Why did you start, and continue Bonsai?

ConorDash

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Hello all,

Perhaps done to death, and asked many times before but I was thinking today about my own reasons and wondered about others’.

Not how did you get in to bonsai but why?
Why do you spend countless hours researching, typing, talking, working and even teaching, bonsai? What keeps you doing it? Why?!
 

HorseloverFat

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Because I love plants, artistic expression and communing with nature.

Flora has been part of who I am for so long... it started as “I’ll try this with plants now, I’ve got extra time and energy, (having just narrowly beat death).”

I keep “going” because I Love it.... It brings me joy...

My favorite “Plant Thing” so far!

🤓
 

Carol 83

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I find taking care of, pruning and repotting to be very peaceful. No TV, cellphone, computer screen. Just quiet time enjoying my little trees. It's my "me" time. (after the laundry is done, of course, lol).
 

ConorDash

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Because I love plants, artistic expression and communing with nature.

Flora has been part of who I am for so long... it started as “I’ll try this with plants now, I’ve got extra time and energy, (having just narrowly beat death).”

I keep “going” because I Love it.... It brings me joy...

My favorite “Plant Thing” so far!

🤓
Nice. So, “enjoyment”, then. Sums that up :)


I find taking care of, pruning and repotting to be very peaceful. No TV, cellphone, computer screen. Just quiet time enjoying my little trees. It's my "me" time. (after the laundry is done, of course, lol).
“Peacefulness” I think we can safely say :). Good to know, thank you.
 

Hartinez

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It starts with love of plants and there cycles. Love the biology of plants and trees in particular.

second, I make a living in art and craft. I Have owned my own design business now for 5 years and when I make new products and design they are usually received really well. I find the manipulation of my chosen material or approach can bend to my will pretty easily for what I want to do. BUT, with bonsai as an art, anytime I’ve tried to bend the trees to MY will they die. It’s easily the most difficult art form I’ve attempted and I love that. It makes me want to give up and go all in at the exact same time. Having to wait a full year or 2 or 3 to see if something worked is so satisfying and so maddening at times. I personally love the struggle.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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Arts, care and science kind of runs in the family.
I like making things and I used to love biology until I got to highschool. My bio teacher was a downright a-hole.
I refound my love for biology after I dropped that class. Went to arts and culture stuff, then went back to life science / biotech.

Bonsai combines the bunch. It's an excuse for a walk, an excuse to be outside, an excuse to be creative, and honestly, bonsainut is about the only social medium I'm doing. So I also get my fix here.
 

Paradox

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Ill admit Im one of those whose interest started with seeing the Karate Kid.
My older sister bought me a bonsai when I was 14 and not knowing what I was doing, no internet and no one to learn from. it promptly died.
Fast forward ~ 30 years to 2011, out of college with a good job, my own house and stability.
Walking through the grocery store I see a mallsi juniper in the floral section for $10-$15. Interest is resparked and I buy it on an impulse.
I ignorantly take the thing to work and put it on the desk next to the window.

Just to continue cause I know all of you are rolling your eyes going....well that tree died

I go on vacation for a week and leave it with a co-worker that has a lot of plants in the office.
When I return she is upset that the tree looks like its turning brown and dying. I tell her its probably not her fault and take the tree back to my desk.
I do a quick online search cause thankfully we now have the internet and there is information online and discover, junipers are OUTSIDE trees.
Well duh.... So I take the poor thing home, trim the dead foliage out and put it out on my back deck.
That little tree went through hell, lost most of it foliage and just looked terrible.
I put the thing in the garage over the winter, watch it carefully and keep it watered when it needed it and put it back out on the deck in April.

Low and behold! The little thing rallies and starts to grow!
2011J001_1b_small.jpg

Well here it is in 2016, still alive and has grown a lot since 2011 when it almost died a horrible newbie death

2016 (5)_small.jpg

Its still alive but alas, I have no current pictures...lol Ive been so bad at keeping that up
Yes its not a great tree and it will probably never be a great tree but its my first tree and its a survivor. Its taught me a lot and I cant get rid of it.
 

Trenthany

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“I did it for the money!” Lmao

On a serious note 25-30 years ago I saw the one bald cypress bonsai Selby Gardens had back when I was 8-12. I loved it and as it was near the for sale orchids I asked price. Not for sale... 😭😭😭 So being stubborn I asked what it would cost if it was for sale. 15-20k was the answer evidently approx 250 years old. Instantly noped right out of bonsai! Lmao. 25 or so years later I was talking to mom and it came up and I said that is one thing I’ve always wanted to do was grow bonsai trees. She said look into it. After much reading online I found a place where people actually seemed to know what they were talking about! (Hi guys and gals) Turns out bonsai IS attainable and doesn’t require 5-6 figure sums! Yay! Other than that it’s because I have discovered I like making things grow and playing with dirt. I go through “depressed” periods where I withdraw from the world and all I do is read sleep and work, but now I have my tiny (and not so tiny) trees. While none are worthy of being called bonsai by most people, I love my ugly little trees and in a few years may have something worth sharing beyond sticks with leaves. Lol.

PS I still have my first tree which was gifted to me a couple years ago as a twig in a mica pot. Recently put the little crepe in organic to put growth on and recover after the stray cats knocked half my bench down. It is perking up and I hope it grows fast!
 
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CWTurner

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Its still alive
You have your first tree still!? Man, I can't even remember my first tree.

I got interested as a 20 something after finding some old "Japanese miniature trees" magazine of my father's. Dad's gone and I'm sorry that I never asked him where they came from.
Anyway, I fooled around and killed a few trees after watching the guy on PBS who made bonsai trees planted in sphagnum peat. Forgot about bonsai until I was in my 50's and tried a few "seat of my pants" bonsai and killed all of them. About 8 years ago my wife gave me a bonsai lesson at Chase Rosade's place and I've been keeping them alive (mostly) since then.

As @Hartinez said, its the cycle that always interested me in plants. Whether a deciduous tree that looks dead all winter and bursts to life again in the spring, or an evergreen struggling out in the worst weather and holding on. And I have always liked the pruning aspect of landscape plants, so bonsai increased that enjoyment of having a hand in nature's development.
CW
 

Esolin

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I've always admired the aesthetics of bonsai. I bought (and quickly killed) my first bonsai when I was a teenager. But a few decades passed before I got serious about gardening, and then bonsai as a way to relieve stress. There are many depressing/negative influences in my life these days. Going outside and tinkering with my trees helps keep me sane. It's something positive I enjoy. A form of mediation.
 

misfit11

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I think my first exposure to bonsai, like many, was the Karate Kid. I remember thinking it was pretty awesome. My first "real life" exposure to the hobby was in college at Humboldt State University. I was doing plant surveys with other HSU students and when hanging out at their places I learned that they did bonsai. I was absolutely intrigued. It combined my love of botany and art (my original major in college was graphic design). That was all it took and I was hooked. I immediately was reading every book on it that I could get my hands on (Bonsai4me by Harry Harrington was the best online resource at the time). Nineteen years and many dead trees later I still love it!
 

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