Author Topic: Why Bother?  (Read 3041 times)

JRob

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Why Bother?
« on: November 05, 2011, 08:17 AM »
Good Morning All,

Recently I was showing a non-bonsai friend Drew's and my collection of trees. he correctly realized that our hobby required patience, skill and time. He noted that some of the trees in the group would never reach their potential in my life time and wondered aloud why I bother?

Well it been three short years since I bought Drew our first tree. He was 16 at the time. Commonly called a Kingsville Boxwood it was an old tree pulled from a garden redesign in the Washington, DC area. I spent approximately $400.00 for it at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Japanese festival in late summer in 2008 from Cass Bonsai. By wife nearly had a stroke when she realized what I paid for a "houseplant" as she called it. But it was one of the best investments I have ever made. If she only knew what's been spent since. I'd probably be sleeping on the couch for the rest of my life!

Drew and I have developed a collection that now numbers 53 trees and we have trees in all stages - from those that can be shown to those that have just begun their life in a pot. We have spent countless hours of enjoyment and fulfillment working side by side together in a shared interest. Because of that time we have grown closer together and this weekend by teenager will turn 20. What a fantastic time is been and what a great young man he has become. I am thankful to know that when I am long gone the trees will continue to be cared for and hopefully Drew will share the same experience with one of his children. But until then we will keep plugging away together- a father and son working on a share passion. Its great to have a son who is also a friend.

As Thanksgiving approaches I am truly blessed.

JRob
 

Owen Reich

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 12:47 PM »
One of the best posts i've read.  I suggest posting it on other forums.  My parents nearly had a stroke when I told them I was going to become a bonsai professional  :o.   Foresight like yours is what will make bonsai in America better and better.
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 01:57 PM »
I recently bought my 9 year old son his first pre-bonsai material to work on.  I will consider myself truly lucky and blessed if my son and I are able to share this hobby together as completely as you have with your son.  Good for you and your son.
 

bonsaiTom

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2011, 06:00 AM »
JRob - You've struck a note with this post. In our club I am always so pleased to see interest in bonsai by younger folks - you understand why. What's really special is when family members share the love of the hobby, and grow together with it.

For some time we have had a father/son combo in our ranks, the son being about 16 now. More recently, as a result of an exhibit we had at a local Arts Festival we also gained new several new members including a 3 generation family - Grandma, Daughter, and Granddaughter - who happen to be of Japanese/American decent. They are thrilled to have found a new shared interest. As a group they really enjoy working on their nursery materials.

But here's the kicker. Another new member, who also saw our bonsai exhibit, is a 17 year old who recently brought his dad to a meeting. The dad seems interested in joining too. We hope that this will become another example of family members with the experience that you now have. Guess what? The son's name is DREW! Can you believe it?

Had to share that with you.  
« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 06:02 AM by bonsaiTom »
 

JRob

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2011, 08:05 AM »
Owen, Dave & Tom,

Thanks for the comments.

Tom my entrance into the fascinating world of bonsai was very similar to your Drew's. After I bought my Drew his Buxus microphylla 'Compacta" on August 30 2008 we attended the our first first meeting of the Bonsai Society of Greater St. Louis. As I've already stated it is tree number one in our collection. That monthly meeting followed the Japanese Festival which hosts one of the clubs yearly shows. As you can imagine it generates a lot of interest and we always gain new members because of it.

When Andrew and I stood up at that first meeting and he introduce himself he expressed his love of trees and the outdoors, hiking and botany in general and explained he had just gotten his first tree as a gift and need advice on how to overwinter it. I on the other hand introduced myself as his driver, banker & manager. He did not yet have a drivers permit, did not have adequate funds to support & pursue the hobby and need someone to help manage and care for them when he went away to college and I was just along for the ride.

I am fortunate to have a very good job and disposable income that allowed us to jump right in. My personal goal after the bug bit was to develop a quality shohin collection. Drew's interest is in trees of all sizes but most of our trees are either satsuki, juniper and japanese maples with a few other species sprinkled in.

Its been a whirl wind ride. Our trees have one several awards, I am Vice-Pesident of the St. Louis Club and we study with Michael Hagedorn several times a year. We have attend numerous workshops and shows and have grown so much in our understanding of this ancient art form. I look forward this great anticipation to what the future hold for us.

JRob
 

Adair M

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2011, 08:19 AM »
Cool stories!

I am trying to get my son interested, but with little success.  He thinks I am "torturing" trees.  Alas...
 

nathanbs

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 11:43 AM »
My father takes care of avocado and citrus orchards for a living. We have an avocado ranch ourselves, but with the rising cost of water and the decreasing price of the fruit, the end is near. My dad has been looking for an altenative crop for years but nothing seems to make sense. I mentioned to my dad that i thought that growing bonsai material would not only be fun and a great learning experience for me but also be a small supplement to his existing income, especially as it starts dwindling. Last winter we planted 100 mikawa black pine seedlings, 50 crabapple, and 25 ume. We have planted more black pine and the occasional raffle prize here and there. We are up to approximately 300 trees. It has been a great experience thus far and a great excuse to see my dad more often as he lives almost 2 hours from me. He seems to be really enjoying it and always has more and more questions for me. Besides the gophers everything has been going fantastic. We cant believe how fast the ume's and crabapples grow, we have over 1" thick trunks on most of them in one growing season. Great thread.
 

Yenling83

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2011, 02:01 PM »
Awesome Post thanks for sharing!
 

Elliott

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2011, 09:27 PM »
 I'm a big advocate of getting the "yung'un's" into the Hobby. i am the VP and show chair for my local club, Sansui Kai, and earlier this year, I let a 16 year old, Jack Holm, do  his first demo ever for the club. He did it on Bunjin and and styled a $12 juniper he got a nursery (Should make Al Keppler thrilled) ;D into a respectable tree. Who knows, He could end up being the next Ryan Neil or he could get find a hot little girlfriend and forget the whole thing. It doesn't matter. If you have an opportunity to give a young artist a chance, do it. You will be back in serious Karma.
 

Joedes3

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2011, 04:01 PM »
Great post!  I think I will start working with my grandchildren on a few trees.  Thanks.   This is my first post and I am new to the Group.
 

bonsaiTom

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2011, 08:55 PM »
Hi Joe - welcome. I've seen you around other forums. Nice to 'see' you here too.

Was at our sister club in Syracuse last Wednesday night for a special demonstration by Dave A. (HotAction here). Great crowd in attendance. Seated front row was a young chap of about 10 yrs. He peppered Dave with question after question about things that the adults seemed reluctant to ask - not dumb stuff - good enthusiastic inquiries. Loved it. Hope this lad sticks around. He was there with his Grandparents.

Then on Saturday our Utica club had a bring-your-tree-to-work-on session. Our youngest member, Alison, about 12 yrs. old proudly worked her tree then helped out with her mothers and Grandmas. Seriously!

"Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear". Lessons to be learned. Kids not glued to the TV - not playing video games - not texting or twitting - but taking and holding an interest in this awesome thing called bonsai.

Gottaluvit.

Take note of these names - Jack Holm and Alison Obernesser.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 08:59 PM by bonsaiTom »
 

Joedes3

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2011, 09:06 PM »
Hi Tom;
Just found this site.  It really looks good.  What have you got working now?  I'm getting ready to put my larch seedlings to bed for the winter.  Everything I've read, says that they are really strong winter plants. 
 

jtucker

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 12:07 AM »
Great thread! Even as a youngin-ish (sub 30---barely) I'm already super excited about passing on my love for our wonderful art to the next generation. Our firstborn here was enjoying her first Halloween pumpkin a couple weeks ago and really appreciating my bougainvillea, mostly to shove in her mouth I think...

Maybe I'll wait a couple months before I let her rip with the concave cutters ;-)

Jason
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 12:09 AM by jtucker »
 

bonsaiTom

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 06:31 AM »
Jason, Your little pumpkin bonsai may not want to wait a couple months - seems she want to rip into it now. Love her outfit. And, by the way, your bougie looks delicious - good enough to eat. NICE!

Joe, We're doing the Winter preps here too. Yeah, the larchs and a hardy bunch. Dropping needles now. Hunkering down for the cold months ahead, though it's been quite warm for Nov. Lots of other trees will stay outdoors with them. Others will be coming into the shed for more protection. But it's still to warm. Need full dormancy.

Back to Joe & JRob and the original topic "WHY BOTHER?" if our trees will not reach full potential in our lifetimes. Yes the answer is for the future and the future may be sitting in the carved out pumpkin.
 

Don Blackmond

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Re: Why Bother?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2011, 12:35 PM »
Jeffrey your story is awesome.  I have kids too, and i know that any time spent with them is great.  Having a hobby or interest that your kids share is super rewarding.  Good job!