Smart start to Bonsai

Share your success stories about defoliation, bare rooting and anything else relating to maintaining healthy bonsai.

Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby SueBee » April 24th, 2018, 11:05 am

Pat I am in the South West near Terang (1.4 hr from Geelong) and went to Vic Bonsai classes last month in East Kew. You get two well grown trees each class and a great teacher to show you what to do,trimming,wiring and lots of info sheets to take home...add to that lovely sharing people and lots of talk about Bonsai,it was Bonsai heaven.They are running the classes again later this year. I train it down but am finding darn Vline is messing with Saturday timetable so hard to get there by noon but I will get there if a bit late (I don't drive in Melbourne these days- too old now). Happy to share a dig with you if you want to come this way and do some local digging for Hawthorn or English Elm after it rains.
Cheers and welcome
Sue B
Thanks for Sharing
SueBee

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby Pat3222 » April 24th, 2018, 8:34 pm

Hi Sue,
Thanks for the tip on the course and very generous offer of a dig. I’ll take you up on that when I get a chance, may be a while, have just built a house. I’ll look up Vic Bonsai and maybe see you there later in the year!
Cheers
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Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby JimmyBanks » May 5th, 2018, 9:10 pm

Pat3222 wrote:Hi all,

I'm new to the community and new to bonsai. Thanks all for your contributions, great thing you've all built here!!

I've taken an interest in Bonsai over the last year. Have done a lot of reading, watched countless videos on youtube and signed up to Mirai Live after really enjoying the free videos like Spring fundamentals. I intend on going to the local club for their next meeting. Last week I went to the Vic Native Bonsai Show and have been really motivated to put all I've learnt so far into practice ever since.

I have a great little collection of tube/small stock that might develop into amazing trees years from now. I'm looking for advice on adding more advanced material to my collection. Like everything else in life - the range of strategies and advice is both overwhelmingly abundant and at times conflicting. Would love some feedback on the below, or anything else people would like to offer to help a beginner's Bonsai journey be as rewarding and enjoyable as possible. Thanks in advance.

Is it worth buying some cheap garden nursery stock that I can prune, wire and repot fearlessly? Or does low potential stock mean low potential to develop my skills?

I haven't visited many bonsai specific nurseries due to the lack in my local area. What is a reasonable price expectation for decent sized material? I'd like something ready for early development and also something more advanced that could transition to the refinement stage within a few years. More committed to good value than a particular species and I don't define value as lowest cost.

Which Bonsai nurseries are can't miss if I do a trip to Melbourne this week? Are Sensation, Collectors World and Bonsai Art all worth a visit?

Which species are people having most success with along the Great Ocean Road, Geelong and Melbourne?

I love native trees, but led to believe they can be difficult for beginners. Intend on a Melaleuca Linariifolia to start, anything better or more reliable to consider?

That's turned into a fair novel for my first post. Thanks again in advance, feel free to colour outside the lines if you have have any advice to offer that doesn't relate to the above.
Cheers

Pat


How are you finding Mirai Live? I like the stuff on YouTube but dunno if it’s worthwhile signing up for the year...
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Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby TimS » May 6th, 2018, 9:47 am

I started 4 years ago or so now so i'll give you my take on why i think was worth doing and not.

I began with deciduous trees because that is my passion. I think that is the most important part of bonsai, to grow what you love as you will find it far more rewarding than following what others tell you to grow.

I spent far too much money on young stock that needs years and years to even be really considered bonsai, and in the end i started giving some of it away to make space for better stock to start with. If i had my time again i would get more advanced but not too expensive rough material to work on rather then young material.

I also started in the headspace that if the tree isn't in a bonsai pot it isn't bonsai. You can grow in plastic pots, wooden boxes, in the ground and put the money you would be spending on pots into buying that more advanced rough stock to learn on. Down the track you can buy pots and probably better ones anyway.

You WILL kill trees. It is just a fact that in learning you will kill trees because of inexperience, don't let it put you off bonsai, we've all done it and it is how you learn.

Finally make sure you are doing it because you enjoy it. I've got to the point i have so many trees, many of them pines and conifers that i don't particularly enjoy, that it is almost a chore to work on them now. I will be selling those off to get back to my passion, deciduous trees. You don't need to love every particular variety of tree used in bonsai, for me i can't stand Junipers because i come out in a rash every time i touch them, so be confident in focusing on one area you like. Of course if you like working on all different varieties then that's great!
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Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby Pat3222 » May 12th, 2018, 8:29 am

Hey Jimmy. I think Mirai is a great investment. I have tier 2, considering upgrading to 3. While many of the videos feature stock I could only dream of, there is plenty of great info and certainly inspiration, to be found. Personally, I find him logical and easy to understand. Huge help retaining the volume of info shared in each 1-2 hour video.
Cheers
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Re: Smart start to Bonsai

Postby Pat3222 » May 12th, 2018, 9:11 am

Hey Tim,
Thanks for sharing your learnings so far. I can relate already, I’m months into my bonsai journey and have too much young stuff already. I’m most into natives, cedars and pines and agree doing what you love for your own reasons is better than following he herd.
My biggest problem so far is ripping the bandaid off and starting. I know I’ll kill trees and am ok with that, it’s backing initial styling decisions and going for it I get stuck on . I hoped to go to the local club for advice but haven’t been able to time a meeting and free night. For example - I have a decent size JBP I can’t pull the trigger on. It wasn’t grown as bonsai so has plenty of flaws but im sure with time and smart choices it is worth trying. I might take some pics and throw it up for feedback here.
Thanks again!
Cheers
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