Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

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Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:47 am

A seasoned bonsaist knows the importance of quality material when starting out to create a bonsai. It is here that yamadori makes a great impact. Nature does its initial job of bonsai styling, by twisting and turning the trunk and branches in impossible ways. Sure nature takes its own sweet time to do this which could sometimes span across many many years. Once nature has done its important role is where the bonsaist comes into the picture and does his bit. By saying this I do not undermine the skill, talent and mastery of the bonsai artist. All I am saying is that once nature has done its job, the bonsai artist finds it easy to do his.

I am saying this in light of the other alternative for bonsai which is nursery stock or grown from seed or a cutting etc. As the quality of this material when compared to yamadori is relatively poorer, the same reflects in the overall finished bonsai which would definitely be a shade or two inferior compared to the yamadori bonsai.

I am unfortunately one of those bonsai enthusiasts who has absolutely no access to quality yamadori prebonsai. I live in a city – Bangalore and in a country India where the art form has not developed as much as it has in the rest of the world. I also do not have the wherewithal to go hunting for yamadori. The only yamadori we possibly get access to is that from the construction sites of new roads or old buildings getting pulled down for new ones. I have got a reasonably good bougainvillea from one such construction site where the previous owner of the tree had discarded this beauty and it was lying among the rubble with a few leaves still holding. But such exceptions apart the majority of my bonsai is from nursery stock.

When I look at my bonsai and compare them with the masterpieces from around the world, I find it a no contest. Then again when I think about the possible source of the bonsai I realize that some of the most beautiful and award winning bonsai in the world are actually yamadori. I also find that easy access to yamadori is not a problem in US, Europe and in many parts of Asia where bonsai as an art form has evolved. I can only sit back and regret my misfortune of not having access to good quality material. My love for the art keeps me going but still there is always the thought of “I wish I had good yamadori”.

Amid such thoughts came the discussion on one of the topics recently posted by Jun in this forum about the source of bonsai material – in that particular case the species under discussion was Pemphis Acidula. In this article the issues of over harvesting and the consequent impact on the species and the environment at large were discussed. I found the discussion very interesting but felt that a separate discussion on this important topic was needed and hence this article.

My questions to which I expect thoughtful responses

1. Does Yamadori give the bonsaist an unfair advantage over nursery stock
2. Can masterpieces be created from nursery stock within reasonable time
3. Should the source of the bonsai be displayed at exhibitions
4. These and any other thought of importance is most welcome…

Ravi

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Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 am

Hello Ravi. The access to yamadori or the power to be able to purchase yamadori,gives artists a huge advantage over those who dont have the means or geographical location, without a shadow of a doubt. Speaking from a European perspective, if I lived in the Alps and had permission to dig there, my collection would be full of top drawer bonsai and a lot further down the line as far as refinement is concerned. I personally have had to work with a relatively small purse and lesser material. These trees in our climate, have taken 10 to 15 years to bring up to exhibition. I know of some artists with a seemingly bottomless purse, spend 50,000 euros on top quality yamadori, or part trained Japanese yamadori and exhibited there tree within 2 years. I find this frustrating sometimes, but the journey I have taken with my trees, from collection, through styling, to exhibition and all my own work, is priceless.

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  fiona on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:30 am

It goes without saying that if you live in an area where there is more potential for decent quality yamadori (or indeed if you can afford to import it) that this will give you an "advantage". What I cannot understand is why we should even begin to consider this as "unfair".

That implies that the sole purpose of doing bonsai is to produce the best ever tree with which to win "competitions" and I am sure the majority of people on this forum do not see that as their goal.

In your use of the word "unfair" you are suggesting two things: first that having access through your home location to yamadori is unfair when others do not have that access. That's life, I'm afraid. You've got to live and work with what you've got. Should I be crying out that my cycling buddies who live in warm and sunny climates have an "unfair" advantage over me because they can go out riding more often?

Second, you suggest that even worse than that is the fact that some people have the wherewithal to buy in their yamadori and that is "unfair". This is always going to be a contentious issue and I have got very irritated over the years with people who have accused me and others of "chequebook bonsai" jsut because I want to work wth something a little better than what is locally on offer. Of course some people will see bonsai as a perpetual quest for having the top tree in the known universe. If that's how they want to spend their money then surely that's their prerogative.

The bottom line for me is that bonsai is about the person who is doing the creating - it matters not whether that person calls themself artist, hobbyist or even novice. Without that person's effort creativity (and, don't forget, the long term care and maintenance aspect) even the best quality yamadori will come to nothing. As Will so rightly says, it's about the pride and satisfactiion you get from applying your own hand and mind and turning the piece of raw material in front of you - no matter what it is - and turning it into a bonsai.

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:40 am

Ravi,

it normally takes 10 years for any tree to develop the mature qualities, that wil separate it from a juvenile one. Using the Chinese field grown work as an example, if you learn their techniques and follow a drawing to focus on a specific shape, you will end up with a quality tree.

For example -
The older Japanese books specifically say for quality Zelkova serrata, you should or have to start with a seed or seedling.

The real problem you are facing with regards to Tropical trees, is they tend to retain the youth stage for the 10 year period. I have a ficus possibly a Benjamina type, the leaf however is not glossy. I took a three leaf cutting from my school's tree and rooted it in the same pot in Florence. Italy. It is now 25 years or so old and about 3 feet [ 90 cm ] or so tall. The bark was for many years smooth. Now it is rough, and in some areas flaking.

My Tamarind is about 28 years or so, from a 3 leaf seedling. The bark went from rough with furrows, to beginning to flake and now the root / trunk zone is starting to fold, like the typical bark of a mature tree.

Depending on what you chose to grow, you need to observe the mature, typical trees of that variety to know what you will end up with. This is why it is better to start doing Bonsai / Penjing at a young age.
The yamadori response is basically one of an individual who is in the late 30's or just impatient. I have noted that as folk get older say 50 or 60, the rush factor increases, and as you go smaller, unless the tree has a genetic ability to retain many branches at say 14 ot 15 inches, it will take more design skills to create the Bonsai illusion. However, the Shohin / Mame' will also age and produce quality trees. The Japanese have put out quite a few books on how to do this.
You can get many of these books from Mr. William Valavanis, as I did years ago. These you don't find on Amazon or other on-line stores.

Remember, Bonsai is like an oil painting, it follows the same design situation and like traditional stone or wood sculpture, you also have to think in the round to get the 3d effect.

So everytime you start a tree, when you start doing Bonsai, you really need 200 test subjects and they should have multiple branching / branchlet ability or you are wasting time. Ever note how many fuss over the Flambouyant [ Delonia rex ] - it does not branch, but they keep pruning and it never becomes what it looks like in nature, so they try being bizzarre of shape or just odd - desperation.

When I teach Bonsai techniques, it's 3 to 5 years of Horticultural practice, and as long as it takes for Design / Art techniques. Most don't make it past the Horticultural practice.
Don't get upset, just keep active and the 10 years will speed past.
Khaimraj

* As your eye gets sharper, you will see the difference between the yamadori body and the unbalanced top dressing, and it is easier to top dress than actually grow on to appear as natural as leaves to a tree.
The yamadori, usually needs time to look natural, many just look silly.




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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:47 am

Hi Fiona,

I seem to have inadvertently stirred a hornet's nest by using the word "Unfair". So before further misgivings I wish to clarify that the word "Unfair" was used to encourage a debate from a very positive sense without having to cast aspersions on anyone. I certainly am not coming from the "Have's" Versus "Have not's" standpoint. What I am saying is that Nature does have a significant role in shaping a truly world class bonsai. As I have said before there is also a very significant role a Bonsai artist plays in shaping a bonsai and as you have rightly pointed out in maintaining a bonsai. It is a balance that needs to be struck with both Nature and the Bonsai artist having to do their parts in creating and maintaining World Class Bonsai. The debate I wanted to start was on the importance of each of these Roles (that of nature and that of the bonsai artist). I by nature am not a person why cries over spilt milk or someone who wallows in self pity. That is not my point. I hope I have clarified the misgiving.

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Dave Martin on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:51 am

It is human nature to strive for recognition of competency, that's why people enter competitions.
Having done so, some people, end up thinking"whats the point?" when confronted with "priceless" imports or over priced collected material.
There is a surfeit of these sorts of trees lately at shows some of these trees having being shown at every show for the last 3-4 years.
Its then that bonsai becomes, in some cases, an ego trip and elitist......

So perhaps it's time to show off those trees from nursery stock, grafts, seed etc.
Here is a new site where they can be posted. It is open to worldwide entries.

http://ourbonsai.wordpress.com/

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:53 am

Fiona,

the only problem I have with folk who use - only - yamadori - is those young or new to Bonsai who envy the owner of the yamadori.

In other words as long as folk in the temperate climates, acquire the yamadori legally, then more power to you. Those of us in the warm sub-tropical and tropical zones have 4 growing seasons. You can do a lot over the 10 year period. Plus, from my experience, you can pull up from a drain a 5 to 10 year old thingee and start over with just a trunk / root and no branches.

I have a tree, taken from my neighbour's drain, it was about 1 or 2 years old, and just under 6 feet [ 180 cm ] tall, and it is in it's second year of training. The tree is new to cultivation, by me, maybe somewhere in South / Central America or one of the West Indian islands someone else is growing a few, I wouldn't know. Anyhow, step two is the first branch grown to 6 or 10 feet [ 180 cm +] to get the taper for the trunk and the first branch, might take a year, who knows, do I care ?

I might even get a second or third branch along the way. The other 3 or so, will come in rapidly, then the branchlets will take over. 5 to 10 years ----- who cares?
Planned size - about 15 inches height - 3 inch trunk [ 38 cm - 7.5 cm ]
Until.
Khaimraj

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:57 am

Dave,

on my side, it is the discussion of aspects of an individual's trees. There are no competitions.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:00 am

Khaimraj,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I sure do understand what you are saying and they make a lot of sense.

There are a few things I cannot change though. Well I am 42 and started Bonsai about 10 years back. In the absence of a formal teacher (I am basically self, book and internet taught) I have taken time to reach where I have. I am sure that many reach this point much earlier. I cant change that now. So yes there is a sense of urgency to quickly create quality bonsai. Over the years I have learnt to be choosy about the starter material. I'd rather settle for a mature nursery stock than wait for - as you have correctly said about 10 years or so. The simple point is this when there is an alternative which gives better quality in shorter period of time, why not go for it? Those who go for Yamadori do so for precisely the same reason. I do appreciate your point on the perfect Zelkova Serrata but it is more of an exception.

Yes Patience is a virtue when it comes to Bonsai and yes horticulture is an oft ignored aspect of bonsai. These I have know and thanks for stressing their importance.

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:13 am

Dave,

Thanks for the comments. Very interesting and equally valid. Couldn't agree more.

Yes it is indeed time to start sharing the source of the tree. The reason why I am saying this is that for any tree the effort of a Bonsai artist needs to be visible. I mean the effort that goes into a tree with its origin in nursery stock is much higher that for a yamadori. Now I am sure that there are exceptions to this but they will remain exceptions. For a bonsai artist to replicate the work of nature like say twisting a trunk, take humongous effort and the same would go unnoticed if the source of the tree is not mentioned as nursery stock. Bonsai techniques are replete with such examples.

Yes recognition is the icing on the cake and the effort of a bonsai artist needs to be recognised especially when a world class bonsai is created from nursery stock with minimal or no help from nature.

Regards
Ravi

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:21 am

Ravi,

I am 48, 49 next February, and started Bonsai around 18 years or so of age. I am self-taught, book research, and because of my traditional painting training,bonsai ----------- time has no meaning.

We have no real nurseries to draw on, as most plant folk down here are really opportunitist, so before in the 80's and the nurseries were ignorant of bonsai, you could find something here or there. Now anything crooked, is pre-bonsai and costs. In fact the idea is to pretend, that the crooked was deliberately done as pre-bonsai.

My response, seeds, cuttings and the occasional collected from the drain specimen.
[ I also lived abroad, and have 5 years experience growing maples, evergreen oaks, pomegranates, cedar of Lebanon, mugho pine [ was my Christmas tree ] .............. so I can partially see into the Temperate world as well.]

I have no problems drawing on what I learnt from the Japanese / Chinese, I read all of the time, and I look at what I have here in nature. Been growing trees for so long this is like breathing and I don't suffer from the ---- leave my mark on the Bonsai world and create a new style - I just do.

My art training makes a big difference to how I work and my soil research, watching trees here on-line, I am noticing that I get 3 times the density of branches / branchlets, when compared to the others showng from the tropics and sub-tropics.
This leaves me very content. A marriage of Design and Science.

In Bonsai as in Fine Art ------------ time has no meaning ---------- quality over quantity.
Sub-note - the tree continues to change and new designs have to be created every so many years.
Later.
Khaimraj

*Will be watching the Dan Barton/Dave site, looks interesting. I just hope the tropicals don't turn into mutt images. Mr. Barton's trees there are impressive.

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  ogie on Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:39 am

Hi Ravi,

It is true that yamadori has all the edge for a goof bonsai,here in asia specially my side of the country,most are dug illegally if other would contest this,don't believe them.in fact there are so many nearby country has took advantage of our forest,many are quite poor in the rural areas plus corruptness in goverment,so can't do anything about it.Free for all.
Everybody is right in ther own respective views,bottomline Ravi for you to express your feeling,artistic side is already an accomplishment.we all are still kearning from each other.Watch Observe....it'll be our asset,to continue to appreciate your artistic bonsai..HORTICULTURE will br the main key,whats there to see if its gone in a short whike,Keep on asking,everyone are so helpful here & don't stop,chances are you'll get one that everyone would be envy off.I started quite late,yet i got a few nice one too.
Happy Bonsaing.Keep in touch
I remain,
Alex/Ogie

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:12 am

Alex,

as I stated before - Exotic Bonsai - on-line, let the cat out of the bag, by stating most trees are dug and not grown from seed or cutting or nursery trees.

Plus, as in oil painting, where you can tell if someone is copying from a photograph, a dug tree has tell tale marks as well. So why fib ?

I think it might be fun to train a tree so well, that the informed observer can't tell if it is yamadori or from seed. Something to work towards, can you say Kamuti.
Playfully.
Khaimraj

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:50 am

I live in an area were Yamadori bonsai are rare, and good Yamadori bonsai almost non existing. I can travel to get it, but that is also a problem. It is far i have to go if I want really good material, so I don´t.

My economy doesn't allow me to buy expensive collected trees, and my options are limited in my area. So I do Shohin-bonsai. Both because it pleases me much, and because it is far easier to find good specimens for Shohin-bonsai or even grow them your self. (And of course because of the aesthetics of displaying and working with this size bonsai).

I do not do bonsai to win prizes. Actually i am more and more into non-competition exhibitions if possible. I am glad if my bonsai receives a prize, but it is far from what the goal is. The goal is satisfaction growing and caring for my trees.

Finally I am now settled with the number of bonsai I can manage to take care of. I do not collect anymore, only taking in a new tree every second or third year or so. The importance for me is to develop the trees I already have (about 50 shohin and a few larger sized bonsai).

I do not envy other people have better possibilities for large Yamadori trees. I enjoy seeing them, but find plenty of pleasure handling my small collection.

Regards
Morten Albek


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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:48 am

Morten,

the problem on my side is simply trunks. All the collecting that went on was simply to get big trunks. So all the buttonwoods take from the seaside were taken for trunks with deadwood. Shimpaku envy.

Plus, since the urge to collect was so strong, no one learnt how to twist a young tree and calculate for the thickening as the tree matured. Plus, every tree had to look like a Shimpaku.

Then when they discovered the Phoenix graft -- oh boy did they go wild. Big trunks from driftwood.

This has resulted in what I call the ladder style. Trees with many curves in 2d and a back branch stuck on because the book said you had to have a back branch. What happened is all the education came from photos, which were 2d and even when exposed to Bonsai abroad, it was too late. The minds had concreted with photo bonsai.
So the world's new style is - ladder style - H - which from the side looks like this I .

Trunks, everyone has one, but some want bigger ones.
Playfully.
Khaimraj

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:33 pm

Ravi,

I got a simple answer for this question of yours.
I dont find it unfair.
What I think would be unfair is if we immediately conclude that a good bonsai is good because it came from a good yamadori. 100% false and unfair for those really good bonsai artists out there. here in our country where most bonsai came from yamadori, and I'm telling you those yamadori are really good but less than 1% turns out to be nice. to give you an scale of proportion on this, imagine how many of this specie are harvested here, pemphis here are almost gone to extinction...but only a handful turns out well. so my conclusion is this, its not really in the yamadori. but entirely on the person who handles the material.
even choosing a good material to start with, requires a keen eye and a foresight on what to do, plus you got to have the experience and artistry to arrived in what you may call a competitive bonsai. for your reference there is a recent post here-"coral beauty cotoneaster nursery stock" by John. this is not a yamadori. but check on Rob Kempinski's proposed design, this targeted design is cleary way above an average "beauty" of a competitive bonsai but with Rob's experienced and talent, he can achieved this design, and the final outcome won't be at par with a good bonsai from a yamadori. again, I think is all in the artist.


you give a stick with roots to a very good artist and you give the best yamadori that you could find in the planet to an untalented bonsai enthusiast who gives so many lame excuses with poor performance, then give them both 10 years... I bet the stick with roots will turn out the better bonsai...and the guy with the good yamadori will still give lame excuses in the end.

regards,
jun


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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  jrodriguez on Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:37 pm

Ravi,

Before replying to your thread, I actually took some time to find the best words (within my intellectual limits) to give you a responsible answer. Without exception, in every instance that this subject has been brought up, quarrelling between forum members and discomfort has resulted. I hope this thread defies the general rule.

For years, the subject on hand has been the meaning of debate. I have seen entire coastlines with quality trees bulldozed to make way for hotels or luxury housing. At those same sites, close friends were previously arrested for digging trees. By the way, my friends knew of the impending development and asked for permission. Unfortunately, greed and selfishness led to hundreds, perhaps thousands of trees to die.

The law lets you in on the prohibitions of conduct and the remedies of breaking it. Sadly and in countries where individuals with fat pockets can legislate to do whatever they feel like doing, re-zoning permits are issued and nature suffers dearly.

I DO collect yamadori. I also field grow a lot of trees. While it is true that when it comes to quality yamadori nature has done a superb job, lack of technique and improper care can destroy that which nature took a lot of time to develop.

Coming from the Taiwanese school of bonsai, I have learned that quality trees can be grown from modest beginnings. For those who live in the tropics, there is and infinite quantity of species that lend themselves to repetitive pruning, thus resulting in quality trunks in just a few years. Also and perhaps one of the must underrated of techniques, the air-layer, can be used to shorten the span of engaging a superior trunk caliper without killing the parent plant.

After the aforementioned remarks, let me address one, an perhaps the most important, of your inquiries:

1) Is yamadori superior to nursery grown trees? Sometimes

If you carefully read my essay, you might guess the reason behind my answer. Also, there's a lot of instances when the artists submitts the tree to a high amount of stress only a short time after collecting it. The beforementioned scenario has been the culprit of the loss of hundreds, maybe thousands of trees. Furthermore, not every tree that nature creates qualifies (per my understanding of the subject) as yamadori. I have seen trees reffered to as 'yamadori' that are inferior to nursery stock. I have also seen yamadori in the so-called 'naturalistic style' which have questionable quality as bonsai. In the end, we have to learn how to respect nature and choose wisely. It is easy to get 'drunk on bonsai'. Whenever this happens, choice desicions are not made and the indivudual stock piles every piece of junk he can get his hands on. Remember, it is not the quantity, but the quality...

Kind regards,

Jose Luis


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Another take on the commentary

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:59 pm

The benefit of yamadori. There is no doubt that nature in its application of random events creates very interesting trunks for possible bonsai specimens. And where properly collected and designed over time yamadori make excellent bonsai.

Yet yamadori don’t always make the best trees. Their big advantages are: large trunks with big branches, hence more impressive, usually old so the bark has character, and they can have weird shapes. However, most have very poor nebari, poor branch placement and will contain large chops or scars. Lots of yamadori if studied carefully, especially modern conifers, have really poor branch design. Most are contorted and bent to create a foliage crown such that the branches resemble the wires behind a stereo cabinet. People are collecting anything from the woods just to have a collected tree. This has lead to lots of poor yamadori and to the death of many trees that shouldn’t have been collected.

There seems to be a big rush with yamadori collectors. I suppose it’s to maximize their profits. The trend at many of the big demos is to use raffia, black tape and flame to bend the heck out of branches to put them in place. This in my opinion makes mediocre bonsai. In the long run a much better tree would be built by taking at 10 to 20 year approach. Grafting buds in close takes a long time and doesn’t make an instant bonsai – hence seems to be rarely done, but puts a branch exactly where needed.

I have no problem with people collecting trees, it’s fun and offers a different aspect of the bonsai art. However, collecting needs to be done legally and with respect for nature. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are many stories where bonsai are stolen from the woods. And because of this, bonsai collectors are developing a bad reputation among the general public. Despite what one says about how many trees there are in the woods, they will eventually run out. This has already happened in Japan and Taiwan where collecting is prohibited. This should be a wake up call to collectors, but human nature being what it is, won’t change. I think you’d be surprised by how many famous bonsai artists could also be considered thieves.

As for growing trees in tropical conditions, this is a big advantage and can negate the yamadori advantage. Tropical trees, especially certain specimens, grow fast. Just look at the trees coming from bonsai farms in Taiwan. These are nursery grown and are just as good as any yamadori. Ten years in the tropics is equal to 20 to 25 in a temperate climate.

As Morton pointed out, growing shohin trees is another way to negate the yamadori advantage. Being small they can be grown rather quickly in most climates. So if your area doesn’t have a market, be patient and create your own.

As an example of tropical growth negating the yamadori advantage, consider this tree, the Kracken, a Ficus Microcarpa, was grown from a cutting. It will be a large bonsai and will be very good. It is about 10 years from being a cutting. It just needs another 5 years (even in the tropics)




This was it 5 or 6 years ago


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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:41 pm

I'm fully on Morton and Rob's side here. Despite the long series of "progressions" on collected trees posted here, I seldom see what I consider a natural-looking "tree" -- just a lot of bonsai (trees twisted, chopped, carved and painted well beyond its natural existence and bearing faint resemblance to a real tree). And I'm always concerned over how they were collected, and what kinds of messes the collectors left behind them (I've seen the holes left behind in otherwise beautiful mountain landscapes by collectors, and I've even turned one of them in.)

I should point out that few bonsai created in Japan are "yamadori" any more. That's why the last years of Bonsai Today and Japanese bonsai magazines are so full with "redesigns-of-an-ancient-bonsai" articles.

I'll also point out that the fine collection at the North Carolina Arboretum is filled with trees labeled "of nursery origin."

So many beginners at bonsai shop for their trees at Home Depot, Lowes, and other two-bit nurseries. that it's no wonder that nursery trees have a bad rep. But if you patronize a real nursery, if you look closely at the plants there, and if you spend your money on a single nice plant, and then have the patience (and talent) to work it carefully over several years, there is NO reason that you can't have as good a bonsai as the so-called Masters. (It's the "talent" part of that formula that gets so many of us.)

There's absolutely no reason to put "yamadori" on some unassailable pedestal over urban collections or nursery plants. Being a "wild" tree doesn't make it a good tree.

(I'm moving this "up" to "Bonsai Questions" so it might be seen by those who are too lazy to scroll down. It WAS a question, yes?)

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  ogie on Thu Nov 04, 2010 3:23 pm

Jim...Absolutrly YES & totally agree with you

Keep well..
Alex

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:29 pm

Morten

Thanks a ton for your comments. I am rather surprise to know that most of your collection is NOT trees from the wild. The reasons why you have a slant for Shohin are interesting and have made me think along the same lines. Personally I have about 70 trees. Of these only 10 are fully finished to my satisfaction. Of the rest 60 are in various stages of training and I work on each of these. The remaining 10 would be gifted / donated / discarded as I am not happy with them and feel that they are unworkable.

By the way I have just received a copy of your book SHOHIN BONSAI and am yet to go though it fully. The first glance was too good and I am waiting to read it fully. Wish I could send it to your for your autograph





Jun

Thanks for the comments. To begin with I am a big fan of yours and so there is no way this thread was written to put you down or any one else. I do know that you collect yamadori trees and as I have said earlier it is fine with me. I am also not belittling the efforts (and I have said this in my initial comments itself) of the bonsai artists whose efforts are very much crucial in the creation of a great bonsai. No two ways about it.

If I have offended you or others like you who collect trees from Yamadori, I wish to clarify that it was never my intent not is it my belief. I am glad to hear you say that given an ordinary material the bonsai artist can create a great bonsai than a novice with great yamadori. I fully agree to this. One of the points of me creating this thread is to being out the role of the artist and his contribution which IMHO is more in the case of a nursery stock and relatively less (with exceptions) in the case of yamadori.


Jose

Thanks for your comments. Thanks also for keeping the decorum of this forum. I have not taken any offense to your comments and trust you not taken offense to mine. I agree with what you have said on your post.


Rob
Thanks for your comments too.
I agree with you on what happens in the name of Bonsai Demos in these days on instant gratification. For me the preference towards yamadori is because of the shorter time span involved in creating a good quality bonsai. I however agree that yamadori has its down sides on ethics and environment but needs to be done responsibly.

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Kev Bailey on Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:02 pm

In many quarters there is a growing appreciation of the questionable ethics of collecting material from the wild. Anyone who has a concern for conservation of the environment and trees in nature should think carefully about the issues. Many artists like Dan Barton and Simon Temblett are appreciative of the effort that goes into the development of trees from own raised stock. Dan has recently started this site http://ourbonsai.wordpress.com/about/ which states his views succinctly. Incidentally Dan is keen for anyone to add photo's of their own self-propagated material, that has been used to produce bonsai trees.

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:45 pm

Dan has recently started this site http://ourbonsai.wordpress.com/about/ which states his views succinctly.

What a nice idea!

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:55 pm

Perhaps a definition of a collected tree is needed.

As I understand the yamadori. The collector takes his time finding just the right one. This then makes it's way back to a place of recuperation, in the past to be kept and treasured, early 1900's to be sold for money.[ a big simplification I know.]

Today, it's a different story. Let us not turn this into a majority rule situation. Most of us won't have the opportunity to collect a - yamadori - let's not say they are probably sour.

There are a great many undercurrents in this topic, and perhaps that is where the argument part would surface.
Maybe we should really be discussing what makes a tree visually and why so many try to turn up their noses at the Japanese and Chinese work, only to show trees that look like Japanese and Chinese work.
Design makes the difference.
Until.
Khaimraj


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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:37 pm

Ravi,
I am not offended in anyway at all. and I thank you for the post.
I am glad that some people like you post once in a while topics with lot of sense. responses posted here would help a lot of readers, members of IBC and visitors alike, specially those who are just starting with the hobby or art what ever the case maybe.

good luck.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Yamadori over nursery stock – The unfair advantage

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