Author Topic: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai  (Read 25064 times)

Joshua Hanzman

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Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« 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.
 

bwaynef

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #1 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 :  Lots of activity.  An off-topic area that occasionally spills into the rest of the forum.  Higher traffic.
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/ :  Lots of beginners.  Still lower traffic.
http://bonsaichat.org : Last I knew, this one was struggling for participation.
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 , 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.)
 

Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #2 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
 

bwaynef

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #3 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.
 

JRob

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #4 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.
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #5 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.
 

jlushious

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #6 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
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #7 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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Anthony

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #8 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
 

Neli

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #9 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.
 

Larry Gockley

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #10 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.
 

Jason E

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #11 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.
 

kcpoole

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Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #12 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
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #13 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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Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Re: Need help expanding my knowledge in Bonsai
« Reply #14 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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