Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Joshua Hanzman on October 03, 2013, 01:20 PM

Title: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 03, 2013, 01:20 PM
 Is there is another good forum I could/should join, if so, could someone direct me to it?! For example, I have tried to get on the ArtofBonsai forum but cannot join right now for whatever reason. I have joined Bonsainut, but it's a lil nutty for me, plus most of the people who responded to me there with good info are here anyways  :D

So I guess I'm asking what other good forums there are, and if they are locked (like Art of Bonsai) what can I do to join them? I would say, on this scale of bonsai...

1.) Mass murdering beginner
2.)patient beginner
3.)experimental beginner (learning how trees react in your zone)
THE REST ARE REALLY JUST GUESSES
4.) intermediate (really just #3 with experience under the belt)
5.) Horticultural intermediate (mastering ideal techniques for the specific species/zone)
6.) advanced (I would imagine that the people here not not only style trees considering how they will look after, the ideal techniques available for the species/zone, but also know how the next few years of care will play into the styling, and how this styling will affect the tree in 50, 100 years)

...I am teetering between 2 & 3, and as such would like to increase my skill level and techniques given my climate zone.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on October 03, 2013, 02:21 PM
That's an odd request to post to a forum.  I'm not sure what you're looking to get out of a forum that this one doesn't provide, ...though I get that we are different from other forums ...in good (AND bad?) ways.

But, in answer to your question

http://bonsainut.com (http://bonsainut.com) :  Lots of activity.  An off-topic area that occasionally spills into the rest of the forum.  Higher traffic.
http://ibonsai.forumotion.org (http://ibonsai.forumotion.org) : A free-hosted service that sprang to life shortly after a capital-raising campaign petered out at the previous host.  A little less traffic than bN.  International.  Some quality talent.
http://www.bonsaisite.com/forums/ (http://www.bonsaisite.com/forums/) :  Lots of beginners.  Still lower traffic.
http://bonsaichat.org (http://bonsaichat.org) : Last I knew, this one was struggling for participation.
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/bonsai (http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/bonsai) : Essentially this is the blind leading the deaf (anymore.  It used to be a hub of activity.)

Those are the only ones that I have experience with.  The others that show up in Google's 1st page results for "bonsai forum" I can't speak intelligently of as I've no experience with them. 

As for AoB, that one went down in flames with one of its strongest personalities and a lot of mud-slinging.  One of the principals took part of it and created http://ofbonsai.org (http://ofbonsai.org) , and I believe I've seen some interesting things come from there, but I don't know whether there is a forum or any level of interactivity provided there.

What is it that you're looking for in another forum that you're not getting here.  (As one of the admins of this site, I'd appreciate your (and others') honesty.)
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on October 03, 2013, 03:44 PM
You can try the Internet Bonsai Club, but it is fairly international. Ranges from responses out of the Tropical zone [ no frost and lowest temperature 55 deg.F ] to Sub-Tropical and Temperate, as well as Indoor growers.
Handles beginners to advanced growers.

This site is an excellent site, just a little quiet. Especially good for Japanese Black Pine information!!
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on October 03, 2013, 04:20 PM
You can try the Internet Bonsai Club...

Since I didn't specify, that's the 2nd link I gave.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: JRob on October 03, 2013, 07:50 PM
Joshua - I started my bonsai journey in Sept 2008 and this forum has served me well. But as good as it is it is not a substitute for the experience one gets from joining a local club and actively participating in it. I can not overstate how important joining a local group was to me an my son. I would strongly suggest it if you are not already making a commitment to your local group. I am sure NJ has one that has to be near you. Going to workshops was also extremely valuable in my journey and I try to attend a minimum of two a year as a minimum. Finally I am fortunate to study three weekends a year with a bonsai professional that a group of us bring into STL to work with us. I realize not everyone can afford to to that but there are other alternatives. More experienced members of my club are more than generous with their time to share their experience and knowledge with us "newbies". Take advantage of them. They are a great and "cheap" resource. Best of Luck, JRob.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on October 03, 2013, 09:20 PM
This is the only forum I actively post on as everyone here is focused and serious about learning.  The old threads have lots of first-hand experience based on their region and information is shared freely.  I'm a bonsai professional but take time daily to support this one and learn about things done by others.  The other forums have traffic but a lot more ego stroking and distractions.  Good people are on the others too, but often drowned out by others.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: jlushious on October 03, 2013, 10:21 PM
As a beginner myself this is the forum that I keep coming back to. It's clearly organized, everyone is respectful, there's great photos and very knowledgeable people (who will answer questions truthfully - whether you want to hear the answer or not - which is what beginners need!)

I also found that like Owen said, there are tons and tons of posts and articles to look back on. I have looked through almost all the threads and much of it has been really, really helpful. I also want to mention to that if you come across a particularly interesting tree and the thread hasn't been updated in a while, people will comment on it asking for an update and the original author will post an update on the tree. I find this to be really helpful because it gives you a better idea of progression of trees as well as what went well and what didn't!

My only comment about this site is that the search function isn't the greatest, but I personally have enjoyed scrolling through the topics - it helps that things are organized in proper boards with specific themes!

Just my thoughts since I was in the same place as you not too long ago and have found this to be the best place!

Jodie
Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 03, 2013, 10:50 PM
To answer your questions I guess I'm looking for techniques and info about stuff I don't even know to ask questions about.

I would love to see some contests, like a competition to style a juniper brought from a garden center, or best literati from a nursery bought procumbens, things like that. Maybe a learning thread that's like a beginners intensive class where a pro poses a bonsai challenge, like posts a branch that needs to be trimmed down and newbies answer what they think is the best strategy. Perhaps an intermediate class as well, a little more intensive, like how to properly perform citricication, more complex techniques and experimenting with a group of committed students.

I guess it's also what Anthony said it's a little quiet, I posted a virt about a forest I'm thinking about making and had no responses... also, the info is a little pine heavy, and I have zero pines! Perhaps one solution is for me to go buy some pines!!!

Mostly, I just want to learn more, I eat up the bonsai focus and bonsai today as fast as I can get them, take as many workshops as I can and go to club meetings, but I have this gut feeling like I'm not learning as much as I would like to.

In the same breathe I do feel like I'm learning a lot here, but I just want to expand it a little more, as I see it, if I had another forum and therefore more past threads to look at, and more people to discuss bonsai with, it can only help, with no detriment. I would also be fine and happy if the changes just happened here...

I'm not complaining, rather I'm bringing it up bc you asked me and bc I feel like being frank can only help the community grow! Constructive criticism is like clip and grow!

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on October 04, 2013, 07:33 AM
Joshua,

if you are doing at least three hours a day on say 300 starts, then it would probably take 3 to 5 years to get the horticultural part down, keeping your tree healthy. That means no diseases or fungus, or death by over watering.
Most folk can't do that. So it takes longer to get past the health stage.

Then the design part. Most folk never get past the 1,2,3 of the branches, as they refuse to study any form of design. What they do is modify previously seen designs. In the past back in 2000 or so, my brother-in-law took the time to ask the Traditionally trained painters [ the Atelier / Academies where you are taught to draw and paint well ] if they would grow bonsai. The answer was no, no interest. However these are the folk trained in deep design.

Today, I will casually drop a note of suggestion that some art design might help.
It is rarely taken seriously.

So instead you get tons of variations on Japanese trees, but very little observation from nature.

Perhaps you have the time and interest to push yourself more into the design aspect of Bonsai. It is partially sculpture and painting.

I am not sure with regards to reading, what depth you can find, if you did Lingnan [ grow and clip ] I would suggest Chinese classical Literature, especially the poetry, as well as the classical ink paintings.
Best to your studies.
Good Day.
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Neli on October 04, 2013, 12:15 PM
This is the only forum I actively post on as everyone here is focused and serious about learning.   The other forums have traffic but a lot more ego stroking and distractions.  Good people are on the others too, but often drowned out by others.
Could not agree more.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Larry Gockley on October 04, 2013, 12:54 PM
I agree with Anthony. Learn the horticultural part first, 3 to 5 years. And along the way decide on a growing medium mix. The artistic part will come soon enough. Learn the likes and dislikes of your trees and they will help guide you to the next steps. Patience is a virtue.  We have all killed trees by trying to do to much, to soon.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jason E on October 04, 2013, 06:24 PM
It's funny, and a testament to the depth of the art that the more you learn the more you find how much there is yet to know.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: kcpoole on October 04, 2013, 07:21 PM
For a Little more international flavour, and a forum shamelessly targeted at Australian activities ( and Natives), the AusBonsai is my preferred home
ausbonsai.com.au

A vibrant community and we have quite a few members from the US and europe.

Ken
Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 04, 2013, 09:59 PM
Thanx all for your responses, really good advise Anthony thank you! I have been concentrating on both aspects of bonsai, the horticultural and the artistic skills. I have reached of sort of plateau now, where I do not have a deep enough knowledge pool of horticultural techniques to accomplish what I think needs to be done aesthetically when I look at some raw material. Unfortunately,  I feel that workshops are lacking slightly as there is only so much that can be shown at one time in one day. (Although I go to every single workshop I can ::) ) I think I will be looking to do some sort of intensive next spring, but I'm a poor college student, so hopefully some pro's need slave labor haha

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Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 04, 2013, 10:02 PM
Kcpoole, perhaps I will check out that site, unfortunately I feel like I will mostly just wish I had some of your native species, like the Australian pine, how cool is that species, an indoor pine! Those and pemphis acidula are my most craved indoor species...

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Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 04, 2013, 10:03 PM
I was thinking,I grew up attending and standing in majestic awe of the Brooklyn botanical bonsai, does anyone know if they would want help there at all!? Legit, that would be a dream come true...

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Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 04, 2013, 10:14 PM
Anthony on further contemplation, I really think you hit the nail on the head. Do you have advise on how I can increase my knowledge of design? I was an architect major for a year and have an ok understanding of form, space, style, and view as it applies to bonsai.

Frankly I don't know exactly what I really need to learn, but perhaps I need to style a slew of trees under the watchful eye of a professional, so I can see first hand what the thought process is that goes into design, what design comprises are made and why, how horticultural knowledge plays into those decisions, and how longevity is worked into the design...

Sometimes it's tough figuring out how design choices were made in a two-D medium like magazines, books, or computer screen...

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on October 05, 2013, 04:06 AM
Can you get in touch with Mr.William Valavanis, he is a member here and can tell you where to get a teacher.

Also I don't know how active Mr. Chase Rosade is, but I believe he is in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Both are extremely experienced men of Bonsai.
Good Day
Anthony

* Can you borrow a copy of the Classical Bonsai of Japan, from the Library and see if that is the way you wish to go ?

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Bonsai-Japan-Nippon-Association/dp/4770029926/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380960271&sr=8-1&keywords=classical+bonsai+of+Japan (http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Bonsai-Japan-Nippon-Association/dp/4770029926/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380960271&sr=8-1&keywords=classical+bonsai+of+Japan)

Or the work of Hu Yunhua,

http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Penjing-Hu-Yunhua/dp/0881920835/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380960325&sr=8-1&keywords=Hu+Yunhua (http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Penjing-Hu-Yunhua/dp/0881920835/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380960325&sr=8-1&keywords=Hu+Yunhua)

This will give you a choice - Japanese or Chinese ?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on October 05, 2013, 06:46 AM
Hey Josh,
  This is the best overall forum. Lots of good people, pictures, old threads.

But forums aren't the only place to learn. You can find excellent info on blogs.

Very good info. https://peterteabonsai.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/repotting-a-beast/ (https://peterteabonsai.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/repotting-a-beast/)

And videos.  SET IT ON THE GROUND!  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YHlO-iNPaOE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYHlO-iNPaOE (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YHlO-iNPaOE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYHlO-iNPaOE)

On youtube. Although, it seems you can learn a lot more of what not to do sometimes, I find this info just as educational.

    Sorce

Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 05, 2013, 01:45 PM
Anthony, I think I like both styles for different reasons, in penjing the focus is not on the tree but on the composition as a whole, am I understanding it correctly? Also, it seems that penjing trees are not wired ever just clip and grow? I will contact valavanis, I have his email from looking into chojubai a few months back. I would think that he might not be inclined to speak with me given that he has no idea of who I am, my skill level, or my dedication.

Sorce, that has to be the funniest video I've ever seen in bonsai, and the funniest I've seen period in months. I especially like Bjorn s grill piece, and the awesome irreverence with which Owen set that broom down, he really set that on the ground! Very informative thank you! ;D seriously I've watched almost every single one of Owen and Bjorn's  video series, including there NYC cribs special!

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Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on October 05, 2013, 02:02 PM
It's quite strange, if I'm shown five trees half penjing half bonsai, I could tell you which is which, but there is some sort of random, erratic feeling to penjing that I find hard to quantify...

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on October 05, 2013, 08:30 PM
Bill V is a member here and checks in with some degree of regularity.  You can probably PM him here.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: KOGKOG_BUGART on October 11, 2013, 03:52 PM
im a newbie regarding bonsai... i just bought mine last 2 weeks ago.. im in Los Angeles CA and i would like to know how often should i water my plant?! and i believe misting the leaves every other day is good?! and about our temperature here in Los Angeles get atleast 50 degree fahrenheit. so should i leave it outside  my balcony or bring it inside my apartment at night?! please help me... and should i give them a fertilizer this month?! if yes how often?! and last thing 2 weeks ago it has moss but right now its dried so how would i grow the moss back?? PLEASEEE HELPPPPP MEEEEEE!!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on October 11, 2013, 04:13 PM
PLEASEEE HELPPPPP MEEEEEE!!

You might be better off starting a new thread.  Spend time detailing the specifics as well, like what kind of tree you have and where its located.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Leo in NE Illinois on October 12, 2013, 05:24 PM
Excellent suggestions above.

One addendum, Wayne, for your #2 link you posted the 'front door' to the hosting site, not the actual Internet Bonsai Club forum page. You can get to it from your link, but it is not obvious.

Here is a direct link to the forum page for IBC.
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/c1-ibc-forum (http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/c1-ibc-forum)

I like this forum because people do make an effort to keep egos in check and keep it high information content and low noise content.

Thanks to all those who make this happen.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 03, 2013, 01:43 AM
I wanted to clarify the type of teaching I'm looking for, this really shows the type of stuff I am afraid to try without watching someone do it in the flesh. I show this because a picture is worth a thousand words, so this video = a million words? :)

I have had people telling me to join a club and buy bonsai books and I know they mean well but I have done all this and still haven't found out what I would like to know. I have learned however, that not everyone can do this type of work and that some bonsai people (the ones I know from my club) are more masters of patience and clip and grow, and not able to perform such type of work. But I truly feel as if I need to watch and learn while someone does work like this.

I mean, can I really watch this on video and hear the sound they listen for when the branch begins to break? Can I count the layers of raffia and vet-tape that are applied before I start to bend the trunk? What videos even show this type of work in total? What masters can I learn from in my Southern Jersey area that can teach me this kind of work?

Korean bonsai master Seok Ju Kim (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU1xe2LbtWw#)
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on November 03, 2013, 08:30 AM
Well, while I appreciate the questions, the answers are pretty easy. Travel to where that kind of work is done. But the next question is why would you want to? I appreciate that the final image gives a pleasant appearance, the massive looping and bending to shorten branches will not give you a sustainable bonsai tree in the long run. Better solutions, for the long run would have been to graft and grow the branches out as needed. That is the way that will give you a more refined and manageable future. But, all the whirling and heavy bending is fun to watch. A good way to learn how to do this type of work is to get yourself in the position to go to where this work is done and get trained . But it all takes some patience.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Chrisl on November 03, 2013, 11:20 AM
Well, while I appreciate the questions, the answers are pretty easy. Travel to where that kind of work is done. But the next question is why would you want to? I appreciate that the final image gives a pleasant appearance, the massive looping and bending to shorten branches will not give you a sustainable bonsai tree in the long run. Better solutions, for the long run would have been to graft and grow the branches out as needed. That is the way that will give you a more refined and manageable future. But, all the whirling and heavy bending is fun to watch. A good way to learn how to do this type of work is to get yourself in the position to go to where this work is done and get trained . But it all takes some patience.

Interesting point of view John.  Doesn't the exc. bending also lend itself to a tree that's had to work to survive/hardship?  Grafted branches I agree would be more refined...but is this what this tree needs given it's 'wild' nature?  Just asking...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on November 04, 2013, 01:02 AM
It is a bonsai for the moment, a way to rapidly dispose of material that is otherwise useless. We all do it to one degree or another, but I always find it interesting to go to shows and see trees with straight trunks and twisty branches. Tells the story, the tree wasn't prepared properly.
Title: Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 04, 2013, 01:15 AM
Well, while I appreciate the questions, the answers are pretty easy. Travel to where that kind of work is done. But the next question is why would you want to? I appreciate that the final image gives a pleasant appearance, the massive looping and bending to shorten branches will not give you a sustainable bonsai tree in the long run. Better solutions, for the long run would have been to graft and grow the branches out as needed. That is the way that will give you a more refined and manageable future. But, all the whirling and heavy bending is fun to watch. A good way to learn how to do this type of work is to get yourself in the position to go to where this work is done and get trained . But it all takes some patience.


John what your saying is definitely an eye opener for me.

 I agree, twisty branches with a straight trunk is something definitely outside my design mindset.

In response to your patience comment, I think I have patience :/  but I like to think of it as directionalized patience. If I feel comfortable that the work that could be done/needed to be done was done and I needed to wait, I would wait like a stone.

 I have never heard that this strategy is an unsustainable design. I have seen so so many videos on strategy like this, I never dreamed professionals would do this just to charm the crowd.

I appreciate the advice, put yourself in a position to be where the learning happens. I guess that's what I'm trying to do, by asking these questions I have three names to contact now looking for teachers. Well two really, I reached out to one, but got no response from them.



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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on November 04, 2013, 01:40 AM
What do professionals do? They style trees to sell. They make a tree look pretty, they sell it.

Put myself where the learning happens? I do. Patience? Sometimes it takes years to get things right, is it fun? Not always, but it is often a long and tedious road. But, get a teacher invest the time and effort and enjoy the ride. Plus, it doesn't come free.
Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 04, 2013, 12:27 PM
I see what your saying, just seems insidious that professional are using techniques that are unsound when, from what your saying, all they would need to do is have patience and graft. On a pipeline business model, collectors wouldn't even be waiting that long, they would really only have to wait that initial time, then they would have a steady pipeline of sound designs.

 I'm definitely enjoying the ride, bonsai has been a great journey for me, and I hope relatively I'm just taking it for a spin around the block, getting ready for a cross country trip. I'm just trying to say I'm not the type that likes to pay tolls AND wait in traffic ;)

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Title: Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 04, 2013, 12:32 PM
What do professionals do? They style trees to sell. They make a tree look pretty, they sell it.

Put myself where the learning happens? I do.

I realize you do, I meant that as a rhetorical response to you telling me to put myself where the learning happens, I guess I miscommunicated that, my bad.

Patience? Sometimes it takes years to get things right, is it fun? Not always, but it is often a long and tedious road. But, get a teacher invest the time and effort and enjoy the ride. Plus, it doesn't come free.

I'm not looking for free, I have paid for a few workshops, in fact, as many as I've had exposure to I've pretty much joined. Paying is not out of the question, but money isn't always the best bartering option, especially now :) the reason I'm looking for barter is because
1.) It increases my exposure to bonsai and gives me more time to spend immersed
2.) It just feels more real to me, like a legitimate apprentice
3.) I want to learn to care for a nursery as well so why not trade work for lessons
4.) I have skills (work stone, glass, metal, chemical engineering), and it's economically more sound to trade skills than to lay out cash.
5.) Seems a good way to learn about things I didn't know I should learn about
6.) It's what I've done with other teachers

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on November 04, 2013, 02:29 PM
By saying it isn't free, I am inferring $, time, effort, etc. Good luck.
Title: Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 04, 2013, 07:24 PM
By saying it isn't free, I am inferring $, time, effort, etc. Good luck.

Thanks John, I really feel like I'm ready to make a committment like one you speak of. I can say that confidently only because I sincerely love bonsai. I really can't think of anything I rather do than put Pandora on and style a tree, except maybe climbing a mountain and collecting. This might sound weird but what about apprenticing with a collector? That might be a cool angle to play in terms of a bonsai education. Do you think Randy Knight takes on an eager wanna be mountain climbers?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on November 06, 2013, 04:21 AM
Joshua,

if you can, keep up your reading. Bonsai was never meant to be a singular practice. Check the Chinese,originally Scholars were the men who grew Tree Penjing. If you read on the Hawaiian Site [http://www.fukubonsai.com/Default.htm ], there is a historical note, showing the Japanese work only recently changing after the war to what you see today.
It is an important change to note.

If you spend your life attempting to do just Bonsai with no reading, the craft will become superficial.

I know you did some work on Architecture, and speaking to some folk, it was worked out that it takes 3 to 5 years for the Horticultural, and 5 to 10 for the Design aspect. The design part requiring some study, if possible with teachers.
Today, the practice seems to be, to slurr the Design aspect.
Hence the reason, Bonsai is literally becoming old tree with a new dress-up.

So you have the youth and the time to take in more than the average person who goes into Bonsai at say 40 to 50 years of age, and spends more time trying to buy or collect their way into Bonsai.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on November 06, 2013, 08:47 AM
Forgive me,
 
   I can not accept that it takes 3-5 years horticulturally. And up to ten years to figure out design. 

This can be true for some. However, if you begin with the eagerness Josh has, all it takes is dedication. 

You must dedicate at least 5 minutes a day per tree, to learn its language, look for pests, etc.  After said dedication......

It takes only seconds to know when you CAN water, and one spring to adjust your soil-watering system accordingly.  HORTICULTURE. 1 YEAR or less.

Design wise.    Taper is the trees only trick, "slight of eye". Knowing this takes only a few seconds. Reading the "rules" takes an hour, knowing the Ill effects of breaking the rules takes a little study. Knowing when the ill effects of breaking rules become evident in your design takes a little longer. Throw in understanding what is likely the hardest, DISPLAY, and we are still sub 3 years IMO.

Do everything from grafting, collecting, carving, pruning, pot selecting, displaying, overwintering, etc. Everything, wrong once, inside these 3 years. Learn from your mistakes, and there you have it.   

3 years or less.


This is of course, a post dedication schedule.

With all respect for the Veterans here, I invite a friendly debate.

Sorce


Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: augustine on November 06, 2013, 09:47 AM
Joshua,

Maybe you could barter your time to do some heavy lifting during busy seasons at a bonsai nursery in exchange for being exposed to knowledgable people. Someone like Randy Knight - I doubt it. He's not gonna reveal his collecting grounds.

Personally I read everything I can get my hands on which includes the forums (and this one is the best) and web. I view the various videos on you tube (but not all are accurate). Some of the best are the "Bonsai Art of Japan" series produced by Owen and Bjorn, really mandatory viewing and pacjed full of knowledge from high level people working on world class material. I belong to a very good club and take workshops.

Another good thing about a club is availability to good and reasonably priced material.

While folks in this thread may be telling you different things the underlying common theme is that it takes time. Regardless of how you feel or which words you use, it takes time. Even if you have design talent, it takes time.

The design aspect is tough for me but I'm learning bit by bit. Exposure to club members and workshop teachers are indispensable. I wouldn't even know about some workshops if I didn't belong to my club.

Listen to Owen and John, they know of which they speak. It's a skill like guitar playing, ballroom dancing or karate, takes practice and time to get good.

Good luck and keep plugging away.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on November 06, 2013, 10:17 AM
I can't help it if I can't get the saying "don't re-invent the wheel" out of my head.
Yes times change and information changes but basically many many people have been down this road and it takes time.
Yes some less than others and some, like me, probably more than others. But.... You just can't reduce the time to a matter of a couple of years without cutting too many corners.
Just my two cents
Jay

Enjoy the journey
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on November 06, 2013, 11:08 AM
Sorce,

all I would ask, is may I have visual proof, showing the mastery of these statements you made, in the form of three to five images of your finished trees?
[not 3 to 5 images of one tree mind you ]

I am always looking for a more efficient way to do anything. Happy to learn.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: augustine on November 06, 2013, 12:11 PM
One more thing in reference to your question about working/helping at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
 I don't know how it works there but at the National Bonsai/Penjing Collection at the Arboretum one must get on a list to be a volunteer (and there are alot of people on that list).

The Arboretum also takes on apprentices on a limited basis. I think one has to possess a good skill set to be considered  for an apprenticeship. Keep in mind that apprentices are not paid (or not paid much). I know a guy that served as an apprentice and said it was a wonderful experience.

Maybe you could ask the BBG if they take volunteers?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on November 07, 2013, 08:46 AM
Anthony and other Knowledge expanders,  the reason for this discussion is to expand Bonsai to these young Artists. With shortening attention spans, and instant electronics, 10 years? Plus 5-10 for any given tree? I feel that 20 years of patience they will Think they need to muster, will only scare them off.  For all of our benefit. Let's make it more reasonable.

     The Mastery is only in the statements. I made sure they are all true, give or take a few minutes. None of them imply I am a Master, or my trees are finished. We are talking about the time it takes to learn, not the time it takes to impart that knowledge into our trees. The seasons and I agree, this takes much more time.

  Example....I recently watched a critique on YouTube of a Shohin display. I don't even remember what the trees looked like because the stand was backwards. Stepping up to the middle of the display. Whoever built it, was so "oh the years it took to make these trees", so excited to display them because it took soooo long. Then their day came, and no one noticed because they were displayed without expanded knowledge.

   If that person took my advice, they would have known it takes longer to learn proper display. They may have succeeded.

Let's expand our knowledge, in a compacted time frame, let's not wait till its too late.

So the efficiency is purely in the thought of efficiency, always mind over matter.

Sorce
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on November 07, 2013, 09:10 AM
Jay,

 Even the wheel has been reinvented. We fly. And records, the only other thing that absolutely requires a wheel, are ipods.

Maybe some of us can't afford private jets or ipods. But this reinvented "wheel" is free. A state of mind.

Or as the case may be, 2 cents!

Sorce.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on November 07, 2013, 01:02 PM
Sorce basic horticulture has not changed drastically..... Although Bonsai styles have evolved they are still similar to the past. YouTube and Wikipedia are NOT ALWAYS good places to find info. Just because it is on the net does not make it true.... Or untrue also. There are post on YouTube that may not be from the best of sources.....
Shortening the learning curve is possible with those few individuals who have the ability. But for the rest of us, regardless of attention spans, time is required... And lots of it.
Jay
Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 07, 2013, 01:23 PM
First, thank you all so much, there is some great advice for anyone looking to learn here. But allow me to make this thread digress. I am far from an impatient person, I don't mind ten to twenty years of learning, i look forward to it and i have read almost every single back issue of bonsai today and am now starting on bonsai focus. But, i am trying to treat this like an economics equation, where all other things are considered equal. Like Sorce said, it's strictly a matter of efficiency. Lets take for example, 2 bonsai  students, 1 learning the most efficient way possible, being a student at a nursery with a master. 2 is learning by going to workshops and learning when/where they can. It's not even a question of who will learn more efficiently, right? And how long is that apprentice ship normally it's not ten to twenty years, it's five to six right? Of course they continue to learn after they are done, but even kimura has been quoted saying he is still learning about watering. So what I'm asking is what is the most efficient way i can spend my learning time, by hierarchy, i feel like this list is a good general plan-
 1) learn w/ a master @ a nursery
2) learn from a master@ workshop
3) learn on forum\style at home
4) @ a demonstration
5) @from club members
6) from videos
7) from print

Now  I'm not saying that i would sacrifice a workshop to read online, I'm talking about all things considered, traveling, usability, ease of access etc, this is why the forum is higher than a demonstration. However, at the top of my list is learning from/with a master at a nursery, which is what I'm trying to see if anyone can hook me up with...



Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on November 07, 2013, 01:38 PM
So then, the cycle, as it continues, evident in the replies.

If we remain in false belief, we will not grow.

If I can only clean the glass of the "Big Picture" window of the world.

Argh.

I thought Bonsai was more Spiritual than this.

Post Josh Post...

If you believe it will take long it will. Believe shorter, achieve more, learn FOREVER!

DIGRESSED

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on November 07, 2013, 02:05 PM
OK Sorce......

You lost me.......

?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on November 07, 2013, 03:59 PM
Sorce.

patience is for things one does not like to do. If that is what is needed [ patience ] for Bonsai, one is in the wrong hobby.

Remember, how long I have been at this, and my teacher started at 18 or so. I had no problems with the Horticultural aspect and though I am not an Artist, in any way, I had no problems picking up books, reading or just learning to see.

Any young person who wants to do Bonsai, can do the same. If you are trying to cater to folk into Bonsai you are wasting your time.

Now where are those examples of your practice and [ spiritual ] philosophy?
I have left examples of our work for your viewing pleasure.
Good Day
Anthony [ sent with smiles and goodly humour ]

One for you Sorce.

This ficus type was raised from a 3 leaf cutting done in Florence, Italy, back in 1983 or so and is not a Bonsai.

The second image - he is 16, and the tree is 30, which do you think took more patience to raise - chuckle.

Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 07, 2013, 06:08 PM
Anthony those are absolutely beautiful, and i do think your right as i think Sorce is also right. Tbh I'm not sure if you two disagree... i do not think patience is the question here, the question is being as efficient as possible. In other words, lets say we had the most patient zen person in the world who purchased a stick sized trunk of a tree and did bonsai by cutting one leaf every growing season, how long will it take their tree to develop? However, if they bought their stick sized trunk of a tree, placed it in the ground for five years, learned from a master for that time, and came back and worked as much as they could (taking into mind the health of the tree), they are being patient yet efficient. There is no reason to sacrifice efficiency for patience. That being said i do think it will take quite a few seasons to see how the horticulture works as each micro climate is different and you can really only learn so much per season per tree. I also think in ways you are correct and incorrect Anthony, in saying that if you need patience to be in bonsai your in the wrong hobby. Patience, like many virtues, can be learned, with love, all obstacles can be conquered. Everything bows before love. Love of bonsai can teach one patience.

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on November 07, 2013, 07:19 PM
Joshua,

this is how we teach bonsai down here. We give you a small Ficus b. to take home and look after for 6 months. If after that time you still have an interest, we encourage you to buy 3 to 5 of the same type plants. So you don't love 1 plant to death.
This hopefully will discourage the situation of collecting, where 9 out of 10 times everything ends up dead, because of ignorance.

If the personality is heavily into showing off, we encourage you to buy up to 3 "finished" bonsai.

Generally, we try to get the learner up to 300 plants, and hopefully so many will survive the Horticultural adventures. The repotting, the wiring, the attempts at white wood [ on wood either not mature enough - 30 to 50 years of heartwood or never durable enough as a mature wood - and you fail at the various attempts to soak the wood in preservative - and so on ]
excessive pruning and over fertilisation.

When the mind settles, and enough experience allows for Horticultural success. We can focus on Designs.

There is no way to be efficient or other, as each person is an individual, and has to be handled as such.

As you may have read, we are about to test growing out of a colander [ the core of the tree ] into another colander filled with 100 % enriched compost.
This can be done after Jan.2nd when out Dry season takes over, if next year has a proper dry season, as in no rain. Nature does as Nature wishes.

With the hopefully dry weather low humidity, and the developed core, the compost should dry enough for roots to want to grow through it.
If we are correct, the test trees will have the most nutrious situation possible, that they have evolved for.
We shall see.

With young folk say 16 to 25, most have active education phases, accidental babies, party or as we say fete interests and really are not interested in something as disciplined as watering trees, etc.
So we expect more of folk who are in their late 30's to early 50's, either finished with the children, or wives or other, and then we have to deal with the - time - factor, and can they just buy into Bonsai, which for this small island is not always possible.
Importing from Miami, is an option.

Folk with a - time - problem can truly be problematic, as most are not content to just grow trees and enjoy the trees. Many don't make it.

We don't sell, simply because it can be very emotional to watch how casually some folk kill trees.

So I would still say, if you have little patience, please don't try Bonsai , take up drawing or painting bonsai, you can stop start that and nothing dies, or do wire trees.
Good Day
Anthony

One for you Joshua

Found as a seedling with three, by the maid [Uncle K's maid ], and left in her care to water for 3 years as Uncle K studied Fine Art in Florence, Italy, I was in school in England at that time as well.
About 28" tall and with a 5" trunk. Has orchid type flowers, yellow and a single pod for fruit, usually three pods are allowed. Being retrained for a bonsai pot.
Tamarind around 1981/2 or so.[ I am not home presently and only Uncle K knows the exact date.]

Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 07, 2013, 07:53 PM
Your idea of the growing in collanders sounds like something similar to rootmaker, which is used in a few nurseries I know. Coincidentally, I buy some raw stock from a friend's nursery that uses strictly rootmaker on his trees, as it tends to make good material for bonsai. One of the benefits rootmaker has over a collander is that it has sharp edges in between the mesh, so any large roots over a fibrous diameter are destroyed. Another benefit is that the rootmaker can be used over and over again as it does not rust or break down.

Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk 2
Title: Re: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on November 07, 2013, 07:58 PM
One more thing in reference to your question about working/helping at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
 I don't know how it works there but at the National Bonsai/Penjing Collection at the Arboretum one must get on a list to be a volunteer (and there are alot of people on that list).

The Arboretum also takes on apprentices on a limited basis. I think one has to possess a good skill set to be considered  for an apprenticeship. Keep in mind that apprentices are not paid (or not paid much). I know a guy that served as an apprentice and said it was a wonderful experience.

Maybe you could ask the BBG if they take volunteers?

Thanx Augustine, this is good advise, I will reach out to them and see if I can work there! I don't mind not making money, and I've been going to the bbg quite literally since I was born, I grew up outside those koi ponds :)

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on November 08, 2013, 01:28 PM
Nothing gets expressed well in text. I guess that's what these are for  :-*
I understand where Anthony is coming from now.

I have been accused of wanting a "perfect world". 

I am trying to cater.  I want our children to have more than video games!


Anthony, why do you call that tree "not a Bonsai'?

And a fine lad you have there!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: William N. Valavanis on December 21, 2013, 09:39 AM
In March 2014 I'm beginning a new educational bonsai opportunity in Rochester, New York, the Classical Bonsai MasterClass.

Details can be found in my blog:

www.valavanisbonsaiblog.com (http://www.valavanisbonsaiblog.com)
(http://bonsaistudygroup.com/Users/williamv/Desktop/2-WNV-TEACHING.jpg)

Everyone is invited to join

(http://bonsaistudygroup.com/Users/williamv/Desktop/2014-BONSAI-MASTERCLASS-1.jpg)
(http://bonsaistudygroup.com/Users/williamv/Desktop/2014-BONSAI-MASTERCLASS-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on December 22, 2013, 05:33 AM
Mr.Valavanis,

good idea, you could also do as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts does, join your education system to the University of Pennsylvania, so folk could use their Bonsai knowledge towards a degree/masters or other.
Would move Bonsai out of the realm of hobby and into a true profession.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on December 22, 2013, 06:20 AM
I feel bonsai is a true profession.  The problem is the people who teach bonsai for a living who have no valid experience to base their professional status on.  This doesn't mean you have to apprentice in Japan for 6 years.  My opinion on this matter has swayed progressively more towards those who have this year spent a number of years in Japan, but it is not the only way to become a bonsai professional.  At the exhibition I ran in Nashville, I had people submit whether or not they were in the Professional category or not.  It was interesting who said "yes".   At one point I felt that this matter was subjective.  But is it?  I know a number of bonsai professionals who have never been to Japan who are quite talented and add a great deal to the American scene.  Yes, this will bring some reactionary comments but I am not afraid. 

If I build a massive bonsai nursery and stock if full of plants and start teaching, does that make me a good bonsai professional?  What if I spent two months in Japan and got a piece of paper that said I completed an apprenticeship?  All the keywords are there.  The literal interpretation of a professional as someone who gets paid for a good or service is far too grey for me.  With something like bonsai that is a mixture of art and horticulture some of the grey areas are vast.  However, having a clearly defined role in the field of bonsai would certainly help matters.  There are a number of people well suited to teach beginner classes or lend a great deal of help to local organizations.  There is not a good emoticon for frustration.  I find this topic to be very volatile and coming from the other side of the fence from most of you I am interested in finding a way to answer this question.  Someone hangs a shingle and charges the same amount I do or more and many people do not understand the value proposition.   Getting back to the topic, there is a lot of talk about improving American bonsai and creating our own style but I think both are happening as people find out who to actually listen to (and by no mean do I mean just me). 

 Anthony, your suggestion is one of many good avenues for this type of progress.  You can major in Bonsai in South Korea actually.  Consumers generally use the system of telling one another who did good work and so on, but in a bubble like a remote region or perhaps one that was well indoctrinated for a decade or so often has no idea if someone is a good teacher, knowledgeable, and understands the application of techniques.  I met a new client in Florida this year through a friend who thought there was only one bonsai professional in America..... 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 22, 2013, 10:33 AM
There are professional Doctors. Who have killed, and will kill again.

Certified technicians at Pep Boys, but I trust the guy down the alley.

Pro lawyers can be good or bad, ethical or not.

Every contractor is reliable. Lol. You gotta pay to ask Angie!

There are folks who can afford the Pro series tools, call themselves professional just for that reason.


My definition of professional.  Someone you can receive goods or services from with no buyers remorse.

In my "perfect world", with enough capitol for a dream. I collect, stock a small nursery with quality material, and sell trees at fair prices.
I resort to a calender to tell you "when" to do work, and can assist in showing you how, but refer you to an Owen for those services.

Please answer. Am I a professional?  I believe so because, (another important aspect) I know my limitations.

Chronologically.    Pro collectors - Pro Nurseries - Pro Artists - Pro Collections.   With some variance of course.

They all have necessary X-over skills. The gray area is when one does not know the limitations of those skills.

Owen a.k.a. King Kusamono  ;)  even with no apprenticeship, your character says professional. Any good consumer can see that.

Everyone.....please define your area of expertise and why.


Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Judy on December 22, 2013, 12:40 PM
Owen, it must be not only frustrating for you but also distressful for your future prospects with no real guidelines or overseeing body to guide the profession. 
I also know that it's frustrating for those of us who look for competent teachers to move us up from our current level to a higher practice. 

Think of any profession for the most part, they are regulated in some form.  A union or regulating body.  There is nothing here to certify anyone, but maybe it's time to think about something like this. 
Most professions have ladders to move up before attaining this certification, or full membership.  Apprenticeship, internship, training programs.... what have you.  If there were a governing body, this would be a much easier conversation to have. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on December 22, 2013, 06:01 PM
I'm actually developing a website right now called BonsaiConnect to act as the foundation of a "Better Business Bureau", hub for gathering information about different bonsai professionals, and feedback loop for the bonsai community.  People can evaluate their experiences with vendors and professionals and share this with others easily.  A professional organization was pushed for I believe in the 70's or 80's but didn't take off.  Japan has a good model in some respects, but the sheer amount of landmass North America takes up is a big hinderance.  Thus, the Internet seems a good starting point. 

I am a firm believer in specialization for bonsai professionals.  I'm working towards that but will need a few years to do so.  The progression about is already happening but I feel there is too much x-over for many people including me.  This is a necessary evil at this time as the format of most workshops and diversity of a given collection requires a generalist.

Sorce, to answer your question, it would be best IMO to have vendor and bonsai professional separated.  Someone could be both.  Perhaps Professional Bonsai Instructor is a better term.

Many bonsai professionals are contacted by people interested in a more devoted path towards improving their skills in America and this is a good sign.  Having a place for them to go and do so is a challenge.  There are programs out there that have proven effective.  In my case, I can't see having someone work with me full time and travel constantly too.  Those bonsai professionals "well rooted" at home are better suited for this. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: pwk5017 on December 22, 2013, 07:26 PM
Owen, that was going to be the point I made, but I chose not to respond at first. I suppose I am now. I think structured specialization is something that would greatly improve the system as a whole. If I were a professional in the Bonsai industry, the only way I could survive would be to sell seedlings, sell stock, sell finished bonsai, sell pots, sell tools, sell wire, host workshops, have an intensive program, and possibly travel doing demos. Some people have done well, and have specialized to a certain extent, but I can only think of a handful of people in the entire country that are at that level. For the rest of the professional community, being everything and anything is what puts food on the table. Part of the issue is the demand for the art(however, I think this is ever increasing), and part of the issue is a lack of a cooperative system. If you are a practicing bonsai professional who chooses to specialize in styling and refinement, where do you get your material from? It seems like Ryan Neil has a bit of this system working in his favor. He has his specialty, and Randy Knight has his specialty. The synergy allows for a successful operation to grow. Part of your problem with some of the current professionals is what I outlined in the beginning. How can they do everything I listed, and do it at a high level? That would be a very talented and gifted individual to be able to handle the entire process at the "master" level. Chances are, they are great at one area of the art, and mediocre at all the rest, but the support system--or lack thereof--forces them to do things they would prefer not to do. Your proposition sounds like a step in the right direction. A collaborative network of professionals in this country would benefit each other as long as they were able to form their own specializations, or exist in their own territories. The logistics involved with our country vs Japan makes for a difficult comparison, but I think there are some key takeaways to glean from their successful professional structure. Collaboration and specialization are among the top.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 22, 2013, 08:00 PM
That does seem the way here. Nurseries hosting Instructors. Clubs hosting instructors.

Maybe the question to the pro instructor then is. Which do you prefer? Your garden? Or your work in gardens everywhere?











Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: JRob on December 22, 2013, 08:21 PM
I'll now jump into the fray with my two cents. From my perspective there are two skill sets one needs to do bonsai. One is easily transferable through training and the other is not. The one that almost everyone can be taught is the horticultural aspect. The other is much more difficult and that is the artistic side. We can all be taught to paint and we can attempt to copy pictures of the masters but can we ourselves create a masterpiece. To me bonsai is much the same. I am fortunate that when I entered the wonderful life of bonsai I was in a position that I had disposable income. My career was at a point where I was and continue to make really good money and I could afford to buy what I wanted and study with anyone I wanted to. Had this journey begun when I was younger and more financially strapped that would not have been possible. My priorities where in other places. I want to be careful that in a thread like this we do not imply that you can not do bonsai, enjoy bonsai or be content if you are not buying expensive trees and studying with a 'professional'. In other areas of interest I have known individuals who were professionally trained, had their certifications or degrees and have not been either good teachers or very knowledgeable and certainly not qualified. We all know that not everyone with a drivers license drives well. Plenty of doctors have lost malpractice suits etc. You get the idea. For me whatever area of interest  I enter all that is needed is to study with someone who knows more than me. When I gain his knowledge I move on to someone who knows more than me and so the process continues. Personally I do not need them to have a certificate or a degree. I think we all have had or know teachers with a certification in the educational system who can not teach. I also know that I had wonderful teachers who imparted knowledge and inspired as well. I also know some parents who home school and I would have happily sent my kids to them. Others are doing their kids a dis-service. I could go on but I think I've made my point. As students of bonsai we owe it to ourselves to get the best bonsai education we can and apply what we learn and enjoy the experience. By the way from my previous threads I have been studying with Michael Hagedorn 3 weekends a year for the last 4 years. It has been a fantastic experience and I am grateful for the time I spend with him. However many of the "older" members of our club are extremely knowledgeable and give their time, talent and expertise to others in the club free of charge and I am grateful they do because of their love of bonsai and have a lot to teach those of us who are still bonsai babies. JRob
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2013, 10:32 PM
I started a response earlier, then deleted it. There was a push, 8 or so years ago (Rob King around Philly?) to start an association of bonsai professionals. Didn't go far, hard to do in an unregulated environment. Lots of good folks out there, suggest that you pick a teacher and study with them until you feel like you aren't learning anything anymore, then move on. This is the same thing I have told new PhD's for the past 20 years. There is a huge information base out there, people can find those who interests mesh with theirs.

There are a lot of talented folks out there, find a teacher. (Can have an internet component) and study. I would suggest that people worry less about a hierarchy and more about results - better bonsai.

Anyway , I still don 't know how these folks can cobble together a living, particularly if they don 't have a major benefactor.

John
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on December 22, 2013, 11:18 PM
That is a good point about learning from someone and moving on to new instructors as you and JRob stated.  My concern is mainly for consumers who are misled. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: William N. Valavanis on December 22, 2013, 11:40 PM
About ten years ago, Colin Lewis, Julian Adams, Roger Lehman and I organized to form a professional bonsai organization in the United States. We even got incorporated. One of the main purposes was to host a national bonsai exhibition in the country. Unfortunately, the organization did not get off the ground, it's a lot of work!

A few years later with the support of other bonsai professionals and hobbyists I organized the 1st US National Bonsai Exhibition in 2008. It was a success, as was the 2nd in 2010 and the 3rd in 2012. The 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition will be held on September 13-14, 2014 in Rochester, New York. Everyone is invited to participate, exhibit and support this important event in the history of bonsai in the United States.

Bill
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 23, 2013, 05:19 AM
I agree John.
   Better Bonsai. But the numbers of MISLED consumers is keeping that from happening on a very grand scale.
Even here no one answers the noob with a leggy S.  He has no info then, quits before needing a pro, in that scenario (happening now) "these folks" who I assume are what I call pretenders, no Passion for trees just $. They get their 15$. But the Pro instructor gets nothing. You are a pro instructor yourself yes? 

 Owen,
Please expand on misled. Mallsai?  What scenario instilled that concern?

  JRob, I thought only Jay could put 2 cents in. Lol. 

I find myself Ok with the Art. Ok with the hort. I think Owens system would help me find what I need, a teacher to blend the two. When to apply the hort to create the art.

This could be accomplished here with a calender of tasks. Like Atlanta Bonsai and Buffalo Bonsai clubs have on there site.

 I would like to see pros right threads for there respective zone, that tells when to do specific work. I think this could make for BETTER BONSAI very fast.

Example, I just learned (thanks Judy) not to cut my Hackberry past July. When timing and length of time are of so much importance, I think knowing when to act is of supreme importance. Just think of all the "when should this work be carried out?" Questions that could already be answered with said timing thread.

Boon said somewhere about how one ill timed move could add years to development. All those trees not out in shows is taking $ out of PRO pockets.

I hope the Admins will consider a permanent zone specific task calender thread.

Oh and, Hanzmann with a 5 spot! Good thread!
 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Chrisl on December 23, 2013, 10:45 AM
Very interesting thread.  I think a pro assoc. would be great for the US.  Perhaps this is better timing as there's more interest in bonsai, and we have many more trained pros returning to the US now. 

Great idea Sorce, a timing zone for work to be done. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Larry Gockley on December 23, 2013, 10:55 AM
Speaking of being misled along the lines of a professional teaching organization, I can't imagine who would be the "5 th degree black belt", if you will. Someone who would be deemed qualified to instruct / teach the other " black belts".  I have been to MANY lecture demos over the past 15 years, and the one thing that stands out is that even the internationally known artists can't agree on the basics such as fertilizer, soil composition and pruning. What one artist tells you to do, another says to "never" do. At one BYOT demo, years ago, the visiting internationally known artist almost killed my tree, but at least set it back 2 or 3 years, by doing the work at the wrong time of year for that species. There are 3 or 4 artists I would pay money to visit with again, in a heartbeat, but others I would not go to see again for free. Sorry if I seem too harsh, just my opinion. The artists I would go to see again communicate their idea for the tree to the owner, and heaven forbid, actually ask  the owners permission before removing a branch / etc.  I've seen some artists drastically alter a tree, and not only not ask permission, but never even utter a word during the whole demo. Some people can teach and communicate, and some, not so much.  I get monthly  newsletters from 6 different bonsai clubs, and I see outdated info being given out all the time. To be fair, the art is growing and better ways are learned all the time. It's just that some , I guess, are more traditional than others.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on December 23, 2013, 05:00 PM
I agree John.
   Better Bonsai. But the numbers of MISLED consumers is keeping that from happening on a very grand scale.
Even here no one answers the noob with a leggy S.  He has no info then, quits before needing a pro, in that scenario (happening now) "these folks" who I assume are what I call pretenders, no Passion for trees just $. They get their 15$. But the Pro instructor gets nothing. You are a pro instructor yourself yes? 

 Owen,
Please expand on misled. Mallsai?  What scenario instilled that concern?

  JRob, I thought only Jay could put 2 cents in. Lol. 

I find myself Ok with the Art. Ok with the hort. I think Owens system would help me find what I need, a teacher to blend the two. When to apply the hort to create the art.

This could be accomplished here with a calender of tasks. Like Atlanta Bonsai and Buffalo Bonsai clubs have on there site.

 I would like to see pros right threads for there respective zone, that tells when to do specific work. I think this could make for BETTER BONSAI very fast.

Example, I just learned (thanks Judy) not to cut my Hackberry past July. When timing and length of time are of so much importance, I think knowing when to act is of supreme importance. Just think of all the "when should this work be carried out?" Questions that could already be answered with said timing thread.

Boon said somewhere about how one ill timed move could add years to development. All those trees not out in shows is taking $ out of PRO pockets.

I hope the Admins will consider a permanent zone specific task calender thread.

Oh and, Hanzmann with a 5 spot! Good thread!
 

Better bonsai and greater enjoyment of bonsai are the goals I have. 

I wrote about others being misled as in a misleading teacher presenting just plain bad information.  Instances are numerous.  I've taken about 15 workshops in the past 11-12 years and many of my questions were avoided or I was given a super vague answer.  To answer your other question, yes I am a bonsai professional.  I grow pre-bonsai, teach classes (and enjoy teaching / learning from clients), style trees for $ and write a blog and articles to advance the knowledge and enjoyment of bonsai practitioners. 

I'll leave this alone.  Someone can start another thread on the matter if they like.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2013, 05:27 PM
I guess I find these threads interesting. As with most things with bonsai there are very few absolutes. I always get asked when people can do certain kinds of work. The answer is usually, it depends. I get asked when can you wire Japanese Black Pines? The stock answer, immediately after decandling or in winter when the tree is dormant (the needles are very tough then and can withstand wiring abuse more easily). However, if you are expert at wiring and have good hands (can wire without breaking needles or new buds) and are willing to provide aftercare, you can wire in the July to September timeframe.

Many of the trees I see brought to workshops Or demos I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. They have not been repotted, or they are in some kind of muck I have no idea if the tree will respond as expected. Professionals get paid to perform at club activities, those that are honest and tell folks what they need to do to make their trees strong enough to be worked on, don't get asked back, so they push on. However, I have also watched some highly regarded folks go through and hack trees down to a single branch and tell their students to grow the tree back, time and time again. Couple the two and you have kindling.

Anyway ab association for certified instructors and/or professionals could be helpful, but folks will still by Mallsai and other junk and hope some poor workshop leader van make a masterpiece in one hour from their lump of coal.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 23, 2013, 05:31 PM
I will share how i see it, frankly and truthfully, with no real goal in mind, just ranting and raving.

It is difficult for me to justify paying almost a thousand dollars a year for 3 weekends, work on someone else's trees using my own wire and my own tools. Maybe if a thousand dollars a year meant nothing to me, but I'm still in college, and feel somewhat almost misled by that style of teaching. On the one hand, I have someone who (I won't mention because he asked me not to but is a name in American bonsai everyone would recognize), invited me into his house for a weekend, let me roam around his property and spend time around his bonsai, and taught me about bonsai. His doing this solidified an already growing love for bonsai. It was more than bonsai, it was an experience deeper than that for me, it meant something, I felt like I was in heaven. Frankly, I cannot see paying for that, in fact i don't think could happen if I paid for it, we both would have behaved differently if there was a cash exchange, that is just the way it is.

At the same time, a living must be made by those willing to commit their entire lives to bonsai right? I think that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way bonsai professionals earn a living as well, but I'm still processing it and am not saying I have the answer. I think the symbiotic relationship between collector and artist is a good one and may be a good recipe for emerging American artists, but that is only part of the answer. I think the artist-student relationship should be one that fosters a friendship, of which a byproduct is consumer loyalty. We need to see bonsai be a real staple in America for their to be any type of long-term sustainability for bonsai professionals. I think there needs to be a movement, a Bonsai movement, and it needs a catalyst.  It's something you see in big art, all art/social movements start with a few charismatic highly skilled individuals who surround themselves with similar individuals and just express themselves, and that grows exponentially when the general public see it. They are not in it to just put food on the table, nor just to make money, but rather do it because they love it, art for the sake of art. In academia, every good proffesor I have ever met says the same thing, follow your heart, and the money will find you.

Furthermore, I think this passion is something that is very visceral, and any halfway intelligent person can see this realness and sincerity from a mile away. I would never have had such a deep seated love for bonsai if I did not grow up in Brooklyn botanical gardens or if I didn't visit bonsai of Brooklyn as a kid and have that very kind hippie dude smiling at me and letting me stargaze around the trees. If you can, try and single out the most important part of what got you into bonsai, is it also because of something like i said? Or was it a bonsai show, a demonstration, or a workshop. These types of venues make money, but I feel that they are not in the best interest of raising awareness and interest in bonsai. In fact, I would argue that they turn people off of mainstream bonsai, because it feels (to me, an outsider) like a barrier exists, an elitism, where pass this point, you must have this much money to ride. And it must suck for the artist also, teaching eight people at the same time, each one demanding a fair share of the time, when in reality you cannot give any of them of the time they deserve.

And what happened to good ole fashioned barter? I'll build you anything out of stone, trade you a few collected eastern cedars, you show me a thing or two about making major bends and building long-term sustainable bonsai design. I'm happy to say that the a lot of people who I have approached about bonsai learning have open to this, and it is with them that my future consumer loyalty will lie (when I have money to be a consumer).

One idea I would love to pursue that I feel would do well to foster a movement in North America is I want to make a documentary about American ( maybe Canadian/South American also ) Bonsai, going around with a few choice collectors (both urban and yamadori), seeing the real harrowing battle against nature that comes with collecting near the timber line. Also, visit with some of the wizened private professional (non-bonsai career), a few of the professional veteran, a few of the young bloods coming back or just going to japan, and a couple kids who are trying to break into bonsai now. I think that would make for a sweet movie, it just needs to be done by someone who knows where the story lies, which is always where the stories lie, in the details of the ones immersed in it and passionate enough about to commit their lives to it...

TBH, this last part may just be because I am getting a professional (video) camera and have always wanted to film something like this. I just think that something like this could be great, and, in one fell swoop, really open up the floodgates for American Bonsai to the next generation.


Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 23, 2013, 08:25 PM
And Hanzman with 5 paragraphs!

Owen, I know you are a professional. It's nice to see what you do though. Hell, you are famous to me!

John Kirby. You are a instructor as well? Specialties?


Wow. To the JK and LG stories. Its stuff like that, and politics that keep me from joining a club.

JH I'm here because of a ficus I found at a job. Love of nature is why I am still here. Green is peaceful.



Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on December 24, 2013, 05:43 AM
I guess I find these threads interesting. As with most things with bonsai there are very few absolutes. I always get asked when people can do certain kinds of work. The answer is usually, it depends. I get asked when can you wire Japanese Black Pines? The stock answer, immediately after decandling or in winter when the tree is dormant (the needles are very tough then and can withstand wiring abuse more easily). However, if you are expert at wiring and have good hands (can wire without breaking needles or new buds) and are willing to provide aftercare, you can wire in the July to September timeframe.

Many of the trees I see brought to workshops Or demos I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. They have not been repotted, or they are in some kind of muck I have no idea if the tree will respond as expected. Professionals get paid to perform at club activities, those that are honest and tell folks what they need to do to make their trees strong enough to be worked on, don't get asked back, so they push on. However, I have also watched some highly regarded folks go through and hack trees down to a single branch and tell their students to grow the tree back, time and time again. Couple the two and you have kindling.

Anyway ab association for certified instructors and/or professionals could be helpful, but folks will still by Mallsai and other junk and hope some poor workshop leader van make a masterpiece in one hour from their lump of coal.



Guess I can't stay away  ;D.  John, I completely agree with you on most of those points.  Workshop material is often purchased at a price that is not in line with a quality final product.  This is a problem.  I spend more time talking about how to care for the species and what the next steps are in that case.  It's a tough biz.  I have time and again promoted the idea of longer demonstrations or less raw trees.  I'd take a day or more for most demo trees I'm presented with.  Having to entertain and educated while styling a tree is also complicated.  I like what a lot of the Europeans are doing; a weekend is devoted to the tree and people come and go.  The Mid-Atlantic Show is a step in the right direction as they leave the professional alone for a few hours after the introduction and some work.  Then the tree's design is explained later.  Much better. 

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 24, 2013, 07:27 AM
Maybe some of you   ;D can back this up......

   After reading these posts, it's clear Americans want their Bonsai like Fast Food, Tivo, and Plastic Surgery.

What you learn by apprenticing in Japan, is DISCIPLINE.

If I were an instructor doing a demo. I would sit everyone down. Put the tree on the table, sit down and stare at the tree.
 After an hour or two, turn and ask, "what have you learned?"

We must stop feeding into the impatience.

Spirituality Returns.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 24, 2013, 09:33 AM
Sorce, the nice thing is, you would only get to do that once.........  ;)
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Larry Gockley on December 24, 2013, 11:55 AM
You're right John, only once. THAT'S funny!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 24, 2013, 01:51 PM
The impossible.

Of course. But there are other educational and entertaining ways better suited. I find Ryan Neil and Walter Pall critiques to be very edutaining.

We can not kill all our soldiers, then expect them to show up for battle.
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 24, 2013, 04:48 PM
What happened to helping Joshua Hanzman haha, i got an idea! Lets have a competition, i recently was reading a neighboring clubs itinerary and they had a competition called style a juni or something and i thought why don't we do that too!? I'm sure its been done before but nevertheless it would be a good way to get some practice and constructive criticism! Everyone gets a >30 dollar tree, nursery juniper stock definitely comes to mind as the best potential... We all then take before and after pictures and we vote and deconstruct what was best overall, what worked, what didn't etc... Who's down to do this? comeeeeonnnn veterans, show us noobs how this bonsai magic gets made  ;)

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 24, 2013, 05:32 PM
You want to do instant bonsai in 2d?  And the point is? Over the last year and a half I have given away at least two hundred junipers that were started from cuttings in the last ten years. I usually teach how to make, what Jim Gremel calls, Yamadori in a pot. The point is you wire, you crush, you grow on. You wire, you crush, you grow on and in 8-10 years you have an interesting tree. Taking a crappy piece of big box nursery material and making a crappy bonsai, doesn't that kind of run counter to the conversation in this thread, or am I missing the irony here?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Larry Gockley on December 24, 2013, 06:07 PM
OK, getting back to your original plea, help to expand your knowledge. IMO, the path to bonsai knowledge is, in order of priority:
                           1- Help from local club members
                           2- personal experience
                           3-books  ( mostly for inspiration)
                           4-study web sites - ( evergreengardenworks, bonsai4me, Colon Lewis, etc.,etc.
                           5-on-line sites such as BSG
Priority chosen because up close and personal info is the best. Not only from club members, but the clubs I go to have very good visiting artists to get some one - on - one instruction. That's pretty much it. If it were easy , everyone would do it. To paraphrase Robert Steven, it's not the destination, but the journey we love.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: coh on December 24, 2013, 06:14 PM

Guess I can't stay away  ;D.  John, I completely agree with you on most of those points.  Workshop material is often purchased at a price that is not in line with a quality final product.  This is a problem.  I spend more time talking about how to care for the species and what the next steps are in that case.  It's a tough biz.  I have time and again promoted the idea of longer demonstrations or less raw trees.  I'd take a day or more for most demo trees I'm presented with.  Having to entertain and educated while styling a tree is also complicated.  I like what a lot of the Europeans are doing; a weekend is devoted to the tree and people come and go.  The Mid-Atlantic Show is a step in the right direction as they leave the professional alone for a few hours after the introduction and some work.  Then the tree's design is explained later.  Much better. 


I attended the MABS a couple of years ago (the "headliners" were Mitsuya/Shaner/Tolley, I think it was 2011) and was impressed with the approach used. There was the standard 2 or so hour demo, but the artist wasn't expected to finish the tree during that time. Instead, they took it to a certain point and then went off to continue working in another room while the next presentation was occurring. Participants were free to wander from room to room observing. Often there were only 5-10 people at these "after" sessions, so you could get up close to observe techniques and ask questions.

I don't know the economics of such an approach (how much would it cost a typical club to run something like this, for example) but it was a nice change from the standard, do it all in 2 hours demo that I see.

Chris
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 24, 2013, 07:24 PM
If 2-d is the problem than why not just take a short video, problem solved. And the endless supply of junipers at the whole salers near me really do look like yamadori in a pot, good movement.

But np, don't do it if you don't want to, me, I'll use any excuse to style a tree. I mean come on, I'm answering on Christmas eve :/

I'll style my junipers then, i just ask that you give me constructive criticism instead of simply pointing out the irony of my naivete, the irony of my naivety should be a given on a website that answers thousands of posts from people who think your wrong about their indoor juniper needing sunlight and water...

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 24, 2013, 08:35 PM
There is really nothing one can't learn through observation. But one must be disciplined to observe.

Trial and error go a long way. Coupled with internet, (no time for a club), observing trees, and Bonsai trees. 2D.

The trees do tell you what they want. Then you write the story for it in the display. If a fault can be explained in the story, it is no longer a fault.

Imagination. Creativity. Telling without talking. Amazing the viewer. Smelling an abundance of flowers, when there is one mere accent.
Seeing the blood of a raptors last meal in the top jin without it being there. Seeing yourself scurrying up the limbs of an old park tree. Feeling the shortness of breath that crisp timberline air brings. Hearing frogs near a cypress. Knowing lightening was there, thinking when, feeling the flash flood through the desert valley. Living the solstice. Dating the Shari. Fall. Winter.shade. cicadas, a dark forest, a pine forest where you feel stalked by the local big cat. 

   If you attempt to convey these feelings, instead of "making a Bonsai", you will make a successful Bonsai.

The rest is 3 seasons of horticulture. Book knowledge.

Not discrediting any Pro Bonsai Instructors. You have the discipline. That deserves the respect. And the living.

I'm with the challenge if it is ok I use that boxwood in Big box buys. But only understanding it does go against the point. But learning is learning and fun is as naive as a 3 year old child!





Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 24, 2013, 09:13 PM
Ok cool, so be it, I'll use an urban yamadori box wood that's been in a pot for four years ok? Just kidding, under thirty bucks, any species, any size, any style, constructive criticism is welcome, deconstructive cynicism is not

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 25, 2013, 10:01 AM
Go get em, I will try to curb my cynicism.
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 25, 2013, 07:15 PM
Haha thanks John, that's all i ask, understand that us noobs just want some hands on wiring and choosing the best front, i think of it like, my clumsy wiring and inexperience as to maximum bending capacity may cost me a tree, but why have that be a nice expensive piece of pre bonsai stock instead of three for thirty Chinese junipers that i have easy access to? I'm still learning to wire and style a tree, no matter what tree it is.

At least give me feedback on my wiring strategy...

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 25, 2013, 08:11 PM
I think its funny, cuz some, or most of the comments match Kermits look of "wtf"!

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 08:16 PM
ok so I spent a few of the late hours yesterday and most of today styling this tree, this is the before pics and then I'll post the after, unfortunately I only have one before, but luckily it's a good one. I'll tell you my strategy for the tree and please tell me where I'm wrong, what I did right...

I remember buying this tree and liking the semi circle movement midway through the trunk, however, when I felt the strength of the trunk, I realized I had to use some advanced techniques to make this tree what I wanted out of it. So yesterday I attempted this technique-

I carved out all the wood from a shari I had made pre viously, after hollowing I placed two 6 mm aluminum wires inside the hollowed out trunk, then I placed wire along the outside of the trunk, and wrapped that with vet tape, then wrapped that in electric tape, then wired normally with 3 5mm wire. I then attached a guy wire and used an irwin clamp, which gives me similar action to a masakuni clamp (anyone else use these irwin clamps? it worked out good imho, here is the one I used- http://www.irwin.com/tools/clamps/one-handed-mini-bar-clamps (http://www.irwin.com/tools/clamps/one-handed-mini-bar-clamps) ). after making this bend, I then chose the front I liked, I did then because I could not imagine how much I would be able to move the trunk, so I didn't pick a front until after this bend. Then I slept, and today I wired up the rest of the tree. Idk what kind of style to cal this, I guess it's an informal upright.

Bottom line, It was so much fun to do this, I would/am gonna do this again real soon! Please give me feedback on the strategy I mentioned above and in general what you think of my choice of front/ strategy.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 09:11 PM
ok, so here are the after photos, I'm also trying out my new camera (CANON EOS M), so I'm just having a good time all over the place, I love christmas :)

Please let me know what you liked/don't like about the styling, the front, photography,  or anything else related to this tree. And thank you all so much for your continued help, I really appreciate everyone here who helps me when I ask stupid noobish questions...

Sorce, did you start any bonsai work yet!? what do you have in mind for your boxwood? post pictures so we can see it before you do any work...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 09:14 PM
few more pics...

Where do you think the best front is? I tried to style this tree with a 360 degree view, but I do not thinkk I accomplished it at all, was much harder than I thought it would be...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 09:19 PM
a few more, I promise I won't bug ya that much more ;)

The last two pictures I changed around the settings, I think the B&W is good for seeing certain details hidden with color. Do you agree? Do you like photo 12's color scheme and vividness? I tried a new setting with that, is it better or worse than the rest?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 09:20 PM
this one and one more set of pictures, I promisE!!!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 09:23 PM
these are the last of them, I really wanted to test out my camera, please let me know what you thought of the photography as well as the styling,...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: William N. Valavanis on December 26, 2013, 09:40 PM
OK, now that you have wired, bent and twisted your tree and played around with your new camera, what are your plans for aftercare?

What you did is generally out of season and stresses the plant considerably, but it would also be a good idea to keep the tree alive to watch its development.

Bill
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 26, 2013, 11:14 PM
Welp, now that I have played around with my new camera, my aftercare plan is to move the tree into my unheated garage, where it will stay in the cold but out of the winds. I will also be misting it at least5 times a day. Although I did a lot of bending, I did not remove more than 10/15 percent of the foliage, I didn't need to, as I had already trimmed a bit in spring/summer. As far as aftercare really that's all I can think of, any advice otherwise would be awesome...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: William N. Valavanis on December 26, 2013, 11:21 PM
Joshua,

I would NOT let the tree freeze. In fact, I'd bring it inside in a cool area with plenty of light and get it growing as soon as possible. No fertilizing. I don't think misting it in the cold garage would really be beneficial.

Good luckā€¦

Bill
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on December 26, 2013, 11:27 PM
Joshua, there is a tremendous amount of information available here and elsewhere. The thing that is most apparent about your Juniper is that it is a scaled foliage variety, there is a little on this tree evidenced in your pictures. This tree has predominately juvenile ( needle type) foliage. Scale foliage is a sign that the tree is thriving and happy. When these trees are doing really well, there is very little juvenile foliage. This plant was not very happy, before you tied it in a knot. It may have been unhappy for a number of reasons, over pruning , pinching, disease, poor roots because they are still in trade planting mix , overwatering due to reduced foliage mass, etc.

So, the lesson here is not that you can't buy reasonable material if you shop in Big Box stores vs from bonsai vendors, the point is that you have be sure that your trees are strong and healthy before you work on them. Buy, repot and fix the roots.

Additionally, while you can wire many species now in the temperate north , you really should leave the highly stressful work for when the tree is.growing or is in a midsummer torpor , waiting to pop again. I understand the impatience, we all have it, but I would suggest joining a club, hanging out with some of us geezers , sift through the information you gather and move forward, you have the most important pieces, intellect , curiosity and enthusiasm, now you just need some info to fill in the spaces.

Sorce , I adopted the Kermit avatar during the election in 12, the prior decade, and maybe tomorrow?, my avatar has always been a Rottweiler. We have owned and bred them so long I have adopted many of their social graces.

John
 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 06:54 AM
John,
   Nice. No one is creeping into your garden! The election In 12? That looks like a G W Bush move, the Kermit. Lol
How long does it take the needle to go scale? From juvenile?

Josh,
   I think the bend technique is good. Time will tell.

So here is my Xmas tree. I got photos throughout, but not too good. I looked up an article about winter cuttings taking, so I got a couple where anything interesting was going on. I decided to keep this indoors till spring.

When I got down to my basic "beginning", I figured it was worth the risk to repot it out of the clay. Too soggy for inside. There is one root, the largest, that curves and is ugly, but new roots are growing over it at about the same size and height of the other smaller roots that make up the nebari.  If they thicken up, I will be happy. Unfortunately, no pics through the process of hacking the mass off the bottom. I took off about the same % of roots as crown. Had it out for a long time and beat it up good. If it survives, I will give myself an aftercare award.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 07:01 AM
A few more.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 07:07 AM
More.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 07:16 AM
Please note my bending bobber. To put a little distance between those 2 trunks.   :D

Guy wired for access now, and for movement testing, I should be able to get the smaller Trunks going where I want them again later.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 07:27 AM
I'll get a few better final shots in a while. Cock-a doodle-doo.

I need to change the height of those bobber trunks, to get them shorter than the main one.

How the cuts heal, or don't heal, will determine whether deadwood is featured or hidden.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 07:48 AM
By the way, I was gonna get the Makita, but ended up with the Dremel 4000. I am pretty happy with its abilities.

I wish these could be better, 1/4 turns all the way.



Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 08:17 AM
Future. Likely without that low branch.

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 11, 2014, 08:04 AM
2 weeks later, the Boxwood is pushing new growth. 

I have it on a table about three inches above a radiator. It gets afternoon sun, and a little fluorescent likely to no effect.
It has been sink soaked twice after initial repot. And sprinkle watered 2-3 times. Wow that's a lot in 2 weeks, the heat dries it fast.

So I'm advocating wrong season removal from clay. The benefits have outweighed the risk in this case.

 I'm glad to have participed in this adventure of learning.

And will do it again every x_mas. Next year Picea too. And 2 boxwoods!

How goes it Josh? And what about that Sumo?

Sorce

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Judy on January 11, 2014, 12:59 PM

So I'm advocating wrong season removal from clay. The benefits have outweighed the risk in this case.


And you have decided after a whole 2 weeks that this is a beneficial thing to propose?  I think that one case isn't sufficient to base this on, and especially as the timeframe of recovery of any plant is at least one season after rootwork, sometimes more. 
Not trying to be snarky, but as you seem to want to learn things, you must actually try to learn them. Don't jump to conclusions on such a short period of time and experience...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on January 11, 2014, 02:32 PM
Next thing we will hear is the best soil mix for bonsai based onthree weekd of experience. But yes, I am being snarky.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Dan W. on January 11, 2014, 02:35 PM
I must agree with Judy. Sometimes something you do now will begin killing a tree slowly, like REALLY slowly. (Like 3 years slowly.) So two weeks during the winter is a not much in the life of a tree. Let us know how they are doing by the end of next spring and again at the end of next summer for starters. Like Judy, I don't want to discourage you. Just trying to help.
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on January 13, 2014, 09:40 PM
The sumo is fine, and the seller has some fantastic logwoods I'm thinking about getting. I'm still trying to learn about neea before i try anything drastic, but from what I've read and seen from mine, i think I'd like logwood better, if anyone feels differently please let me know! Luckily, the juniper is doing well, although i lost the very top of the apex due to bending too much and snapping a branch. It survived the major surgery so far though, which I'm happy about as it was my first time bending a thick trunk in that manner, now I'm taking everyone elses advice and leaving it in the cold but not below freezing, and leaving it alone completely, I'll probably just pinch and fertilize until the spring after the upcoming spring, when I'll repot if it responds right. If i were you i would do the same, and just take the snark in stride ;) you beat the tree up pretty hard, let it recover and build resources before you work on it again!

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 13, 2014, 11:33 PM
Did I never respond to the Snarkasm!   ;D

Sorry and glad to hear about the Juniper.



















 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on January 14, 2014, 06:32 AM
Just some thoughts....
It is generally accepted that one 'insult' to a tree is enough at a time. If this tree (yes IF) survives and does not sulk for several years you are lucky. And you will never know what you did to injure or kill it. Some trees are extremely forgiving of overworking... Some are not.
If you want something to look perfect immediately you aren't thinking of the tree. Developing Bonsai takes time. The less developed it is at the start, the longer it will take.

Just my two cents
Jay
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 14, 2014, 08:47 AM
Thanks guys.

  I know this tree will take serious art and time, and likely never be a good tree.

The only immediate thing I need is a start, and I didn't really get that with this quite uninteresting tree. However, It was more educational than say, paying the same $ for a "bonsai". And I don't have the $$$ for real material.

So even though it doesn't matter if this tree lives. It most definitely will.

How come no one commented about how this tree is not even worth this effort? Do you see a future for it?

I'm thinking at least 3-10 years of thickening just the first part of taper. There is just not enough movement in the trunks.
I was hoping to find something to start building branches on, but didn't really get it.

Please stop treating this like I put this hack in a show, I'm not that guy.

If it was your tree, where would you take it? To the future, or the trash (garden)?








Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on January 14, 2014, 10:42 AM
Sorce, most ant tree with time can be made into a worthwhile Bonsai. The issue is the amount of time and what it will come out to be. Time is Time. Those with longer growing seasons need somewhat less those with short growing season need more. Fertilizer, watering, sun etc also affect the time.
What it will look like after that is a function of your ability and the trees willingness to cooperate.

So... if it lives... no need to think of the trash. Think about ten, fifteen, twenty years down the road.
To my thinking, and it may only be me, buying a seedling vs buying a pre-bonsai from a Bonsai Nursery differs in the time it will take to get to being a Bonsai. The difference is not 1 or two years but often many, many years.

My two cents
Jay
Title: Re:
Post by: bwaynef on January 14, 2014, 11:29 AM
...I'll probably just pinch and fertilize until the spring after the upcoming spring, when I'll repot if it responds right..

Pinching is for refinement.  You're years from that.
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on January 14, 2014, 11:56 AM
I wouldn't pinch new growth at the beginning of spring for the juniper to bud back? And leave out alone where i want longer growth?

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on January 14, 2014, 12:31 PM
Joshua, read the back posts here. You don't pinch junipers except in final refinement. Why? Pinching induces a stress response in plants, similar to chewing insect feeding. It suppresses adventitious bud production. Grow out, prune back to wood, that stimulates bud production. But, then again, this just may be an internet rumor that needs to be resolved.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 14, 2014, 04:28 PM
That last part is a joke right?
 
Stop poking fun at us John Kirby!

Stored energy is the cause of back budding. At least that's the "rumor" that makes most sense to me.

When does the foliage go scale? And how do you keep it that way?

Thanks!

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on January 14, 2014, 04:53 PM
Joshua and Sorce..... there are several individuals on this Board who know what they are talking about.
Bill Valavanis has been doing Bonsai professionally for more years than you have been on this earth. He is one of a few top professionals in this country.
John Kirby has been at this for many many years. He has more knowledge than I  will probably ever have and.... he still is smart enough to take instruction ans seek advise from Boon.
These are just two of the individuals.... there are others, don't re invent the wheel. If you can learn and be guided by others do it!!!

Jay
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Dan W. on January 14, 2014, 10:06 PM
John, please correct anything you feel I may represent incorrectly here.

Sorce,

Junipers get their energy from the long growth extensions. Extensions build energy into the plant and then you can cut back to wood. Pinching constantly weakens the plant, never allowing it to gain the strength/energy to back-bud or anything else.

If it's truly a scale juniper then the scale foliage develops when the plant is happy and healthy. Stress (or too much/wrong pinching) causes juvenile growth. So if the plant is creating juvenile foliage it's trying to say something... something like: I'm not happy! Help! Stop pinching!...lol
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Chrisl on January 15, 2014, 09:30 AM
It just doesn't have to be too much pinching or stress Dan, it can be also from just pruning too much of the juniper at one time...speaking from experience lol
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 15, 2014, 10:28 AM
We spoke of the wheel before. We are not reinventing it as much as we are spinning it like a coin.

Here is what I find odd.

In previous text, and possibly another thread, it is stated that demos are done BY PROFESSIONALS, who know they wouldn't or shouldn't do that work then or to the extent it is done, on poor material.

But if a non professional does this, like JH and I here, we are criticized.

Contradictory?  Ficus the wheel! 

We have stated we are aware of the season. Also that we don't care what happens, as long as we learn. You hear the branch break by bending it. Watch a tree die by killing it. Prevent fungus by getting it. Stress a tree to aftercare.


Josh, you hit it on the head with "directionalized patience", "when the need arises, wait like a stone".
In the mean time, we learn.

I have over 75 trees. Half outside, half ficus. No Bonsai. And only 3-4 with any potential.
Those 3-4 don't receive this treatment, they receive Care based on this learning.



 The Rebellion Continues.






Title: Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on January 15, 2014, 01:29 PM
Ok thanks everyone!

John, just to clarify, I'm going to treat my junipers at this stage similar to Pall' s hedge method? I'll be leaving them to grow out the entire next growing season, then when I see mature foliage all over the tree which signals that the tree is responding well and is ready to take to the next stage, then I start choosing what foliage stays and what goes, pinching at the beginning of the spring after next to facilitate budding back using the energy built this growing season?

For the record, my argument is a lil different from yours Sorce, I feel I would almost never advocate rebelling against what people tell me on this forum. I have lost more than enough trees to realize that it pays to listen and if all else fails, be patient and wait another growing season. The only rebellion I have successfully done is to work on a juniper out of season, and that really was because I misunderstood the correct growing season, and I got lucky my tree didn't pay the ultimate price. I had read somewhere on the forum that another person I consider knowledgeable on the topic was working on their juniper but I was foolish to not check their climate, stage of the tree, condition of the tree, extent of the work, etc. My tree survived the major surgery, but is it in the best condition it could be, probably not. Is it more susceptible to disease or other issues, probably. From how the tree looks now, I am almost certain that any more strenuous circumstance to this tree will kill it, even a hard frost, so I'm forced to keep it in a controlled environment, which luckily I have.

My rebellion was more against the idea that working on garden material will not give any instant gratification, and I thought it was a warranted rebellion because I thoroughly enjoy buying garden centre junipers and shaping them, sometimes drastically changing them, and I wanted to protect the future of those types of discussions on this forum. But upon further reflection, I only work the top and leave the roots alone for repotting in the future, so really that doesn't fall into the magical one day bonsai creation category. FURTHERMORE, EVERY SINGLE LAST JUNIPER THAT I WORKED both foliage and roots in one sitting has died. Although there is merit in pushing the limit, it makes little sense to push a limit that has already been pushed, I believe this is what the veterans mean by reinventing the wheel. I feel my time is better spent testing things that are still unknown and controversial, and building and advancing my little bonsai shed and half acre of property.





Sent from my KFTT using Tapatalk 2
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Jay on January 15, 2014, 02:27 PM
Thanks guys for your clarification. In the end, you do what you want. Your trees will show the results of what you do.
Joshua, I can see where you are coming from and now it is more understandable as to your thoughts.

Sorce, I'm still not on the same page as you. Those professionals doing demo's at events are....putting on a show. They know that even with their degree of knowledge the tree may not survive. But, they are being paid to do  it. Some will not under any circumstance repot the day they do all the work on the top. They will not touch the roots. I didn't think you were doing this for show...

But I'm just an old guy with old ideas. No need to take what I say to seriously.

Jay
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 15, 2014, 04:39 PM
No Jay, I respect what everyone has to say! Even Kirby  ;)

The rebellion is not that serious!

I am a bit "off the handle".

My brainstorming rains on the physical sometimes. (damaging trees)

Sincerely

Sorce


Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: John Kirby on January 16, 2014, 03:51 AM
Sorce,
I wish you good luck.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Owen Reich on January 16, 2014, 10:18 AM
Last night, I did a demo in Florida where I styled 3 different pond cypress in about 3 hours.  All were about 3 feet tall.  During the demo, I entertained the crowd and talked most of the time about bonsai while styling the trees.  The question of if this being a good idea is easily answered.  But, as was just stated above, I get paid to do what the club says.  Could I style any of these trees better given more time?  Definitely.

At some point during any demo, I tell the club or group that demonstrations are good for more than cranking out a tree and proving I can wire quickly.  Demos can be a good time to have an open dialogue with a group of people and from my side of the fence, establish long-term contacts with the organization and individual members. 

Treating a tree with any measure of potential as disposable is not ok.  The professional working on the material can be placed in a difficult position.  Yesterday, I did not fully detail wire two of the trees.  It wasn't necessary and was better for the material. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 17, 2014, 09:39 AM
Thanks All,

  I am absolutely not rebelling against what veterans say here, but I am about to open a can of worm castings!

  Styling garden centre material does give instant gratification (the start).
By no means an instant Bonsai.

My rebellion is against mallsai, and the way it kills the industry for professionals with proffessionalisms.
I estimate 3 of 5 lurkers to be lurking because their half dead cutting in an indoor pot said "bonsai" so they googled it and got here.
They won't or can't simply jump into $$real trees$$. But they can spend the same $25 and ACTUALLY have some fun and learn by doing the same thing Josh and I are doing, which stands a better chance of creating a future customer for said professionals.

 No offense, but some of you have been immersed in real Bonsai so long that you lost sight of the fact that mass produced crap is killing A Good Bonsai Future. Walgreens didn't sell "bonsai" when you began, they sold sodas, and food at Wags. (remember?)

People like myself, Josh, Jlush, Bonsaiteen, BonsaiEngineer, are the other 2 of five, who actually made it out of that stage. (i guessish)

I'm not advocating WRONG. I am advocating activities and small investments that keep newbies entertained, learning, and excited. To have the confidence they  need to buy JK's trees, and OR's services.

Taking mallsaiers to prebonsaiers is my fight. Not prebonsaiers to tree killers. We already researched enough to know right from wrong, just can't shake the pruning bug, the want to "work". And this thread definitely helps that.


My proof lies here, http://bonsaistudygroup.com/tropical-bonsai-discussion/golden-gate-ficus/msg21704/#msg21704 (http://bonsaistudygroup.com/tropical-bonsai-discussion/golden-gate-ficus/msg21704/#msg21704)
, you see. No one answers. But we expect Advancement in good Bonsai.


if I had trees or services to sell, I would consider this. I don't, what I have is respect for the dedicated pros who do. So I think about it.
Share cause I care.  If pros do not think about it, the industry and their finances will remain stagnant. If they address it, as Owen's previous idea has suggested, we will progress.

I don't believe in luck.
Good Skill.

Sorce
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Anthony on January 18, 2014, 03:11 AM
Sorce,

ficus, can be a bit of a confusing tree to train. The Chinese, focus on the decorative roots and their interaction with the trunk, the leaves are just to show the tree is alive.

So that shape in the example you gave, would eventually be dressed with roots or stones or other.

Ficus is easy to keep alive, down here we use it as the tree to get someone's feet wet, but that is for the," see if you can keep it alive for over 6 months."
However, it will in the branches/branchlets outgrow the designs very rapidly.Becoming coarse and not too attractive.

Additionally, this group seems to be more focused on warm temperate or cold sub-tropicals. Perhaps not much interest in Tropicals, mind you some of those ficus plants are really warm sub-tropicals.See Southern China.

Those mallsai, are probably rejected growing material. Sent in bulk to the masses of the West. However, a few years of ground growing will correct the problems or good airlayer choices.
There are many, many acres in China dedicated to growing plants for shipping.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 18, 2014, 08:16 AM
Thanks Anthony.

  That brings up another excellent point.
Most of the crap they sell is ficus, which IMO is VERY demanding in this climate, in Bonsai culture.

And it seems any of the bent over juniper cuttings hit the fire pit long before a photo can be snapped. (mine did, from Walgreens!)

I have addictive tendencies, a deep love for nature, and great respect for culture, so I was bound to get past this stage.

I want to know what it will take us, to keep more people involved so we can see improvement. But here I am speaking with a fellow from another country in regards to American Bonsai progression.

300 trees you say...  we need to adopt these types of traditions and understandings.

We lack the ability to steep ourselves so deeply in dedication.  Video games and fast food again!

Excellent Day!
Sorce
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on January 24, 2014, 02:27 PM
what the HE double hockey sticks Sorce! you have betrayed the rebellion... And just when we almost reached Obi-wan :(
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on January 25, 2014, 08:02 AM
  :o.   

I really don't want to be unprofessional. And confuse folks.  ???

One has to read it all to understand, and a lot of folks only get the "wrong" part.   >:(

The Rebellion continues, however....

With my boxwood growing well. Roots too...it seems more right than rebellious.

The only reason my "new years resolutions" list is so short, I can not expose the true rebellion to the masses!   ;)

When you know wrong, you can do no wrong.
When recorded, it becomes educational.

Ooooobbbiiii.






Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Leo in NE Illinois on February 23, 2014, 10:40 PM
@ Joshua -  a couple thoughts. One may be a terminology issue, regarding pinching versus pruning a juniper. Michael Hagedorn had a nice article on his site a while back, echo'd here in several threads, the point was "no more pinching" of junipers. Pruning and pinching are not synonymous. Pinching is only at final stages of development, just prior to shows. Pruning is done once, maybe twice during the growing season. Again, as stated earlier, new growth is allowed to extend and then later is cut back to wood. In terms of after care, I think it would be best to not prune your juniper until sometime in 2015.  You need to let it recover, and you need the juvenile foliage extend if you want it to revert back to adult foliage.

Another thought, high praise for actually doing! In my 4 decades of doing bonsai, I have been a novice for at least 3 decades, because I tend to spend too much time reading, or noodling around on the net and not actually sitting down with a tree in front of me trying out things I have read, seen or learned about. Only when I finally joined a club, and began more systematic taking of classes and workshops did my skills finally take a leap forward. I'm still learning, intermediate at best in my design skills. But I am trying to learn, even if I've already become an old dog.

One of several teaching heuristics is:
See one
Do one
Teach one

There can be the temptation to over emphasize the seeing, and not get enough doing in. (at least this is one of MY shortcomings) Teaching, well, there are issues with that, but this is one place study groups are really good. In a study group there is no one 'teacher', just a small, usually pretty informal group of people agree to get together to work on their own trees. What ever schedule the group mutually agrees on. Usually less than 8 people to the group. Study Groups within the Milwaukee Bonsai Society tend to meet twice a month, with Dec & Jan off. At these study groups, the "teach one" can come in, as you explain to the fellow members of your group what you are doing. And you can learn tricks from your fellow group members when they explain what they are doing.

So I applaud the fact you and Source got your hands on a tree and did something. The technique looks good. My New Years resolution was to physically do something to my trees (other than watering and basic horticulture) at least once a week, with Sunday being my target "bonsai day". So far I have spent one day only in 2014, on bonsai technique, and February is almost over. I spend way too much time reading and posting in forums, not enough time doing.

One design point I noticed, and figure it probably was noticed by you and you were likely to correct it on your own in 2015. There is a "vertical bar" of foliage from the lowest point to the 'apex' it looks rather flat and linear. When I tried to trace the main branches there in the photos, it looks like they actually have bends and movement, so it should be easy to fix the next time the tree is styled and pruned. For its stage in development, I am quite happy with what you have done. I do agree with Bill Valvanis' after care suggestions, keep it above freezing (but not too warm) and give it enough light it can grow a little.

@ Source, I am usually at a loss with boxwoods, so it is hard for me to see what they can become. I'm in the far northern Chicago suburbs, and I find them very slow growing. Perhaps this is because the only boxwood I have is a 40+ year old urban yamadori. Chops just don't seem to ever heal and smooth out the way a maple or other species would. Our growing season almost too short for this species. I also treat my boxwood as a zone 5 hardy shrub, I never winter it in a greenhouse. It is outside under a bench right now, buried in a foot of snow. Looking at the clump of trunks on yours, I would pick three, and eliminate the rest. I would choose three that were the most different in diameter. Keep a couple low branches for 'sacrifice branches' to thicken the trunks, and then work the tree from there. I like the trunk with the knothole (uro) it would likely be one I would keep. As the articles on Evergreen Gardenworks suggest, grow out each trunk segment from the ground up.

I'm always delighted when those new to bonsai develop the passion that the two of you show. keep it going.

Now I need to stop typing, and go downstairs to the unheated well house door, and see if there is a tree that it would be appropriate for me to do something to. Wire, what ever.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on February 24, 2014, 12:50 AM
Thank you Leo, I really liked the adage- see one, do one, teach one, and I appreciate the warmth in your response, it did not fall on deaf ears how you skillfully worded your advice to not sound condescending or offensive. I would imagine you are a very kind and patient person. I am starting to see something similar to what you mentioned develop in my life, where I read, research and live vicariously through others' doing, and I too mean to stop that. I really do have a passion for bonsai though, I can safely say I have never felt such a burning desire/infatuation/passion for anything else (except maybe for a few girls here and there) other than for bonsai. In fact, I seldom crane my neck while in a car or a train for anything other than a pretty girl or a gnarled old tree.

But I need to develop more patience, I chomp at the bit to do bonsai, I chomp at the bit to make money, and I'm only now starting to realize that the sprinters don't make it in this race called life, it's the marathon runners.

As far as that tree, I agree with you on that linear part, I did notice that but didn't want to over-work it, I have no idea how that tree is doing, I had to unfortunately move it out of the protection it was in, and with the snows and weather the way its been, I would not be surprised if I killed the tree by over-working it out of season.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on February 24, 2014, 07:17 AM
Thanks too Leo. Josh nailed it on the head. Kind words on fox ears!

I have whacked the section of 3 tiny trunks, ( too straight- only part not growing) will likely cut down the uro one to the next branch down. It is at least the main. And one of the 2 that are the same size will go too.

It is growing well still, and will be outside forever after spring.

I hope my kids can see it to a pot!

Happy Sundays! 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 04, 2014, 08:35 PM
Dan and Chris. I never saw that Juniper foilage reply, thanks for that.

And thanks again Leo. Your posts are always excellent.

The box. It has been healthy, almost ready to go outside again. I am going to put it on its path, now that it has told me what it wants!

The before.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 04, 2014, 10:30 PM
Sorry about the sideways.

The after.

Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 05, 2014, 11:35 PM
Looking good sorce. I'm gonna jump right into this, i am chomping at bit to tell everyone a good story about a collection i made today... So it starts last year, i was bringing my gf to a local staples, and as per my usual, i wandered around looking at the trees. The entire strip mall development looked neglected, which is a radar for me of possible urban yamadori present, lo and behold i find four old neglected shimpaku, beautiful blue green foliage, twisted winding live and dead veins. But they looked like they has seen better days, they were beginning to get choked by ivy, and mites and whatever else were wreaking havoc on them. So i go to the store on whose side the junipers were planted and i approached the manager and told him what i thought and offered to exchange azaleas/rhodeys for the junipers, and i would do the heavy lifting. The guy behaves like an absolute ass hole and says, "no those trees will die right where they are." Now i have a temper but its normally one that only a special kind of snake charmer can coax out of me, and i blurted out, we'll see about that, i guarantee i have, those trees, you don't have the capacity to outdrive me and i storm out. So, I'm standing outside the store seething a bit and i see a couple workers from staples, the store next door, and i start talking to them. Come to find out we both have a common belief that the manager of paint express is a moron. They explain that he is not the owner but just a manager, and they do a little digging for me, and provide me with a name and number!

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 06, 2014, 10:32 AM
Sorry after. ;D
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 06, 2014, 10:34 AM
Nice Josh. Get those trees.

 :)
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 10:59 AM
Sorry i fell asleep as i was telling the story! Was soooo tired yesterday...

So the owner said I could do it, but the time we said being last fall when the above part of the story happened, i decided to wait until spring because of their poor conditions and the timing. I would go there periodically, remove dead stuff, spray insecticides and fertilized in fall. Well yesterday the day to collect came and went, the owner had mentioned in passing that i would have to get along with paint express, and i got the feeling from talking to him that the manager had told him our conversation. So i was quite worried that if the manager came outside and saw us he would stop the work, so decided to go before they opened around six am. Unfortunately, i got drunk on Friday night and woke up at nine am on Saturday, so they were open =/

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Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 11:07 AM
I decided screw it, I'll go anyways.  i contacted my bonsai buddy i had invited to come help me (in exchange for a tree of course), and it was about ten thirty before he was at my house... We headed on location praying the manager wouldn't come out and cause an issue. I prayed that he would at last wait until i had removed all the trees and stuffed them into my car to show up...

Sent from my LG-MS770 using Tapatalk
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 11:13 AM
We tried to work quickly, but before we even finished one tree, the manager of the store walked out... He said, "Scott (the owner) called me and said you guys would be here, do you need anything." I looked up at him, It was a different manager! I thanked my lucky stars,  and collected four gigantic junipers and a mulberry, I'll take pictures for you all today. They are quite beautiful! Anyone reading this please help me with aftercare instructions.

I planted them in pure pumice and i am misting about twenty time during the day but nothing at night. I was thinking of getting a misting system, thoughts? They are also in semi shade until i see new growth...

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Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 06, 2014, 11:48 AM
Hell yeah.

Mulberry should be fine. They are always the first to need watering for me.

Cant wait to see em.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:45 PM
oh man, here they are!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:50 PM
some more
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:51 PM
more
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:53 PM
last few before I go and work cleaning out the dead stuff some more! here is the mulberry, help me choose a front!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:54 PM
more of mulb, help me choose a front please...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:55 PM
more of the mulb, need to choose a front before I start carving the rot out, which I would like to do soon...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 07, 2014, 08:04 AM
Junipers.   All cleaned up. The deadwood is going to be amazing. Lotta detail work. 900 days at 35k RPM. LOL NICE

F the front on old Mulb till it gets going. Walter pall designs with 360 fronts. I would follow that till a " front " presents itself.  Lot going on there now...


How bout a grow box?
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 07, 2014, 08:39 AM
How bout a grow box?

The mulberry ought to recover fine in the container its in.  Whether the junipers necessitate a grow box has more to do with the shape/size/condition of the rootball than anything else.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 07, 2014, 12:22 PM
Bwaynef, thanks for the reply, see I told you that you always help me out =) alittle more of an fyi,one of the juniper was collected with quite a small rootball, the others have fairly extensive roots. I am misting all of them about thirty times a day. The one with a poor root ball I placed rooting hormone on what few feeders it had, then placed spaghnum moss soaked in hormone on that, and wrapped that with plastic. However it is hard to water it so I'm going to replace that with a deeper pot that will encompass all the roots, and keep the moss on it but replace what binds it from tape and plastic to a layer of pumice wrapped in burlap and secured with vet wrap ( self amalgamated tape). Any advice on watering schedule, I am building a misting system for them, with fine mist on twenty minute intervals, until then is twenty-thirty mists with one sitting watering a day sufficient? Do you think waking up in the middle of the night at least two times to most would increase chance of survival?

Let me know if I should do anything different please.

Sorce, I agree with not worrying about the front too much but I should be removing what I don't think is necessary for final design, and I believe that Walter Pall while designing a 360 degree tree still has a favored front...
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 07, 2014, 01:23 PM
The one with a poor root ball I placed rooting hormone on what few feeders it had, then placed spaghnum moss soaked in hormone on that, and wrapped that with plastic. However it is hard to water it so I'm going to replace that with a deeper pot that will encompass all the roots, and keep the moss on it but replace what binds it from tape and plastic to a layer of pumice wrapped in burlap and secured with vet wrap ( self amalgamated tape).
I'd imagine a just-larger-than-the-rootball growbox full of pumice (maybe covered with sphagnum) would probably do wonders.  (Full-disclosure: I've never rehabbed a poor-rootball'ed juniper, but all my reading suggests that this is where I'd start.)

Quote
Any advice on watering schedule, I am building a misting system for them, with fine mist on twenty minute intervals, until then is twenty-thirty mists with one sitting watering a day sufficient? Do you think waking up in the middle of the night at least two times to most would increase chance of survival?

Talk about devotion!  I doubt that's sustainable though.  I'm interested in the misting system you're building.  Tell me more about it.  I'm waiting on one part to complete my mist system, but am interested in knowing how others have tackled this situation.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Sorce on April 07, 2014, 11:48 PM


Peter Tea's new Blog post covers this very thing. Peep the misting room.

http://peterteabonsai.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/utah-juniper-aka-big-sexy/ (http://peterteabonsai.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/utah-juniper-aka-big-sexy/)
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 08, 2014, 03:27 PM
Ok bwaynef here goes my misting adventure. I saw on bonsainut some dude who claimed he spent 900!!! on a mister, so I followed his link and found each of the component that come with his and ordered a generic but well rated substitiute. Ended up paying around 150, didn't get all the bells and whistles but I think I got what I need. In fact, if you notice something necessary that I missed please let me know.

1.) a four way pressure splitter like this so I can connect my regular GHT and the pvc for the misting
https://www.google.com/shopping/product/11713726740603354018?sclient=psy-ab&q=four+way++garden+hose&oq=four+way++garden+hose&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.64367178,d.cWc,pv.xjs.s.en_US.1ipquFBLRi8.O&biw=1040&bih=668&tch=1&ech=1&psi=BkhEU7rBEOa-sQSH_oG4Aw.1396983826774.7&ei=GkhEU8qIIo2osASmyoAw&ved=0CH4QpiswAQ (https://www.google.com/shopping/product/11713726740603354018?sclient=psy-ab&q=four+way++garden+hose&oq=four+way++garden+hose&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.64367178,d.cWc,pv.xjs.s.en_US.1ipquFBLRi8.O&biw=1040&bih=668&tch=1&ech=1&psi=BkhEU7rBEOa-sQSH_oG4Aw.1396983826774.7&ei=GkhEU8qIIo2osASmyoAw&ved=0CH4QpiswAQ)

2.) Anderson Metals Brass Garden Hose Swivel Fitting, Connector, 5/8" Barb x 3/4" Female Hose- this is to switch one of the above four male ends to female and then to a size that will fit the pvc pipe to run the misting lines (be aware the female ends needs to say GHT, that is the code for normal american garden hose connector)
http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?sku=63004&gclid=CMrQ-cLM0b0CFcyhOgodeTcALw (http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?sku=63004&gclid=CMrQ-cLM0b0CFcyhOgodeTcALw)

3.) the misters themselves that are placed into the pvc hose plus a drill bit
http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Degree-Replacement-Mister-Drill/dp/B00BJ8I40U (http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Degree-Replacement-Mister-Drill/dp/B00BJ8I40U)

4.) 100 foot of poly drip hose (with the misters drilled into this, the pressure should be sufficient to cause the misters to release a fine mist)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S295/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S295/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

5.)  Calcium Inhibitor Filter, this comes right off the GHT hose and works as a prevention to mister clogging (those who use this say it is indespensible)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003OWLK5U/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003OWLK5U/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

6.) Mister Timer for Micro Sprays & Drip Irrigation, this is a battery operated (easily switched to solar if you want) multi-purpose timer, it has a poor rating because people are morons and don't realize that extremely powerful batteries, not 99 cent store AA batteries should be used...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071CVF18/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071CVF18/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

The system is still in transport (ordered a couple days ago), so I'll report back how it works once I set it up.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 08, 2014, 03:33 PM
Sorce, I saw that post, and saw the amount of roots on the tree they were able to get to survive, really something . I have come to realize that junipers (maybe all conifers?) have this evolutionary failsafe that keeps them and basically only them alive on mountain sides and extremely harsh conditions. The foliage can pull in what is necessary for the trees survival while it repairs its roots, which is why I mist these constantly. But bwaynef is right, I cannot keep this up indefinitely. I'm building the one with a small rootball a growbox today, and I'm ordering large amounts of spaghnum to cover them.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 09, 2014, 10:47 AM
I was primarily interested in your timer, as that's proven to be the most expensive and arduous piece to really meet my needs.  I had one like yours (different make; same capabilities) that started leaking after a while ...possibly after an early freeze.

I'm building mine currently, though its geekier than the one you've shown:

Raspberry Pi - $35
TEMPerHUM - $25
Spraying Tank - $10
Solenoid - $10
x10 Firecracker module - $27
USB-to-Serial -$?  (I have 3 of these and not sure what they cost)
I have some misting heads, but would like new/better ones for this system, and have tubing as well.

That comes to $107, but I had the x10 module and the RPi already.

Initially, I wanted an infinitely configurable timer allowing me to select how long I wanted the mist on (in a user-selectable number of (fractions!! of*) seconds) and how often (in user-selectable number of minutes).  I've come to a solution that, while needing some polish**, provides just that.

In addition to the timing mentioned above, and primarily, I've opted to have this system be humidistat controlled such that steady humidity levels will be possible ...taking the guesswork out of the timer (with variables such as temperature/wind causing humidity levels to change at a rate I'd not anticipated).  Interestingly enough, for the cost of another x10 module***, tank, and solenoid, I can expand this system to other chambers providing for different needs at the same time.  (Think recovery vs. propagation.)

Using a pressurized tank, I'm also able to mix fertilizer/vitamins/whatever I want into the water that's constantly spraying on the trees/cuttings.

I hope to be out of the Proof-of-Concept stage within a month.  I've seen and made all the parts work, but I've never seen all the parts work together!  I'm sure there'll be something pop up that'll need to be overcome.  Currently, I can't locate the x10 module, for instance.  Did I mention that eventually, it'll be web-accessible as well?

*Fractions are probably unnecessary, but I've discovered that to be possible!
**Currently I'm using Linux' cron utility to activate hand-written scripts on a schedule &  the sleep utility for timing (when timing is necessitated).
***I'm not sure how reliable the x10 module will prove to be.  When the time comes, it can be bypassed, though that will require more extensive effort (GPIO) than I'm capable of devoting to the project at this time.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Chrisl on April 09, 2014, 11:08 AM
Wayne, don't forget a backflow inhibitor.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 09, 2014, 11:35 AM
Wayne, don't forget a backflow inhibitor.

Unless I'm misunderstanding, my system doesn't need one.  The reservoir of water is a pressurized tank, not a spigot from the house.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 09, 2014, 02:12 PM
I'm sure there'll be something pop up that'll need to be overcome.  Currently, I can't locate the x10 module, for instance.

Found it at lunch.  It's working. 
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: jlushious on April 09, 2014, 03:39 PM
Just out of curiosity, where do you guys set these systems up? Garages? Basements? Portion of greenhouse? Standalone structure just for misting? Very curious. Also size, what kind of space are you setting this up for: what kind of tree capacity will it have? Obviously you're doing propagation and rehabilitation of collected trees, but I am mostly curious what kind of space a system like this would encompass.

Sorry for all the questions!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 09, 2014, 09:25 PM
My intent was for propagation, but mine's design will allow for either, simultaneously with a few extra parts mentioned above.  As for size and location, mine will be in my greenhouse ...and ultimately will be a chamber made in lumber wrapped in plastic film.  I'm actually researching what would be an appropriate size.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: jlushious on April 09, 2014, 09:28 PM
Cool, thanks. I'd be interested in seeing the final product!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Chrisl on April 10, 2014, 08:47 AM
Wayne, don't forget a backflow inhibitor.

Unless I'm misunderstanding, my system doesn't need one.  The reservoir of water is a pressurized tank, not a spigot from the house.

You're right, not necessary with pressurized system.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 14, 2014, 11:36 AM
bwaynef, very VERY cool system, thank you so much for taking the time to share that with me and the rest of BSG. What a real sense of control that must be, to be able to water from your phone! A few questions I had,

1) I assume the constant humidity control mechanism is only for your greenhouse? As I'm guessing for outdoor setup that would create a higher chance of fungus' and bugs? Or am I missing something?

2) I have been mulling over returning my mister and following in your footsteps with the raspberry pi/solenoid setup, I was worried about programming issues but I have a professional programming friend who assures me he can handle the coding. But, after mulling it over for awhile, I cannot come to a decision, can you help sway me one way or the other? I am a real noob at this as this is my first mister setup, so I initially leaned towards the simpler user-friendly regular mister, but then again, taking into consideration that the programming aspect would not be an issue eases my concerns as a noob. I was heavily considering the pi/solenoid setup until I realized that the constant humidity levels are for greenhouse use, not outdoor, normal watering/misting use, so I swung back to the mister I have already (this issue will be answered by my previous question so disregard). Then I began to think well I can always just use the raspberry pi for the same amount of control I have with the regular mister, and will always have the ability to increase the complexity if I want to, and that is sort of where I am now. It makes sense that I might as well have as much control over the system as possible, and reserve the right to increase control in the future...

Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on April 14, 2014, 01:41 PM
I won't be recommending this setup to any of my local friends who aren't proficient in Linux ...because they'd want me to support it and there isn't enough time in my days.  Nothing I'm doing is particularly difficult, but it requires a decent understanding of Linux, cron (timing), bash (scripting to be called by cron), ...and possibly compiling code (temperature & humidity sensing).  So far, nothing I'm going to end up using has needed any customization of code, but to get some of the things I've tested working I did have to.

While mine will be in my greenhouse, I'm going to further compartmentalize it.  I haven't determined final dimensions, but you ought to be able to extrapolate everything out and use your garage for what I have in mind.

Full Disclosure: the thermometer/humidistat-controlled portion might be shelved initially as I'm running into slight complications and want to go ahead and get started propagating in the next li'l while.

To answer your questions more directly:
1.) You can attempt to control for humidity without a greenhouse.  The misters will simply activate more often.  And controlling for humidity doesn't HAVE to me 90+ % humidity.
2.) I'd recommend you go with the simpler solution.  You stand the chance of frustrating a friend ...or being frustrated at him for this not being the same priority for him as it is for you.  Like I said before, I've used a system like yours.  It works a lot better than nothing.  See if it doesn't meet your needs before you go to the trouble of a computer-controlled system.
Title: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
Post by: bwaynef on September 12, 2014, 09:20 AM
I didn't get going with this system until mid-late summer ...and grew immediately frustrated because of the tank/pump system I chose to go with.  So, I've scrapped the pressurized pump and gone with a brass garden hose to pipe (used on the solenoid) adapter.  These can be had @ Lowe's and probably Home Depot, but I couldn't find a picture of one on their website, so I've linked to a similar one below.

There's no more forgetting to fill or pressurize the tank.  There's also considerably more pressure, and more consistent pressure.  I'm giving up a bit of portability, but that may've been a ridiculous thing to aim for anyway.  What I gain is more than worth it and it simplifies the design ...which doesn't really matter to anybody but me.

Now I just need to find things worth propagating.  (Oh, and build new benches in the greenhouse.)


http://www.zoro.com/i/G1300731/?utm_source=google_shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_Feed&gclid=Cj0KEQjws8qgBRCLp-aploLbqcQBEiQAm0rD55iwESI9YVBzEiWJtnxx-oX_pYmvIHeJSU0XbgnNqwsaArCI8P8HAQ (http://www.zoro.com/i/G1300731/?utm_source=google_shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Google_Shopping_Feed&gclid=Cj0KEQjws8qgBRCLp-aploLbqcQBEiQAm0rD55iwESI9YVBzEiWJtnxx-oX_pYmvIHeJSU0XbgnNqwsaArCI8P8HAQ)