Newbie, ready to get this party started.

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Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:58 pm

Hello all, just want to start by saying this forum has been very helpful. You all have posted some excellent information and quality pictures. As the title implies, I'm fairly new to the art of Bonsai. I have a Ginseng Ficus, and some Fukien Tea (nothing worthy of a pic yet). I've been wanting to do Bonsai for quite some time, and this past father's day my wife bought me the Ginseng Ficus. It was from Home Depot, with the rocks glued to the top... I didn't think this was right so I read around, then decided to remove the rocks and re-pot. After re-potting, my cats thought it would be a good idea to defoliate as well (they ate all the leaves except two). The plant recovered, and is now thriving in it's new home outside. Since receiving my first plant, I proceeded to do as much research as possible. I joined some other forums, read nearly every article on bonsai4me, bought some books, purchased some tools/pots/slabs, etc. Well, after doing all these things, I feel confident that it's time to get some new plants to work with. I'm leaning towards a Juniper cascade, A large Bald Cypress, and possibly a Bald Cypress forest planting on a slab of slate I bought. I also have some Oak seeds sprouting, just for the learning experience. Am I being too ambitious? Any thoughts or advice on where to start? I've found some nice Juniper stock at a local nursery for $7, and some good sized Bald Cypress for $20 I'd like to trunk chop... Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.

Gentleman G.
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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:06 pm

P.S.
Not looking for "instant Bonsai", I'm in it for the long haul. We don't have any Bonsai nurseries here, I'm looking to start with nursery stock. Perhaps purchase some "pre Bonsai" through ebay.

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:21 pm

Juniper and bald cypress are both easy starter trees for someone from southernmost Texas.

But if you are uncertain whether the specific trees you have in mind are good candidates for bonai, some photos might help is help you decide.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:30 pm

Well, as I said, my selection down here isn't great. We do have a Bonsai club, but they are on a break for the winter Crying or Very sad
The Bald Cypress are nice, they're about six feet tall with some pretty nice trunks and nebari. As far as the Junipers, they are all basically one gallon "shrubs". If I bought one of the BC, could I trunk chop it really low (leaving no branches)? I read somewhere that this was okay, not too sure though. And as for the Junipers, I'd like to do a cascade with some deadwood. Would it be okay to begin some basic styling and pruning now? In the spring, I'd like to re-pot and begin developing a better nebari.

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:35 pm

On the juniper. It is better to do the op work now (but don't OVER-do) and the root work in the spring.

When you work on the top, leave more than you want. It can always come off later, but it's hard to put it back on.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:40 pm

Thanks, Jim! I'm excited about getting started! I'll probably go to the nursery over the weekend, hopefully they'll have something worthwhile (Juniper wise). I understand I'll need to wait till spring for the Bald Cypress project. Any other suggestions for plants that would do well down here?

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  JimLewis on Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:01 am

Texas ebony and Texas persimmon are both very nice trees for bonsai in your area.

I attended a very well-done Texas Bonsai Societies convention in Corpus Cristi in 2000.

A fellow named Rick Choate used to have a small bonsai nursery between you and Brownsville. I've lost touch with him and have no idea if he's still around. He's an IBCer from back before there WAS a World Wide Web (and yes, there was such a time). Anyway, he carried both trees.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:47 pm

Got some Junipers today! I found a pot that had two in it for $8, not too bad either. The nebari isn't the greatest, but I think it can be improved upon. I picked off everything that was obviously dead and will continue trying to decide where I'd like to go with them. Can't wait till spring so I can get them both in their own pots! I'll try to post some pics soon.

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Zach Smith on Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:39 pm

Gentleman G. wrote:Thanks, Jim! I'm excited about getting started! I'll probably go to the nursery over the weekend, hopefully they'll have something worthwhile (Juniper wise). I understand I'll need to wait till spring for the Bald Cypress project. Any other suggestions for plants that would do well down here?
You'll find bald cypress to be one of the best species for bonsai, if for no other reason than they produce trunk buds literally everywhere and forever (it gets annoying sometimes, but there you go). Now, as to a forest planting, the one big negative here is that unless you're using larger material (at least 1" trunk diameter) it's hard to make believable trees because the branches need to be a certain thickness to support the sub-branching. If your forest trunks are slim, then your branches end up having the same thickness as the trunk itself and this looks unconvincing.

Good luck getting started in bonsai. There's nothing else quite like it.

Zach

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

Post  Gentleman G. on Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:57 pm

Thanks, Zach. I think I'm just gonna do a solo BC, the ones at the nursery here have some nice trunks. I've been looking at some pics of forest/group plantings, and I think I'm gonna go with some boxwoods. I've already got the slab and I read a recipe for making "muck sausages" to store in the freezer over the winter. Hopefully I'll have some pics of my Junipers up tomorrow. I've already learned a bit more about them since I got home with them! It's nice to have a plant to finally put what I've read into action. I'll keep posting my progress. May even do a "newbie tutorial" for all those scared noobs out there. Thanks again guys.

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Re: Newbie, ready to get this party started.

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