Bonsai nurseries

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Bonsai nurseries

Post  Bob Pressler on Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:15 pm

I'm interested in knowing what you look for in a bonsai nursery. What makes a good bonsai nursery in your opinion?

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  drgonzo on Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:37 pm

Bob

like just about any nursery I visit;

Health of the stock! I would say that is priority number 1, 2, and 3.

Once I find any good nursery bonsai or otherwise, that has consistently healthy plants I become a very regular customer.

-Jay

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:56 pm

Lack of weeds, it means care is being given.

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Twisted Trees on Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:09 pm

Sexy sales people. tongue

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  RKatzin on Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:05 pm

Number one, a good standing reputation for quality of product and service to the public. After that is location, I prefer to shop on my side of the Mississippi, west coast preferrably. Pretty slim pickins really. Rick

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:07 pm

Twisted Trees wrote:Sexy sales people. tongue

WHERE???>???

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Jkd2572 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:22 pm

Keep sick trees out of view. I don't have many choices for nurseries to go to, but the one I do have access to with quality trees does weird things. They will have sick or dying specimens on the same sales tables as the rest of the trees. Last time i was there I went to find this specimen azeala tree I have been wanting to buy for two years. It was in its spot dead as a door nail. I asked the owner what she thought happened to it and she told me she just can't keep azealas alive here. I thought that strange as they have about 6 other azeala in the $3000-$4000 price range. Nurseries need a sick ward to keep these out of view. Funny thing is though I'm planning on going over there tomorrow to look around. I think if you have a lot of competition it helps to step up your game or people will go to the other guy. FYI I'm still going to get me an azeala I don't care what she says.........maybe start off we a cheap one in case she is right......

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  MikeG on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:14 pm

Around here there is VERY limited choices of bonsai nurseries. Almost none existent really. For a population of over close too or above 3 million people there are only two nurseries that I can find. If theres more, they need to advertise and get a website. I've googled every keyword combo 'Toronto bonsai, Canada bonsai, bonsai for sale in Canada or Ontario...etc, etc, etc'. So from someone who checks out websites before I go shopping (mainly because I use public transit and want to know I'm not wasting my time), an easy to find site with recent photos would be great.
The one I do frequent isn't just out of necessity though. It just has an awesome feel to it. Clean, healthy plants and super friendly staff. Even in the middle of winter (that means minus 10 right now) you can go there and browse the tropical greenhouse which includes songbirds in elegant cages overhead, while cats walk the garden trying to figure out how to reach them, and the old family dog lounges in the corner just soaking it all in. So I'd say ambience counts for a lot.

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:52 pm

Jkd2572 wrote: FYI I'm still going to get me an azeala I don't care what she says.........maybe start off we a cheap one in case she is right......

IMHE the variety of Azalea used for Bonsai in Japan will not survive the Florida heat and humidity. The common full size Azalea grown for landscape use here does better.

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  marcus watts on Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:33 am

Hi,
for me it probably goes in this order;

Choice of tree stock - both variety of species and price range
Quality Material that has been left mostly untouched so I can do the styling work
Inspirational specimen trees to enjoy and to even save up for and buy in the sales Laughing (their long term health proves the owners abilities too)
Club and loyalty special offers
Decent range of wire, soil components, consumables etc
Easy Parking
interested and hopefully knowledgeable staff

The healthy tree category doesn't really worry me too much as I have managed to get some of my best trees at extremely good prices when they are looking a bit iffy - this is just a confidence thing, assessing the tree health visually and making a best guess if you can bring it back to health. I admit though that trees like this should not be in really obvious positions, and you have to be patient enough to recover them before starting work

the first one I have found to hit every point is 250 miles from my house, the second is 500 miles away so certainly thin on the ground


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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  jgeanangel on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:25 am

Hey Bob... from the long time hobbyist perspective...I buy most of my tools and wire online because I know what I like and value is important...I would guess I buy $200 worth of wire every year or two and about the same in tools annually...but I go to nurseries primarily for plants and pots...

First...I never seem to buy anything, or at least very little, that is in a bonsai container already and none of my bonsai friends do either...good stock is for more interesting and appealing and we're happy to pay for it.

Second...POTS,POTS,POTS,POTS,POTS...and please not just cheap Chinese pots either...nice containers from a variety of sources...chances are if it is not nice enough for your personal collection/trees then I won't like it either.

Third...I am a sucker for a "deal"...if you will not haggle even a little on the price I probably will not buy it...especially if I am spending a lot or buying multiples of the same the thing...If I were in your shoes I would most likely price stuff so I have a little room to bargain with good customers.

Fourth- If its possible, don't set yourself up as the only expert or person able to negotiate a price in the nursery...if I have to stand around and wait on you for half an hour or more to finish with other customers on a regular basis it will be a major turn off...Informing your staff of margins and giving them the ok to bargain with (good) customers will help.

Last...and this time most important...be friendly, welcoming, helpful and concerned...but not pushy:) Go out of your way to make sure every person that enters your nursery is immediately noticed and welcomed...and in general provided with the best service possible!!

I wish you the best!!
John

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Todd Ellis on Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:55 pm

I agree with everyone so far. My main gripe with some nurseries is price. If a landscape nursery tries to raise the price of their material because it has "bonsai potential", then this is a big turn off for me. There are many nurseries which are happy to sell damaged "landscaping" stock because it won't interest the general public. Other nurseries try to take advantage of the bonsai grower and sell their damaged stock for higher prices than undamaged stock.

There is one nursery whose owner wanted to sell me an old used Chinese pot for half the retail price of to make up the cost of her investment after the tree died. I told her no thanks. Her son however will sell me damaged trees at a fair price when his mother isn't around.

I realize that many nursery owners are on a tight budget, especially with all of the box stores that have opened during the past decade; competition is fierce. The thing which distinguishes a good nursery from a mediocre one is customer service and plant knowledge.

I personally love the TLC (tender loving care ... needed) sections of nurseries and don't like it when I have to spend a lot of time finding it.
Great post!



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Bonsai Nurseries

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:06 pm

In addition to the qualities mentioned so far, I appreciate handicapped accessibility (including the restroom). It's in short supply around here. A notable exception is the Violet Barn in Naples. Not really a bonsai nursery, but they sell accent plants and starters of tropical trees. Even though they are mainly mail-order, it was a pleasure for me to visit there.
Iris

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Bob Pressler on Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:07 pm

Thank you to everyone who has responded so far. There is some really good feedback here.
The sexy salesperson- I kind of doubt that one is going to happen here, but hey you never know.
It's been 16 years and I kind of feel like it time to shake things up a bit and make a few changes so I appreciate the comments.
Thanks again.

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  BigDave on Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:28 pm

Bob Pressler wrote: time to shake things up a bit

We can always do better, right Bob. Just the fact that you are asking the question plus your online presence is giving you a leg up on the competition.

Now if you could just turn into a small Japanese guy with a white goatee, you would have the whole package...work on that would you...

--Big D

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Re: Bonsai nurseries

Post  Bob Pressler on Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:32 pm

The small part will be kinda hard

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