I’ve been hard at work with my trees, now they are beginning to look like proper bonsai. Hard to believe that the bottom one started out a bush with no discernible trunk. Sadly those currant cuttings didn’t make it, I couldn’t get them to take root and they died. No big deal since they were free.
Here is the initial pruning I did on one of my trees, it’s a blue star juniper. Next month I’ll be able to put training wire on the branches, but for know I just need to keep the tree watered and fed. I managed to start a cutting on one of the branches I removed, hopefully I will be able to start on impressive pedigree.
Here in Washington we have several majestic forests. One thing that makes our forests particularly striking is how the trees are usually covered in sleeves of vibrant moss. Some of the moss species are like wool or carpet, others resemble shaggy fur like that of a mountain goat. Often it is something of a cross.
I think living surrounded by so many beautiful trees may have been part of what inspired me to get into bonsai. Microcosms have always intrigued me, and good bonsai are just that. Yes they are kept artificially small and they are artificially shaped and groomed, but they mimic their (often literal) siblings in nature. I’d love to one day do a bonsai of Washington species with sleeves of moss growing on the branches and trunk. However I’m not sure if that is possible, since bonsai are much more sensitive than free growing trees. Certain mosses are often used as lawn on top of the soil, there is even special bonsai moss spray for that.
I don’t own the picture below, it was taken from a fair use website
One of the currant bushes in my previous bush died. I’m not upset about this because the other two seem to be doing fine and I’ve only had them for a couple days. Not like I’ve had months worth of labor or more go down the drain. Besides, the cuttings were free and can easily be replaced. One silver lining is now I have a ready to go pot set up for my next cutting.
On Monday I had breakfast with my grandma and told her about by progress with bonsai. She lives a short walk away from me and has been an avid gardener for years. Her yard has a number of current bushes with nice flowers and I realized they could make promising bonsai specimens, so I got three cutting from the best bush and she helped me pot them. If I’m lucky they will take root within a month, but they make take until the end of summer or so. Either way it should be quite a while before they are ready to become true bonsai.
Today I garden shopping. My grandma needed to go to Home Depot so I went with her to see if they had any potential bonsai specimens. They had a pretty good selection, so maybe I’ll go there next time I want to buy a new tree. After we were done there we went to a local gardening store. It was pretty big and they had pretty much anything garden related you could imagine. They had a great selection of bonsai pots and some accessories like mud men, so I’ll probably return when I decide it’s time to pot my trees.
On Tuesday I ordered a bonsai tool kit on Amazon and it came in today. Now I have pruning shears, tweezers, a mini rake, a spade, and a couple other things. Some bonsai veterans have kits of maybe a hundred different tools and they use every one of them. I don’t need that many tools for now. All I need are ones that are absolutely necessary to train my trees to grow parallel to their free growing cousins.
This is my first tree. Right now it is no different than any other tree of its age. Soon it will be pruned, trimmed, wired and repotted, and it will become a bonsai; beginning a long journey to becoming a microcosm of its free growing cousins.
The Bonsai Club meeting was wonderful. Very informative and the speaker was entertaining and knowledgeable. Best of all, everyone was very happy to see a guest (me) and eager to answer any questions. At the end of the meeting there was a raffle and I won a bonsai tool bag. Lucky for me club policy is if anyone with a winning ticket passes on an item then it goes to a guest or newest member, there were two passes and I got a beginner’s guide and a small boxwood tree that hasn’t been shaped or trained yet.
I’m not sure when I’ll begin working on the tree, I might begin soon and if not I’ll wait for the specimen to grow a noticeable amount. One thing I need to do is begin shopping for essential tools, most importantly fertilizer. Bonsai roots are stunted, which helps the rest of the tree stay small. However this means their roots don’t get as much nutrients from soil, so fertilizer is essential to bonsai care.
I’m eager to start this new pastime, I’ll be showing off my progress here.
Lately I’ve been interested in getting into bonsai trees. I’ve always thought it was an intriguing practice and I recently saw a few kits for sale on Amazon and I almost bought one. However I didn’t want to just go in blindly, so I googled about getting started with bonsai and it turns out starting with one of those kits isn’t a wise idea. They come with a seed, a planter, a small pot, and tools, what they don’t tell you is it five years or so until that seed grow into a tree that is ready for training. In other words you’ll have to wait forever before you can actually use any of the tools it comes with.
Turns out a much better (and traditional) way to begin is to get a cutting at nursery, that way you won’t have to wait to long to train it. All of the sites I looked at also recommended getting involved with a local bonsai club to learn the best tree species for beginners in your area’s environment and the best nearby place to get a cutting. I found a club in my area and I’ll be leaving for the meeting in an hour.