We can all learn something here..

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:15 pm

Well Leo,

yesterday, I repotted three Serissas, from a nursery. Interesting, they were of a bunch, put up for sale about 10 years ago. Going through the soil/root, I found 3 rotted black growing bags, going from small to medium to larger.
The soil was whatever, lots of very, very fine perlite and some clay.

One had a trunk half rotted, with a thin strip of life. Coarse soil mix, planted down past the decay and pray.
One was just fine and very full of potential, good growing soil and a trim.
The last was placed in a glazed earthenware pot, with the cocoa tree moss. The earthenware should control any excess water held by the moss.
All were trimmed and I got a large cutting possible, another straight for tall growing [ seen my article earlier here on the world's tallest serissa, now 3 inches taller - chuckle.] and a small root.

Will let you guys know how it all goes.

* I also have a serissa in a plastic umbrella stand, coarse soil, and I am hoping for exceptional roots. This is the 3rd year of growing.
Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  JMcCoy on Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:04 am

New Horizons in Bonsai.. I watched those shows 20 years ago too (I think local PBS stations across the country must have all picked it up). While the whole Bonsai in sphagnum was kind of wierd, especially how he seemed to really enjoy squishing that stuff, it was and still remains the only Bonsai TV show series to air in the US. I think quite a feat!

As an interesting aside though.. Brian Batchelder's cause of death seems to be purely speculative. I've heard the sporotrichosis story for a very long time, but as far as I've ever been able to tell, it's always "someone told me" rumors. Years ago I was curious about what happened to him, and could find very little actual info other than the "I heard" stories. Has anyone here (maybe from Florida) know definitively, either from his family, local club or obituary his cause of death? I'm all for people being safe and aware of danger, but a lot of the sphagnum scare seems to come from stories of this guy's death, which may not have actually been the case.

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:42 pm

That guy's videos are quite old and did not improve with time.
I started out with those videos and wasted my first two bonsai years raising sticks in a pot.

Ohh look, one of my first bonsai from the easy bonsai method approach back in 2010, just before I learned that I was doing it all wrong!
Its still alive Smile

Unfortunately his videos attracts a lot of newbie, specially with the key words "Easy Bonsai Method" all in one sentence.
And his high visit rate and "+ve" comments from pre-prebeginner in bonsai [ that's level -2 in my personal rating scale ] seems to boost his ego on the matter.
Read the last comment in this post : http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bonsai/msg0409230218390.html

The guy started out with Brian Batchelder's "New Horizons in Bonsai" too and is "continuing his work".
He also wrote a book on the topic/subject of growing in the sphagnum moss : http://www.amazon.com/Sphagnum-Moss-Bonsai-Method-Illustrated/dp/0786462922
You can read parts of the book with the "Search inside this book" feature.
Just want to point out those facts after reading through sections of the book :
1. The author has been using this method for roughtly 20yr or so he claims.
2. The bonsai quality of the trees presented in the book after 20years of work/training/experience so far are less that "stick in a pot" quality. Its a harsh statement, even for me to say with my limited 4 years experience [ 2 of which were wasted on easy bonsai methods / quick bonsai methods ] but its a fact. The qualities of those trees both in his book and his videos [ old and recent ] looks like no work have been done on them at all.
3. The actual bonsai looking trees in the book are actually taken from a nursery [ wigert's bonsai nursery ], and its plain enough, even with the black and white pictures that those were not grown in sphagnum moss.

ofBonsai's review on the book : http://ofbonsai.org/Book-detail/the-sphagnum-moss-bonsai-method

The issue is not really the sphagnum moss approach, I gave it a try and it works to some extend if you know what you are doing.
There is another post on using sphagnum moss as potting medium on this forum already [ http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t10721-spagnum-moss-as-the-planting-medium ] so I'm not going to extrapolate on this here.
The real issue is his lack of understanding on how to create a bonsai, be it the pruning, taper or other stuffs and communicating this lack of knowledge or misinformation to others, specially beginners.
He seems to be doing a lot of the stuffs for the first time in his videos without prior knowledge or research on the matter, like his airlayer attempt. His logic and aim in performing the airlayer is "good" but his attempt clearly shows he missed more than half of the facts on the matter.
Someone else hinted at his airlayer eps :
-keith- wrote:ha ha i think ive watched most of this guys videos i would FF them to see what he would massacre next . there is a good one on airlayering too Shocked

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Fascinating, as not one has even tried the idea to see if it works.
Well I did give it a try - I mean the sphagnum moss, not his airlayer easy failing method approach.
Its a recurring question I've seen for the last 2~3 years.
Someone posted it here too recently : http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t10721-spagnum-moss-as-the-planting-medium.

I can really appreciate his effort and dedication at trying to spread bonsai and making it accessible to all, but in this case it is more harmful than helpful IMO.

Xavier de Lapeyre

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:03 pm


if you were to grow a tree to the proportion of an ancient tree [ say 500 years ] what would you get?
[ check through google - measure won't you?]

The proportions of 1 to 5 or 1 to 6 as trunk to height - 1 " [ 2.5 cm ] to 6 inches [ 15 cm ] was set to aid in giving a good visual illusion of a memory of a tree in the viewer's eye.

Trees as we both know can be any shape, some more attractive or appealing that others. So anything in a pot even a stick can be the same as an old tree in reality.

AND that is where the -philosophical - problem starts.

Which do you prefer thick trunks right down to the sumo style or slimmer trunks of the guava or similar trees. I hope you have simple guava trees on your side?

Plus, even a stick can be cultivated to be a slim elegant tree in the correct pot.

I have used our local road weed - Sida acuta - for years as a personal preference bonsai. I even purchased very shallow, I believe Houtoku [ spelling ] pots to grow them in. Say 15 cm long by 1.5 cm oval machine compressed clay pots.
Trunks never cross 2.5 cm, but can grow to just under 1m in height.

Yes, the guy had no real talent for designs, but you can grow trees in [ cocoa ] moss, never used sphagnum.
As I said before exploring that idea in porous stone with decayed press meal, may give many an answer.

Imagine if you were back in the pre-1950's and trees were slimmer of trunk, would you be speaking negatively about the thick trunked trees coming in as folk experimented?
[ 1950 is used here as just an example, not a historically researched situation - thank you for the leeway.]

An example -
A guava type, that in old age never gets a trunk thicker than 31 cm. I also have a second with a trunk at three times the size of this one, but the slim trunk better illustrates this guave type.

Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:45 pm

Somebody said the guy is dead. i believe it is not ethical to discuss and make of fun of him and his works in here. I don't know if it is a universal belief, but in this part of the world we give respect and give peace to the departed.

I am out of this thread!

jun Embarassed


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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:56 pm


Bows in your direction.

the guy who was on TV died, but the chap being discussed is very much alive.
No need to go.
Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:09 pm

Last time I looked the guy's still alive and on youtube.
I think you are confusing with the original guy who proposed this method on tv in the 80's.


between those two "bonsai"
Bonsai 1

Bonsai 2

Which one looks more like a bonsai to you? Which one is more like a tree in a pot rather than a "badly hack pole for electrical wiring use" in a pot .
Personally I'd say bonsai 2 is slightly looking more like a tree to my eyes, it still has a long way to go before I will personally call it a bonsai.
I have nothing against his sphagnum moss method [ like I said I gave it a try ]
Its his lack of adequate information that's "killing me".
Bonsai 1 looks like someone just went and hacked it to make a telephone pole out of it.

Those two bonsai [ bonsai 1 and bonsai 2 ] are actually the same tree.
Bonsai 1 was when I just started [ july 2010 ] and was following this guy's pruning tips.
Bonsai 2 is the same tree [ nov 2012 ] when I realized that I was doing things wrong and started following the different methods for creating bonsai.

same goes for the first tree I posted in the previous post:
June 2010

Nov 2012

Well its no more like this cause I've removed the top section and aiming at a smaller tree.

I have nothing against slim trees.
Most of my trees are slim as a matter of fact.

I think you are also confusing the issue of old looking tree v/s young looking tree. That's another topic.
Personnally I dont care if it is old looking or young looking.
What I care is that proper information is transfered to help the user understand that he should be creating at the end of the day a TREE in a pot.

Khaimraj, I understand you are an Oil painter of 25 years or more experience.
As you must know there are good and bad practices in oil painting.
Lets say I place what this guy is doing into an oil painting context.
What this guy is doing is like a compilation of bad practices or misinformation that you would normally not suggest to a beginner:
Lets see, a rough translation of what he does into oil painting would give:
+ Don't buy brush to do oil painting, those are a waste of time and slows you down. Use a silicon pastry brush instead.
+ When you're first starting oil painting, you have to remember your 4 primary colors : cyan, magenta, yellow, and key.
+ To get your secondary colors green, blue and red, you mix those: cyan and yellow produce green, cyan and magenta produce a purplish blue, yellow and magenta produce red
+ It is best to use water to dissolve your oil paints, don't waste your time with solvents they evaporate too quickly.
+ If you use solvents don't worry if it falls on your hand or skin, it will evaporate quickly and even leaves a feeling of coolness on your skin.
+ Oil paints dry very fast when you use water, in less than 5 minutes you will be able to apply a fresh layer without risk of mixing the colors already present on the canvas.

How much of those guidelines to oil painting are you willing to teach to a young beginner in oil painting?

Even if I follow those rules at the end of the day I'll get a painting, the artistic value of the painting is not the matter here, but the whole approach to oil painting process is bad.
And teaching and transmitting those "bad approaches" belief is what I think is bad and damaging for bonsai specially for beginners.

Xavier de Lapeyre

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:59 pm

Hee hee Xtolord,

no, just check the proportions of an old tree in reality and Bonsai attempt.
Nothing to do with old tree, young tree.

The guy in the video, can keep a tree alive, just designs poorly.
The real problem would probably be the core as the moss decomposes, better to have stone at the heart, and in the area where you repot yearly or so the moss.

So I am testing a tree in purely inorganic at it's core and moss at the edges of the pot and underneath, the idea being that when you repot, the moss is always renewed.

Just teasing - okay -
Right, lets look at that oil painting scenario -

[1] What you use to apply paint is unimportant - fingers, pastry brush etc. Can you get the effect you want ?

[2] You can use RYB or CYM and mix to get the other colours - Can you get the effect you want ?
[ I actually use a 6 colour palette for indoors and a 3 colour palette for outdoors plus White.]

[3] I actually use no solvents and just wipe my brush clean to change colours.
Additionally today we do have water mixable oil paints that do use water as the solvent.

[4] Solvent on skill is indeed careless and dangerous. Contact Dermatitis

[5] Oil painting is actually best in one layer, so you could keep applying paint layer on paint layer for an Alla Prima painting, or you can apply and remove with a palette knife and apply again ----- once again can you get your effect?

Unfortunately with the exception of [4] All of the points you made are perfectly usable.

Check the proportions of very old trees and see what you get. Are they really that extreme as 1 to 5 or 1 to 6 trunk to height ?

Old seagrape tree - reality

Old seagrape tree - reality

Bonsai attempt - well over 10 years old, from seedling

Bonsai attempt - over 30 years or so - found being washed away by the tide, I did not rape the country side.
Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: We can all learn something here..

Post  my nellie on Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:52 pm

I admire your passion Khaimraj!
my nellie

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Re: We can all learn something here..

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