New to Bonsai, right? What is Nebari?

Phillip C

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I have seen this term, heard it referred to, thought I had it figured out once, but just really don't know. Hey, I just started Bonsai last spring and have been to only three workshops. I have no clue what Nebari is and would love to be informed

And "internodes", what are they?

More than a little lost here, but trying to learn.

Thanks for your time, I'm putting to the test that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Phillip C
 
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Kevster

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Nebari is the surface (visable) root flare at the base of the tree.
 

Mike423

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The nebari is the term used to describe the radial root flare that shows above the surface of the soil line, while the term 'internode' refers to the location of a branch where a leaf bud is present or 'internodal length' is the distance on the stem from one set of leaf buds to the next.

If you are new to bonsai and the practices concerned with the hobby I would recommend going to your local library where you can read up on a lot of good material for free.
 

yenling83

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Ang3lfir3

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honestly ....reading blogs of bonsai artists won't get you much.... not if you are at this early stage.... what you need to do is find and join a club.... or find a mentor.... someone in your area who has been doing bonsai for a while and can teach you the basics..... you will learn faster and have higher level of success... the key is to seek them out...
 

Phillip C

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. "what you need to do is find and join a club.... or find a mentor.... someone in your area who has been doing bonsai for a while and can teach you the basics..... you will learn faster and have higher level of success... the key is to seek them out"...

Dear Ang3,

I am reading all I can on this forum and I have several books on Bonsai including Bonsai Techniques by John Naka. I find these books interesting and to a degree informative, but my basic level of knowledge is so low that basic terms are mysteries to me. I am a graduate forester with a law degree who sat as a judge for quite a while, so I am capable of learning, in fact I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Bonsai is very new to me, I joined the Atlanta Bonsai Society last Spring and have attended three workshops. There are many more experienced members and I am getting to know them slowly. When I meet the right one, I will know and I plan on becoming a real student under them at that point. Until then, I am reading, and learning a remarkable amount through this forum. I am not afraid to ask if I don't know.

Also toward the end of finding a teacher to study under, there is a man here in Atlanta (who actually conducted my first workshop) who has a small study group dedicated to learning and practicing Bonsai. His name is Gary Marchan, he is a teacher/lecturer of some renown, especially in the Bald Cypress Bonsai community. The Bald Cypress is one of my favorite species, so I am hopeful that he will take me on. I have e-mailed him, but haven't heard back, but it hasn't been very long. To have him take me on would be a dream come true, although there are several masters in our society.

Thank you for your invaluable information, I am taking steps along that path now. Till then, I'll keep reading on here picking up all that is available, and that's quite a bit. I appreciate your time in responding to my question and making further very good suggestions. Much obliged, Phillip C
 
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Smoke

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I find pictures to be worth thousands of words.

This would be an example of a nice nebari. The root structure is from a tree by Walter Pall. Rootage spread on top of the soil, anchoring the tree to the earth. Adds tremendous stability and power to the image.

The internodes are the space between each pair of leaves. The shorter the internode the better ramification (twiggyness) can be achieved. Compare the long internodes on the right with the compactness on the left. On the left 20 pair of leaves fits between just two pair of leaves on the right. Shoot for the compact and shorter internodes on regularly pinched trees.
 

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Kirk

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"I am reading all I can on this forum and I have several books on Bonsai including Bonsai Techniques by John Naka. I find these books interesting and to a degree informative, but my basic level of knowledge is so low that basic terms are mysteries to me. I am a graduate forester with a law degree who sat as a judge for quite a while, so I am capable of learning, in fact I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge."

Phillip,
Since you are retired, you may consider taking horticulture classes at Gwinnett Tech. They have an Associates degree in Hort. I've lectured there a few times over the years. That would help cover your basic horticultural knowledge, i.e. internodes...

In my humble opinion (and it is shared by artists in the field) bonsai is about 90% horticulture. Once you have a good grasp on it, the remaining 10% can be allowed to frustrate/intrigue/elate you/deflate your wallet... for the rest of your life.

Kirk
 

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Nebari describes two things to me:

(1) The physical: the section of the tree where it meets the soil, consisting of the flare at the bottom of the trunk and visible surface roots.
(2) The emotional: the character of this section of the tree; its power, appearance of age, and naturalness.

Nebari is the base of the tree and is the beginning of a good bonsai. It is the section of a tree that is hardest to develop, takes longest, and is most difficult to fix.
 

Smoke

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In my humble opinion (and it is shared by artists in the field) bonsai is about 90% horticulture. Once you have a good grasp on it, the remaining 10% can be allowed to frustrate/intrigue/elate you/deflate your wallet... for the rest of your life.

Kirk

True.............in the beginning.
As a person moves on with bonsai, it becomes 90% artistry and 10% horticulture.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Philip,

Excellent!!! you are on the golden path!!! Have you attended the study group??? no need to have a tree tho IIRC you have quite a nice bald cypress.... joining gatherings of other bonsai nerds/geeks is a wonderful way to learn.... I find most bonsai people eager to offer advise and help anyone new to the hobby... Its good to hear you are doing all the right things.

I believe you will have great success in enjoying the art and find great pleasure in it.... as a former forester you are armed with a great deal of information that many people spend a long time learning (luckily I was able to learn much of it quickly from my teacher [Daniel Robinson] ). The difficulty may be applying your horticultural knowledge to and art form... but think of it as how a chef applies knowledge of chemistry to food.... or how a sculptor might apply physics to creating art.... you are apply horticulture to art...

I look forward to seeing many of your trees over the coming years....


beyond the other excellent descriptions of nebari it is important to note that nebari gives us a feeling of permanence to the tree... a sense of timelessnes... of solidarity with the earth.... these are important aspects of bonsai and are honestly hard to explain.... it would be worth while to you or anyone reading this honestly .... to spend some time reading about (yeah i know i am suggesting reading...but go with me on this) the japanese concepts of wabi, sabi, shibui and yugen ..... they aren't something that can be clearly defined and they don't fit the western desire to classify things perfectly... but with time one can learn to understand and feel them .... remember they are ideas... not rules... let them help guide you... but not hold you back.....

I hope I have peeked your thirst for knowledge (something I know a lot about) and hope that you will find the information above intriguing and enlightening....

hoping you have great fun!!!
 

Phillip C

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Thanks Kirk, I will get in touch with them regarding schedules and costs, etc. I learned much about growing trees in my undergraduate courses in Forestry, maybe even learned what internodes were, but that was a long time ago and I could always use some new knowledge, especially in horticulture, Thanks for the suggestion, I appreciate it. Phillip C
 

Phillip C

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Philip,

Excellent!!! you are on the golden path!!! Have you attended the study group??? no need to have a tree tho IIRC you have quite a nice bald cypress.... joining gatherings of other bonsai nerds/geeks is a wonderful way to learn.... I find most bonsai people eager to offer advise and help anyone new to the hobby... Its good to hear you are doing all the right things.

I believe you will have great success in enjoying the art and find great pleasure in it.... as a former forester you are armed with a great deal of information that many people spend a long time learning (luckily I was able to learn much of it quickly from my teacher [Daniel Robinson] ). The difficulty may be applying your horticultural knowledge to and art form... but think of it as how a chef applies knowledge of chemistry to food.... or how a sculptor might apply physics to creating art.... you are apply horticulture to art...

I look forward to seeing many of your trees over the coming years....


beyond the other excellent descriptions of nebari it is important to note that nebari gives us a feeling of permanence to the tree... a sense of timelessnes... of solidarity with the earth.... these are important aspects of bonsai and are honestly hard to explain.... "it would be worth while to you or anyone reading this honestly .... to spend some time reading about (yeah i know i am suggesting reading...but go with me on this) the japanese concepts of wabi, sabi, shibui and yugen ..... they aren't something that can be clearly defined and they don't fit the western desire to classify things perfectly... but with time one can learn to understand and feel them .... remember they are ideas... not rules... let them help guide you... but not hold you back.....

I hope I have peeked your thirst for knowledge (something I know a lot about) and hope that you will find the information above intriguing and enlightening...."

hoping you have great fun!!!

Ang3,

Thank you for your post. It's been a while since my undergraduate days, so thee is plenty of refreshing to be done there, but I do have a grasp on how to grow trees basically. I'm not sure, but it's safe to say that I was taught nothing of nebari or any other Japanese concepts. I realize that these ideas are part of the art of Bonsai. I have several books and should they not cover what you have mentioned, I will pay a visit to my local library to what they have to offer. The members of my local society probably have all sorts of books discussing these ideas and they would probably be glad to loan them out to an interested newbie like me. You have ignited a fire for knowledge in this art that I heretofore thought would just come by osmosis in the workshops. I will attend all of those that I am able, but I will now augment that knowledge with some self taught ideas gained from independent study starting with the ideas you mention in your post.

For me this is a three dimensional art, but also an art that speaks softly to one who will listen. Gary Marchan said there are two stories to a Bonsai. First there is the story about how you collected the tree, started it and how you trained it, and the second story is the one the tree tells the viewer and it is this second story that is important.

Thanks for your time and patience. Phillip C

ps One day I an going to learn how to quote text on here without quoting the entire post
 
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Ang3lfir3

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you are certainly welcome.... and just to be clear I was not advocating not reading bonsai books or magazines ..... you should subscribe to International Bonsai and Bonsai Focus at a minimum ..... mostly my prior post was indicating that the blogs of professionals often gloss over basics that can leave a novice bewildered....

I say this because ne one who has ever been in my home can tell you I read incessantly about bonsai and have a true love of any literature on the subject.... printed or paper of computer screen... :)

read every single word on the subject that you can get your hands on.... look at as many pictures as you can... I am personally considering subscribing to Kinbon magazine and I don't even read Japanese :p .... just for the pictures of great bonsai... luckily you jumped feet first into an art that will take you many lifetimes to fully perfect.... the good news is that it will keep you busy throughout this one!!! :) :)

PS -- if you delete the "Delete Me" text between the tags... it will only display the text you keep
HTML:
[Quote] Delete Me... Some Text you want to keep......  Delete Me [/Quote]
... Some Text you want to keep......
 
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Phillip C

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Delete me...you are certainly welcome.... and just to be clear I was not advocating not reading bonsai books or magazines ..... you should subscribe to International Bonsai and Bonsai Focus at a minimum ..... mostly my prior post was indicating that the blogs of professionals often gloss over basics that can leave a novice bewildered....

I say this because ne one who has ever been in my home can tell you I read incessantly about bonsai and have a true love of any literature on the subject.... printed or paper of computer screen... :)

read every single word on the subject that you can get your hands on.... look at as many pictures as you can... I am personally considering subscribing to Kinbon magazine and I don't even read Japanese :p .... just for the pictures of great bonsai... luckily you jumped feet first into an art that will take you many lifetimes to fully perfect.... the good news is that it will keep you busy throughout this one!!! :) :) Delete me...

Ang3 I love reading of just about anything and I have several Bonsai books with good information and some with inspiring photos. I will subscribe to the English language magazines you mention as well. Along with a few other things, reading is about my favorite hobby.

Thank you for all your time and thought put into your posts. It doesn't go un noticed or unappreciated. Thank you kindly, I am much obliged.

now lets see if I can follow directions here, and correctly use this "delete me" business.


PS -- if you delete the "Delete Me" text between the tags... it will only display the text you keep


*** Edited comment***I will have to work with this quote/delete me issue - you could hardly have been any clearer about what to do, but I managed to make a mess with it. Never fear, I will get this done correctly. I think I wee what to do now. pc
 
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Phillip C

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I say this because ne one who has ever been in my home can tell you I read incessantly about bonsai and have a true love of any literature on the subject.... printed or paper of computer screen... :)

Now that I have completely highjacked my own post, I do believe that I have mastered one of the basic functions on the forum. If not, maybe Bonsai is going to be too far over my head and I should stick with playing pool. pc
 

Phillip C

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I say this because ne one who has ever been in my home can tell you I read incessantly about bonsai and have a true love of any literature on the subject.... printed or paper of computer screen... :)

Now that I have completely highjacked my own post, I do believe that I have mastered one of the basic functions on the forum. If not, maybe Bonsai is going to be too far over my head and I should stick with playing pool. pc


***** Edit****I won't sell my cue stick just yet, I'll figure out how to leave partial quotes in white and my responses in green. Maybe I need to begin a new thread under "New to Bonsai" and name it "posting experiments - nothing regarding Bonsai here. pc
 
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Smoke

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Now that I have completely highjacked my own post, I do believe that I have mastered one of the basic functions on the forum.



Almost....not there yet. Still need a few more tries. Don't worry too much about the useless information in your thread. With enough posts here, you will have many of them. Most people are brite enough to filter out the static and gleen the good stuff.
 
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