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I'm new in this forum. But entered to share a few pictures I took this evening at the International Bonsai Exhibition and Conference here in Mysore. I am not familiar with the names and so if I can see labels in the pictures I took, you can know what it is. Otherwise, it is difficult for me. Anyway, I was seeing so many beautiful Bonsais in one place for the first time. I'm pleased to share some. Look at the lovely stem.
I just joined DG and I am somewhat surprised by the apparent lack of interest in the wonderful world of Bonsai.
It's quite amazing how much you learn about tree care (and I'm talking about big trees as well as Bonsai) once you work at manipulating trees on a small scale.
I started Bonsai 2 years ago and fell head over heels for it. Killed a couple of trees but made that up quick by dashing out and purchasing more.
It's now that time of year to trim and re-pot and get creative.
Here in San Diego the weather is good for some trees, not so good for others.
I'll post some photos soon.
Mondavid, welcome toDG! Formany of us, bonsai is a fascinating but somewhat mysterious process that intriques us to look but has not presented itself in such a way as to make us brave enough to try our hands at it.
But I have noticed with DG that if you build it they will come... If you generate the interest others are sure to be drawn back to this forum and it has the capability of becoming a vibrant and knowledgable group.
Who knows, given the right encouragement and instructions I might even get brave enough to give it a try!
Warm welcome to Mondavid. Yes I believe you are quite right about Bonsai-interest here. Bonsai is slow you know!! As for me, Bonsai is not a subject of much interest though I love to see when an opportunity comes along like this. My friend is an avid collector, but she and I rarely meet though close to homes. If she had no huge pet dogs, probably I'd have visited her more than my one visit!
Brothers & Sisters of the leaf,
what we found (my wife and I are fellow enthusiasts) is that Bonsai, in a lot of ways, is not nearly as hard or intimidating at all once you take the plunge. When you realize that these are trees and not plants i.e. they need to be outside, get lots of sun and all those things that trees in the wild get; you can make dramatic manipulations and the trees just come right back for more.
You can chop a Juniper down to a couple of main branches and it will bounce right back.
The key for us was joining the SD Bonsai Association. The club members there and at ALL bonsai clubs are extremely helpful and you can learn a lot in a very short time, plus you get leads to where to get good Tree stock.
Another great thing about the hobby is that you get to see and appreciate trees in the wild so much more, after all, that is what you're trying to do: mimic nature.
i like that suggestion and had not thought of it--i will try and find a local organization-i just frought mine inside again because it will be freezing tonight--somehow i just cannot believe it won't hurt the plant but maybe i am hurting it by taking it in whenever it gets too cold
Hi all, just joined DG's and thought I'd run my mouth a little. To Linda: Have you located Dallas Bonsai yet? I've bought lots of supplies from them in the past and they seem to have a good selection of plants, as well as an ongoing educational program. Unlike a Bonsai club, they charge money, but it could be well worth it.
To David: Its interesting that you mention a greater appreciation of trees in nature. My "better idea" (vs. better half) says that even though she doesn't pursue Bonsai, she also looks more intently at trees in nature since she's been with me. Its winter time here in Georgia and seeing the bare skeletal structures of various hardwoods is inspiring from a design standpoint.
To Dinu: Don't worry about the work-load in Bonsai. When I first got into it, I was happy to find out that one of the benefits of taking care of a couple of trees was an incredible stress reliever. After one of those *$%&@#! days, I'd get home, grab a beer and my clippers, walk out and start snipping. In about 5 minutes I was straight and level! It won't take time away from your vocation; it will improve your participation in it. Of course now that I'm semi-retired, I don't have a couple. Its more like a hundred and fifty!
Planolinda: You may not need to bring in your tree if it can handle the weather. I am going to guess that it can handle it. It may be causing more shock and stress if your beauty is being subjected to alternating hot/dry and then moist/cold.
It's a tree not a plant. Not many trees grow indoors in nature. What species is it?
Lloyd, glad to have you on board. I'm trying to get some pix of mine on line, try and beat me to it with some pix of yours.
The first day we joined the SDBA we had the incredible fortune to get invited on a dig with Harry Hirao, unquestionably a master. He is 90 yrs old and still does his own digging.
Look him up at www.geocities.com/harryhirao
what does it mean to be invited on a dig--and to do his own digging? i assume it has something to do with digging up little trees to make into bonsai but know there must be more to it-- i haven't gotten ahold of the dallas bonsai org yet because it will take me a while! i will tho! and my little tree is out again to stay--i am so new to bonsai trees and so haven't done any trimming yet--i remember the older man in karate kid doing his trimming and it did look relaxing iblloyd--i can see why you would like to come home and immerse yourself in trimming and forget your problems from work! i love that you have 150 now because i can see how that would happen--i wonder how you display that many
For us newbies I suggest a good book to start. There is so much to study and learn about the Art. I haven't found a source or organization where I can sign up locally. I have a book, that is really inspiring, and helpful on the topic.
The complete book of BONSAI, by Harry Tomlinson. Check it out. :-)
Planolinda; A "dig" as you guessed is a bunch of Bonsai-crazy people who band together, get permission from a land owner (very IMPORTANT), and go out scouering the countryside for plants that will make a good bonsai. Most of the twisted and gnarled pines and junipers you see in pictures were taken from the wild. Its an excellent source for materials. Unfortunately, the best ones were taken from areas that aren't readily accessable, like mountain ridges and peaks. For those of us not skilled in mountain climbing, we are relegated to nurseries. And nurseries make more money the bigger the plant is. The wholesale growers know this, and repot seedlings from 4" containers to quart size, usually covering up the spreading roots at the base of the nebari (where the trunk meets the ground), and then repot into 1 or 2 gal. size containers, again covering the spreading roots even further. When I go to a nursery, I take a chopstick with me, so that I can clear away the soil to expose the spreading roots to see what they look like. You want the spreading roots to be exposed in your Bonsai pot because it gives a further illusion of age. In fact, spreading roots should be the FIRST thing you consider.
With the wide majority of plants, the upper portion can be grown fairly easily, but not so with the root system. It IS possible to grow new roots through wounding and/or grafting, but its tough and time consuming. Better to start with a spreading rood system already developed.
Or start at a nursery that specializes in pre-bonsai material. But even then, I still take a chopstick along to make sure.
Guess I'm getting a little windy here, so I'll shut up. If I can answer any questions, please feel free to ask. "The only stupid question is the one that didn't get asked!"
I'm sorry about the dig thing,I left that crumb out there to see who would be intrigued by it.
A dig is an incredible thing to be exposed to. When you first get into Bonsai you see these small trees as fragile and delicate organisms but the real story is that trees have an amazing will to live.
On digs, you chop the hell out of the tree you select,otherwise you could not fit it in your car or truck to take home. A favorite tool is a cordless Sawzall, and yes as Lloyd says, you are looking for good root/trunk, which is at first, hard to understand because we are so used to looking at leaves.
A great example is Olive tree stumps that you can go dig up and re generate into wonderful trees without a whole lot of effort.
The will to live transcends a lot of mistakes we humans can make in "caring"for our trees.
You are far off better killing a tree or three than worrying too much about what your intervention can cause.
Be brave but definitely try to find a club. Books do not quite get you there quickly enough and are too 2 dimensional, even the best ones.
i guess i thought since it was bonsai that you would start with a little tiny tree sprout that would be easy to just pull up--so you can start with something bigger and what-somehow get it smaller? sorry to be so "in the dark"
You can actually go at it both ways. Growing stock from seedling takes a long time but is a better way to control the growth. But it could be 15-20 years before you get to show quality.
Digging up older stock that has been hammered by nature into all sorts of wonderful contortions can speed up the process down to about 3-6 years (did I say speed up?) depending on what you dig up.
Some dug up tree stock may need less time.
The other way is to go to a reputable Bonsai Nursery and spend some money to get something you can be proud of within a year or 2.
Mondavid - you said: "When you realize that these are trees and not plants i.e. they need to be outside, get lots of sun and all those things that trees in the wild get; you can make dramatic manipulations and the trees just come right back for more."
Can one still have success with bonsai in climates where one can't leave the trees outside all year (or more than 5 months)? I grow citrus indoors through the winter and put them out in May, then bring them back in around September or October. I have a limequat, a meyer lemon, a bearss lime, and a trovita orange. The limequat does best of all in yields, but they all flower and yield to an extent. So would I be able to have a bonsai under the same circumstances, and would it thrive?
Think about it for a second: Bonsai trees thrive in natural surroundings. In this context, "natural" means the circumstances in which they normally live in the wild.
If you have to protect your tropical citrus plants from weather that they wouldn't normally have to contend with, then so be it. What you are doing is duplicating the conditions in whih they normally thrive.
For fruiting and flowering plants, that process is very taxing; it consumes a great deal of energy. If you decide to do citrus in Bonsai culture, you might experiment with thinning the blossoms, or even removing them for a whole season. Chances are the following season will be even more spectacular.
I have to admit, I am not well versed in the climate you have to deal with. Wally is right, these trees, even or especially, in Bonsai form require whatever they would thrive in when in their normal surroundings. You are doing well in protecting your citrus.
You should think about getting some trees that like your zone so you can leave them out all year round.
I wasn't really thinking about citrus for bonsai, just saying that since citrus does OK inside, maybe other trees would? Although citrus bonsai might be fun. I would like to try a ginkgo bonsai, but I'm not sure if that would work. I tried a juniper once, to disastrous results. I also bought a bonsai schefflera plant once, but it died too. So, I am nervous about trying again. Trees that like my zone are things like maples, oaks, honey locust, ash, spruce, etc. Not sure if any of those lend themselves to bonsai culture.
If you have a good Bonsai nursery in your surrounding area you should go get some of the stock you mentioned that does well in your area. If you don't, go around the neighborhood on weekends and pick up what your neighbors throw out when they dig things up. You are loooking for good trunk and root form, the branches and leaves will follow. You can Bonsai just about anything and that certainly includes all the species you mentioned as compatible to your area. I have Bonsai versions of different Grapes, Pin oaks, Beech, Birch, all sorts of Junipers (which I believe are the most Bonsai friendly trees there are), Japanese black Pines, Different Cypress, Cedars, whatever I can get my hands on. Some trees I have...I'm not sure what they are.
I also love working succulents to a Bonsai level because they are so hardy. I think the real key is to not be afraid to lose trees or plants and stop hugging them like pets. THEY ARE TREES. They have, in most cases, been around longer than humans and can take a good licking. Just keep in mind that once they are in a small pot they really depend on you for their nutrition but they have to get their share of the outdoors. Like us.
Planolinda, I'm sorry to tell you, there are not very many indoor Bonsai trees. Do you have a sun room or somewhere that gets a lot of sun but is sheltered from the raw elements? Same advice as above: Get tree stock that can take the outdoors year round in your area. Give it some time, you will really enjoy it.
Ciao for Now.
Unfortunately nowhere to buy bonsai around here, except the big box stores occasionally get a huge load of them, and I've bought those before and they usually live for about 2 weeks post purchase. They have all kinds of rocks glued to the surface of the pot. It's annoying to try to water them because the water just runs off. I don't like the glued rocks at all. They also come with some succulents but I always break them off.
So if I had a juniper outside, I guess I could feed it in the spring, the same time when I feed the junipers I have in the ground, and then it would just be dormant from about October through March and I would just leave it in its pot outside? The thing with leaving stuff in pots is that they are exposed to much colder air than something in the ground, because the pots are above ground. Thus, something that is hardy to zone 5 and will live in my garden, really needs to be hardy to zone 3 in a pot if it's going to make it through the winter. This would also make it's progress much slower I suppose, because it won't grow for the dormant months.
I've never seen anybody throw out a shrub or a tree in my neighborhood! But then, I think I'm the only house in my neighborhood with more than 2 trees and more unusual plants than the usual few autumn joy sedums and mums. Some people have bulbs. Some have a forsythia. A few have a rose or 2. That's about it. They're all about the lawns here!
I'm in a 10b zone and I have to admit I am unfamiliar with growing anything in a 5a. I think you may be right about the additional exposure potted trees would be exposed to in your zone. Maybe you can place a lot of mulch or wood shaving on the base. For me, Bonsai is all about experimentation, that is why I have several trees and i have lost some in the process but it is a good way to learn and discover what works in your local micro climate.
I'm curious to know what trees you have growing in the wildlands in your neck of the neighborwoods. Maybe you can go carefully dig up some really cool trees and bring home. Let me know.
I believe that is several ficus tree saplings woven together. Several different species of trees will fuse together when the trunks touch. Ficus and Maple are a couple of these species.
I went to a friend's house today and helped dig up about 20 mature Bald Cypress. We then flattened out the root base and planted into plastic training trays.
Trunks on them ranged from 5" diam to 1 1/2".
They'll make great bonsai in a couple of years.
Thanks for the information...I just bought some Japanese green maples I just might try "fusing" some of them together it really is a lovely effect. Bald Cypress is a really nice looking tree I would bet that fusing that many together would really look nice. I can not wait to see what I have going in five years...lol.
Once a week sounds not nearly enough water. Especially in Texas. When it get warm here, I water most of my trees once a day, especially the ones in small pots. Use a chop stick and stick it in the soil daily. If it comes up sorta dry, WATER. Too much water is bad but too little is a sure killer for Bonsai. Juniper do nto give you much warning. They will just keel over and die.
All, go to Dugzbonsai.com, this guy has some really innovative ways of creating old looking trees out of young stock.
I've been following this thread on and off and I'm happy that it has been useful to others as I see the exchanges going on nicely. It may trigger my interest too in the coming months... if things on the homefront support such a one. [long story]
What a great Bonsai time of year! Here in San Diego we just went from cool to warm to stormy, wet cool to, all of a sudden 85-90 degrees yesterday.
The deciduous trees are really popping some buds. maples are coming super fast, grapes are already showing teeny bunches of grapes (super tiny), pines have candles coming out all over and all the evergreens have new growth to the point where I am already pinching them back.
Deserts here in the Southland are also looking just gorgeous. We had a nice, wet winter (for a change) and the desert plants and seed in hibernation are responding magnificently.
I just love the new beginnings this time of year brings.
CMoxon, I'm also in z5a (about 30 or so miles from you). I purchased a number of tiny Japanese Maple grafts last fall, when they were already going dormant. I overwintered them in my unheated detached garage, and two of them are now staring to show swelling buds. A lot of people on the JM board had me convinced that I would kill them all and was nuts as an amateur just starting out to buy tiny 1-3 year old grafts. The all look alive, although the 'Emerald Lace' seems to have some winter damage, which is ironic because it is supposedly the hardiest of the bunch!
For me, I did not intend to use any JM specifically for bonsai, but my 'Ariadne' and 'Jerre Swartz' just look like ideal candidates. I ordered another eight JM's this year (and will probably buy more in the fall) that will arrive in mid-late May after they go through the spring flush. I plan on getting a few bonsai books from the library this weekend and just going from there. I'm not so interested in keeping things tiny, I like stuff in the 2-3' range, but from everything I've heard there is so much bonsai can teach for general container growing and tree care.
I hate to break it to you, but you're probably going to have to look outside our immediate area for plant material sources! There are lots of wonderful mail-order supply companies, though!
Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the info on your JM grafts. What a great idea! I love JMs too, but have not had tremendous success with them in my garden because I think I get too much sun. I moved last month though, so this new garden may be better for them, although I am now rural and have deer to worry about. Did you use a particular mail order source for your JMs? I order most of my garden plants from Bluestone Perennials, plus a few from some specialty fruit suppliers like Raintree and One Green World. Are you going to try doing any training of the branches on your JMs to get them to take a certain form? Even if you don't keep them necessarily bonsai-small, you could probably still do some neat things with encouraging their shapes.
So you are in Iowa City? That's about 135 miles I think...
Ooops, I had Urbandale confused with another town.
I ordered my baby grafts last year from Mendocino Maples. I was very happy with the service and product received, as well as "support" when I panicked and thought I killed them all by not bringing them into the house during our long hard winter. I live directly in the city, so deer are not a problem, but rabbits and squirrels are.
I will probably try some training on my 'Ariadne' and 'Jerre Swartz'. They were each grafted in 2006 so it is probably time. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, though, I'm going to check out a few books from the library this weekend and see if I can get a few ideas. My neighbor orders a lot of things from Bluestone, I'm just not that impressed with that company. For woody material, especially really specialty items like JMs, I prefer to order from nurseries who have a passion for what they produce. Just my two cents, though!
This is a good time of year for air layering. if you have some JM's in the ground or large ones in pots, you can get some great trees off the branches that you may be thinking of lopping off anyway. maples take air layering really well and hey, you end up with more mature trees right out the gate.
I have 3 bonsai plants. one is a ficus which I bought in a glued-down pot a few years ago. This year I took a screwdriver and pried up the glued rocks . They came off cleanly in 3 pieces leaving undisturbed soil. I started 8 seedlings of jasmine a few years ago. Leaving them out on my patio[ protected from wind] during summer. They are now down to 3 sturdy plants and I have tried twisting them but so far they have not fused. They also haven't bloomed because of pinching back. I have a lemon tree which I started from seed [ lemon from the grocery store] which i've allowed to get about 3 feet tall. I'm going to keep cutting it back, however. It also lives on the patio during summer. My 3rd bonsai is from a huge stem which I pulled up to show the roots. I cut off the branches and it is now full of beautiful round leaves. The secret to bonsai is soil mixture, water and sunlight. I have a probe to insert in the soil to tell me if it needs water. I use this for my orchids,also. It is worth the investment. I can't recommend it highly enough.
My orange is the tallest at about 4 feet. It only had 1 orange last year.
My lemons and my lime are about 2 to 2.5 feet tall. This year one had 3 lemons on it and they got HUGE! The lime had a couple on it too. The kumquat that I have is smaller. I just recently bought a variegated lemon and it's tiny yet but I love the leaves. I got most of my citrus from Four Winds citrus mail ordered from California - really good quality plants.
The flowers do appear at the tips of the branches so that might be a reason yours isn't blooming.
Dinu, thank you for having initiating this thread, thank also goes to DG's staff for moving this thread over here to this forum. I just know there are people that admire 'bonsai' art, but don't feel at ease with the topic. But like Mondavid already mentioned above. One can learn so much more about plants/trees in general while caring for a 'bonsai'. Keep that love of nature burning. I'm. Thanks once again, Dinu.
Hello again, Kim. Many thanks. I love watching the Bonsai someone has grown, because of limitations of several things from my side. My intention is worth if someone enjoys my sharing of things that are not my own. It's really a pleasure. Bonsai is a rather tricky subject, so it is no surprise about the response.