Bonsai in England

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Bonsai in England

Post  RDobbs on Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:46 am

Hi all,

I'm new to IBC as you can most likely tell, i've had a good through the topics here, which has made me even more determined to keep a bonsai!

Just to introduce myself I'm Ryan Dobbs, of Bognor Regis & Huddersfield (University), England - I've been fairly interested in Bonsai trees for a long while! - I was about 9 when a neighbour kept bonsai, and i took one from our shared garden and planted it in the soil, he went pretty wild at me, never did know why, until i got a bit older and wiser, not so much the later unfortunately. Anyway, I'm studying Architecture, and look forward to getting to know the IBC crowd! You seem like a pretty friendly, helpful bunch from everything else i have read!

I'd just like to ask a few questions, as i am a complete beginner to this! (Please bare with me!)

What is a typically easy and suitable tree to keep indoors in England? (I'm in accomodation where i can't have a tree outside really, just on a windowsill, which is North facing, but i've had chilli and mint growing on it for a good while, and seem's pretty good for now, the winters are pretty cold in Huddersfield so we'll see!)

- i've read tropical are, but you have to keep up the humidity, i figure this can be done with alot of spraying of the leaves?
- i also spoke to a bonsai seller nearby and he said he just soaks them in water every 2-3days (or whenever is nessecary for 10-15mins) this sound ok? Sorry if i seem cautious, I just like to hear these thing's from someone/ people who aren't selling me it - makes things a bit more reassuring!

- I go home from University over the christmas so will be taking my soon to be bonsai with me, would it be worth keeping it outside when i'm there? typically 3-4 weeks - i know it'll be a sharp change of temperature etc, but your thoughts?


Thank you for reading, and i'm sorry if i sound like a complete amateur, and i'm asking ridiculous questions!

RDobbs

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  RichLewis on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:24 am

What is a typically easy and suitable tree to keep indoors in England?

Try a Ficus microcarpa or Schefflera aboricola- both are used as houseplants and will tolerate low light, although the leaves may be a bit large as bonsai unless you cna provide some additional lighting.

- i've read tropical are, but you have to keep up the humidity, i figure this can be done with alot of spraying of the leaves?

It's better to use an evaporation tray-see below. Make sure the water level in the tray is below the drainage holes of the bonsai pot so the roots don't get waterlogged.



- i also spoke to a bonsai seller nearby and he said he just soaks them in water every 2-3days (or whenever is nessecary for 10-15mins) this sound ok? Sorry if i seem cautious, I just like to hear these thing's from someone/ people who aren't selling me it - makes things a bit more reassuring!

Water it as you would any normal plant-whenever it needs it, not on a schedule. Take a wooden chopstick, stick in the bonsai pot and leave it there. Take it out every day, if it's damp to the touch then the tree doesn't need any water. Once it's beginning to dry, it's time to water. When you do water, water from the top as you would with a normal plant, rather than standing the tree in a sink of water and letting it soak in. Ficus and Scheffs are very forgiving with watering as well.

- I go home from University over the christmas so will be taking my soon to be bonsai with me, would it be worth keeping it outside when i'm there? typically 3-4 weeks - i know it'll be a sharp change of temperature etc, but your thoughts?

A sudden temperature change like that will kill most trees, especially tropicals which need to be kept above 15 degrees celcius at all times. You can put trops outside during the summer, but not during the winter.

After xmas, a lot of unsold christmas trees (fir, spruce) go on sale at garden centres and other places. It might be worthwhile to snap a few up, althought they have to be kept outside at all times so probably not feasible right now.

Happy growing
Richard

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  RDobbs on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:48 am

Thank you for your response, I'll certainly look into both of them tree types, and research further ones also like that!

I'll let you know as soon as i have my tree, with pictures etc Smile

Thanks for the tips on watering etc too! much appreciated!

I see your from Wales, what trees do you keep? a combination of in and outdoor or?

Thanks

RDobbs

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:05 am

welcome to IBC!

ficus is good a tropical tree. best of all, the specie can tolerate abuse from beginners...just kidding. its also one of my first trees. goodluck.
bonsai and architecture fits together well. architecture will help you understand some principles in bonsai.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  ogie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:57 pm

Hello Ryan,
Welcome to IBC,ficus microcarpa would br fine,if your not familiar look it ip some of the member who has posted,i post a few also,enjoy and keep on learning,i also am still learning from each other,feel free to ask everyone are helpful.
By the way,i'm an architect by proffession,same interest,hmmmm
regards,
Alex/Ogie

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  RDobbs on Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:12 pm

Thank for your advice, nice to meet both of you.

Awesome about being an Architect, I may be coming to you more than the others for help - haha!

- Would be interesting to know of some of the building regulations in the Philippines - Do you work for a practice or freelance?

RDobbs

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  fiona on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:32 pm

Hello Ryan and welcome to IBC. Hope you get a lot of answers to your questions over the next while.

The answer to your current question is not as simple as the previous respondents might suggest. Bear in mind (we don't do much baring on this forum. Unfortunately!) that really the only people who can give you advice with any accuracy about your local conditions are those who have experience of those very conditions. As with all newcomers to this hobby, the best thing you could do before rushing out to buy a tree is to touch base with local bonsai clubs. There are several in your area (hopefully people like Graham Walker will be reading this and will spring to your assistance) and you have a UK expert living relatively close by in John Armitage.

The UK is not such a big place that we have many temperature variations, but it is pretty much the case that tropical trees and so-called indoor bonsai will not survive any UK outdoor temperatures in the winter (any time from now onwards for most of us). That is a good general rule to go by until you are more familiar with what you can do in your own locale.

I would suggest that maybe you should wait until your long summer break and buy an outdoor tree then. That gives you a few months to get used to things.

I would also suggest that you use the PM facility on this forum to contact Tony Tickle and see about going across the Pennines to the Burrs weekend (early November) for a day even if just to meet people from your area and to get a load more insight into bonsai and what is do-able in the UK. A day with those guys would be worth far more to you than any amount of book reading at this stage.

Good luck with your new hobby.

Fiona

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  RDobbs on Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:00 pm

Thank's for that!

I'll certainly look into everything you have pointed out, and will keep you updated!

As to the summer idea, i'd only be back for 2 months, so it wouldn't be ideal, unless parents or someone wanted to keep it - but then it wouldnt be mine! haha!

I'll get in contact with people you've mentioned, and nearby!

Thanks a bunch!

RDobbs

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  ogie on Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:15 pm

RDobbs wrote:Thank for your advice, nice to meet both of you.

Awesome about being an Architect, I may be coming to you more than the others for help - haha!

- Would be interesting to know of some of the building regulations in the Philippines - Do you work for a practice or freelance?

RDobbs
Am still practicing have my own company....drop by anytime
regards,
Alex

ogie
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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:21 am

Fiona is absolutely right. but based on your statement by which you seemed to like tropical trees. still, my suggested tree would be ficus for a tropical for beginners.

by the way architecture is my hobby (just kidding), after dealing with bonsai daily i deal with architecture.
got my own company- architectural, ID and construction.
if you got some question you can send me a PM.

regards,
jun
Smile

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:05 am

Hello and welcome to the forum. Personally, I would not advise the purchase of any tree sold as an indoor. They are extremely difficult to keep indoors without spending more money on a special lighting and humidity system. If you are lucky enough to keep the tree alive, you will soon get tired of huge leaves and reduced vigour. Our climate or central heating is just not suited to tropicals AT ALL. Fiona's advise is the one to take up. Contact some of the LOCAL people mentioned. You won't regret it. Very Happy

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  mr treevolution on Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:12 am

Sound advice, i too would avoid indoor trees, not easy to keep and at this stage in your growing you want suceess not death! Natives are the way to go and grow them outdoors!
John Armitage is a top guy, so too is Mr Tickle. Make the effort to contact them, it will do you good!
Regards Nick

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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  RichLewis on Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:46 pm

RDobbs wrote:Thank you for your response, I'll certainly look into both of them tree types, and research further ones also like that!

I'll let you know as soon as i have my tree, with pictures etc Smile

Thanks for the tips on watering etc too! much appreciated!

I see your from Wales, what trees do you keep? a combination of in and outdoor or?

Thanks

RDobbs

I have one ficus, just for the sake of it. It's about 30cm high, and it needs a haircut:



Everything else is outdoor: pines, firs, a cedar, maples, cotoneaster. Living in Australia at the moment so they're all under care and maintanence of my parents..

You will probably find growing native UK and north European trees outside much more rewarding. Definately get together with some local folks and see where that goes. Privets, Chinese elms, cotoneasters and possibly hawthorns should be good beginner outdoor trees for you to try.

Cheers!

RichLewis
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Re: Bonsai in England

Post  Tony on Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:27 pm

fiona wrote:I would also suggest that you use the PM facility on this forum to contact Tony Tickle and see about going across the Pennines to the Burrs weekend (early November) for a day even if just to meet people from your area and to get a load more insight into bonsai and what is do-able in the UK. A day with those guys would be worth far more to you than any amount of book reading at this stage.
Fiona

Thanks Fiona... Burrs is Full to Bursting BUT Ryan you have a personal invite from me to pop in and see what the fuss is about. take a look Here: Burrs event and where it is here:The place

Also... welcome to IBC

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