New bonsai addict

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Location
Memphis, TN, USA
USDA Zone
7b
#1
[/URL][/IMG] Howdy y'all from TN, USA
I bought my first bonsai because I thought it looked awesome and started researching, now I'm looking around constantly to add to my humble collection of sticks. While I respect the ancient art of bonsai, I tend to like the unusual and let my heart take over at times (as you will see in the pics).
Wanted to show my collection thus far and get some advice (and maybe some criticism also).

My first baby (p.afra), I named her stick for obvious reasons. She was my guinea pig for hard pruning, still trying to figure out exactly what she will look like (probably broom).


Found this Juniper on clearance for $3. I couldn't pass it up, she was looking like death and I had to save her. I have no clue where to take this one.




And just because Crape Myrtles are everywhere here in Memphis, I had to have one too. I didn't much care for the split trunk, but loved the way they bent like they were trained.
You can also see several future p.afras next to her.


My second p.afra, again this was a pity buy because she was looking sad. This is my guinea pig for wiring, yes I know it looks terrible. This one has an awesome split at the roots that I am working on exposing, hopefully the pic will show it. This is the only one I have a vision for, be it very untraditional.




That's all for now.
 

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535
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503
Location
Fairfax, Virginia
USDA Zone
7
#3
That's a nice start for your jade!

As for native plants you could try:
- Ash
- Beech
- Elm
- Helmlocks
- White Pines
- Red Maple (not to be confused with Japanese Maple: Acer Palmatum)
And that's just to name a few.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
 
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Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#9
Welcome. The Chicago area has several active clubs. The MBS, Midwest Bonsai Society meets at Chicago Botanic Garden, Lake-Cook Rd at Hwy 41, easy for those living north of downtown Chicago. The Prairie State Bonsai Society meets at Morton Arboretum out west of Chicago. Hidden Gardens is in the southwestern burbs. Sometimes, not sure current status, there's a group that meets or used to meet at Lincoln Park Conservatory. Google will help. Highly recommend attending one or more meetings or shows or workshops.
 
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Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#10
Easiest to find and collect, good proof native for IL outdoors year round tree is any of the three or four elm species native or naturalized in the Chicago area. It's hard to tell elm species apart, but any elm found growing in the ground around Chicago will be good for bonsai. Siberian elm is the naturalized invasive, it has very small leaves, usually found in full sun, rarely in shade. American elm has biggest leaves, but they do reduce nicely, seedlings tolerate shade, though often found in full sun.

Slippery elm, also called Red elm, Ulmus rubra, is native to Chicago area, especially secondary flood plains in the forest preserves along the DesPlaines & Chicago Rivers. Usually a forest edge tree. It hybridizes with Siberian elm, seedlings from full sun spots may act be the hybrid.

Elms are easy, have a sub forum on BNut dedicated to them. Check it out. Junipers and elms are the most versatile bonsai species you could try, all shapes and styles are possible.
 
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2,855
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Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
#11
Other natives or naturalized species you can try,
Crataegus, the Hawthorns, white flowers, red fruit, relatively disease free compared to crab apples, Malus. Hawthorns are native to the IL savanna-prairie ecosystems.

Carpinus caroliniana, the hornbeams (rare in Cook County, but it is around)

Fagus, beech same areas as hornbeam.

Celtis occidentalis, hackberry - good bonsai species. Common in some areas.

Any juniper is good except eastern red cedar, J virginiana.




Avoid the following, they have one or more traits that makes them difficult for bonsai.
Eastern white pine, P strobus, it will frustrate you.

Silver maple, sugar maple, box elder - these are difficult to handle growth traits well, not impossible, poor choice for a beginner.

Juniper virginiana, ERC, very prone to fungus, cedar-apple rust. If you have any, they will keep your crab apples, flowering quince and hawthorns look awful, as they will swap fungus back and forth.

Ash, poplar, cottonwood, Aspen, all have coarse branches, don't lend themselves to bonsai.
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
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Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#13
You're in Memphis, TN?

Well, get yourself over to Brussel's Bonsai in Olive Branch, MS. The world's largest bonsai vendor. You can get starter bonsai for very little to get you on the right track. He has everything from little starters to some of the best imported bonsai available.

Just walking thru the greenhouses is an amazing experience.
 
Messages
53
Likes
27
Location
Memphis, TN, USA
USDA Zone
7b
#14
You're in Memphis, TN?

Well, get yourself over to Brussel's Bonsai in Olive Branch, MS. The world's largest bonsai vendor. You can get starter bonsai for very little to get you on the right track. He has everything from little starters to some of the best imported bonsai available.

Just walking thru the greenhouses is an amazing experience.
I am just a few miles from there, I love that place
 
Messages
53
Likes
27
Location
Memphis, TN, USA
USDA Zone
7b
#15
Welcome!

Look in to finding a club that is local. It will help you tremendously.

Look into Bald Cypress. You should not have any problem finding them in your area.
I have been looking for a Bald Cypress, there are plenty in the local park...I don't think they would like me digging them up though LOL
 
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Location
Connecticut
USDA Zone
6b
#16
I've had one for about a year now. I really like them but I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around their growth pattern.

I would imagine you should be able to find them pretty easy in local garden centers. They will not have the character of a collected one but it would give you something to work on until you could do one to collect.
 
Messages
53
Likes
27
Location
Memphis, TN, USA
USDA Zone
7b
#18
I've had one for about a year now. I really like them but I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around their growth pattern.

I would imagine you should be able to find them pretty easy in local garden centers. They will not have the character of a collected one but it would give you something to work on until you could do one to collect.
I have yet to see one at any of the garden centers around me.
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
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Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#20
I think he is going to be in nashville, but I don't know exactly when
Slow down here, folks!

Bonsai901 has posted pictures of a bunch of "sticks in pots", and ya'll are recommending him to go see Bjorn? Bjorn can't do anything with this material!

I'm the only one on this forum to have the nerve to say the truth, it appears! The material shown here is pretty much a waste of time, and money. Oh, I understand the concept of "treasure hunting" at the big box stores, and collecting yardadori, to catch hidden gems. But those aren't it. You need a bit of experience working with decent starter stock to understand what makes good bonsai material.

And, Bonsai901 has Brussels in his back yard! True, Brussels has some expensive stuff, but the vast majority is inexpensive starter material that costs about the same as anything at the big box landscape center.

I'm sorry if I come across as elitist, arrogant, and snobbish (as I'm often called), but really, why spend money on crap from places that don't care about bonsai? Spend it with companies and businesses that are promoting bonsai!