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I have recently had the pleasure making the acquaintance of Norwegian bonsai enthusiast Jan Olav Olsson. Jan is relatively new to bonsai but is already making great strides with his bonsai collection and making his own bonsai pots.
Jan has been collecting Pines in the Norwegian mountains for the past 18 months and has kindly allowed me to show some of his inspiring collecting images here at Bonsai4me.com.
The specific location of the mountains in Norway where Jan goes hunting and collecting yamadori, are of course a closely-guarded secret. Not only is permission required to collect trees in these areas (that are often protected by gun-carrying landowners!) And there is a need to protect these areas from 'bonsai tourists'; ill-equipped and inexperienced enthusiasts, traveling to mountainous areas on a day trip to rip trees out of the ground without thought or care for the tree, its survival or the surrounding environment.
The Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) found growing in the mountains are often many decades and even centuries -old and exist in a harsh environment where growth is slow.
Jan tells me that there is not a lot of snow these days but the winds that blow across the mountains can be very harsh. Jan's grandfather remembers that in the past, the mountains were colder, there was a lot more snow and the winters were longer.
Most of these Pines have such slow growth rates that even after a century or more, they may only reach a matter of a metre or less in height. Many feature natural deadwood (jin and shari) where the combined forces of wind and snow have damaged trunks and branches. Jan has been walking these mountains since he was a child and has of course become very familiar with these harsh but breathtaking landscapes.