Complete beginner

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Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:49 am

First off i would like to say hi to everyone Very Happy
Hope i am posting in right place....story is i was given a grow your own Bonsai kit as a present, why i dont know as i was not really green fingered but hey ho thats life..anyway i thought i would give it a go can't be hard...right Rolling Eyes anyway i planted the seeds in Feb 13 which by the way i have no idea what they are as it just said mixed seeds on the packet.
Well to my surprise they have started growing and i have started reading a lot...about Bonsai so i suppose my question is...what should i do with them now Exclamation i have hopefully attached a picture of them...any hints or advice would be most welcome....Oh and thanks in advance.
Jem



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Re: Complete beginner

Post  Sabi on Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:36 am

Hi Jem they are pines, as of which species I'm unsure. I have done the exact same thing three years ago. I hope the mods don't mind but here is a link to another forum which has all the progression on it, plus lots of advice.

http://weetrees.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1633&hilit=+pine+seedlings

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  leatherback on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:11 am

Hey,

That is a cool little thread. It does show the patience needed to get to bonsai from seed. Good to see yous tuck with it!

As for the here presented seedlings: I would seriously consider planting them out in the garden for 2 years or so to get to growth on them.

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Planting out

Post  JemC on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:37 am

Hi

Good morning and thanks for the replies..

Given the current weather conditions...freezing cold and snow i assume i should wait a little longer before planting out so as not to kill the seedlings or am i wrong confused

Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  Sabi on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:52 am

Pines are used to growing in cold conditions Jem, they've sort of perfected the art over the years. However I'm a big believer in acclimatising new trees to a new environment, wait til this bloody snow has gone then the put them out for a few hours a day, slowly building up to leaving them out all the time. They'll be fine, I have kept mine out of strong winds by placing them in a big plant pot, I think there's a pic on my link. Mine have been sat in 8 inch of snow, submerged in 4 inch of water for 24 hours, they're fine.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:35 am

Hi Sabi

Thanks for the info..once the snow has cleared will start acclimatisation..will also update on progress.

Regards

Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  fiona on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:58 am

Jem, if you haven't already done so, drop Tony Tickle a PM and arrange a visit to his garden to see what bonsai is all about. Your seedlings a re years away from any sort of styling process but Tony will be able to give you some clues as to what you can be doing while they develop.


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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:32 pm

As for the here presented seedlings: I would seriously consider planting them out in the garden for 2 years or so to get to growth on them.

But NOT until at least this next fall. These are much too young to move out of the pot. Let them reach a few inches tall and let the stem turn at least a bit woody first.

Welcome to the IBC and to the sport of bonsai.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  leatherback on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:55 pm

ehr.. Thought that was self-explanatory; You do not move seedlings from your living room into -4 and snow.. Not of pine, not of tomatoes, not of grass..Not of anything. What a Face

As for not moving them in the garden because of size... I find that with care one can trnasplant seedlings of any size. But for someone not practiced, indeed. Wait a bit untill they harden off (Main stem goes brown).

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:13 pm

Hi all
Thanks for all the tips/advice/info....
This bonsai growing is really going to test my patience i think :-)
One thing that seems to be cropping up a lot in the reading i am doing is to go out and buy an established bonsai while waiting for them to grow...any tips on best one to get.....
Regards
Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  Ryan on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:16 pm

JemC wrote:Hi all
Thanks for all the tips/advice/info....
This bonsai growing is really going to test my patience i think :-)
One thing that seems to be cropping up a lot in the reading i am doing is to go out and buy an established bonsai while waiting for them to grow...any tips on best one to get.....
Regards
Jem


Keep in mind that these are not bonsai, these are just tree seedlings. Bonsai do not grow from seeds, trees do.

As for which species would be best for you, I'd start with a Ficus for indoors or a Chinese Elm for outdoors. Both are fast growing and practically bulletproof.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:29 pm

One thing that seems to be cropping up a lot in the reading i am doing is to go out and buy an established bonsai while waiting for them to grow...any tips on best one to get.....

I don't think so. You don't learn much by purchasing an "established bonsai." When your seedlings grow up (in a few years) you will have to create a bonsai from scratch. You don't learn that from an established tree.

Instead, go out to a local nursery and buy a juniper in a 3 or 5 gallon can (smaller is NOT better!). Buy or check out from the library a book on bonsai, and start experimenting with making a bonsai from scratch. For even more (and better) help, join a nearby bonsai club. Maybe some of our UK members can suggest one in your area.

Anyway, by the time your little seedlings have one-inch-thick trunks you should know most of the ins and outs of really doing bonsai -- and I bet you have several other bonsai by then, too.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  Sabi on Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:55 pm

I've PM'd Jem a link with some local clubs. Your best bet from Garden Centres are something like Cotoneaster, Lonicera. Junipers are great but need a different approach. I made a nice Bonsai out of a Berberis. A lot of Garden Centres in the UK are now getting the new stock in. Japanese Cherrys are good ( Prunus Incisa Ko Jo No Mai ), beautiful little flowers and very hardy. I wouldn't go for the indoor variety, that's just a personal opinion, they are a pain in the arse. Now is the time to get some stock in and get them acclimatised over the year. Places like BQ , Homebase etc have Chinese Elms in, I know a lot of people don't advocate these Mallsai/Cookie cutter type trees but for some thing to learn from I think they're great, they may not be in the best of health but they are hardy and mine have always come back ( he says having had three Elms die with this bloody up and down weather ). I guarantee you in the next few months Jem you're going to want to clip, grow , wire, train, repot everything, this is where having lot's of material to play with comes into fruition. I have a bench full of absolute crap, but it's all trees I'm learning from. Maples are good but the ones in Garden Centres are so overpriced, Give Corin and Paul a ring at Greenwoods http://www.bonsai.co.uk/Outdoor-Bonsai/ they will help you out with some nice starter material at good prices. As has been mentioned Tony Tickle has some nice starter material too http://yamadoriforsale.com/2012/02/07/yamadori-for-sale/, as well as more established Yamadori, Ian at Nibs has a few bits for sale http://bonsaieejit.com/for-sale/, also check out Mikobonsai on ebay http://www.mikobonsai.co.uk/. I mention these guys as I know them to be spot on and have personally either spoke or dealt with them, no disrespect to any other bonsai retailers out there. Good luck with all your bonsai endeavours Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  ironhorse on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:44 pm

Box is good too - look for one a few years old with a decent basal flare and cut down to size, my most recent one cost £1.99 from B&Q

Dave

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:48 pm

Box do make nice bonsai, but for a newcomer, they grow much too slowly. I like Sabi's suggestion on Cotoneaster. It's a bit hard to suggest nice trees for one who is starting in bonsai in the UK from over here in one of the colonies.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:52 pm

So glad i found this site :-)
Thanks for all the suggestions....watch this space for update on choice made

Thanks and regards to all

Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  fiona on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:56 pm

Ryan wrote: As for which species would be best for you, I'd start with a Ficus for indoors or a Chinese Elm for outdoors. Both are fast growing and practically bulletproof.

You can't get Ficus in the UK apart from benjamina which is really only good for a houseplant and a chinese elm in Lancashire will require winter protection.

As well as what you can glean from on here and in books, I cant advise you strongly enough about going along to a study group or club as hands-on is always the best way of learning. You have one of the best workshop weekends in the UK on your doorstep. It may be too late to sign up for Burrs but I am sure Tony would be happy for you to come along and observe.

Have a look at the gallery section on here, in particular that of Marcus, Will and Tony. You will get some inspiration and an idea of appropriate species.

Good luck.

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  leatherback on Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:06 am

fiona wrote: As well as what you can glean from on here and in books, I cant advise you strongly enough about going along to a study group or club as hands-on is always the best way of learning. You have one of the best workshop weekends in the UK on your doorstep. It may be too late to sign up for Burrs but I am sure Tony would be happy for you to come along and observe.

Also, people in these groups typically have more plants leftover than they can get rid off. If you are just joining, I amsure some members will have a nice suitable starterplant for you to work with. In two weeks we have our annual raffle (in the Netherlands, so not usefull to you); I am fairly sure most clubs will have one around these days. Japanese maple, Ligustrum, Cottoneaster, field maple: All species which are quite hardy in our/your climatic region (I know, we are not exactly the same, but good enough).

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:07 pm

Hi all,

Well...nearly killed the wife today,asked her if she wanted to go garden centre with me..she nearly choked on the sandwich she was eating..
Don't know whether it's me or not going to the wrong ones but none of them seemed to have much in, a lot of empty spaces, maybe they were getting ready to stock up with new stock!

But i did find this little thing and made it the 1st of probably quite a few new members of the family....






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Beginner

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:19 pm

Oh, dear, you just bought a mallsai. It is a Chinese elm, a very good species to practice on, but in the future, please understand that those S-shape trunks are actually considered in bad taste.
The problem is that it desperately needs repotting. I don't know if it would tolerate that, being already leafed out. Those who are more experienced with Chinese elms & our climate can tell you. Meanwhile, be very careful to water only when it is pretty dry.
Iris

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  leatherback on Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:44 pm

In case you wonder about the term mallsai: http://www.growingbonsai.net/glossary/mallsai/

You can of course just overpot the tree: Take it out of the current pot, put it in a bigger pot, so it has space to grow this year. In winter repot properly.


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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:06 am

Hi all
I consider this a lesson learned where these S shapes are concerned...will use this as something to practice on and see what i can do with it...will try overpotting it and hopefully keep it alive

Regards
Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  leatherback on Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:17 am

Just because it has a particular shape, doesn't mean you cannot do something with it. Especially for practice this is imho a great little starter.

You can always re-style it, and reduce it somewhat. Have a look at this: Cut the main stem, bring the small branch up a little, rotate the whole thing to make it look like it is growing somewhat uopright again. I think it could make a nice littkle tree still.


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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JemC on Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:38 pm

Good afternoon everyone..

Cutting the main stem...moving braches and rotating ..
I think these things might be a little to much for my level of experience just now, i would probably end up killing the tree so think i will just go with the repotting for now,
When i repot should i trim any of the roots or just simply repot and let it grow for a while ??

Regards

Jem

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Re: Complete beginner

Post  JimLewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:32 pm

Just repot into slightly larger pot (but the same depth), using some good, free-draining bonsai soil.

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Re: Complete beginner

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