Bonsai artists are patient, persistent and observant

tedmanzer

I recently attended a bonsai presentation by Julian Adams, a renowned authority. Mr. Adams stressed that the art of bonsai is not without extensive thought. Every cut, every wire, every drop of fertilizer and every pot must have a reason for its selection.

The art of bonsai is like life. Everything we do influences our next move. Planning is critical. Certain actions also produce predictable results.

Training plants to our desired growth outcome is not a quick process. Our lives are similarly molded by many experiences. We can’t expect to be an expert concert pianist or painter after just a few lessons any more than we can expect to turn a plant from our local garden center into a bonsai with a few strokes of our pruning shears.

Producing a bonsai with features of an old tree can be even tougher. Plants are living organisms. They are susceptible to attack from…

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Carving a root stand

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

Again, going back to January (before my latest surgery), I had the pleasure and privilege of taking a root stand carving workshop with Sean Smith. Sean is probably the pre-eminent Japanese woodcraft artist active in the bonsai community in the U.S. today. You know, I once knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith. I never asked him the name of his other leg. But I bet it was Sean who carved the wooden one.


Sean has thought long and hard as to how a class like this is taught. He prepares blanks for the students to make it easier.

The above pic is off his Facebook feed. The wood we used was mahogany. It’s a good carving wood in that it holds detail well but it is also brittle along the grain so you have to be careful making too skinny details horizontally (the grain is running up…

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Creating a Bonsai from a Variegated Ficus

Bohemian Dreamworks

I’ve always been one who once I get something in my mind I will obsess over it. Well I had two variegated Ficus about 2 foot tall, both growing nicely but they just looked like they needed something. And that is when it hit me, would it be possible to cut them way back? What would happen if I cut them down to a small stump? Would it kill them? Could they ever recover from the shock?

This picture is one of my Ficus that is about the same height as the one I started my bonsai with.IMG_1716

Well off I went to consult my friend, Google. After searching for a while I didn’t find the specific answer to my question. But my curiosity was eating at me. A few days go by and I found myself just taking the plunge and cut one of them back. I cut it all…

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THE BASICS: HOW TO GROW A BONSAI TREE

Home gardening

Most people started growing bonsai after buying a tree in an (online) shop. Though this is without doubt a nice way to get started, it might be more interesting (and less expensive) to grow and style a tree yourself. Don’t let the fact that ‘bon-sai’ is an art studied and refined for many centuries scare you off, because you are perfectly capable to learn how to grow bonsai trees without green thumbs. Make sure to pick the right tree species for your environment and stick to the basic care guidelines.
In this article I’ll explain how to get started with growing Bonsai and introduce you into the three main parts of this section: Bonsai cultivation, styling and care. The movie just below will help you understand the basics, read on for more detailed information!

How to Bonsai; the techniques explained

Grow and cultivate trees
First step is to acquire a…

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Starting another growing Season

futterwithtrees

With the improvement in the weather and the trees pumping sap its great to get them  back onto the benches after the winter months in the greenhouse. Although it has been a relatively mild winter it has been so wet. In spite of that I have most of my re-potting done and have just a couple more to do so I am looking forward to further improvement in my trees this year.

I also had a very enjoyable workshop day with Robert Porch last week. Robert’s help is much appreciated and he was tireless and conscientious in his input on the day with a constant flow of information throughout the day from early morning to late evening.

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Midweek Getogether with Gerry

Robert Nocher Shohin Bonsai

My good friend Gerry paid me a visit today to catch up on the local bonsai news and to see how my trees have been progressing in the early spring sunshine. Gerry and I live about 75 miles apart and the climate in both our backyards is quite different. I have had a little more sun recently so my trees are slightly ahead of his.

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Here are a few trees that had our attention today.

One of my shohin hawthorns. This tree was re-potted last year so it only required some weeding, moss removal and refreshment of the top layer of soil.

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This kiyohime maple was also re-potted last year so only required a clean up today.

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Gerry brought along a small trident over rock and a seka hinoki for discussion. The trident has some nice ramification already but the new growth in the lower right branch needs to be…

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2016 Philippine/BCI Convention– Part 1

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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The 2016 Philippine Bonsai Convention & Exhibition is being held on March 16-20, 2016 in Makati City/Manila. Bonsai Clubs International (BCI) is now holding regional conventions, like this one around the world.

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Today is the set up day for the exhibition featuring about 300 bonsai and many suiseki in a private park. There were many restrictions in setting up and the Philippine Bonsai Society worked through them well. They had to set up the exhibition between 11pm and 5am, and the lights were turned off during that time. There was an “unloading fee” to remove the tables from the truck in the amount of $1,800. That’s just to unload the truck, not to park it. The convention hired eight armed security guards 24hours a day. Like everyone I’ve encountered here, the security guards are very friendly and helpful.

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I visited the exhibition today, during set up and was quite impressed…

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Maxi fun and scores on Mini birding day

Hermanus Bird Club

By Ronnie Hazell

On Sunday 13 March, six teams, made up of Hermanus Bird Club members, took part in the annual Mini Big Birding Day.

MBBD Cranes & Verreaux's 3a One of the most dramatic sights of the day was this of a young Verreaux’s Eagle diving down several times to grab a Blue Crane chick. However, the chick was successfully protected by the group of adults, forming a circle around it. Image: Barbara Palmer

Although light rain had been forecast for the morning, most of us managed to keep dry as the showers were pretty scattered.

To start at 6:00 a.m. was somewhat challenging as the overcast conditions did not allow any light through. Even so, two teams managed to find a Fiery-necked Nightjar, and most others saw Spotted Eagle-Owls.

Thereafter the teams set forth on their various routes. While some had more success than others, the general consensus was that everybody had a good time. It was…

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