Hello! New to forum, not bonsai

ThornBc

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Hi everybody, after using this forum as a source of great info for a while I decided it was time to join and hopefully, in time, do my part to add something useful. I'm an Italian horticulturist and have been living in Scotland for 6.5 years now. I discovered the art of bonsai as a kid through a book, and started experimenting with anything I had available. Through the years I didn't always have access to (suitable) outdoor space, and after moving to Scotland I didn't have any at all until I was finally assigned an half plot to cultivate. I work as a plant specialist in a garden centre, from which I can easily obtain material in different forms, I collect from the wild, and I grow from seed. Last spring I started planting in the raised beds at my plot and in large tubs, and so far I am satisfied with how things are going. I will create progression threads for some of my trees as soon as I get a chance to rummage through all my files.
Thank you all for the help you don't know you've already given me (and hopefully I'll manage to use the forum correctly, I haven't been a forum member in maybe 15 years!)
Here below are some photos of seedlings and young trees.
 

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AZbonsai

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Hi. Welcome. Great looking variety of plants.

Can you explain one thing...you are the 2nd poster from overseas who has said they have been assigned a plot of land to use. What is that all about?
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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From one traditional gardener to another: consider organic soils as something you want to phase out and use it only when the benefits are greater than inorganic. I know you're not trained like that, I wasn't either. But it's a step we have to make to ensure we start development the best possible way.

To me it was the biggest culture shock, but after a while I found out it was worth it.

It's not a critique, but I find it worth mentioning.
 

ThornBc

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Hi. Welcome. Great looking variety of plants.

Can you explain one thing...you are the 2nd poster from overseas who has said they have been assigned a plot of land to use. What is that all about?
Hi and thank you! Well, here in Scotland, and UK in general, you can contact directly the secretary of any given allotment gardening association local to your area and express your desire to be placed in a waiting list to be able to rent a small plot of land. After waiting 18 months I gained access to half a plot (approximately half a tennis court I think?) for a small annual rent fee to my city's council and the association. In Italy generally only pensioners are able to sign up for a plot, which I always found pretty unfair (and the reason why unregulated plots are a bit everywhere). I have had the plot for 2.5 years now, and for the first 1.5 I lived literally a 1 minute walk from it, so I was there every day and grew a llllooot of vegetables in the style of a cottage garden, but I now live a 35 minute walk from it, so I mostly go once a week, hence why I switched heavily onto using the space for fattening up trees.
 

ThornBc

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From one traditional gardener to another: consider organic soils as something you want to phase out and use it only when the benefits are greater than inorganic. I know you're not trained like that, I wasn't either. But it's a step we have to make to ensure we start development the best possible way.

To me it was the biggest culture shock, but after a while I found out it was worth it.

It's not a critique, but I find it worth mentioning.
I absolutely do not take this as a critique, thank you! It is something I am aware of, and I need to say so far I have always been a thrifty, make-it-work kind of grower, knowing well that bonsai requires investment. I will certainly start using better mixes!
 

AZbonsai

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Thanks for the explanation! Kind of like a community garden here in the US. Is land hard to come by there? I see you have really maximized your space!
 

ThornBc

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Thanks for the explanation! Kind of like a community garden here in the US. Is land hard to come by there? I see you have really maximized your space!
Yeah, community garden is probably the closest thing, although we have them too and allotment associations are more like clubs I'd say. Here in Scotland there is an abundance of land, but gardens on average tend to be small for my likings. And yeah, I've always used permaculture principles, so maximising space for biodiversity is just ingrained in me ahah. This below was the plot in 2019 pre-move and when I won an award for it ;)
 

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AZbonsai

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Great looking garden. Nice water feature as well. @Wires_Guy_wires alluded to this, and I concur, the biggest transition will be from organic to inorganic soil. You may be surprised how much root work (done at the proper time) these trees can handle. I know I was. Good luck on your bonsai journey and you have already contributed to the community! Thanks.
 

ThornBc

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Great looking garden. Nice water feature as well. @Wires_Guy_wires alluded to this, and I concur, the biggest transition will be from organic to inorganic soil. You may be surprised how much root work (done at the proper time) these trees can handle. I know I was. Good luck on your bonsai journey and you have already contributed to the community! Thanks.
Thank you, very nice to read :) anyway yes I agree, I had a really nice 25 yo Ficus retusa and another few trees when in Italy, all growing in mostly inorganic mixes. At the moment I have access to a lot of good quality compost and sharp sand, which I generally use almost 50/50, and both are nearly free for me, so it allows me to still have a larger collection than I could afford if I were to make more expensive mixes. I'm planning on starting to invest on more refined equipment, including soil ingredients :)
 

AZbonsai

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Thank you, very nice to read :) anyway yes I agree, I had a really nice 25 yo Ficus retusa and another few trees when in Italy, all growing in mostly inorganic mixes. At the moment I have access to a lot of good quality compost and sharp sand, which I generally use almost 50/50, and both are nearly free for me, so it allows me to still have a larger collection than I could afford if I were to make more expensive mixes. I'm planning on starting to invest on more refined equipment, including soil ingredients :)
You are more than on your way! A lot of good bonsai folks on this site,as you are aware, and they are generous with their knowledge.
 

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