Author Topic: You get what you pay for....True?  (Read 10983 times)

Mitch Thomas

  • Legit New User
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #45 on: October 17, 2011, 01:56 PM »
This thread has brought some up some very interesting subjects. and I agree Will most and will adapt many in my own criteria on new material acquisitions.

Here are some of my tough ts.

As I get older, when I look at new material to purchase or to collect, is how long will it take me to get it to look  like a decent Bonsai. In my mid 50's now, will live long enough to see it become a  Bonsai.  And the second is it a plant that I grow in my zone.

I also wish I would have started earlier. I have found out the hard way and waisted a lot of time working on trees that will take a life time to develop. When every you see a very good bonsai with a great nabari, trunk girth, and taper. rugged bark. Chances are it was a collected or field grown tree. Most of these attributes can only be developed in the ground and then collected and developed into great bonsai. I wish I had learned this much earlier in my quest.

Now I only work on collected of field grown material, an my collection has vastly improved sense then.


Jerry Norbury

  • Sr. Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 321
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #46 on: October 17, 2011, 03:28 PM »
My wife admits I have a problem. I, on the other hand, am fully in denial.

I've sold probably 50 or more trees this year - so I'm going the right direction but the bench is still full...


  • Full Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #47 on: October 17, 2011, 08:27 PM »
I learned how to do bonsai by going to the nursery in Oct and buying all the gallon procumbens I could afford. Sometimes I would get them for 3.00 a piece. I hacked them, wrapped them with wire I would pick up at work following the electrician around. Not annealed mind you, I didn't even know what that was. I think I have twisted up about 100 gallon nana's over the last 30 years...I learned to wire to the tips. Something many on this and many forums never do. Most have no tertiary twigs anyway so wiring tips is not even possible. I learned so much from those nana's. I wouldn't trade that cheap experiance for all of Boons video's.

Watching those video's by the way won't make you a better artist. Working on trees, and lots of them, at any price, thats what makes a person move in a better direction. A peson does not even have to have a tree to learn to wire. You can mount a set of deer antlers on a garage wall and wire and unwire that thing day after day for two weeks and become so proficiant at wireing it will be second nature. Right or wrong, thats how I learned.

You're right Al, you can piss pretty high! That copper must have been tough ;)

I respect you and what you do, and I like a number of your trees, but IMO Boon's DVDs will make most bonsai artists better, quicker than using deer antlers!. Having sound technique is the fastest way to make better bonsai.

I do agree though, that the DVDs will not improve your artistic vision. IMO the best way to do this is with a lot of exposure to quality trees, and then having a crack yourself, with the help of someone with good artistic vison.


  • John Callaway
  • Administrator
  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1398
  • Thanked: 6 times
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #48 on: October 17, 2011, 09:29 PM »
While I have no specific knowledge of how high Al can piss, I will say he seems to have accomplished quite a bit.  He has a keen eye and ability to produce good looking trees in a short time.

I agree that Boon's DVDs are extremely helpful.  I've found his instruction to be extremely beneficial to me, and working with quality trees to be incredibly exciting.  I'm sure not every one will have the same experience, but I'm thoroughly happy with the direction I've chosen.  

And, I enjoy Al's posts, most of the time.  :)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 09:32 PM by MatsuBonsai »


  • Sr. Forum Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 485
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • USDA zone 4 Northern Vermont
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #49 on: October 18, 2011, 06:46 AM »
I too enjoy Al's post as well as most others. Hey I 'met' Al back on BonsaiTalk in it's early days, I even have a Suiseki, on an Al built stand and I think of him when I repot and use my 'Al' made chop stick.

He speaks the truth as he knows it. And isn't that the case for us most of the time. We all are different and go about our Bonsai habit in different ways. Some of us are extremely talented and do wonderful things others less so and others are playing with sticks in pots.

Think about it, how many art forms do rank beginners mingle with Experts and those in between.


Owen Reich

  • Hero Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 888
  • Thanked: 8 times
Re: You get what you pay for....True?
« Reply #50 on: October 18, 2011, 08:11 AM »
Having gone the route of many beginners to the extreme (acquiring 100's of mediocre trees), my first statement to any beginner I meet is to advise the purchase of better quality material early on in their pursuits and learn from seasoned local club members and pros.  I also recommend focusing on a specific species for a little while.  I am apalled by the price of some material in America especially after living in Japan.  I understand the discrepancy in quality levels between America and Japan as well as the difficulty in finding worthwhile material in the States.  I will be liquidating many trees when I return to Tennessee soon.  Better material is slowly becoming available in America.  I think one issue in America is training hobbyists to understand what makes a tree excellent and why good material costs so much.  Some bonsai vendors sell complete crap for $1000 and great producers struggle to sell quality trees for reasonable prices.  It's frustrating.  I'm preaching to the choir for many on this forum for sure.  If it's any consolation, Japan has many small nurseries full of over-priced crap too : ).    Time, education, and increased availability of better material will hopefully thin the herd of mallsai vendors; these vendors may even be well meaning but definitely not helping the art progress.  All that being said, my sensei and sempai are often impressed by photos of trees from America I show them for the resourcefulness and creativity employed to create bonsai.