The "This is Not a Contest" Contest

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#82
The thinking is:
1) As newbs, keeping a tree alive for four years might be tough in and of itself. I'll certainly be applying this to all the few trees I have, but having to pick one tree means I'm beginning by picking the one I'm not only the most interested in learning about, but also the one I'm most excited to learn on. For example, I am doing the pine contest (if those same seeds would ever get here), and I'm sure I am going to learn a great deal, but pines just don't do it for me.
2) If we are only permitted 1 not a contest tree to not be judged, then we will me more thoughtful in the moves we make. (No safety net)
3) a single-focus tree will demand that we dig into the biology, growth habit, ecology, "history" of that tree, and so are being more intentional about planning and vision.
4) We gotta be kind to the "not a judges". If we overload them, they may just nuke our trees long distance with their psycho-ninja powers.

As far as the thread thing goes, Each of us puts up our own "John's this is not a contest tree" thread in the new to bonsai section. The format was posted by The Admin earlier. So let it be written...So let it be done.

It's just part of making it easier to ask questions and get them answered all in one place. It'll make it easier for all the judges to see what we are thinking. I may ask a question in the juniper forum that someone who never goes there but has a good answer for might never see.
Plus, it's not a contest. By definition, it cannot be in the contest thread.

Finally, if we are purposely accepting the rank of newbie, then we just gotta take some level of hazing. We're relegated to the rookie thread
The question on how many trees we can enter was answered a while back. Unless it's a forest planting, there can be only one.
Have 'em fight to the death if you can't decide.
 
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Bristol, UK
#85
Oooh, Snow just pointed me at this not-contest. Glad the deadline was extended!

I've got 3 trees in mind, one still sat in a nursery pot hasn't been touched since I bought it a couple months ago, Japanese Cedar - never worked on a conifer so would be real interesting to work out what the hell I'll do with it. It's a multi-trunk unlike the usual straight single trunk examples.
Second option is a Fuji cherry I have cut back from a full shrub to a low-cut and wired starting point last week - beautiful flowering tree could be interesting.

Third option is a Hornbeam I collected about 3 weeks ago, although technically started last year perhaps because I cut around the roots and left it in the ground to be lifted this year... does that disqualify it? I know it's not a contest but seeing if I can shrink my options some how and make it easier to decide which to work with o_O
 
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#86
One still sat in a nursery pot hasn't been touched since I bought it a couple months ago, Japanese Cedar - never worked on a conifer so would be real interesting to work out what the hell I'll do with it. It's a multi-trunk unlike the usual straight single trunk examples.
Second option is a Fuji cherry I have cut back from a full shrub to a low-cut and wired starting point last week - beautiful flowering tree could be interesting.
I would go with one of these two. You don't know if the other one survived collecting yet, and you're probably going to want to leave it alone for a couple-few years to let it recover.
I'm kind of leaning towards the Fuji, myself. I rather like its tiny little flowers on a bonsai subject.
 
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Nashville TN
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7a
#87
theeres hornbeam, hopbean, ironwood ..tanuki sundapple.. muscle wood..flapjack..manglegrotto, I’ve seen so many horn beams around here..you could be talking about mahogany
 
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Location
Nashville TN
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7a
#88
@Cattwooduk, I’m torn between three trees as well all dug this year.

American beech
American elm
Carpinus caroliniana..that’s muh hornbeam..I seriously had no idea how deep the common name went..

Leaning on the elm..feels safe to a degree though. How much can I develop those other two in 4 yrs..or the elm?

Been kinda waiting to see if really what I have is an Am. Elm o_Oo_Oo_Oo_O —just leafing out.

The movement and nebari seems better on the others, not exactly lacking on the elm. Shit. gotta few days yet.
 
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Eugene, OR
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8
#89
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.
Why is NON contest called contest?
 
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#90
I would go with one of these two. You don't know if the other one survived collecting yet, and you're probably going to want to leave it alone for a couple-few years to let it recover.
I'm kind of leaning towards the Fuji, myself. I rather like its tiny little flowers on a bonsai subject.
I'm confident the hornbeam will survive collection, there was plenty of roots left on it compared to one I dug last year and was sure would die but is budding up again this spring. You're right though it'll probably be a couple of years before any real changes take place on it.

I'm thinking the same is true of the fuji cherry as well, being cut down from nursery into a training pot means it'll probably need at least a year of recovery.
Half the point of this exercise is keeping them alive though so....

Maybe the cedar is my best choice. Most out of my limited comfort zone, working on it and keeping it alive will be harder I think.
 
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Location
Toledo Ohio
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6a
#91
Yep. Just one for use in group tracking. Just post your pic in your Not a Contest Tree thread in the "New to Bonsai" forum. This way all the feedback/input/documentation is all in one place.
 
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#92
This thread is a perfect example I believe of what you were going for with your idea for this John.
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/azalea-beast.30182/page-2#post-552527
Great people offering their experience and suggestions to a rookie. Solid people and solid advice. It's up to me to decide from here. I wish we could merge that thread with the one I started yesterday for the contest.
https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/underdogs-not-a-contest-tree.33193/#post-552392
Anyway... This kind advice for a common passion happens often here outside of contests. Great site!
Mark
 
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#94
As per the opening post: 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).
So work on it until 23 September. Work on a drawing, sketch, or virtual rendering of where you plan to take the tree.
 
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#95
As per the opening post: 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).
So work on it until 23 September. Work on a drawing, sketch, or virtual rendering of where you plan to take the tree.
So just get your thread up and running. This could be a place for you to post pics and questions, so as to engage the community at large. Engage is little or as much as you'd like. It is during this "in-between" time that we get to ask all our newbie questions, this is where the fun is.
 
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#96
... It is during this "in-between" time that we get to ask all our newbie questions, this is where the fun is.
It (almost) never hurts to ask about doing something before you do it; I've been steered away from a couple-few bad ideas by the members here who've been there and done that.
 
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Location
Ithaca, NY
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5b
#97
Is it too late to add an entry for this non-contest? I’ve been so busy with bonsai this spring have barely had time to follow the forums and it flew right under my radar til now. I’ve had this idea to try to put together a hawthorn forest with some single seed hawthorns I’ve recently collected. I think it might be a good choice for this. Let me know.