I recently went for a weekend excursion to the southern reaches of the state of Jefferson. (never hear of it?!?) On the recommendation of a friend I was there looking into the river stones, amid having some fun hiking and playing in the water. Camping is a great time for me and mixing it with something that goes with bonsai makes it amazing.
Following formulating my thoughts on the successes and failures of past root over rock compositions I decided that collecting some stones specifically for the purpose would be better than relying on the paltry selection of stones that I found either in a stone yard or around my yard. Both the stones I have around and the ones at the stone yard are not specifically selected for bonsai use and thus produce a less than optimal results. The Lava stones have too regular a texture and minimal color variation; The Napa field stone, a basalt, look almost as dull and uninteresting as a piece of sandstone.
The Salmon river, what some call the “Cal Salmon” (since there seems to be a salmon river in almost every western state) is a nice river, if a bit remote compared to my normal habitat. I grew up in rural Mendocino county, which for better or worse is still in California, not Jefferson. I spent a lot of time throwing river stones around in my youth, but there seem to be a better variety on the Salmon river than where I was as a kid. While hunting and playing I gazed at the surrounding hills and noticed some made of granite while others are made of darker stones. There really is a remarkable variety. The Marble Mountain Wilderness nearby is named for a large outcropping of marble and the geology is diverse across a small cross-section of the land.
So, on to the stones. First, four sides of a stone that is about 7 inches high. The shape is good if not ideal; I like the color pattern; and the overall size is about right for a medium-size tree. So how to plant a tree on this stone?
I collected about twenty stones, ranging in size from just an inch up to about 15 inches across. We’ll see if I can get them all stuck to a tree. If only making the tree were as quick as finding the stone and drawing a possible design.