Show and Tell?

I do stand by my opinion though, that bonsai from GOOD prebonsai stock and/or GOOD collected material is ultimately(assuming like quality skills of the artists) on average,"better" than bonsai from GOOD nursery material.While "acceptable" results may not vary much in terms of a short(2 to 3 years) time frame,the ultimate quality of the results are hardly comparable within a longer time frame. At any rate, I am tempted to take Vance up on his challenge.:D .

But,it is not a fair comparison.There are too many variables to be considered.

I think the main problem lies with sub-dividing and grading stock by where it came from or what it cost.

To me where a piece of stock came from, be it collected, bought from a bonsai nursery, bought from Walmart. bought from a Tibetan Master living on a mountain top, bought from that guy who sells them from his van, bought at a show, won in a raffle, etc.....

The ONLY thing that matters is the quality of the stock itself.

To suggest that collected material is somehow magically better automatically than nursery material based only on the fact it was collected is a flawed assumption.

What makes good stock has absolutely nothing to do with where it was acquired or what price was paid for it. Good stock is good stock, no matter where it came from.

Sure some pre-bonsai has better rootage than common nursery material, but certainly not all of it. Sure some collected material has terrific trunks and taper, but not all of it, sure some nursery stock has a lot of root work to be done, like collected material, but not all of it....

It's the above generalizations that need to be clarified, the source or the price does not determine stock quality, nor does it determine how long it will take to create a respectable bonsai from it.



Will
 
So if I go out and find a suitable nursery plant and someone else with equal skills goes out and finds a Yamadori I will bet you that ham sandwich I mentioned earlier I will be exhibiting a new bonsai before the Yamadori is beyond the recovery stage. Ten years down the road may be a different story depending on the quality of the Yamadori, but if things are done properly in ten years odds are the tree will only have had five years worth of work done on it. In that ten years I will have produced a bonsai of some quality and worth.
I hate using the quote function, but at times it is indeed a valuable tool when clarification is sought and offered.

Based on this reply I have no arguments to offer. In my previous post I showed a $39 CD shrub that was turned into something that perhaps one day I can call a bonsai. Will it ever be a world class tree? Nope! But then again I didn't enter into this fascinating hobby to compete, I'm in it for the fascination and enjoyment the journey brings not to mention a good hobby to pick up, in my twillight years.

This set up pictures represent what I thought at the time was good stock in May '05. Only to get it home to realise it was not as good a find as I had originally thought. The first pic is as styled May '05. I do not have a picture of the acquired shrub. The second pic is what the tree looked like last fall after a major re-style the spring of '06. The third picture is a picture of Tobie Keynhans tree that has given me some inspiration. One the advice of another enthusiast I have stood up the tree and this is what the tree looks like Apr '07 with a possible future (last pic). I have yet to decide which direction to take with this tree, but time will tell as my experience grows. The latter set of pic demonstrates what can happen with poor selected stock, my dog on a leash to to speak. Once again it will never be a world class tree, but one to learn from no doubt.

I have since acquired another Hinoki to replace the one in the garden. It's initial styling was far superior than the first two, why? Experience and exposure.
 

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Before I post my pic, can we agree that the trees will be judged by their "quality and worth" as Vance put it?
 
OK ..... this is more than a bit confusing. Vance you based this thread on past debates on collected vs. nursery. In those debates you and others also based as a premise that that talent of the artist is what it really came down to. Well if this is the case then why are you challenging yourself against others. If you've been doing this longer than most living "masters", then you competing against Joe the enthusiast seems skewed. I would of thought a show and tell displaying collected, developed material, and good ole fashioned American garden center nursery stock from the same artist/enthusiast would have been a more "fair and balanced" way to appraise the merits of material no matter where it came from. The same skill level developing different types of material. That would be to me a better representation. The way this challenge is set up it seems as if your looking to pick a fight.

Don't get me wrong, I think your thread has merit and I respect your intentions. It always brings on good debate. I to will take you up on your challenge with the caveat that I will show material from all the different categories that I did myself over the same approximate time frame. Now where did I put my camera ............
 
Good points Will. The generalizations need to be addressed IMO to level the playing field. Respectable and credible are two words that are diametrically opposed in my mind, and although it goes without saying that the quality of the stock regardless of the source plays large dividends, once again I would be remiss to say that nursery material will take longer to get there in general, and by credible I mean world class bonsai. Now I fully understand that not all are in it for the latter, but I have a different interpretation of these two words.

... and to further exacerbate these deliberations, money has to be in the equations as Vance pointed out. All things being equal here, we are talking excellent material from all the sources, who will have a world class bonsai first? ... the guy with the deep pockets. Is this the way to go, not in the least!
 
I think Tachigi has a good idea. Perhaps the challenge would be most meaningful if a number of us of different skill levels entered three trees, one from each category, all acquired at roughly the same time, the best examples we can find within our budget and local situations, and follow their development over time. It would be instructive on many levels, in terms the difficulty of finding/affording good material in each category, in terms of the strengths and weaknesses each category brings to people of various skill levels and various artistic temperments, etc.

grouper52
 
Let's see what plays out. We really are talking about the material, I hope, and the possible future of it. I know I have been doing this for a while, half a century sounds bad but there you go. That does not mean I am a great master. However if I have one advantage, I can identify good stock that's why my hackles get raised when others say one source is a waste of time. When using the same level of logic I could say the other source is a waste of money. Neither argument takes into account the nature of the beast.
 
I think Tachigi has a good idea. Perhaps the challenge would be most meaningful if a number of us of different skill levels entered three trees, one from each category, all acquired at roughly the same time, the best examples we can find within our budget and local situations, and follow their development over time. It would be instructive on many levels, in terms the difficulty of finding/affording good material in each category, in terms of the strengths and weaknesses each category brings to people of various skill levels and various artistic temperments, etc.

grouper52
... good solution! Unfortunately, I can only participate with two categories (nursery and collected) should I accept the gauntlet.
 
pre bonsai.Or cutting,or nursery stock,depending on where you want to start the time frame:o .

This was a cutting at one time.A year later it was nursery stock.20 years later it was prebonsai.I would have sold it for $100.00 maybe.Maybe $200.00.Not cheap,but less than a 20 year old nursery tree probably.

Ficus nerifolia,February 2004

and then February of 2006
 

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Still....a prebonsai.....but more work has been done to it.Ramification and root work done.Notice the nebari,caliper,lower branching and taper were already developed over the years of prebonsai work.

Offered quite a bit more than $200.00.

Ficus nerifolia ....August 2006
 

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Still prebonsai......time and effort involved in the development..all towards one day producing a bonsai.

And then,...bonsai.But not nearly finished.
 

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Pre bonsai

This tree has no reason to even be in a bonsai pot.Especially one this nice:) .But I bought the pot(from Shadyside) for another tree and it ended up being too small.24" wide just didn't cut it.What's the old saying?Measure twice and cut(order)once?I couldn't resist using the pot and in 2 years ...or maybe 1,this tree will be worthy of it,if I don't screw up.

Anyway,this is another tree grown from a cutting.But always with bonsai in mind.I doubt if I could have bought a Ficus microcarpa "Golden Gate" from a landscape nursery or florist that had character built in.

first pic....August,2005
second.....June,2007
 

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Pre bonsai

This tree has no reason to even be in a bonsai pot.Especially one this nice:) .But I bought the pot(from Shadyside) for another tree and it ended up being too small.24" wide just didn't cut it.What's the old saying?Measure twice and cut(order)once?I couldn't resist using the pot and in 2 years ...or maybe 1,this tree will be worthy of it,if I don't screw up.

Anyway,this is another tree grown from a cutting.But always with bonsai in mind.I doubt if I could have bought a Ficus microcarpa "Golden Gate" from a landscape nursery or florist that had character built in.

first pic....August,2005
second.....June,2007

It is doubtful you could have obtained it as prebonsai either. The point being you cultivated it yourself and that has been my argument just not put that way. However if I wanted to be a curmudgeon I could say that for the purposes of this debate because seed and cutting culture or layering for the matter were not part of the original debate this should not be allowed---I could say that; but what's the point?
 
Vance,

My point is that,yes you could purchase a tree like this as prebonsai.It was for sale.There is plenty of prebonsai much better than this out there for sale.It would have cost a little more than regular nursery stock because it had been specifically worked to be a bonsai someday.It has a head start.

I will say that it may never be a great bonsai in my hands.And you might be able to create a much better bonsai than I ever will,no matter what stock either of us start with.But,given a choice of starting with an older piece of material and one with character as opposed to a regular nursery tree,someone who's goal is to create a worldclass bonsai would choose the former.Personally,and I think much like you,I enjoy the challenge of working with material I develop from scratch.I am also hesitant to spend the money necessary to obtain really,really good stock.But,someone who has the horticultural and artistic skills to work with the "best" stock there is,and whose goal IS to create and or compete on the world stage....won't often be buying it from a landscape nursery.

andy
 
Vance, who specifically ever said that nursery stock was a waste of time?
 
My only problem with nursery stock is trying to get those "root balls" sorted out. They are in the cans so long the feeder roots are so twisted and grown together they become impossible to comb or rinse out, you nearly stress the tree to death to even get the base cleaned out and sorted. I guess after you pound a saw or long knife into the root ball you can cut the bottom half off and that helps a little but dang.. why can't they just use perelite.
 
I'll let you guys sort out what kind of stock this was that I started with. I'm not sure I would call it pre bonsai, nor was it nursery stock either. Maybe pre potensai.

Never the less I bought the piece in 2002 and set to work on it. The first 3 years with the piece were very fast. In 2005 I nearly killed it by over fertilizing with undiluted miricle grow. It is on the road to recovery and will gain new strength as it has for this year. I did lose two years in devlopment in something stupid. The foliage is just now beginning to grow again.

The last picture is today in the back yard.
 

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Sorry the picture editor does not display them as loaded. The last picture is me holding the plant.
 
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