The "This is Not a Contest" Contest

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#1
Here it is. You've all been waiting for it. (Moderator: feel free to move this thread to wherever you think it best fits)

Rules: Rules schmoolz. Play nice. Play fair. Be ready to learn and to work at it. Minimally, keep the plant alive for four years.

Purpose: Provide an arena in which rookies are pushed and supported to identify and put into practice fundamental tenets of Bonsai development. Wanna play? Be young enough at this to honestly call yourself a Rookie.

Overview: This is a long-range engagement, spanning multiple calendar years. We're trying to develop seminal skills and critical thinking in us rookies. We're hoping to get terrific level of support from "mentors" here, and to shift rookie thinking from "How much should I get done this season, and what is my next step?" to "What is my long-range plan, and what should I do this season to head that way?" The more and better we engage and listen, the better off we will be, and the better our plants will be four years from now. Focusing only on comparison to others and on ranking is (for the most part) not going to serve us well as rookies. Compare yourself to yourself, that is where the real growth happens.

Guidelines

Responsibilities of participants:
  • Find your schtuff. Pick a plant! Whatever you want to work on, from wherever you can get it, from whenever you got it, for however much you spent on it (it's not about the plant, it's about the learner!)
  • If you want in and to "officially" start your clock, then start your thread before the end of April 1st 2018
  • Tell/post about it at the start so everyone knows what your working with, and can see what it looked like at the beginning of the project. Share as much background on the material as you can. Folks will be cheering for us, and often that will show up in the form of advice. It's up to us to sort through it and see how it applies.
  • Show/tell your first step. Share updates as needed. Feel free to ask questions, but don't be sad if the first response is "check out this resource and come back when you are done reading it"
  • Don't be afraid to run this with several of your plants at the same time, but the one you choose to post in your first thread will be the one that everyone will be expecting to see throughout this non-contest.
First mandatory checkpoint: Check in at the Northern Hemisphere's Autumnal Equinox with an action plan/goals for the next year (include a drawing or sketch of your vision). This will probably be sent to somebody important and be critiqued behind the scenes, so that we're all forced to come up with our ideas independently. We may or may not get analysis and guidance.
  • Continue to post updates as needed and seek guidance as required. The Big-Dogs are here to help and they want to see us succeed.
Second mandatory checkpoint: Check in at the Northern Hemisphere's Spring Equinox. Same gig. Post pics, give an update, discuss successes and failures and thoughtful purposeful adjustments.

Judges will give some feedback here. Perhaps even a relative ranking.

Repeat this cycle 4 times and at the Autumnal Equinox in 2022 somebody will somehow identify those who have been most successful.

Judging guidance - @sorce is taking the lead on this. He'll hash it out behind the scenes and let us know what is happening. "Judging panel composition and grading scale aspects" are all in his court. Points are not really as important as learning to think long-term and to be strategic.

Prizes:
If your are in this for the prize, then you are missing the point. The tree and your connection to it will be the prize. Anything beyond that will be a "su"prize
We'll probably get lollipops or doughnuts when we are at the 4 year mark.

Any questions? Look for the simplest answer and that's probably it.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#2
Moved to Contests.

Newbs! Label your entry threads appropriately as below...

"(Username) This is not a contest tree."

And start em in the New to Bonsai Forum.
That's part of your hazing!

I would like for anyone to PM me if they are willing to take an active judging role.

If we get a good mix of judges, Anonymous or not...it can go one way.

If not, I'll figure out something!

Hit me!

Sorce
 
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Nashville TN
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#7
Pick a plant.. Does this mean pick a species to start from seed? Or, does that mean literally pick any plant from the wild, or not, that is not already bonsai or trained in any way?
 
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#11
Pick a plant.. Does this mean pick a species to start from seed? Or, does that mean literally pick any plant from the wild, or not, that is not already bonsai or trained in any way?

Yes. pick a plant. It's about long-range planning and choices.

Wanna grow a seed? Go ahead.
Wanna work from the wild? Go ahead.
Pull a prebonsai off the newbie bench that needs work, or nursery stock? Go ahead.

It's about planning and choices. Let's make it fun for the judges, too!
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
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#13
If I may...

It’s far easier to take a larger tree, and cut it back than to try to grow a seed or seedling into something in a reasonable amount of time.

For example:

This:

4C8D6BD5-3F7A-4F20-A42E-C3CFD9051EA9.jpeg

Became this:

78E85B38-8B21-47E0-ABC8-543015538B11.jpeg

In about 4 years. The same timeframe as the contest!
 
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Ohio
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#14
Sounds like my kinda contest. Run what ya brung and hope you brung enough.
I'll be in if I'm rookie enough. Been here 2 years and toyed with a little Juniper the previous year where I loved it to death. Figured I should read up after that joined here.

After 2 years I must say I don't feel like a total rookie (those who've seen my follies will differ)
Now I gotta find "the" tree...
 
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#16
If I may... It’s far easier to take a larger tree, and cut it back than to try to grow a seed or seedling into something in a reasonable amount of time
Yes, you may, @Adair M. In fact, we're kinda counting on it!
Great point, sound advice, and a sweet-looking example. Thanks!
 
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#17
If I may...

It’s far easier to take a larger tree, and cut it back than to try to grow a seed or seedling into something in a reasonable amount of time.

For example:

This:

View attachment 182416

Became this:

View attachment 182417



In about 4 years. The same timeframe as the contest!
Great advice there Adiar...Stunning tree my friend.
 
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#18
Going with what Adair stated...I think if one wishes to grow from seed...we have a contest going on they can jump on board with growing pine. But being new...seeing results...significantly is taking the material that is well on its way...and developing it further.

Example of pyracantha...one year in development.
Photo from bonsai nursery when I made the decision to make the purchase. Sadly...I could not get lucky enough to even have a nursery as far as 2 hours away find pyracantha to order in for me sight unseen even.

What made this material attractive, it was at a slant and I was hoping for character under the soil line. Plus the fact...material was unseen in my neck of the woods. Again ones might ask in the category here on the forum...of intent to buy. May get a bite...can't recall which member sold some on FB auction awhile back. https://www.bonsainut.com/forums/wanted-to-buy.43/
image.jpg

To a full year on my bench. A good fun material to play around with. If one isn't wanting conifer.
image.jpg

There are a few members who were lucky enough to collect. Up north...if you were lucky enough to find one still in ones landscape...I would think you could collect this year. Most my trees in landscape are still mostly dormant but a few things...moving.
 
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North ID
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4-5
#19
I'm interested in this but not sure if I can locate a tree by April 1. Ground is still partially froze and stores aren't stocking nursery plants yet.

I'm going to check a couple places today but I don't have high hopes
 

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