Bonsai


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Bonsai

Postby Scarlet Glow » Oct 27th, '07, 15:29

I was looking at the Zensuke site that Samovar posted (awesome site by the way) and that reminded me....

Has anyone ever tried raising a bonsai tree? If you have not done it yourself, do you know anyone who has? Were you/they successful?

The reason I'm asking is because I've been interested in the art of bonsai and thought about trying to grow and maintain a tree myself. I ordered some books on Amazon.com about bonsai trees and I'm awaiting their arrival.

Since I drink a lot of Japanese tea, I thought raising a bonsai tree would help aid in the whole Japanese experience.... err something like that. :?

What are your thoughts?
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Postby Mary R » Oct 27th, '07, 15:41

I've been fascinated by bonsai ever since I saw the Mr. Rogers (or was it Reading Rainbow?) special on them back in the halcyon days of the mid-80s. I'd totally try it.
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Postby Chip » Oct 27th, '07, 23:00

If you have ever read my profile, you already know the answer.

I have raised bonsai commercially and for personal enjoyment. My favs have always been Japanese maples. It can be a very expensive and time comsuming hobby. It can also be relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable.

Try to get to the national arboretum in DC where at last checking, they have the national collection consisting of a priceless collection donated by Japan...these are jaw dropping specimens.

I have taken a break from this beautiful art.

Oh, some of the best bonsai pottery come from Tokoname...
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Postby Wesli » Oct 27th, '07, 23:26

I've done bonsai for the the last 7 years? No matter what happens, they all eventually die :( The main reason none survive is that I demand on raising them from seedlings, so that they'll have been with me their whole life. Unfortunately, the younger the tree, the more fragile.

I have 3/5 maples left from the summer, but two of them really aren't looking that great. I'll try to shoot a couple pics of where they're at (they're less than a year old).

Next spring I plan on raising a good 25-30. I have two very large mother trees that give off hundreds or thousands of seedlings every spring. :D

The problem is in how slow they grow. Bonsai is basically a lifelong hobby. Everything else in your life will change many times over, while your bonsai trees slowly crawl along.
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Postby Chip » Oct 28th, '07, 00:22

Oh, how could I forget, I have around 40 pre bonsai azaleas. I have been training them for 1-5 years each.

Prebonsai means they have been pruned for bonsai, but have not been potted into bonsai pots yet.
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Postby Scarlet Glow » Oct 28th, '07, 10:29

Ok, I will let you know right now, I'm clueless on this bonsai thing. I've only read a little about it. (still awaiting my books)

However, I heard that their are 'indoor bonsai' and 'outdoor bonsai.' Which type do you guys grow?

The bonsai thing kind of scared me because, before this thread, I had yet to talk to someone who was successful in raising bonsai over 5 years. I was afraid of the very good chance I would spend all this money just to have it die.

You guys have inspired me to keep looking into it.... :D and I hope everything goes well with your bonsai raising.
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Postby Mary R » Oct 28th, '07, 11:23

Yeah, the five year thing is a problem. Back when I was a bio undergrad, I took to hanging around my college's greenhouse. The woman who ran that once told me that the key to raising seedlings was to let them alone during the first three years of their lives. Plants are susceptible to bacterial and fungal infection too, and I guess seedlings are just too fragile to successfully overcome many infections...which can easily take hold if the seedling is pruned.

Talk to the owner of a well-respected greenhouse or nursery. They might be able to give you some tips to keeping young plants healthy.
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Postby Victoria » Jan 10th, '08, 18:08

Ack! I got a 3year old Bonzai for Christmas and I'm killing it. I am good with many plants, but not bonzai.
I'm very sad.
:cry:

Please note this is the BEFORE picture:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/52128369@N00/2129963842/
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Postby DethChef » Jan 10th, '08, 19:35

I've been doing bonsai on and off for the last ten years or so. If you are looking to get involved there is NO better way than through a local bonsai club.

I struggled quite a while before I finally joined a club, and then it was on. I also found that club members are very generous and will often give you nice starters and often nice bonsai.

Stick with hearty trees. Maples are great! Try to stay away from the elms; while popular there are several diseases than can kill them off.

I always enjoyed maples the most, followed by mugo pine and various fruit trees.

I'm going to say it again; JOIN A CLUB and good luck.
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Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '08, 19:58

Indoor bonsai are generally doomed from the start. Hardy outdoor bonsai tend to be easier, but you have to deal with the whole wintering over aspect.

But then in the Spring, when they start to burst with life, very cool. My azaleas have the added benefit of a profusion of blossums. They still need work and to be wired, but they are shaping up nicely.
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Postby DethChef » Jan 10th, '08, 20:02

Chip wrote:Indoor bonsai are generally doomed from the start. Hardy outdoor bonsai tend to be easier, but you have to deal with the whole wintering over aspect.

My initial tree was indoors and I think it made it six months before it perished. After that they were all outdoor. Occasionally I would bring one or two indoors to enjoy, but only for a week at a time or so.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 10th, '08, 20:07

DethChef and Chip,

We so need pictures to illustrate your comments!

Plz, pics, pics, pics!!
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Postby DethChef » Jan 10th, '08, 20:29

I'll see what I can find. I don't have anything at the moment to take pictures of. Almost all of my trees perished when I split from my ex-wife several years ago and it's only been until this year that I've actually had a place conducive to keep bonsai.

Still, I will see what I can find.
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