Hmmmm just thinking

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Hmmmm just thinking

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:19 pm

As I make my 35 / 36 th year in Bonsai, I look back and think,

Do I really need that Chinese elm, that Fukien tea, or Serissa s. My heart has gone out to mostly local trees,

[1] Fustic
[2] Ficus p.
[3] Tamarindus
[4] Gemelina [ kinda local ]


the non- local
[4 ] Sageretia t.

I have a few that are held at below exhibition shapes, and some going to a test stage of a simulated exhibition shape.

I also have plants going a local nursery for giving away.

When I first started Bonsai, I really wanted a Zelkova s. even bought a 10 year old from seed in Italy. [ loved it so much I left with a fellow bonsai friend in Florence, didn't want to risk killing it.

Now I have this fustic that is hyper dense, and has an elm type leaf, no desire for a zelkova anymore.

I will keep the mother plants of the Chinese elm, etc., but I have grown to love the local stuff so much. So enjoyable to go around and explore through drawing, their mature shapes. Happiness. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
And I am still finding new trees, on this small island of 30 x 50 miles. So much research to do. Love it!!!

Then there is the Seagrape [ Cocoloba u.] if I can only figure out how to densify through leaf [ small 1"/ 2.5 cm ] and maybe branch, like the big trees.

I never knew Bonsai, growing them would give me such a sense of joy / achievement, almost as much as drawing and imaginative oil painting.

My nephew is creating a new pot for my favourite Fustic, it's great to see his creativity growing, and he cleaned the clay [ from a canefield ] for his own self.
Should make an intense Architect!!

Well that's my musing, and deep philosophy for now - ha ha.

* Just finished carving a rather cool Titanium ring, size 10 and then fire coloured it to gold yellow.
Apologies can't show, client's and the Internet is the worst place for privacy.

Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:13 am

Interesting, I just had to pop over to another list to give some explanations.

I wonder if folk realise, that for some of us, after you acquire Knowledge, and may even invent / re-invent things, that you are not required to or may not have the interest to show private things.
The Internet is not private, and most of the folk on it will not take up a book and read, or pay $$ for training in the real world.

I grow trees from seeds / seedlings or even airlayers, because the damage to the tree is minimal .My concave pruner is the smaller size, not the 8".
When wounds are small and you work from a drawing, you don't end up with holes.
On my side, holes will invite bites and decay.

Drawing the tree, makes it easy to place branches, and aim at shapes. These drawings also give you a mental rest, as you don't have to remember where you are going from year to year. Allows one to move much faster.
I also use up to 30 trees of the same type to test ideas, responses and anything else I can think of, but usually have one or two trees, set aside as the supreme example/s.
Once you have one, it is all that matters.

For example, I have one Tamarind, and as I learn from the others, I can improve, my techniques of defoliation.
When a tamarind is healthy and well fertilised, the defoliation produces too many buds.
So you have to take a bamboo pick and gently knock off the extras, at the same time planning for the new branchlets.

I do wonder when those ancient Chinese Government [ Scholars in poetry, calligraphy, ink painting ....] after having done well, as young men, in their exams, when retiring on massive pensions, to large estates, with only a "few" maids and gardeners, found trees/rocks, if they ever watered them by their hand ??????

Also those colorful ancient pots, for the trees.

Today, we use variations of Brown and little ornament --------------- to save money ------------ ornament costs.

Would they respect us and our -------- philosophies, born out of poverty ------------- and we call it, Bonsai.

Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  my nellie on Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:21 pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my dear friend Khaimraj!
I always read your words with interest.
my nellie

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  DougB on Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:49 pm

Thank you Khaimraj for sharing. Many of us have very similar thoughts after more than a couple of years with our beloved trees. But perhaps you have said it much better than we could. thanks

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:02 am

To Alexandria and DougB, thank you very much !!

You know I grew up in a place called Forest Reserve, a place of many trees, horse whip snakes and howler monkeys. But it was an oddball place because a mile away, was the school, St.Peter's [ very English ] and the football field, the club, the pool, lawn tennis and squash club.On the other side of the road is the Doctors offices and Dispensary.
Both situated on hills. In fact the hill with the health side was nicknamed snobs hill.
Back then the school philosophy was - life was research [ the rest of Trinidad, it was - get a job ]
We had tutors even for football and cricket, etc.

I later found out that we were called ---------- Oilfield Brats.

My first plant [ called Shinning Bush ] and experiment [ about 9 years old ] was placed in a clear plastic bag to observe transpiration.
And I never stopped experimenting.

So what about soils?
Well I grew up with tall Grenadian maid who every year would have us plant Pigeon Peas [ Nitrogen ] corn [ starch ] and pumpkin [ vegetable ] all in one hole.
Using manure or compost if needed.

My first batch of bonsai soil was - sapote clay [ looks like akadama ] - my next attempt was a blend, sifted builder's gravel and cow/horse manure cured.
An elderly friend got me onto Rodale's then pocket magazines and I shifted to making my own compost.
In 86 or so, a new friend and I went into the brick factory's crushing room armed with sieves.
We took out a pick-up truck worth of crushed sifted red brick. Didn't even dent the pile.
The blend of all three grew anything well.

BUT the brick by itself will kill certain plants - Serissa s. for example.

In 2010 or 2009, Ms. Iris Cohen, spoke the words - Ball bearing effect - I gathered 12 mm hydroponic clay balls and aquarium stone 5 mm from China
in weird colours.
Yvonne G.  enhanced it all with ficus, and the hydroponic balls.
I tested 10 mm marbles and 3mm glass spheres. Our member - Paul from Australia also showed me that soil could be styro balls or just about anything round, as long it was stable.
All grew things well.

Then came the Air-pots from Scotland, made the tamarind tree produce wood, as roots in soil went. So I am testing, colanders of different styles, to see if they do the same, results after Christmas.

Essentially, the simplest soil that works for me, is either builder's gravel at 5 mm and hydroponic balls at 5 mm both with compost.

So using the KISS - keep it simple stupid [ soldier ] - I have never added on to my original soil mix, just two or three ingredients
at 5mm [ inorganic ] and rounded particles.

My checking into the roots of the older trees Tamarind / Gmelina / Texas Ebony .......... [ 30 years + ] showed no formation of a

Once the mind is settled on the Horticultural health, you can freely work on designs.

Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:50 am

And what does Bonsai really mean to you?

Why did you get into it ?


of climbing and swinging as a child, from a tree ?
Pelting stones at mango fruits, or using flower pods from the African Tulip tree as squirt guns, papaya stems and seeds of various shrubs as blow dart
shooting Amerindians.

Hot days and enjoyable shade.

My first kiss was around 5 years old and under a large of leaf ixora, she was 2 years older than me - still kinda nice Very Happy

Almost fell 30 feet collecting clay and a buttonwood branch saves you ?
[ bow to and kiss those roots ]

The joy you feel to be in nature

Apartment living getting to you ?

Games played around trees, laughter, joy, tears, anger .......................

You know in Fine Art, it's drawing practice daily, 3 hrs 5 days a week in school, and then you go again at home, because you want to, you need tio.
Just so you do instinctively and can focus on the image / idea.
Same for oil painting - many still life/s , many landscapes, human studies,just so the head, the heart, and the hand [ the intellect, the emotion and the craft ] can work instinctively.

Applied to bonsai - 3 to 5 years - Horticulture - growing instinctively and later Design [ 10 years + which is why I always suggest Art Classes]
You need to reach a state where the mind is not hampered by learning to grow or prune.
Where when watering, you relax and reflect on any and everything and peace of mind descends on you.

To grow older and say ----------- I have achieved and I am content.
[ often happens to many or most around 50 years of age ]

To be able to reflect on a life well lived and live it twice in memories and dreams.

Of course you realise this is the - Ivory Tower - approach.

To be frank, Great Design only matters if you want to publicly exhibit. A short pat on the back.

I prefer friends coming over and sharing some white tea, with green bean biscuits.
Conversation, and laughter, even anger, is preferable to 15 minutes of being noticed.

I don't sell, I give away, and only to those who can grow well.


Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:44 pm

thanks for taking the time to _______________.
(i am sure we all get something different from what you write.)

there are many many times when bonsai does indeed return me to childhood where any tree with a low enough branch was not only climbed, but explored top to bottom, from the mouse bones in the duff to the birds nests in the branches to the bugs in the bark.

and when childhood is completely forgotten, i believe all hope is lost for the forgetter.


AAC Original Milwaukee Wi. Chapter - North America

aka beer city snake
kevin stoeveken

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Bonsai on the Cheap

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:23 pm

Hey Kevin, thanks!!

Okay this one comes up fairly frequently ------ I want to try Bonsai, how do I do it cheaply?

I usually give the first standard response ------------- Do you like / love growing plants ?

It takes roughly 3 to 5 years for the Horticultural part and probably 5 to 10 years for Design.
Design is an up there situation, requires some Art appreciation.

But I was at a Cocoa workshop - read talk-a-thon, nothing physical was done, just lots of lips and gums.
The idea being that since Trinidad's cocoa is flavour full, much more $$ can be asked for the bean.

As dad [ worked for Amoco ] said years ago, 40 years of reserve left in petroleum, and natural gas, then nothing,
so we will return to the typical Caribbean island, Tourism and some Agriculture.
Now they want to sell flavour.

Well one of the Cocoa folk stated it well --- You must love cocoa trees, or don't get into cocoa farming.

You must love plants and trees to want to do Bonsai.
[ Hidden agendas not withstanding - sales, sales, sales of things Bonsai.]

Anyhow, it takes on my side roughly 10 years for a plant to show mature characteristics, and another 10 to settle into it's Design.

In the beginning, you can use styro cups, earthenware pots and the various plastic containers. Using seeds, seedlings, cuttings, and airlayers.
The soil for us is just 5 mm gravel / manure and if you must, Canadian peatmoss which has perlite mixed in. Can be bought by the bale.
Then it is a case of can you last.

After say 5 years, you can just get plastic bonsai pots.

Concave pruners, which are for cutting--------- twigs ---------- think matchsticks--------, are cheap on Amazon, about 10$ US plus shipping.

*********Wrap in a cloth soaked in baby oil, when not in use.*****

You may need a heavy duty secateurs or root pruner [ Amazon ]

I guess what it come down to is TIME.

Knowing that it takes x years to achieve.

Khaimraj Seepersad

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Re: Hmmmm just thinking

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