Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

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Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  bonsai monkey on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:20 pm

Whilst babysitting my, and a friends, children last night I got bored watching them play “Dancing on Broadway” on the Wii and fired up the flop-top to get some Bonsai inspiration (severely lacking of late). Anyho, my son wanted to know what I was watching on the computer. I had been looking at some of Graham Potter’s videos and Stirling asked to join me. He was transfixed!! WE spent about 30 minutes watching various techniques and he asked me if he could do Bonsai with me. What else could I say but “Yes”!!!!

Now here’s the rub, what sort of “starter” tree could I get for a 6 year old? I’ve got a few bits and pieces but even though his hands are small I think I need a larger “lump” that he can work on without fear of snapping tiny branches. Any suggestions? I thought of an evergreen, as these were the ones that appeared in the videos, or maybe a larger “Family Tree” that all four of us could work on. I’ll do all the life threatening work (carving, not drinking lime sulphur, large branch removal and the like) but I’m sure he’ll be happy enough with some “snaking” (wiring to you and me) and light pruning (as long as he cuts the branch “non finger side”) to get him started. He’ll love re-potting as he can legitimately get dirty!!

Any help or guidance would be appreciated,
Regards,
Simon

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Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:31 pm

Hello Simon. I think garden centre Junipers would be your best bet as they are pretty tough. Blaaws or Pfitzeriana but some people come out in a rash with Juni's Young seedling or garden centre Cotoneaster will give quick results. Good luck. Very Happy

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  irene_b on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:47 pm

Have him go with you! Explain what you are looking for in a tree and have him do the hunting...Each step is a learning process and will keep him motivated.. thumbs up

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  Todd Ellis on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:48 pm

Hi Simon,
I echo Will's suggestions. If you want something to grow indoors, Schefflera and ficus come to mind. Also, don't forget to plant some seeds with him. Imagine - raising seedlings will provide many lessons, then prepare for 15-20 years of "Dad, you take care of it"...then, when the bug hits him again, he will have these aged seedlings to work with.
Salut, Todd Smile

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  JimLewis on Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:37 pm

Juniper would be fine -- if a bit prickly for tender young fingers. You might have a look at Cotoneaster, too. They're very hard to damage, and easily repaired once damaged.

Encourage him!

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:42 pm

Simon,

as long he understands, -- poisons --- then I would suggest a ficus benjamina. It's a tree to grow with. Let him learn to water and look after it. Measure it once a month as he needs to see progress in terms he can understand.

If you are in a cold zone, find the equivalent.

Forget the wiring and technical stuff. Teach him responsibility.
Happy Trails.
Khaimraj

* Todd's idea for seed is excellent - try simple vegetables. There is a small fruited eggplant, with egg sized fruit in white and cream, might be fun.

There is also an easy to grow low water, begonia, with small maple type leaves. Chilterns used to sell them some years ago.
It's very attractive.

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  Seth Ellwood on Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:53 am

How about a trident maple ?? easy to make mistakes with and will spring back ,fast grower, good 4 season intrest, what more could you ask for,super hardy.

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  bonsai monkey on Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:42 pm

Thanks for all the helpful hints guys.
I'm gunna keep clear of indoor trees as I have a tendancy to kill them and I don't want to put Stirling off. I do like the seeds idea though Wink

I've had quite a good offer of 5 different types of trees for a very good price but I think that I will take him along to the nusery so he can pick his own as I think that is another good idea.

Watch this space............................
Regards,
Simon

PS
I think he will post more progress than I usualy do Will Laughing

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  Guest on Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:00 pm

bonsai monkey wrote:Thanks for all the helpful hints guys.
I'm gunna keep clear of indoor trees as I have a tendancy to kill them and I don't want to put Stirling off. I do like the seeds idea though Wink

I've had quite a good offer of 5 different types of trees for a very good price but I think that I will take him along to the nusery so he can pick his own as I think that is another good idea.

Watch this space............................
Regards,
Simon

PS
I think he will post more progress than I usualy do Will Laughing

Lets bloody hope so. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  anttal63 on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:32 pm

i say juni squamata, if too prickly then chinese elm! have fun! cheers

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RE: HELP FOR A BUDDING BONSAI ARTIST, AGED 6!!

Post  DangerousBry on Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:02 am

I'd possibly go for collecting Acorns... Grow some lovely Oak seedlings! I planted 20 and got 17 to grow 'no' problem!
Other idea might be a pack of hedging whips, Hornbeam or Beech?? 10 for a £10.... Bargain

Cheers
Bryan

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

Post  fiona on Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:49 am

Larch seeds are good, quick and nearly indestructible. And you can get a decent enough mame trees in a year or so, shohins a few years later and then the rest can grow on in the ground for as long as required for bigger trees.

My mini-mame larch. Only about 3 years old and 4-5inches tall, and looking very autumnal in this rather hastily taken pic this morning.


There are a number of decent small junipers on the go just now if you don't have the space for larger ones. They make nice trees in a shorter timeframe. Or they can be used for landscapes as well.


Sound good?

Right. That's you sorted. Now for something for Stirling.

You may have already thought of/done this but you could also take him on a little trip to Mr Curd's to get loads of inspiration and to see what he can do relatively quickly.

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Re: Help for a budding bonsai artist, aged 6!!

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