I hope none of you are bidding on this tree...

Bonsai Nut

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I always get a little nervous when someone can't properly spell the names of their trees. Take for example this "seju" elm (properly spelled seiju). Of course spelling doesn't matter when you haven't even identified your tree properly. Looks like a standard everyday Chinese Elm to me. It certainly is NOT a seiju (or a hokkaido, or corticosa). And people are bidding like crazy for it! (Price currently $885 and climbing). I can't imagine people paying $885 for this tree with those nasty trunk scars. You'd have to start all over again to make this tree worth anything.

 

BonsaiWes

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Looks like a standard everyday Chinese Elm to me. It certainly is NOT a seiju (or a hokkaido, or corticosa).

If it is and it does look like a standard Ulmas parv. the winner will be better off for it vs. the sporty versions.
 

AndyWilson

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Hi all, this is my fisrt post here! Anyway, i agree about the chinese elm there, and 800+ dollars... Well, something about that pic looks 'adjusted' to me, anyone agree?
 

Tachigi

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I always get a little nervous when someone can't properly spell the names of their trees. Take for example this "seju" elm (properly spelled seiju). Of course spelling doesn't matter when you haven't even identified your tree properly. Looks like a standard everyday Chinese Elm to me. It certainly is NOT a seiju (or a hokkaido, or corticosa). And people are bidding like crazy for it! (Price currently $885 and climbing). I can't imagine people paying $885 for this tree with those nasty trunk scars. You'd have to start all over again to make this tree worth anything.
This tree comes from Guy Guidry's place, North Shore. Could explain why people are bidding on it as if there is no tomorrow. If I had to assume why people are also turned on by this tree. I would say its the top and bottom. For stock, the upper has some definite options, and from the photo it looks as if it has a good root ball. Its just whats in the middle that is undesirable. Perhaps a air layer and after that is done a chop closer to the roots on the parent tree.

I would be the first to condemn poor material. However in this case I'm hoping the picture is doing a disservice. I have been to North Shore and Guy's stock for what I saw is first rate. Lets hope there is a reason for what you observed. One last note on ebay and north shore stock. Over the years I have observed that their stock only sells about 50% of the time as the reserves are so high. The ones that do sell are usually to repeat buyers and faithful followers. His stuff for the most part ain't cheap.
 

John Hill

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Wow and the reserve is not met yet. I should put some of my backburner trees on there ;-) Maybe I could get enough to retire LOL.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

Graydon

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Brings new meaning to my favorite expression when buying a bonsai - "yeah, well how much for it without the pot"?
 

Tachigi

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I always get a little nervous when someone can't properly spell the names of their trees. Take for example this "seju" elm (properly spelled seiju).
Seems it might be spelled right as per here , and here and here all reputable sources. <singing a little song> You say tomatoe and I say tomatoe :rolleyes:
 

agraham

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That's a big tree with a very natural style.I see the knobs on the trunk as opportunities,not necessarily faults.

andy

edited for spelling correction.....oops
 
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To paraphrase a favorite quote, "The tree is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it."

I have known a few people who will put up a bonsai with an extremely high reserve, not to sell it, but instead just to see what it is worth.



Will
 

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Seems it might be spelled right as per here , and here and here all reputable sources.
Just so long as you say tomato and I don't say tomatoe :)

I would refer you to the "Elm Cultivar Checklist" from the Journal of Arboriculture. It is current through publication (1995) and includes Ulmus parviflora seiju. Supposedly the sport came from a hokkaido elm in the bonsai nursery of H. Carl Young in Lodi California. The name of the nursery? Seiju-En Bonsai Nursery :)

Chinese elms are easy enough to field grow with straight trunks. What is horrid about this tree are the trunk scars - making the middle of the tree useless. You would have to layer it, and then trunk chop it close to the ground. And people would want to pay $900 for that? Even then, I am not so sure I am happy with the primary branch structure. I think this is a good example of people looking at the cherry and the whipped cream, and thinking they have a great ice cream sundae when in fact the rest of the bowl is empty :) You would have to toss most of that fine ramification work in the garbage to fix the underlying flaws of the design.

But... that is just my opinion :)
 

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That's a big tree with a very natural style.I see the knobs on the trunk as opportunities,not necessarily faults.
Hi Andy;

First rule of bonsai - if you enjoy it, that's all the matters :)

Second rule of bonsai - don't take any of those first rule trees to shows :)

When I am critical about this tree, I am applying basic rules of "classically" trained Japanese bonsai. This tree badly breaks several of those rules. In its current shape, it would not be considered close to a show quality tree. For the price ($900) you can buy many trees in much better shape from online sellers or from local bonsai retailers. Likewise, a seiju elm is one of the "cork bark" elm varieties and has tiny 1/2" leaves. The fact that this seller does not even know what kind of elm they have raises questions in my mind about their understanding of other subject matter.

But... to prove my point give me a few weeks. I will find a MUCH nicer Chinese Elm for $500 or less, and will post photos here. Then people can judge which one they'd prefer. You can buy an awful lot of Chinese Elm for $500.
 

Tachigi

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Seems your source trumped mine :).... go figure ..... goes to show that even the bonsai "establishment" gets it wrong.
 

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Seems your source trumped mine :)....
It's about the only time I knew something trivial that you didn't so I had to make a big deal about it :) I probably wouldn't have known if I didn't already own a seiju elm that I had researched...
 

BonsaiWes

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BonsaiNut When I am critical about this tree said:
Hi Bnut,

Why does a tree have to conform to these rules you are falling back on to be good? I see a great future in the tree really, the price has to be left aside for the sake of mental well being. It's ebay so the relationship on true value and actual price on many of the items listed is just a headache in and of it's self to think about. So leaving the $$ off to the side, the elm as is pretty good material for making a tree if the new owner understands how to handle it.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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Why does a tree have to conform to these rules you are falling back on to be good?
It doesn't. I probably didn't communicate properly. I think the first rule of bonsai REALLY IS that if you like it, that's all that should matter. However if you take your tree to a bonsai show, they will apply classical Japanese rules to judge it and if you don't conform to the rules your tree will not do well.

I also keep and show koi. I know how judges judge koi, what the important characteristics are, and how many points each of my koi would win in a koi show (accepting a small variability based on personal biases of the individual judges). Some of my koi have won shows (and hopefully will again this Summer). However I have plenty of koi that I like a LOT that are not "show quality" and I will never enter them in a show. They have individual characteristics that I find to be intriguing, or just plain unique. All that matters to me is that I like them. If you ever came to visit, by the time I was done expanding upon their virtues, you would like them too :)

So I am not trying to discourage anyone from having their own personal taste in bonsai. However I think it is important to develop a classically-trained eye so that you can at least evaluate bonsai based on Japanese design criteria. Otherwise you will always feel like you are slightly out of step with the hobby - like people are speaking a slightly different language. (I'm not saying you personally, I mean the generic "you"). I think there is a huge difference between someone breaking a rule of bonsai because they WANT to, versus someone breaking a rule because they don't know any better.
 

agraham

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Bnut,

I can only assume your assesment is based on the fact that this tree doesn't fit nicely into a japanese "style".To me,it is a very nice representation of the less common savannah style.

The trunk has good taper.It has nice branching,although the first branch on the left has less than ideal taper.The ramification is very,very good.What looks to be the original chop can quickly be fixed.

It certainly is not a typical elm styling.But,that does not make it a less than excellent bonsai.I like it quite a bit.

As far as being judged in a show;I think that acceptance of a tree like this would depend on the judges.If every judge always sticks to japanese ideals,it would be a shame and do nothing towards development of bonsai as an (dare I say) art form.

andy

andy
 

BonsaiWes

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Here is an image from the google search feature, a book example of an African form. A showing would all depend on the education level of the judges involved.
 

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LeonardB

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It doesn't. I probably didn't communicate properly. I think the first rule of bonsai REALLY IS that if you like it, that's all that should matter. However if you take your tree to a bonsai show, they will apply classical Japanese rules to judge it and if you don't conform to the rules your tree will not do well.

I also keep and show koi. I know how judges judge koi, what the important characteristics are, and how many points each of my koi would win in a koi show (accepting a small variability based on personal biases of the individual judges). Some of my koi have won shows (and hopefully will again this Summer). However I have plenty of koi that I like a LOT that are not "show quality" and I will never enter them in a show. They have individual characteristics that I find to be intriguing, or just plain unique. All that matters to me is that I like them. If you ever came to visit, by the time I was done expanding upon their virtues, you would like them too :)

So I am not trying to discourage anyone from having their own personal taste in bonsai. However I think it is important to develop a classically-trained eye so that you can at least evaluate bonsai based on Japanese design criteria. Otherwise you will always feel like you are slightly out of step with the hobby - like people are speaking a slightly different language. (I'm not saying you personally, I mean the generic "you"). I think there is a huge difference between someone breaking a rule of bonsai because they WANT to, versus someone breaking a rule because they don't know any better.
Aren't we all in agreement that we are now approaching a position of developing American rules just as Europe is doing and other parts of the world as well.
Didn't Kimura set his world on fire when developing his new style, and in Japan? Did classical rules put him out of business?
It would seem to me that the only reason for adhering so strongly to classical Japanese rules is that you hope to compete in that theatre ( once as you mentioned, you use their training to develop ).
Otherwise, we risk never expanding what we know or want to know about other possibilities? An individual's tastes could spark whole new genre's to attract even more enthusiast's.
Or am I overthinking this?
 

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Aren't we all in agreement that we are now approaching a position of developing American rules just as Europe is doing and other parts of the world as well.
Didn't Kimura set his world on fire when developing his new style, and in Japan? Did classical rules put him out of business?
It would seem to me that the only reason for adhering so strongly to classical Japanese rules is that you hope to compete in that theatre ( once as you mentioned, you use their training to develop ).
Otherwise, we risk never expanding what we know or want to know about other possibilities? An individual's tastes could spark whole new genre's to attract even more enthusiast's.
Or am I overthinking this?
LOL this is an old thread, but I'd say you're overthinking it. I don't think there is an American school of bonsai, or a European school. I think some people prefer trees that are more artificially designed and have a more manicured look, and some prefer trees that look a little more natural and wild. However show me a formal tree of either type that is planted off-center in a pot that has won a major award :) It isn't going to happen. Not because you CAN'T do it - but because it breaks too many rules of design aesthetic and balance.

The "revolution" caused by some cutting-edge professionals in bonsai is pretty nuanced. You have to be pretty advanced in bonsai to really understand the difference between "old style" and "new style" or "formal Japanese" versus "natural European". They all follow 95% of the same rules... and play around with 5%.
 

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