Where do you guys get your stones?

Messages
109
Reaction score
109
Location
Houston
USDA Zone
9a
I live in a place with no rocks. I have never seen a large stone in Houston that wasn't brought there by humans. So, when making a root over rock bonsai, I have little local material to work with. Therefore I have to ask, where do you guys get your stones? Bonsai nurseries? Online?
 

Potawatomi13

Masterpiece
Messages
4,781
Reaction score
3,307
Location
Eugene, OR
USDA Zone
8
Are garden/yard debris/recycling centers present there? Here these also carry several kinds garden decorative rocks from shale, sandstone to basalt columns, boulders, lava, etc. Also ours have pumice for potting;).
 

Shibui

Masterpiece
Messages
4,312
Reaction score
8,334
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
Aquarium supplies are a great source of suitable rock They tend to stock the wild, random shaped rocks that look like coral reefs. Just what we love for bonsai.
Garden and landscape suppliers tend to have larger rocks or smaller, smooth pebbles rather than the nice shaped ones we want but definitely take a look round. You never know what you might find.
Seaside and mountain holidays are always a great chance to stock up on good rocks.
Make friends with people from rocky areas.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
31,222
Reaction score
42,981
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
The more difficult the mission, the more research should be done.

I'd say about 70% of folks show up with unsuitable rocks, try not to get caught there.

The excersize has a lot to do with not getting caught up in a rock because it is beautiful, because most of what makes it so will be covered.
Envisioning the roots over the rock, and chosing rocks with interesting part that will remain uncovered is key.

Thread Graft Points....
I got a couple Rick Mountain Rocks, probably gonna need some obsidian.

Sorce
 

hinmo24t

Masterpiece
Messages
2,401
Reaction score
2,944
Location
Dartmouth Massachusetts
USDA Zone
7A
interesting perspective - good luck and i guess thats something i took for granted.
we have a surplus where i live. MA field stone (granite) got in the way of early american agriculture so
you can see handmade rock fences everywhere from way back when they had to clear land for farming.
granite, quartz, etc. old homes (my friends from, 1782, sits on granite slab foundation
cant put shovel in ground without hitting a rock the size of a baseball at least

these are from the coastline i collected last week, you can see they are mostly granite and these are shaped by the ocean
i dont do ROR, but i use them to keep tippy pots in place from windy area of buzzards bay coast

20210906_152713.jpg

charming-sheep-farm-chilmark-marthas-vineyard-massachusetts-usa-R9E8BX.jpg
photo.jpg
 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
Messages
10,560
Reaction score
14,393
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
As Source said, most rocks are not suitable for root over rock plantings. Most people who haven't done bonsai for long get caught up in choosing a rock, THEN jamming a tree on top of it. Doesn't work very well. Shorthand for a decent rock to use--the rock in ROR planting substitutes for the actual trunk of the tree. The two should meld into one. Rocks that "stand out" aren't appropriate.

Another mistake beginners make is using trees that are too far along in growth to fit well on top of a rock. The nebari is spread and unmovable in saplings. Starting out with seedlings that are just developing roots is the way to go. Older trees adapted to ROR tend to look liked they're "perched" on top, instead of having a smooth transition to the stone. Seedlings' root structure allows roots to be pulled down and into the stone, conforming to its outline.

"Good" rocks for bonsai are jagged, traditionally of volcanic, or igneous, origin.


Good stones are not common and can be hard to come by.
 

penumbra

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,050
Reaction score
9,569
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
Most of the rocks I have collected over the years are too"pretty" to use for ROR. But while my property is rock poor (shale) my area in the Shenandoah Valley near the Shenandoah River is rich in rock finds. There is a tiny town just north of me called Rockton. A place to the south called Flint Hill, and mountains and rivers full of rocks.
Texas is a big state and you have rocks. I would load up my camping gear and head out for a few days. Look at road cuts on your trip.
All the above ideas and advice is good. I have bought some beauties in Pet Stores before they were so terribly expensive. When I was in that industry many years ago, we sold several different types of rocks by the pound.
 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
Messages
10,560
Reaction score
14,393
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Most of the rocks I have collected over the years are too"pretty" to use for ROR. But while my property is rock poor (shale) my area in the Shenandoah Valley near the Shenandoah River is rich in rock finds. There is a tiny town just north of me called Rockton. A place to the south called Flint Hill, and mountains and rivers full of rocks.
Texas is a big state and you have rocks. I would load up my camping gear and head out for a few days. Look at road cuts on your trip.
All the above ideas and advice is good. I have bought some beauties in Pet Stores before they were so terribly expensive. When I was in that industry many years ago, we sold several different types of rocks by the pound.
Only half of Texas (the western half) has decent rocks. 😁

FWIW, I have friends who do have been doing landscaping work down at Massanutten. They have found a ton of interesting "bonsai" and Japanese garden rocks on the ridge tops down there. The Blue Ridge has streaks and veins of granite, greenstone, schist and other stuff. You just have to know where to look.


Also one of the oldest slate quarries in the U.S. is down south of C'ville in Arvonia. Buckingham slate has been used for roofing since the Colonial era. I've got a pretty good source pf of those roofing slates from a collapsed plantation out building near me. They're all less than 12" x 12" though. The stuff is more than strong enough, with enough character, for planting slabs. I've been meaning to get down to the quarry to see if they have larger pieces for sale. haven't made it yet, though.

 
Messages
109
Reaction score
109
Location
Houston
USDA Zone
9a
Wow thank you all for your replies. Yes Texas has very nice rocks, but not where I live. Here it's very swampy, lots of clay though.
I definitely will check some aquarium supply stores. Seiryu stone seems to be a good stone from Japan that they often carry.

You guys gave a lot of good advice on what shape of rock to pick as well, so I will keep the entire composition in mind when picking a rock. I envy you guys that live in hilly or mountainous areas. Not only do you have the lion's share of good material, but I also find hilly landscapes so beautiful.
 
Messages
109
Reaction score
109
Location
Houston
USDA Zone
9a
I cannot relate, I go slab hunting often.. large rocks are everywhere, here..

If you’d LIKE.. You can. PM me and i can hunt and ship some for you.. and I ENJOY it.. so It would be cheap.
Thank you HorseloverFat, that's very kind. I will try to find something around me but if I don't succeed you'll be my next bet :)
 

Pitoon

Masterpiece
Messages
3,741
Reaction score
7,133
Location
Southern Maryland
USDA Zone
7b
These rocks were picked up from a sealed bag from PetCo. There was only a handful of rocks that was usable.

 

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
Messages
10,560
Reaction score
14,393
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top Bottom