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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mr. Uchi, the Uyeki-ya-san*

Aloha Everyone,

My Mother loves her garden. To say that she has "green thumbs" maybe an understatement. She is passionate about caring for the garden and she finds her spiritual sanctuary among the flowers. 

Pines are a favorite and they are also considered important in Japanese gardens. A midsize pine could cost $6,000 to $10,000 from a nursery.

Mr. Uchi was first introduced to my Mother through a mutual friend. Mr. Uchi later contacted my Mother and offered to help her in pruning and caring for the pine trees. Uyekiya is a specialist and in high.demand. Mr. Uchi drops by about twice a year unannounced to take care of 6 pine trees. For his service, Mr. Uchi presents my Mother a bill for $100 each. He can finish 2 or 3 in a single day or spend an entire day working on just one.

This soft spoken man said that he has been doing this line of work for over 40 years  Pines have their own growth patterns, according to him, and differ greatly from other species. Each tree is also unique. 

Understanding the growth pattern is paramount before successfully designing and pruning. Sometimes wires are used to make branches grow in a certain way.

Mr. Uchi was happy to have an audience and farther explained to me that usually pine needles begin to turn yellow and die within 2-3 years. Using his gloved hand and a small pruning shears, Nr. Uchi climbed a 10 ft ladder and pruned here and there and picked dried pine needles like he was touching the surface of something delicate. Unlike a gardener who trims branches with a power saw, Mr. Uchi does his work gently, one cluster at a time.

Aloha -- Cathi