In the fall of 2004, I was contacted by Dr. Barry Grayson who inquired about prepared bonsai stock and workshop materials as he had been asked to lead a workshop for his garden club.  Information and quotations were sent.  He quickly reserved the quantity of 4LL8-R Living Lovable Dwarf Schefflera in the "Roots" styling and we allowed them to overgrow to allow top pruning to offset roots that would be lost in the planned root-over-rock workshop. Since Christmas was approaching, I suggested considering our items as Christmas gifts with discounts based upon the combined shipment size. He took me up on the suggestion and besides the bonsai workshop plants and materials, he also purchased a Custom Collection and a number of large and smaller gift-wrapped items.

                Dr. Grayson is a joy to work with!  He can easily and comfortably handle meticulous details and he invested a lot of time to assure that his gifts would be up to his standards!  Fuku-Bonsai produces premium lava plantings that are sent with attractive plastic saucers that I designed many years ago.  We include screened lava gravel for better growth and visual appearance.  But for his special gifts, Barry wanted to personally shop and select ceramic ware to serve as containers, so one planting was sent earlier with the  giftwrapping supplies for that plant.  It helped to make his selection and the shipment was scheduled to arrive a week before Christmas.  

                Christmas is a hectic time for us, but we begin preparing early and more of our customers are ordering early as soon as our promotional emails are sent as part of the FBnews.  I asked Dr. Grayson if he would send photos of how the shipment arrived and he sent the following.

    The shipment consisted of two cartons, each 30"x20"x20" and they were delivered by FedEx on schedule. That's the Empire State Building in the background.
    To earn the lowest shipping cost, the packing of the cartons were well planned.  Carton #1 included all the workshop materials and the workshop plants. It was already getting cold and we were already using our "winter pack."  

     Newspaper, sheet foam, black plastic sheet, and more newspaper were pre-stapled together to line the sides and top of the carton.  Air is the best insulator and by trapping a lot of air, the contents are protected.

    Carton #2 included a large custom collection and large and small gift-wrapped Christmas gifts.

     When it's cold, we utilize shipping heat packs that are activated and slipped into open spaces that are also insulated, trapping the heat from the 60-hour packs.  

     The custom collection had been strapped down to a filler which had been secured to the carton.  It's been removed from the carton but is still not unwrapped with a very interested supervisor looking on.
     The custom collection unwrapped.  This choice Dwarf Schefflera has been in training since about 1980 with a high banyan crown and exceptional root-trunk.  Dr. Grayson visited us in Kurtistown many years about 1975 when the certified nursery was just starting and test marketing a wide range of plants. He purchased a Chinese Banyan that we no longer offer and other plants on other Hawaii trips including from our retailers.
      Dr. Grayson ordered some larger lava plantings for special gifts and wanted to give them with ceramic saucer-plates.  So I sent one of the larger plants earlier for him to use to shop and select his container.  The others were sent gift-wrapped and he giftwrapped the containers separately.

      It's not often that we get such special requests.  Dr. Grayson is clearly a very thoughtful gentle person who took great pains to create special gifts.  He's a joy to work with and he covers every detail.  This showed up later in his bonsai workshop.

      Another photo of the medium size Dwarf Schefflera lava planting with the ceramic saucer-plate he obtained there.
     Other Christmas gifts had been sent gift-wrapped. The larger lava plantings were in full-carton red paper wrapping with white ribbons. The small Dwarf Schefflera lava plantings with melamine saucer were in the see-through gift-wrap with ribbon. Does the observing supervisor approves of these invaders into his (her?) kingdom?
    With all of the workshop plants and supplies unwrapped,  The packing worked well and FedEx did a fine job of getting them there.  From Hawaii,  plants arrive in any part of the continental US within two days!  When necessary, we use shipping heat packs and can ship whenever temperatures in the destination area are above freezing.  By combining a custom collection purchase, Christmas gifts, and workshop packages,  Dr. Grayson earned a nice discount.  
              This background introduction to Dr. Grayson's bonsai workshop shows how we sent the items over.  There was a lot of planning.  I asked Barry if he would write a report and he graciously did!  That's Barry on the left.

***  Go to Dr. Barry Grayson's Workshop Report

                I invite those who already conduct bonsai classes or those interested and willing to teach others to contact me for introductory and on-going information and quantity rates.

          ~~~David W. Fukumoto (

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      ( This article was part of FBnew10; Spring 2005.  To receive free FBnews email notice, send your name, city, state and email address to and request being placed on the mailing list. )

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