4Rootball tightly wrapped in shrink wrap and with bunji cords strapped to my very old Trapper Nelson back pack. My roll of shrink wrap slides nicely over my digging shovel. What you see is all have for collecting secatuers and a small folding Silky Saw in my pocket. Stanfields wool overshirt Nylon pants if they get wet they dry out quickly jeans stay wet all day. Good pair of MEC boots and a wool toque.Image 3Peter Woodland pulling out a nice pine.
IMG_1434Fall Yamadori hunting in October presents a few problems I went out yesterday collecting in the sub-alpine. A week ago there was 4 inches of snow which melted when we had a change in weather. I left home on a sunny no cloud morning but upon reaching the higher elevations was fog and wind.IMG_1435The wind was so cold that all the trees had ice on the foliage on the windward side.IMG_1436I cut back some branches on this one so I can the trunkIMG_1438Flat sprawled out Mt Hemlock, something I would ignore in the past but….IMG_1439View from the sideIMG_1440Secatuers showing some scaleIMG_1442There is a decent sized trunk in there somewhere. This tree in a few years will make fairly decent Shohin after cutting back a lot of the branches.IMG_1443Here is the tree dug out and a lot of small branches taken away. As you can see it has a nice thick trunk. It was growing over a rock so the root mass is spread out and in the future (2 to 3 years) I will be able to expose the nebari and have a decent Shohin tree ( less than 12″ tall) IMG_1445If you look closely you can see Sam sitting on the rock on guard watching over me. We did run into a black bear earlier he was foraging on the remaining blueberries

Pine and Hemlock collecting


Here is Peter Wislon on the edge of a cliff checking out a tree in the pouring rain. It’s a 1500 foot drop staight downIMG_1391IMG_1394IMG_1398IMG_1392A few trees that were collected on the weekend these were the larger onesIMG_1364

Sometimes you can get a great view when out searching for new areas to collect  trees from.IMG_1373

Sam and Ernie checking out the view. Steep steep straight down it is.IMG_1356

Nice Pinus contorta contortaIMG_1357

Whew got it in the truck nice base I will heel it in at home and wait a year or two for the tree to recover.IMG_1378

Panorama shot of Buttle Lake


 Just resting and watching me dig a treeDSC_1801A few collected
IMG_1310 A few in the truck at home


One large one I collectedDSC_1828

My methods of heeling in newly collected trees

The following is how I prepare newly collected trees to succeed in survival and regrow new roots

I use a layer of fish compost (fir bark composted with fish offal) which has an NPK of 1-1-1 but is always at 1-1-1 due to aerobic bacteria breaking down the carbon in the mulch. The mulch also contains available iron, calcium and other micro elements. I put down a ground cloth that is permeable first and then add the compost then place the newly collected tree on top of the mulch.

IMG_1277I carefully cut away the shrink wrapping from the root ball trying to keep all the soil intact as much as possible

IMG_1278I twist the rootball into the mulch to help remove any air pockets.

IMG_1280Filling in under neath – no air pockets

IMG_1288Adding mulch along the sides and placing 2 to 3 inches on the top of the trees.


All done – these trees will be left alone all of this year and all of 2014. What happens now is that roots will start to grow into the fish compost mostly fine feeder roots. Depending on where I collected the trees my survival rates is 100% on bedrock collected trees and  75% or more on bog collected trees (bog trees have a limited root system)


Building my Studio

New floor boards added to floor joists

New floor boards added to floor joists

I started on my studio – I started a tad too late in the season and hope that monsoon season does not come early this year. My pooches are sitting in the warm sun. I decided that the most economical size would be a 16 ft by 20 ft studio and this would fit nicely behind our house.

IMG_1022Floor  and one wall is up and one wall ready to prop up.

All the lumber I will be using is custom cut by CFC Lumber in Campbell River – I should of taken a picture of the logs they used. The structural pieces of lumber are all rough cut Douglas Fir, studs, joists trusses are Doug Fir 2×6 rough cut the flooring shown here is 20 foot long 1″by 6″ Doug Fir boards – rough cut also.

IMG_1028All 4 walls are up and braced. I went to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore and purchased 4 used sliding glass doors for a heck of a deal.


Finally got all my roof trusses cut just need to assemble them and put them up. It looked easier than I thought – the trusses were very heavy and had to get a couple of youths to help me put them up.


Trusses are up, 1 sliding glass door is in and I started with the Red Cedar board and batten on the backside of the studio.


View of the backside of studio no windows just board and batten


Got my roof on, window and sliding doors in. Got a great deal from Nelson Roofing, they had a garage sale on surplus roofing tin. For $300 they cut the tin made me a roof cap and gave me a bag of roofing bolts.


With the roof on I can now start on finishing the outside board and batten. Nelson Roofing had a sale on fiberglass insulation at $10 a bag $100 did my entire studio.


Insulating the walls and ceilingIMG_1068I decided to put up drywall on the ceiling and walls I did not like the feeling of looking at the poly and insulation.


IMG_1092 IMG_1093 IMG_1094

Drywalled and being painted – left over paint not my choice of colors but cheap.


A jumble of wires from fluorescent lighting the lights came out of a local boxstore that got sold to Target I got all these lights ( electronic ballasts) for $70


Almost finished just need a little trim.


Gable end done with trim and all Geared Up

IMG_1111 IMG_1112 IMG_1113 IMG_1114

Inside done now I can start working on my trees.