have your tastes changed as you progress in the hobby?

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have your tastes changed as you progress in the hobby?

Post  marcus watts on Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:04 am

The other day i was sorting through my trees to do the trade in at my local nursery and I realised that some trees I tracked down 10-15 years ago & worked on lovingly ever since no longer really appealled in the way they used to. Then, looking at the trees on the benches it was apparent that my previous slant towards pines, junipers - domed tops and dropping branches etc was actually changing - and the trees giving me most pleasure are now predominantly deciduous.

I think as we mature (in the hobby ! lol) tastes and actual appeciation of the trees change - where as a mere sapling !! i wanted to wire up a tree and make it look like a '''bonsai''' in a day or two, now those trees do nothing much for me - because really they are just outer images with contorted messy branches hidden underneath. Where i would once use the leggy branches of a pine wired over the top of each other to give the appearance of a mature domed pad these last few years i've been cutting them all off, using one or two weak inner shoots and rebuilding the pads a few inches at most in a season.

i'm sure this change in taste and technique has come about from finally appreciating the trees for their entire structure and not just the outer image, even though it means some trees will appear worse than they did for a few years to come. A convincing deciduous tree certainly takes longer to achieve and i guess that my change in tastes has come from finally realising a good tree takes many years where it looks quite average before it too matures. And once you look at evergreen bonsai regarding branch structure in a similar way its quite interesting to see which trees show true promice and which ones dont

Are your tastes, tree collection and styling tecniques changing over the years?

interested to hear,


marcus watts

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Re: have your tastes changed as you progress in the hobby?

Post  Orion on Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:06 pm

What an interesting question to pose. As far as species are concerned, I know that I've toned it down a bit. There was a time when I would try anything...and I mean almost anything that could be grown, from rose bushes to sugar maple stumps and horse chestnuts. So many projects were exercises in futility, yet it was all part of the learning process.

I've found myself moving away from deciduous species. Except for a few crabapples, hornbeams and various shrubs (I haven't touched a maple, meaningfully, in about 9 or 10 years) it's all been very static. And you know, I haven't been able to come up with a reason except that it's hard to come by interesting material; a lot of it is just too boring for the cost. So, for a good while now I've been sticking with junipers; they force me to think outside the box as far as styles go and I've found some incredibly decent, yet expensive materials. So, I've got to pick and choose with a lot of thought because I may be getting only 1 or 2 addtional pieces per year.

If there's a lesson, it's humility...and a lot of it. I've gained more respect for nature's rhythm and its processes more than I thought was possible...the trees will take care of that.


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