Some bonsai advice from experience for a noob........

greerhw

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Books are good learning tools,but they can only take you so far, magazines are great for looking at beautiful trees to inspire you, but, If you can't swim, I could give you a book on how to swim, but if I took you out in the middle of a lake and threw you overboard, you would drown. Get involved with a club, or better yet attend some workshops, you cannot beat hands on experience with someone that knows what they are doing, it's the best money you will spend learning bonsai. If you can afford it, spending time in a one on one experience with a bonsai master is the best, period. Knowing what you are doing will keep you interested in the hobby a lot longer and make your experience way more pleasurable.

Harry
 

Joedes3

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Great advice! I really made terrible mistakes until I joined a local bonsai club. Our second meeting, we had Colin Lewis as the guest speaker.
Now my mistakes are only half terrible. There is so much to learn and you are correct, hands on is the best.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I'm going to bump this thread because this is the single best advice I think ANYONE can get who is interested in bonsai. Even if you can't join a club, drive to a show and partake in a workshop or two. Stand there and watch as someone who knows what they are doing styles a tree. Then you try to do the same thing while that person watches and guides you. You will learn more in one day than in five years of reading books. Don't get me wrong - books are great. But only if you have some basis to understand what it is that you are reading.
 

tmmason10

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I agree with you and will be joining a club or possibly doing a 2 year school at NEBGS.
 

Joedes3

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Tom:
There is a group that meets the 3rd Sunday of the month, 1 pm to 3 pm on the North Shore. New England Bonsai Association.
 

tmmason10

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Tom:
There is a group that meets the 3rd Sunday of the month, 1 pm to 3 pm on the North Shore. New England Bonsai Association.

Where do they meet? I can't seem to find anything online for this group. Do you meet with them?
 

Joedes3

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Sorry Tom, Northeast Bonsai Association ,they meet the SECOND SUNDAY each month.
Yes, I do go to the meetings. I found them at the Topsfield Fair.

Northeast Bonsai Association. Meets at Hamilton Community House, 284 Bay Rd (Rt 1A) So.Hamilton, MA. The meetings are usually held on the second Sunday of the month at 1:30. The contact person is Charles Paraskevas (Act Cleaning), 37 Central St., Beverly, MA 01915, (978) 921-0286 or email: CEPHAS35@aol.com
 

tmmason10

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Sorry Tom, Northeast Bonsai Association ,they meet the SECOND SUNDAY each month.
Yes, I do go to the meetings. I found them at the Topsfield Fair.

Northeast Bonsai Association. Meets at Hamilton Community House, 284 Bay Rd (Rt 1A) So.Hamilton, MA. The meetings are usually held on the second Sunday of the month at 1:30. The contact person is Charles Paraskevas (Act Cleaning), 37 Central St., Beverly, MA 01915, (978) 921-0286 or email: CEPHAS35@aol.com
Thanks for the information, I will certainly think about joining sometime.
 

edprocoat

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Taking your swimming analogy into context it would seem that more important than joining a club would be to first have some practical experience with gardening/growing plants of any kind. I could send my wife to train with Walter Pall for a year and she would come back and kill anything she put into the ground or a pot. Some people have no ability to grow things at all. You would think that a person would not get into Bonsai if they were not into gardening, but I see it like the person who buys a dog, never tries to train it or walk it and then dumps it down a back road or in the pound a few months later as it will not come when called and keeps soiling the rug. People sometimes see things that are beautiful and decide I like it and I want it and that is as much thought as they put into the decision.

ed
 

Phillip C

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Tom, I sm s newbie, having come to this art last Spring. I joined The Atlanta Bonsai Society and it has been the single greatest recourse I have had bar none. Membership is inexpensive, they have a mentoring program and generally a workshop and critique on a Sat, and Sun. each month - first one is free to new members and that saves $15 over the cost of membership. My first two day workshop was with Gary Marchol and the one net week is with Ryan Neil. They generally bring in Masters on different topics. One was on tropicals with Eric Weigart from down Ft. Myers way. The members are quite knowledgable and very willing to help out in all sorts of ways.

All that and more, plus you get to meet and become friends with a pretty good group of folks. Don't wait, - join today. Thanks, Phillip C
 

Phillip C

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Taking your swimming analogy into context it would seem that more important than joining a club would be to first have some practical experience with gardening/growing plants of any kind.

Yes knowing how to grow plants is elemental, but the nuances of Bonsai, such as the correct way to water, etc will be learned with ac club, study and through work shops. You could even teach her the basics of plant growing spending quality time together. My wife has just join our Bonsai group and loves the groups laid back attitude. I am a member of her Orchid Society and have learned many things plus some very interesting people (you think bonsai folks are nuts?), have even bought a few orchids of my own now.

Give it a shot, one member of our club said "don't worry,, you are most probably going to kill the first year or two worth of trees you try anyway). It's only been since last Spring, but so far they are all living. Now lets see if I can get them through this winter alive. Regards, Phillip C
 

edprocoat

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Taking your swimming analogy into context it would seem that more important than joining a club would be to first have some practical experience with gardening/growing plants of any kind.

Yes knowing how to grow plants is elemental, but the nuances of Bonsai, such as the correct way to water, etc will be learned with ac club, study and through work shops. You could even teach her the basics of plant growing spending quality time together. My wife has just join our Bonsai group and loves the groups laid back attitude. I am a member of her Orchid Society and have learned many things plus some very interesting people (you think bonsai folks are nuts?), have even bought a few orchids of my own now.

Give it a shot, one member of our club said "don't worry,, you are most probably going to kill the first year or two worth of trees you try anyway). It's only been since last Spring, but so far they are all living. Now lets see if I can get them through this winter alive. Regards, Phillip C

Uhh, I never said bonsai folks are nuts. As for trying to teach my wife how to grow things spending quality time together, well, you do not know my wife. After six years of throwing away dried out or overwatered houseplants, plants that I labeled how to water, I decided a nice terrarium full of Cactus and succulents would be foolproof. I got a three gallon round fishbowl and put three types of Cactus and two succulents in it. I arranged and planted them in a sand mixture, three parts washed sand and one part potting soil, I placed it near the kitchen sink where it would be humid and was in a sunny window, and for the next two months they thrived. I had to leave for two weeks to work on a jobsite and explained to her not to water them at all. When I returned the cactus had turned orange and mushy, and the succulents had had mostly disappeared. I said what happened and she said I dont know I watered them every morning and night and then they started to turn colors so I watered them at noon too and they still died. I explained to her she drowned them, and chucked the whole setup.

ed
 

edprocoat

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Taking your swimming analogy into context it would seem that more important than joining a club would be to first have some practical experience with gardening/growing plants of any kind.

Yes knowing how to grow plants is elemental, but the nuances of Bonsai, such as the correct way to water, etc will be learned with ac club, study and through work shops. You could even teach her the basics of plant growing spending quality time together. My wife has just join our Bonsai group and loves the groups laid back attitude. I am a member of her Orchid Society and have learned many things plus some very interesting people (you think bonsai folks are nuts?), have even bought a few orchids of my own now.

Give it a shot, one member of our club said "don't worry,, you are most probably going to kill the first year or two worth of trees you try anyway). It's only been since last Spring, but so far they are all living. Now lets see if I can get them through this winter alive. Regards, Phillip C

Uhh, I never said bonsai folks are nuts. As for trying to teach my wife how to grow things spending quality time together, well, you do not know my wife. After six years of throwing away dried out or overwatered houseplants, plants that I labeled how to water, I decided a nice terrarium full of Cactus and succulents would be foolproof. I got a three gallon round fishbowl and put three types of Cactus and two succulents in it. I arranged and planted them in a sand mixture, three parts washed sand and one part potting soil, I placed it near the kitchen sink where it would be humid and was in a sunny window, and for the next two months they thrived. I had to leave for two weeks to work on a jobsite and explained to her not to water them at all. When I returned the cactus had turned orange and mushy, and the succulents had had mostly disappeared. I said what happened and she said I dont know I watered them every morning and night and then they started to turn colors so I watered them at noon too and they still died. I explained to her she drowned them, and chucked the whole setup.

ed
 

Phillip C

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I joined The Atlanta Bonsai Society last spring and have been to two workshops. Even though I am just now learning how to wire, the workshops are a ton of fun. Everyone there, from the most experienced to those newer than I am has a blast working on their trees and listening to the master instructor. I am going to a workshop here this weekend with Ryan Neil and taking my big, prized Bald Cypress to see what he suggests, I am also carefully looking for an individual master that I can study under - maybe a small group or maybe just me. My learning curve is steep, but I want to create this art and have it speak to you in the worst sort of way. Thank you for your advice, I appreciate it, Phillip C
 

greerhw

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I joined The Atlanta Bonsai Society last spring and have been to two workshops. Even though I am just now learning how to wire, the workshops are a ton of fun. Everyone there, from the most experienced to those newer than I am has a blast working on their trees and listening to the master instructor. I am going to a workshop here this weekend with Ryan Neil and taking my big, prized Bald Cypress to see what he suggests, I am also carefully looking for an individual master that I can study under - maybe a small group or maybe just me. My learning curve is steep, but I want to create this art and have it speak to you in the worst sort of way. Thank you for your advice, I appreciate it, Phillip C

I like your avatar, I like F100's too.

Harry
 
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