A Little Homegrown Inspiration

Bonsai is a blend of imagination, horticulture, and technique.  The imagination factor should not be underestimated as it is necessary to create a convincing bonsai.  We all need a little inspiration sometimes.  Here’s some that you can find in New Jersey.  Some of these trees you can visit, others are no-longer growing but live on through memories and photos.  Enjoy!

The Mercer Oak

This tree was standing in Princeton when we were at war with the British, and there it remained for 300 some years.  It was blown over in a windstorm in 2000 but the photos capture its essence.  According to Wikipedia:

“The Mercer Oak was a large white oak tree that stood in Princeton Battlefield State Park in Princeton Township, New Jersey. The tree was about 300 years old when it was torn by strong winds in March 2000. It is the emblem of Princeton Township and appears on the seal of the township. The tree is also the key element of the seal of Mercer County, New Jersey.

The Mercer Oak was named after Hugh Mercer, a brigadier general in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. During the Battle of Princeton, Mercer was stabbed by an English soldier’s bayonet. According to legend, he was unwilling to abandon his troops, and rested on the tree’s trunk while they stood their ground. After the battle, Mercer was taken to the Clarke House where he died from his injuries nine days later.

On March 3, 2000, a wind storm felled the oak’s last four branches. For public safety reasons, arborists cut off the remnants of the trunk the day after the tree fell. Following the tree’s death, several scions from the tree were planted around the battlefield. In May 2000, an 8-foot sapling grown from a Mercer Oak acorn was planted inside the stump of the former tree.”

The Clement Oak

This White Oak of over 400 years has been a site of Indian tribal rituals, signing of treaties, and the landing spot of the first manned flight in America.

The Council Oak

Treaties purchasing land (Bound Brook) from the Indians were signed under this tree in 1681.

The Indian King Tree

This Sycamore serves as the final resting place to an Indian Chief.  It is located in Burlington County.

The Keeler Oak

This White Oak was so loved that one man asked to have his grave lined with its leaves upon his death.

The Washington Walnut

George Washington used to hitch his horse to an iron ring in the trunk of this tree.

Some more in New Jersey that we couldn’t find pictures for…

Although looking to other bonsai is a great way to learn how techniques are carried out, old trees are a better source of artistic inspiration.  So where do you get yours?