Southwest Virginia New Member

CovertNeo

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I am new to this forum and I'm excited to be a part of a large community that can help me learn and be a better bonsai artist/enthusiast. Hopefully with time and practice I will be able to contribute back just the same.

I'm looking to build my network of Bonsai enthusiasts within my area. I began actively learning and practicing bonsai in 2015. I live in Southwest Virginia. Are there other members within say 100 miles of the Blacksburg/Christiansburg Virginia area? I know there is the Virginia Bonsai Society, but that is too far from my location, as they meet monthly in Norfolk, VA.

Either way, I'm happy to be a new member within this forum and have a great community to be able to bounce questions off from.
 

BunjaeKorea

Omono
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Welcome to an international nut house for nutty people.....did you know that nuts grow on trees...maybe thats the reason for our nuttiness...is nuttinessa word? Anyway it is now......



I forgot what I was saying..


What you working with
 

CovertNeo

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I have quite a few for my first year. March 2016 I bought a couple of nice bonsai plants from a great bonsai nursery in Florida (Dragon Tree Bonsai). From there I got a Shimpaku Juniper, a Cedar Elm (my current personal favorite), and a Bougainvillea (which I think may have been killed by squirrels eating much of the bark off last fall - grrr). I'm going to see if any buds/green show up in the spring on that one.

I also got some good and some poor plants off ebay (think I'm done with that). I got a nice Fukien Tea, and a decent Ficus Benjamina. I got an Olive Europaea off ebay that looked promising, but was a fresh air layer that I've been working to be healthy. I have some Japanese Red and Green maples. Most of my bonsai are in training mode.

So I must say my goal is to get a tree to the final stage of development where it is in more of a maintenance mode and improve at that. I was telling my wife I feel like it's going to take me 10 years to get to where I have some level of confidence that I'm doing the right things... and then another 10 to 15 to develop some nice trees. I'm ok with that, I don't say that in a negative light, more positive as I'm enjoying all the learning. The magnitude of information, and learning can be overwhelming at times. :)
 

Gregory DeNinno

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I was telling my wife I feel like it's going to take me 10 years to get to where I have some level of confidence that I'm doing the right things... and then another 10 to 15 to develop some nice trees. I'm ok with that
I can appreciate that thought. Bonsai teaches me patience. Lots of little steps over a long time and plenty of mistakes along the journey. Enjoy
 

JudyB

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Great attitude to start out with. BTW, there are good people selling on ebay, you just have to know which ones they are!
 

rockm

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I have quite a few for my first year. March 2016 I bought a couple of nice bonsai plants from a great bonsai nursery in Florida (Dragon Tree Bonsai). From there I got a Shimpaku Juniper, a Cedar Elm (my current personal favorite), and a Bougainvillea (which I think may have been killed by squirrels eating much of the bark off last fall - grrr). I'm going to see if any buds/green show up in the spring on that one.

I also got some good and some poor plants off ebay (think I'm done with that). I got a nice Fukien Tea, and a decent Ficus Benjamina. I got an Olive Europaea off ebay that looked promising, but was a fresh air layer that I've been working to be healthy. I have some Japanese Red and Green maples. Most of my bonsai are in training mode.

So I must say my goal is to get a tree to the final stage of development where it is in more of a maintenance mode and improve at that. I was telling my wife I feel like it's going to take me 10 years to get to where I have some level of confidence that I'm doing the right things... and then another 10 to 15 to develop some nice trees. I'm ok with that, I don't say that in a negative light, more positive as I'm enjoying all the learning. The magnitude of information, and learning can be overwhelming at times. :)

Welcome fellow Virginian! You are in a pretty good place for bonsai--Washington D.C. has the National Arboretum's spectacular collection of bonsai from Japan, China and North America. A must visit even if it's a drive for you. To the south, and possibly closer, is the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. It has a spectacular collection of bonsai, as well, including many Appalachian species.
http://www.ncarboretum.org/about-us/
Both the North Carolina Arb and the National Arb have bonsai-centric events every year, with demonstrations, vendor tents and bonsai exhibits from regional growers.

I've had Cedar elm as bonsai here in N.Va. for two decades. It works well in Va. if you have adequate winter protection for it. I get mine from relatives in Texas. I work with collected native species, Carolina hornbeam, American Beech, blackhaw, wild wisteria, bittersweet, bald cypress and a few others.

I also have Japanese maples, trident maple, amur maple (which does very very well here without any winter protection).

There are many people here in No.Va. working with old collected Western U.S. conifers, like Utah Juniper, spruce and ponderosa pine. Ponderosa pine, in particular, seems to adapt well here and requires no winter protection.

I
 

CovertNeo

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Hi rockm! Thanks for the reply. I am looking forward to a trip to DC, I often admire the pictures online. I considered going this past summer when there was a Bonsai event there, but was not able to pull that trip together. I will have to look up the North Carolina one as well, as I was not aware of that one.

Thanks for the list of bonsai you mentioned, I'll have to look into some of those you've mentioned since they're good for our area.

Seth
 

cbroad

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@CovertNeo
Hey, its great to see another Virginian getting into bonsai. I'm from Richmond and there are plenty of people around here doing bonsai. The Richmond Bonsai Society is a great group and a few of the members are on here. They are having a demo/workshop at the nursery where I work on March 11 that is open to the public (non members). The best thing to do is join a club and network with local people that have experience with what does well in our area. Also, there is Adam's Bonsai which is in Lynchburg; I've never been there but I've heard good things but I think he's only open by appointment.
 

cbroad

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@CovertNeo
Probably the best pre-bonsai nursery around us is Meehan's Miniatures which is in Maryland right across the border. My store sells a lot of their products, mostly small 4" and 6" starters, both indoor and outdoor stuff, but we also sell some more refined stuff in actual bonsai pots. I'm talking to the buyer at my store about actually bringing in more outdoor pre-bonsai stuff in larger containers (3gal.-7gal. stuff), mostly because I'm tired of starting out with sticks in pots and it will save me a trip to Maryland. So we should start carrying better and bigger material a little closer to spring.
 

LanceMac10

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How do you feel about squirrels? Unfortunately, any idyllic views you may have will soon be replaced by something akin to a Norseman raiding churches on the French coast...:D:D:D:D:D:D:eek:
fawk-this-o.gif

Welcome aboard!;)
 

sorce

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10 years to get to where I have some level of confidence that I'm doing the right things... and then another 10 to 15 to develop some nice trees. I'm ok with that, I don't say that in a negative light, more positive as I'm enjoying all the learning. The magnitude of information, and learning can be overwhelming at times.

Just yesterday I was thinking.......

One of the reasons I love bonsai so much is because the time to learn and ponder is really very long.

That is, as soon as patience is consciously exercised.

You can literally scour every bit of information AND determine the good info from the bad info, to apply it accordingly when the time comes.

Or in your case.......

Just keep RockM in your corner, he's a straight shooter, that straight path can save you years of delightfully ignorant blind frustration! (worse so if you got sold a "white van" serissa, or a 'shit, they already or you on the Fukien Tea tree!':p)

I came out of "delightfully ignorant blind frustration" the year I actually let a tree just grow!

Bout a year later I got hip to PPB...
keeping Potential Problems at Bay...
And now the trees do all the work!

I'm bout to start a thread on that.
TMI.

Sorce

Edit....p.s....yeah Lance!
 

CovertNeo

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Thanks for the info, @cbroad. Unfortunately Richmond is about 3.5 from me and Maryland is about 4 to 5 hours away. Lynchburg is getting closer ~2 hours away. I certainly look up nurseries and hot spots whenever I travel. As you mentioned, the best thing to do is join a club or local group of bonsai enthusiasts, going to see if I can find some folks closer to home as well.
 

rockm

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@CovertNeo
Probably the best pre-bonsai nursery around us is Meehan's Miniatures which is in Maryland right across the border. My store sells a lot of their products, mostly small 4" and 6" starters, both indoor and outdoor stuff, but we also sell some more refined stuff in actual bonsai pots. I'm talking to the buyer at my store about actually bringing in more outdoor pre-bonsai stuff in larger containers (3gal.-7gal. stuff), mostly because I'm tired of starting out with sticks in pots and it will save me a trip to Maryland. So we should start carrying better and bigger material a little closer to spring.

I've been going to bonsai places in Va. and Maryland for going on 25 years now. IMO (and take my opinion for what you paid for it ;-) ) Meehans is OK. You can buy their stuff at local nurseries in No. Va. and elsewhere. It's not bad, but it's not all that great. It can also be expensive. Yeah, I know they have a greenhouse. Still, There are better places around.

Matt Ouwinga in Maryland, Julian Adams in Lynchburg both have superior stock and trees. Both sell more tree for the buck.
Matt has just started building a bonsai nursery on the western side of the Eastern Shore adjacent to the DC/Va/MD area. He has, from my visit there, one of the best sources for bonsai on the East Coast in the making. Literally thousands of seedlings and saplings and larger developing stock trees.
Matt's site--he has saplings listed, but believe me. He has ALOT of trees in between. Definitely worth a trip
https://kaedebonsai-en.com/

Julian Adams' site. I've bought trees and development stock from him for years. Nice guy and excellent trees and value.
http://www.adamsbonsai.com/

Bonsai Learning Center in Mooresville, N.C. might be closer to you. Don't have first hand experience with them, but have heard very good things.
http://bonsailearningcenter.com/

.
 

rockm

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...and if you go ahead and visit Matt O., whatever else you do, DON'T go into the barn where he keeps the pots!! Trust me, you'll regret it if you do.
yeah, the bonsai pots in there can be distracting and a drain on the wallet ;-)
 

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