Why did you start, and continue Bonsai?

Adair M

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I've been doing bonsai for so long, I don't remember... kinda like breathing at this point... and I want my trees to be as good as @Adair M's :p !
Well... once you switched to copper wire, your trees have turned the corner...

And we won’t even mention the turface...
 

vp999

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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!
Are you sure bonsai was the tree of choice for you while at Humboldt? 🤣😂🤣
 

SeanS

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Seems I'm the first with this reason/problem: I have an incredibly addictive personality

For many years I was heavily into body building. I ate (A LOT!), slept, and breathed body building. I was obsessed, and reached a relatively high level of physique, with plans to compete. It was all I watched, researched, and followed on social media.
Then I started getting tattooed. Again, I was obsessed with tattoos. I researched, followed all of the prominent artists of my preferred style on social media, and well, got tattooed. This was at the same time as my body building phases.

Then 2 years ago I mentioned to my girlfriend that I wouldn't mind a bonsai as my upcoming birthday gift. A simple little serissa mallsai set me off on my current bonsai addiction...

After getting the small tree I began to google how to look after the thing. I remember one of the first bonsai videos I watched on Youtube was a Bjorn video where he styled a juniper. Mind being blown! I had to know more!

And now here I am with close to 100 trees and seedlings in various stages of development, all within 2 years.
 

ConorDash

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Dang, that was a lot of replies over night. Interesting stuff. Its funny that only 1 person used the reason which I thought a lot would give, "they look cool".

I guess on the fact of it, that reason is pretty shallow, but I still thought it would be common. I've still got my first tree, turned it in to 2 trees. One of them is a 9ft tree in the ground, the other is almost exactly the same as when I airlayered it, 4 years ago. Goes to show what ground growing does, and lack of work on a tree. The ground grown material will be good one day, and I'll have one of those mallsai to greatness, progressions.

People seem to turn to Bonsai when times are tougher for them, whether they were already in the hobby or not. Do you never find anything holds you back from doing Bonsai? Fear of mistakes?
 

Trenthany

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Dang, that was a lot of replies over night. Interesting stuff. Its funny that only 1 person used the reason which I thought a lot would give, "they look cool".

I guess on the fact of it, that reason is pretty shallow, but I still thought it would be common. I've still got my first tree, turned it in to 2 trees. One of them is a 9ft tree in the ground, the other is almost exactly the same as when I airlayered it, 4 years ago. Goes to show what ground growing does, and lack of work on a tree. The ground grown material will be good one day, and I'll have one of those mallsai to greatness, progressions.

People seem to turn to Bonsai when times are tougher for them, whether they were already in the hobby or not. Do you never find anything holds you back from doing Bonsai? Fear of mistakes?
Why would you fear mistakes when they’re plants? They grow and change over time. They can be cloned and propagated and layered. Losing a great piece of material sucks but it’s not the end of the world. It would suck worse if you bought expensive material of course but if you are cheap like me then you don’t have much but time invested.
 

Starfox

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When we first brought our house I totally wanted to redesign the garden and quickly realised most of what I wanted to plant just wasn't feasible on our block. Durning my research for trees I stumbled upon a picture of a Bottle Brush bonsai and this was the game changer. Until that point I had a view of bonsai that was more traditional, Pines, Junipers, green helmets and Japanese if that makes sense. So I looked into it only to find out bonsai could be many things and was certainly more accessible than I first thought.
Well then I figured if I can't plant a forest on our property I could try and bonsai the species I was interested in. And yes the coolness of having little trees in a pot was certainly a factor.

As to why I continue, well I'm not there yet. I've mostly got to build my trees from the ground up and this takes time. Plus it took me a while to realise to stop farting around with the species that I really just wasn't into, my connection is with Australian natives and faffing and killing weeds just didn't do it for me. Once I cottoned on to that and started to be more specific my enjoyment levels and survival rates improved dramatically.
So here I am, knocking about with my sticks in pots on a journey to turn them into something and if I ever do that I imagine I'll wish to continue it for a while at least.
 

BobbyLane

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Why would you fear mistakes when they’re plants? They grow and change over time. They can be cloned and propagated and layered. Losing a great piece of material sucks but it’s not the end of the world. It would suck worse if you bought expensive material of course but if you are cheap like me then you don’t have much but time invested.
its one of the biggest issues that holds back many from moving their trees forward. one example, you see thread after thread of peeps asking how to style this? where should i cut etc... they get the advice, but still do nothing.
maybe they didnt realise that it was ok to make mistakes in the comfort of your home and dont even have to show anybody. the fear of mistakes and killing trees, its real. and will forever hold people back from progressing.
 
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Cadillactaste

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My step into bonsai began on a return trip from Honduras on a mission trip. I seen this gigantic bougainvillea at the guest house. I had wanted to possibly get one for a reminder of what we still had to do there. But...having one potted tree in the sun room already. I didn't see how I could have a second one. (Now I have two small grow areas for tropicals. Sort of amusing.)

As to why I continue. I would be lying if I didn't have a time when I was ill.. that I was second guessing why I did this hobby of keeping trees in pots. I got through that stage and was glad I stuck with it. Having the illness when most the trees were dormant. Helped me...stay in the hobby I believe.

Looking now...I chuckle...at how two grow areas work okay. But a second potted tree couldn't. Lol I think it was more I didn't like the looks of two potted trees in the room to be honest.
20200911_125742.jpg
 

misfit11

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Are you sure bonsai was the tree of choice for you while at Humboldt? 🤣😂🤣
I was wondering if someone would make some reference to weed when I mentioned that I went to Humboldt. Yes, I definitely did partake in some of the region's notorious herb while I was there... It's also a great school known for it's science programs including a world class botany program.

This reminded me of this old thread here on BNut https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/cannabis-bonsai.893/

Looks like that thread refuses to die. People were resurrecting it as recently as April of last year.

Cory
 

Matt B

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The bonsai are like pets that need and appreciate much less attention. The need mostly water and sun for food,, and there are whole months where they need nothing but a sprinkle now and then. Life events come in slow motion, and can be regimented and planned for. If your "pets" survive past a certain point, you will never have to suffer its passing. Not your problem... Also, they never drop a steaming load on your living room carpet.

Then there is the artistic expression of it. It is a creative outlet much like painting or origami. But unlike painting and origami, a work of art is not measured in minutes, hours or days, rather in seasons and years.
 
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ConorDash

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Why would you fear mistakes when they’re plants? They grow and change over time. They can be cloned and propagated and layered. Losing a great piece of material sucks but it’s not the end of the world. It would suck worse if you bought expensive material of course but if you are cheap like me then you don’t have much but time invested.
Why wouldn't you?! Lol. Well the fear would be losing years of your life, either already spent or need to now spend, due to mistakes made.
Also, money lost. Whether its 100£ or 300£, even 50s can start to add up, why not.
Also care and effort put in to the trees, to lose that.
Also, if you have a tree with bark, you may be removing something which takes many years to build back again.

Why wouldn't you be worried?! Lol.

Fear of mistakes holds me back. 100%. I am a logical person, its hard to come away from.
 

leatherback

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Started.. Well.. A biologist by training, but moving away from the field into management left me with too many hours inside, and too little surrounded by nature. So we bought a house with a, for local standards, large garden. That was too small to satisfy my need to stay busy. So I picked up bonsai.

I continue because. Well. You do bonsai. Do I need to explain? you cannot like, just, stop!?
 

Woocash

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I am obsessed with trees. They calm me down and bring me joy just being amongst them. Listening to them and catching their scent, or leaning on them and feeling the way they move in the wind like breathing. They are perfect beacons of the wonder of nature. To start with something so small, and hundreds or even thousands of years later to end up with the largest living organisms on the planet, each being an entire habitat in their own right is wonderous.

My heaven would be living in a little log cabin in the middle of a woodland, surrounded by full sized bonsai. As it happens, however, this is quite a pipe dream so my alternative is to surround my self with a forest of miniature trees. If I can not be a tree, nor live among them then to craft the idealised versions of them is the next best thing.
 

sfeagan

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I have always enjoyed working with plants,trees,etc.. Growing up living next to my grandparents and spending a lot of time outside under the oak tree (on the Florida Space Coast) with my grandpa while he made hundreds of cutting and air layers from hibiscus, podocorpus, juniper and lot of other trees including fruit trees i just developed the loved for the hobby. I had never really thought about bonsai until I was in my 20's and met a guy at work that introduced me to it. It was very interesting to me and I dug up a few trees in the woods including a bald cypress from the St. Johns river (that I wish I still had) but they all died because I didn't keep up with them like I should've. I still have all my wire and the four pots that a I purchased from Brussel's 19yrs ago. I actually only got interested in it again a few months ago and I'm itching to get going with it and praying for SPRING to get here! :D
 

Trenthany

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Why wouldn't you?! Lol. Well the fear would be losing years of your life, either already spent or need to now spend, due to mistakes made.
Also, money lost. Whether its 100£ or 300£, even 50s can start to add up, why not.
Also care and effort put in to the trees, to lose that.
Also, if you have a tree with bark, you may be removing something which takes many years to build back again.

Why wouldn't you be worried?! Lol.

Fear of mistakes holds me back. 100%. I am a logical person, its hard to come away from.
Once I’ve got 10 years invested in a tree I’m sure I will feel the same but at the moment most of what I had can be reproduced in less than a couple years with collecting, air layering or even cheap purchases.
 

Cadillactaste

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its one of the biggest issues that holds back many from moving their trees forward. one example, you see thread after thread of peeps asking how to style this? where should i cut etc... they get the advice, but still do nothing.
maybe they didnt realise that it was ok to make mistakes in the comfort of your home and dont even have to show anybody. the fear of mistakes and killing trees, its real. and will forever hold people back from progressing.
I don't look at ones who don't take the advice on where one should cut...as it holding them back. I think it's a strong character who can chew over directions offered...and if not strong in a direction. They wait until they are. But...I come from it from early on...some guy I reached out to when B-Nut was down...Someone on Facebook. I was hoping he was the head Nut Greg...but wasn't sure Greg's name of course it was really early on. Wasn't Greg...nor is he a member of the group. He's from the UK...does do bonsai...and I've gained a lot of solid guidance from my reaching out. But the one thing he shared...was something that was HUGE. He shared his story...

He had this tree...seen a direction...had taken steps in going that direction. Paid to sit in a lecture/class of a prominent artist. That artist evaluated his tree...seen a different direction. And though he didn't see it for himself. He permitted them to chop his tree into this new direction. Mind you...it was a good direction. Just not his own...every time he looked at that tree. His stomach twisted. He seen that tree as a sign of his weakness to not say...Let me chew that over and think on it. He ended up selling the tree. His best advice to me was to always accept advice and guidance graciously...but when it comes to a design for your tree...NO NOT take drastic actions. Chew over it if you will...for a few days. Make sure that their vision is your own. If it is...then proceed. If not...wait...until you feel solid in a direction. If that tree sits on your bench three years untouched...it's offering more directions for you to take it when you finally take it in hand again.
 

BobbyLane

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Once I’ve got 10 years invested in a tree I’m sure I will feel the same but at the moment most of what I had can be reproduced in less than a couple years with collecting, air layering or even cheap purchases.
anything can be reproduced if you have learnt what to do with a good trunk. ive sold a lot of good trees, but i could make another one with the right material.
 

Cadillactaste

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anything can be reproduced if you have learnt what to do with a good trunk. ive sold a lot of good trees, but i could make another one with the right material.
I tend to look for unique trunks and such...To find the same bones...would be a needle in a haystack. Could I find another unique piece...yes. But...reproduce what I lost...I don't think I could to be honest.
 

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