Author Topic: Your tree that started it all  (Read 2535 times)

JRob

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Your tree that started it all
« on: December 26, 2013, 10:09 PM »
Good Evening All,

Not sure this thread will be successful. My thought was that we share a picture of the tree that started your bonsai journey. Then I realized that many may still not have that tree for one reason or another. But then I thought you may still have a picture you could share. For me it is this shohin itoigawa shimpaku. The tree was a Christmas present from my wife in December 2008 and it is still in my collection. I love the little guy. JRob
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 10:55 PM »
I don't remember the original tree, unfortunately I was very very young when I fist fell in love with bonsai.  But, I remember wandering around Brooklyn botanical gardens and Bonsai of Brooklyn. These are some of my fondest memeories but then I took some years free from bonsai until I saw this abstract creation from kimura. after this I was once again caught- hook, line, and sinker!!!
 

BonsaiEngineer1493

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 11:08 PM »
Joshua, my beginnings are extremely similar to yours. What steps did you take to become more involved. I am having difficulty finding a club nearby. Nature's way, New England, and Bonsai Society of Upstate New York are hours away. My apologizes for a post unrelated to the topic.
 

Joshua Hanzman

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2013, 11:19 PM »
Joshua, my beginnings are extremely similar to yours. What steps did you take to become more involved. I am having difficulty finding a club nearby. Nature's way, New England, and Bonsai Society of Upstate New York are hours away. My apologizes for a post unrelated to the topic.


No problem at all! I'll take this to pm though so we don't accidentally hijack :)
 

Anthony

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 04:15 AM »
Several trees exist from the 1980 period.

However, I wanted to show something to the group, that they could appreciate.
Texas Ebony, presently having airlayers taken to give to friends.
Good Day
Anthony
 

Sorce

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 11:10 PM »
I was working in a building and found this braided ficus. It had a nice full crown. I promptly overwatered it.
My research on care for it led me to Bonsai.

Whirlwind.

I became, and still am fascinated. I love how a whole new element of nature can be enjoyed differently. And by that I mean every tree around me lives now with a new sense of being.

I still have all the airlayers. My practice material.
 

Jay

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2013, 12:09 PM »
My beginnings in Bonsai were some forty odd years ago. I lived in Brooklyn and took a class at BBG from a fellow name Yoshi...
Did  a nice little juniper and proceeded to leave it inside on my window sill over the radiator.... Needless to say it didn't make it. I blamed myself and didn't go back to Bonsai till just before I retired. I've been hooked ever since.
Do not have pictures of my early trees....many of which were sticks in pots. At one point I 'thought' I had just over 100 trees. In retrospect I had a collection of mostly hopes and ......
I'm now at perhaps 25 trees, of which I can say less than 5 are Bonsai, the rest are pre.
Jay
 

Sorce

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 07:45 AM »
This should be a successful thread.

Stories are good alone.
 ???
 

Leo in NE Illinois

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My tree that started it all - Pomegranate
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2014, 02:29 PM »
My pomegranate. Started as a single, matchstick thin cutting I picked up while I was a senior in high school, 1973. It is now 40 years old. It has never been in the ground, and has suffered all manner of abuse. I made all my first time newbie mistakes on this tree, and it has survived. Of course that classic novice mistake, I used every technique for finished bonsai possible, on a cutting that should have been grown out to bring it up to the point where it would qualify as a pre-bonsai.

Did you know a pomegranate will come back after being completely defoliated by letting it go bone dry for a week? Did you know that it will come back after being exposed to a night of +10 F. I wanted to give it  a light frost to make it go dormant, missed the forecast, found the pot & tree frozen solid the next day. These days, I run pomegranate as a subtropical, I leave it out for a defoliating frost, then into a just barely above freezing old well house for the remainder of the winter. Get the best spring growth that way. Did you know it would survive many winters in a row in a light garden that was warm enough for ficus, and orchids, in light barely bright enough to keep a ficus alive? Every spring I would have to cut off all the weak winter shade grown growth. Then would get a weak flush of spring growth outdoors. In a different year I did a complete defoliation, as one used to be told to do for Japanese maples, it survived. The effect was to weaken the tree, it took over a year to recover. It has survived every permutation of my potting mix, lost roots often. Through all this, it has survived. My next longest living bonsai is barely 20 years old. I must have had a thousand or more 'starters' in-between.

For a resilient, tough plant, I really recommend a pomegranate for the beginning bonsai-ista. They have a strong will to live.

First photo, 2008
second photo 2012

Frankly it still looks like crap. But it is an old friend, I'll keep it as long as either it, or I am still alive. 

Beginning 2008 I had decided to pot it into a larger pot, somewhat over-sized for the size of the tree. The purpose is to try to get some bushy, vigorous growth. I realized I had been 'over pruning' it, not leaving enough new wood on branches or roots to keep the tree vigorous. I need some bushy growth to get the branching and buds I need to do a re-design. This has not worked the way I want it too, it seems to put a lot of energy into flowers and fruit, and really has not made all that much in the way of new growth. 2012 I allowed only one flush of flowers, 2013 I removed all flowers as soon as buds were visible. Got some better growth, but not as much as I would like. Hopefully this year will do the trick. Again, I will remove flowers and resist the urge to prune it back hard.

Tip for novice bonsai artists. When an old fart like me says "you got to put it in the ground to get the trunk to bulk up", this tree is a graphic demonstration of the truth in that statement. This tree is about 14 to 16 inches tall, and just above the nebari it is about 2 inches, at the first branch it is a hair under one inch in diameter. A 40 year old pomegranate in the ground would have a trunk well over 6 or 8 inches in diameter, possibly as much as 12 inches or more in diameter. One should envision the size tree AND diameter of the base you want, then focus on growing the base FIRST. Wish I had embraced this idea back then. I figure I have another 20 years left in me to turn this into something nice.

I have found it is possible to put diameter onto trunks while growing in pots, but you have to seriously focus on adding the bulk. Brent Walston outlines it well in one of his articles. Grow your nebari and first section of trunk first, then the second section of trunk, then the rest of the tree. Still, in nursery cans you will never get diameter as fast as you will in the ground, but if you focus on making sacrifice branches, and bulking up the trunk, it can be done in nursery can size pots.
 

Sorce

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2014, 04:20 PM »
Awesome story Leo.

I have some seedling poms that I am even more excited about now!

Thanks!

 

dre

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Re: Your tree that started it all
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2014, 07:10 PM »
love the idea of this thread but unfortunately i don't have a picture of my first but i do and will never forget the story my wife has known that i always wanted to grow bonsai. at the time i worked nights and at lunch while talking to her she said i bought you a gift. when i got home there was a little bonsai on my dresser. which died sometime later as most mall bought bonsai do but that pushed me and my collection today is such and enjoyment to grow and train. heres one of my first nursery bought bonsai that is still alive but doesn't live in a pot its in the ground growing