Bonsai stock

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  fiona on Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:46 am

tony wrote: One day this will be a great bonsai?... not in my lifetime No

It may never be a great bonsai. But it most certainly can be a better bonsai.

Surely that's what this forum is about: making everyone welcome, and helping them achieve what they want to achieve irrespective of aspiration and working within the confines of what they both want and can practicably achieve? And if that process sparks something more then that's even better.

You and I have had this discussion frequently and often and we are both coming from the same start point of wanting to aim high. The reality of that is that you will always achieve higher than I will not because of what we can afford to pay for a piece of raw material but simply because you have more talent and ability than I have. I will probably never have a tree that will win major shows but I am content with the improvement I am making and the trees I am turning out. If that improvement continues, so much the better. While I would consider myself several rungs "above" the sticks in pots, I feel that is entirely a relative position, and one which recognises that I have my limitations.

And I'd hate to think that this forum would discount me because of them.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  jonkatzmail on Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:48 am

I saw one bonsai place and they had chopped down plants for 30+ bucks with twigs sticking out, and I didn't see how they could become bonsai, and they didn't look as good as my junk plants. That isn't to say they were bad, I just don't know what to look for in a new plant except "a wide trunk with surface roots radiating out evenly, and enough branches to choose from". That describes most plants to me, except there are a lot of skinny trees and bushes at Lowes. So... I don't know enough about how to choose a plant to turn into a bonsai yet, even though I keep going thru bonsai books. I know my plants don't compare to real bonsai I have seen at the National Arboretum and Dawes Arboretum, I'm just uncertain how to get to that quality from any plant I buy even from a bonsai place. I guess I am just saying that as a beginner I know my plants are trash but I'm not sure why and don't know enough to even choose a potential bonsai from a bonsai grower because what I have seen just looks like very young bushes indistinguishable, to me, from any others. I am discribing this badly, I know, I just don't know enough to even recognize a good potential bonsai from what you know to be junk. But at least I am not torturing you with pics anyway! Razz

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  fiona on Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:56 am

jonkatzmail wrote: I guess I am just saying that as a beginner I know my plants are trash but I'm not sure why and don't know enough to even choose a potential bonsai from a bonsai grower because what I have seen just looks like very young bushes indistinguishable, to me, from any others. I am discribing this badly, I know, I just don't know enough to even recognize a good potential bonsai from what you know to be junk. But at least I am not torturing you with pics anyway! Razz
So, how do people like you learn? Books are fine, but human intervention is almost always better. Ask the questions - like you just did indirectly. Torture us with at least one pic - hopefully at least one person will give you a positive critique of its good and bad points, along with some suggestions for improving that tree and/or for what to look for the next time you make a purchase. Who loses out there? The answer I am looking for is no-one.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  ponsmaldo on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:39 am

I have some sticks in pots, even chopsticks in the ground, I also have some 3" to 5" diameter trunks. I'm not trying to justify the pencils in the pot or being sarcastic. After all this like a small community. It's just that the pencils don't bother me (much) and I can't spend a hundred dollars on a tree (yet). Since I love the outdoors I can also go for some yamadori. I joined this forum as a newbie for inspiration. Maybe some hard wiring.I have to wait a few days more Before I can upload some torture pics. Peace!

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Damienindesert on Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:27 am

tony wrote:So Damien... what do you want? world class of or second class?

Because your pencil in a pot will NEVER be in a world class show... but you will be happy... and for you... that's OK

This is NOT a dig at you please do not take this the wrong way... BUT no bonsai in any European show in the last 15 years started life as a pencil in a pot. It may well have been a seedling...

Hi Tony

World class all the way for me thanks...

I agree with the other member who made the comment about semantics. I'll stand by my comment about bonsai being art though. Once you wade through the pretencious snobbery associated with the pastime, what you have is a bunch of people who gain enjoyment from a bunch of trees, and share comments, views and critique to better themselves, get over a particular hurdle by leaning on another's experience, or in some cases just to make their voices heard.

I'm not a beginner, having started this journey in 1980's, but still have no great goals of showing trees and making comparisons with other's in terms of what's good and what's not. That mindset, I regret, is often more driven by ego than a deep love of art and horticulture.

It's a bit like dog shows in a way. I remember being snobbed out at the English Bull Terrier club because Henry, by dog, had a slightly overshut jaw and was 5kg too heavy for "show grade". I just joined because I thought I'd meet like-minded people, boy was I wrong. Henry might have been a bit rough around the edges, but he could heave a car tyre (that he found out in the bush) 2 km home! He'd faithfully guard my shopping outside any store and was one of the nicests characters I've ever met! The point of my analogy?

Well, they are all world class in their own way. The little juniper showed in an earlier post is great! It's little more than a rooted cutting, but in a few years, perhaps in a rock planting, it could be effective, or at least used as an accent in a group planting etc.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:57 am

jonkatzmail wrote: I just don't know enough to even recognize a good potential bonsai from what you know to be junk.

Jon's comment is key to this discussion. Knowing what IS worth continuing to develop and what is not.

I describe the start my bonsai 'Journey' as having spent 10 years in the wilderness; 10 years with club members who only looked inwards, the first 10 years being the most important when I could have been laying the foundations of beautiful bonsai. I realised that the rot was endemic when not one member of the club would be going to the world congress that was less than 80 miles away because it cost £8.00 entry fee... I went along with Terry Foster... we left the club a few months later when we realised that the 'wonders' we had seen were of NO INTEREST to the club... THAT club is still meeting, still promoting pencils in pots and STILL looking inwards.

When I have challenged 'established' bonsai artists as to why they do not continue with IBC or only visit once in a blue moon it is for exactly the same reason described above.

If my attitude is brusk its because I do not want to be a member of a club that encourages mediocrity... There is enough online bonsai garbage out there.


Last edited by tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:28 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Alain Bertrand on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:07 am

tony wrote:So Damien... what do you want? world class of or second class?

Because your pencil in a pot will NEVER be in a world class show... but you will be happy... and for you... that's OK

This is NOT a dig at you please do not take this the wrong way... BUT no bonsai in any European show in the last 15 years started life as a pencil in a pot. It may well have been a seedling...
I'd rather look at Japan. Almost all the deciduous trees you see in top exhibitions have been grown in a pot from the very beginning. Great that the Japanese growers had not the short term oriented mindset that you seem to have, because in this case, we could not see fantastic big deciduous trees with delicate ramifications and no scars. We would have instead big trees with lots of carvings whose goal is not to try to express the character of a real tree but just to hide brutal trunk chops like most deciduous trees we see in Europe and that I don't call world class trees.

Anyway, unless I die sooner than statistical data may let me hope to, time will pass and I will be a day 30 or 40 years older than I am now. That is enough time to grow very nice trees from seeds. Not to say that this is the only way I do bonsai but it does have all its place in a bonsai lover's practice.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:20 am

Damienindesert wrote: I'm not a beginner, having started this journey in 1980's, but still have no great goals of showing trees and making comparisons with other's in terms of what's good and what's not. That mindset, I regret, is often more driven by ego than a deep love of art and horticulture.

Hi Damien... excellence is often more driven by ego than a deep love of art and horticulture... do you really believe this?

After 30 years you are not happy to put a tree in an exhibition? And how would you know if your trees are world class unless you compare them to those considered so?

I understand your dog show comparison and have used this analogy myself in discussions before... but it has a flaw... you cannot break the jaw of your dog but you can grow a new branch.

The Juniper photo I posted: Yes... one day after planting out, careful planning, good horticultural technique, first styling, training pot, second styling, refining, exhibition pot... I could become a fine specimen... but for now it 'ain't no bonsai just because it is in a Bonsai pot and we should stop telling members that it is


Last edited by tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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Bonsai stock

Post  Bob Bailey on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:24 am


I hate myself for this Tony,but I agree with every thing you say !!!

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  fiona on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:00 am

Bob, I think several of us agree with Tony's approach of aiming high - mostly because that is our own approach. And we should not be castigated for it.

What concerns me is that he seems to be implying that IBC should not cater for all levels of bonsai. I can't agree with that part. Just as we should not be castigated for wishing to aim high, then neither should we be sneering at those happy to work at their own level of comfort and competence. I firmly believe a forum like this should be actively encouraging people of all levels, even if that is only trying to show someone how their stick in a pot can be a better stick in a pot. Who knows, that might just be the catalyst, the classic lightbulb moment, that then inspires them on to a higher level.


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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:02 am

easternbonsai wrote:Billy,

I would have to disagree. We have all started somewhere, and mostly with cheap trees. I would rather test new techniques on cheap trees than on expensive pre-bonsai. After all once you go to a nursery and mention the word Bonsai prices go up. I see you posted a large Simpsons Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans), I hope you didn't pay 100.00 for it. There is not much taper. I think alot of us would be delighted to see a photo off your collection.

Regards,
Abe

A post like this takes on a life of its own. I was posting about a dilemma I face. I hope this doesn't get personal, it was never meant to be. As to my "Stopper" I won it in a $5 raffle at my club. It was urban collected. I display it because it is a Florida native plant and we don't see many of them.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:25 am

fiona wrote: I firmly believe a forum like this should be actively encouraging people of all levels, even if that is only trying to show someone how their stick in a pot can be a better stick in a pot. Who knows, that might just be the catalyst, the classic lightbulb moment, that then inspires them on to a higher level.

Hear hear... but some folk never get the lightbulb moment because those showing/teaching them pussyfoot around or worse don't have a clue themselves.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:41 am

Alain Bertrand wrote:I'd rather look at Japan. Almost all the deciduous trees you see in top exhibitions have been grown in a pot from the very beginning. Great that the Japanese growers had not the short term oriented mindset that you seem to have, because in this case, we could not see fantastic big deciduous trees with delicate ramifications and no scars. We would have instead big trees with lots of carvings whose goal is not to try to express the character of a real tree but just to hide brutal trunk chops like most deciduous trees we see in Europe and that I don't call world class trees.

Anyway, unless I die sooner than statistical data may let me hope to, time will pass and I will be a day 30 or 40 years older than I am now. That is enough time to grow very nice trees from seeds. Not to say that this is the only way I do bonsai but it does have all its place in a bonsai lover's practice.

Hi Alain... I agree with all you say except I do not have a short term mind set, far from it... I wasted 10 years when I could have been laying the foundations of great bonsai. We cannot compare ourselves to Japan because our 'problem' in the West is we want it and we want it NOW! and bonsai is NOT a short term gratification process. Japan has generations of artists, we do not... and if we continue down the path of not laying down good foundations we will continue to have mediocrity.

I only know of ONE tree that has been grown correctly in Europe that has achieved true world class from a seed is the Ulmus minor by Jaume Canals from Spain. I think this bonsai took at least 25 years to create and it is amazing... we should be laying the foundations to create bonsai such as this. Buying a juniper from a garden centre, cutting off a few branches, sticking it in a 'bonsai' pot and calling it a bonsai... THAT is short termism pale


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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Guest on Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:43 pm

I am making quit a few shohin, from cuttings. With the right amount of trimming, cutting back, and fertilizer...will I have nice fat shohintrees in between 4 - 5 years.
I used to make kifu from cuttings, they are doing verry well, but they takes longer....

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:12 pm

It's important to keep in mind that everyone is different and pretty much everyone has a different reason for growing a tree in a pot.

If you aspire to show trees in national or international events then you need to start with good material (or take a real long time to develop a tree from a seed or sapling). You also need time to learn the skills necessary to maintain fine trees. Those skills may come with simple trees that grow into better trees with time.

However if you only enjoy growing trees in a pot and do it for relaxation or fun or what ever reason other than showing trees at big shows, then sticks in a pot are fine. You can attend club meetings, post on the internet and learn and perhaps improve.

My local club (of which Billy and I are members) for example has many members with sticks in a pot and over the years their sticks in a pot have grown into decent bonsai. Most of them, in fact, almost all of them, have no interest in national or international bonsai shows.

When people post photos of sticks in a pot, I usually don't comment as frankly I have too much other stuff to do. But there are many on the forum that are willing to comment and that is good for the forum.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Russell Coker on Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:52 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:It's important to keep in mind that everyone is different and pretty much everyone has a different reason for growing a tree in a pot.

If you aspire to show trees in national or international events then you need to start with good material (or take a real long time to develop a tree from a seed or sapling). You also need time to learn the skills necessary to maintain fine trees. Those skills may come with simple trees that grow into better trees with time.

However if you only enjoy growing trees in a pot and do it for relaxation or fun or what ever reason other than showing trees at big shows, then sticks in a pot are fine. You can attend club meetings, post on the internet and learn and perhaps improve.

My local club (of which Billy and I are members) for example has many members with sticks in a pot and over the years their sticks in a pot have grown into decent bonsai. Most of them, in fact, almost all of them, have no interest in national or international bonsai shows.

When people post photos of sticks in a pot, I usually don't comment as frankly I have too much other stuff to do. But there are many on the forum that are willing to comment and that is good for the forum.


My thoughts EXACTLY. Everyone has different goals and reasons for embracing bonsai, and that's OK.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Guest on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:01 pm

I totally agree with Tony!

Always aim high. That way you will strive more and persevere to learn more. I think any person when given a chance to own a quality tree versus a pencil potted twig will choose the better tree, and it is a form of deception to oneself if you will always say that you are contented with a mediocre tree and never wanted to own a decent bonsai.

Though,In some cases if not all, a beginner will buy a potted stick, a mallsai, or junksai (I coined this one hehe) out of shear innocence or just too naive on bonsai. but this factor should be outgrown later in his/her bonsai journey. other wise it will be a total waste of time if he or she continue to do so after a decade or more. This is the primary reason why most people here in IBC asked the beginner to join a club near his/her area (but, not always productive), or read and learn more before any further buying of materials to continue.

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:08 pm

I believe that this discussion is NOT why individuals choose to create bonsai.

Just because a tree is in a bonsai pot does not make it a bonsai... but it may well bring satisfaction, happiness, peace, completeness...

Sticks in bonsai pot = horticulture

Styled and refined tree in a bucket = Bonsai in development

Styled and refined tree in a bonsai pot = thumbs up

Having taken a look at Bills V's post and in particular this photo. Note that in 1972 this amazing tree was a stick in a pot. You can bet your life that Bill had a lightbulb moment and he took the tree to where it is now 39 years later. In 1972 information was thin on the ground in the west and Bill's Stick in a pot would have been fine back then... Today we have no excuse... Access to more informed debate, information and materials means that we do not need to go through the pain of ignorance. And given the choice would you choose the first tree from 1972 or the tree you see today?



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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Respect!

Post  David Carvalho on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:28 pm

tony wrote:
Jon's comment is key to this discussion. Knowing what IS worth continuing to develop and what is not.

I describe the start my bonsai 'Journey' as having spent 10 years in the wilderness; 10 years with club members who only looked inwards, the first 10 years being the most important when I could have been laying the foundations of beautiful bonsai. I realised that the rot was endemic when not one member of the club would be going to the world congress that was less than 80 miles away because it cost £8.00 entry fee... I went along with Terry Foster... we left the club a few months later when we realised that the 'wonders' we had seen were of NO INTEREST to the club... THAT club is still meeting, still promoting pencils in pots and STILL looking inwards.

When I have challenged 'established' bonsai artists as to why they do not continue with IBC or only visit once in a blue moon it is for exactly the same reason described above.

If my attitude is brusk its because I do not want to be a member of a club that encourages mediocrity... There is enough online bonsai garbage out there.

RESPECT!

Best regards,

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:39 pm

tony wrote:I believe that this discussion is NOT why individuals choose to create bonsai.

Just because a tree is in a bonsai pot does not make it a bonsai... but it may well bring satisfaction, happiness, peace, completeness...

Sticks in bonsai pot = horticulture

Styled and refined tree in a bucket = Bonsai in development

Styled and refined tree in a bonsai pot = thumbs up

Having taken a look at Bills V's post and in particular this photo. Note that in 1972 this amazing tree was a stick in a pot. You can bet your life that Bill had a lightbulb moment and he took the tree to where it is now 39 years later. In 1972 information was thin on the ground in the west and Bill's Stick in a pot would have been fine back then... Today we have no excuse... Access to more informed debate, information and materials means that we do not need to go through the pain of ignorance. And given the choice would you choose the first tree from 1972 or the tree you see today?



Tony, does not the example of Bill V's maple make an argument for growing a stick in pot and using patience on your side. I'm sure back in 1972, Bill had been studying with Yoshi Yoshimura and having been to Japan he knew what he was doing growing a rare specimen from a small seedling. And time has proven him right. Having visited many bonsai gardens I see many experienced bonsai growers growing sticks in a pot thinking about the future.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  wabashene on Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:47 pm

I think all the bonsai luminaries would best serve the bonsai community by giving all their trees away to we beginner/intermediates for nominal fees and in so doing, raise standards in a single stroke.

What's the point of sitting on 100's of potential masterpiece trees in your back yards - unless of course you want to sell them for big bucks - or open to the public offering showings and services.

That's OK as well but be honest about it!

Smile

Thks

TimR


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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:31 pm

Hi Rob, there is no argument for a calling a stick in a pot a bonsai. 'GROWING' a stick to become a bonsai is a totally different thing that I support wholeheartedly.

In the first photo in 1972 Bills eagerness to put the tree in a bonsai pot may well have been a reflection of the information available at that time in the US... Hence why Bill chose to study under Sensei Yoshimura. Was it worth it? I think the result speaks for itself...

Here on IBC we should not be peddling antiquated ideas. I reaffirm there is NO excuse for ignorance today given the wealth of 'GOOD' information available.

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‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Tony on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:44 pm

wabashene wrote:I think all the bonsai luminaries would best serve the bonsai community by giving all their trees away to we beginner/intermediates for nominal fees and in so doing, raise standards in a single stroke.

What's the point of sitting on 100's of potential masterpiece trees in your back yards - unless of course you want to sell them for big bucks - or open to the public offering showings and services.

That's OK as well but be honest about it!

I am not sure I follow your meaning? yamadori is free...


_________________
Tony Tickle.. "that's not your real name is it?"

‎"Study me as much as you like, you will never know me, for I differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see." — Rumi

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  EdMerc on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:48 pm

Well, this is an interesting discussion indeed. I understand the intent behind Billy's initial post and I agree except for one important point. I do not believe that material need be expensive in order to become a good bonsai.

I can say, and rather sheepishly, that none of the "expensive" material I have procured over the years has survived. I'm not sure why. Maybe I didn't "earn" my way to it and subconsciously I treated it badly.

I have some nice trees, but they have all been either cheap or free.

The trick is having the eye for material. Someone else posted that many beginners just don't know what good material looks like, and that is the true problem. Not a lack of funds.

Ed.

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Re: Bonsai stock

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:36 am

EdMerc wrote: The trick is having the eye for material. Someone else posted that many beginners just don't know what good material looks like, and that is the true problem. Ed.

I've avoided answering because this topic is so SUBJECTIVE. I have a lot of respect for a lot of the people that post here including Billy, and I think Ed just hit the nail on the head. One of the problems is that beginners (myself being one of them) don't generally know what makes a good potential bonsai. Is it current nebari, current taper, current branch placement or current silhouette? All of those could be changed with time, but it depends on the species and your knowledge of it. It also depends on how much time you have. Time left in this world, time to do all the research necessary and then literally the time to apply the research and work on the tree.

Talking about what makes a good bonsai is also subjective. There must be some basic points, right? I'd like to start a topic on that unless one has already been started.

Although, I do agree with you Billy on the point that sometimes a "You could use it for firewood" response may be needed. If I ask your opinion then I should be willing to accept whatever you tell me right? If I don't think I'll like the answer, then I personally won't ask the question. But because I understand how much owners are attached to their trees and my personal lack of knowledge, that I don't typically respond to those questions.

Boon Manakitivipart said something that has truly stuck with me; please note this is not verbatim. "Some people are happy with their 'Bonsai' and that their trees are surviving, but bonsai is not about trees that are surviving, it's about trees that are thriving. Some people are also happy that their trees will never win awards or get featured in magazines or that they personally will never headline an event. This is also fine, but they need to be honest with themselves about this, and so does the rest of the bonsai community."

Not everyone wants to, or can achieve greatness but that doesn't mean that we can't all share in this passion of ours, especially when it comes to the level and quality of material. I personally would love to do bonsai at the highest of levels. If in the future I can find the time to arrange for an apprenticeship in Japan, I ABSOLUTELY would go. This is because I believe that in Japan I can have the most intensive training in bonsai anywhere in the world, shy of moving in with Boon, Suthin, Mike Hagedorn or Ryan Neil or any of the plethora of fine artists in the US. Plus I think they outlawed slavery in the US. Apparently "bonsai slavery" is still allowed in Japan and Peter Tea can attest to that.

I think I'm done raving. I love this hobby. I hope that bonsai in the US moves to a higher level playing field. I think we're heading that way. I hope that the Portland area superstars (you know who you are) start the Portland Bonsai Village soon. I think that every major bonsai show should do a beginner bonsai basics class. Everyone could benefit from that, including myself.

Have a great week everybody!!!!!
Sammi Samm Sam

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Re: Bonsai stock

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