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Joeface
October 28th, 2011, 10:49 PM
I'm an absolute beginner trying to find some stuff to learn on so I got this scots pine from home depot on sale for like 10 bucks. So I guess I have a few questions:

1) Did I pick out an okay tree?
2) There's so much going on here I don't know where to start styling wise, any pointers?

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/7119/1000565.jpg
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/1618/1000567yk.jpg
http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg43/scaled.php?server=43&filename=1000569a.jpg&res=medium
(The thing in the pic is a standard size credit card)
sorry the pics are from a few different angles I didn't know where to begin.

Thanks for your time!

edprocoat
October 29th, 2011, 12:47 AM
First you need to decide what style you are training this tree in. It has a great trunk which can imitate age and height in a small size tree. Personally I would open up the side in the second picture you posted to show the trunk. I beleive the scots pine should be pruned late fall to winter. If it wre mine I would prune the double branch the card is resting on in pic #2 and the lower thinner branch on the right of the trunk and the small one that is pointing at you in that picture. I would probably air layer the big lower branch on the right side as its almost tree looking by itself. I am sure there are many here who are familiar with this plant and would have better ideas, just wanted to offer my 2 cents worth, nice looking tree though.

ed

Brian Van Fleet
October 29th, 2011, 04:57 AM
Joeface, a few questions first:
1. Have you done anything to it yet? (Don't layer that branch...wrong tree, wrong time)
2. What experience do you have, as an "absolute beginner"? Any reading, wiring, friends doing bonsai?
3. What drew you in to this tree...what do you like about it that you want to keep?
4. Is it safe to assume you want to work on this now, and this isn't a purchase intended to grow out for years later?
5. Where are you located?

JudyB
October 29th, 2011, 05:01 AM
Joe, looks like you've picked a decent piece of material to work with, no mean feat for nursery stock. But Brian is right, we need to know more about you and especially where you are to tell you more about what can be done with it safely.

Vance Wood
October 29th, 2011, 06:21 AM
The first thing I would do, and I would suggest you do it also, is to remove it from the nursery container. With your hands GENTLY remove the top layer of soil down to a point where you can see where the first surface roots emerge from the trunk. This will give you some sort of idea of what you are really dealing with. The nursery trade is notorious for the practice of throwing a bunch of fresh soil in on top of the soil mass when potting up to a larger container. When you have done this take a couple of pictures of the results and put the tree back into the nursery container leaving the rest of the soil mass alone. As for now, until you get a good idea of what you want to do with this tree, just leave it alone until spring of this next season.

Unless the tree screams out to you about a particular style, it is best to take a little time and look for possibilities, remembering that every style and form depends on the trunk and base of the tree. More than once I have seen good material ruined because someone has made some sort of arbitrary decision about what the tree should be. The results are far better if the material gives you ideas rather than trying to make the material conform to some idea the tree may not be ideally suited for.

Gene Deci
October 29th, 2011, 07:06 AM
Vance's advice is, as usual, good and I would hope you consider it carefully. An important part of any bonsai is the base of the trunk and the roots as they enter the soil (the nebari) Deciding on the front of the tree and the branch structure should not be done without examining the nebari first. THinking about the options for awhile never hurts either. Perhaps the most important lesson of all is learning to be patient.

Vance Wood
October 29th, 2011, 07:31 AM
. Perhaps the most important lesson of all is learning to be patient.

And in many ways the most difficult. Most beginners go to a nursery, or where ever, to obtain material to work on. The last thing they want to be told is to be patient and wait. This is why I usually tell those starting out to find a decent Juniper, preferably Chinese (Juniperus Chinensis----), of which there are many cultivars (versions), not too expensive and very forgiving of mistakes and abuses. Problem with style still remains but with Junipers there is a great tendency to want to make them into cascades. This should be avoided at the first. Look for other solutions then go to cascade.

Shimpaku
October 29th, 2011, 08:30 AM
That is a beautiful tree. Try to avoid instant gratification in making it look like a bonsai in a short period of time. The tree will suffer and possibly perish. I would get to know it over the course of a year, just working to keep it healthy.

Personally, I would work with something a little more forgiving as your first try at styling and set this aside while you learn. Good pick up.

Stan Kengai
October 29th, 2011, 10:01 AM
Everyone is being nice with their comments thus far, so I'll beat Harry and Al to the punch in telling it like it is. Joeface, yes, this looks like decent material. Give it to someone who knows what they're doing! (half kidding) Pine is one of the "advanced" level bonsai genuses (genus', geni?), ergo they're not ideal for a novice. Pines require extremely specialized techniques and generally take a very long time to develop. This is not conducive to success for the novice enthusiast. You need something that can provide that "instant gratification" of making a bonsai, or you will eventually give up in frustration (that's not a knock on you, it's just the way society is today). If you don't already have a few chopped up (still living) junipers sitting around, go get a few, as Vance suggested.

All that being said, you can probably develop this into a nice bonsai with an infinite amount of patience. To give you an idea, this particular specimen would take at least 10 years of training to become even a modest bonsai. So, read up on techniques, and train it very simply and slowly. In the mean time, try to find some material that is much more forgiving and faster to develop.

Here is a good place to read up on bonsai: http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/articles.htm Scots culture is much like that of the Japanese black pine.

Also, Peter Adams has a section in his book "The Art of Bonsai" dedicated entirely to Scots Pine. The book was published by Ward Lock, but I think it's out of print. If you can't find the book, PM me and I'll see if I can help.

Smoke
October 29th, 2011, 11:00 AM
Actually I don't respond to threads like this any longer. I have no idea why anyone would buy a piece of material with a purpose in mind and then come to a forum and ask how to proceed with making it into something....but thats just me..

Good luck with your piece of material. May it bring you many years of enjoyment, Al

Joeface
October 29th, 2011, 11:08 AM
@Brian Van Fleet
1) All I've done to it is brush off the dry, dead needles.
2) I don't have any experience working on trees, but I have read a few beginner books and read a lot of the articles on bonsai4me (there was a long one about pines).
3) I liked the width and gentle lean of the trunk, it's not very radical or overwhelming. I thought having more branches up top would leave more possibilities for branch structure.
4) Yeah, I want to work on this one soon.
5) I live in eastern Nebraska, zone 5.

@Vance
I'll try to get some pictures of the surface roots when I get home from work, it was a little harder than I thought it would be because there are a lot of fine roots growing upwards that I didn't think I should damage too much.

oh it is a dwarf scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris 'Glauca Nana'

Thanks everybody :D

Klytus
October 29th, 2011, 11:21 AM
Hmm,U-bend roots that grow down,then up,then girdle the trunk before zipping off over the revealed soil surface and then plunging downwards striking bottom and then circling the pot a few times.

It's no easy task and will take several years just to get shot of these crazy roots.

Vance Wood
October 29th, 2011, 11:46 AM
Actually I don't respond to threads like this any longer. I have no idea why anyone would buy a piece of material with a purpose in mind and then come to a forum and ask how to proceed with making it into something....but thats just me..

Good luck with your piece of material. May it bring you many years of enjoyment, Al

Uh---because they're beginners and don't have a clue? If they did understand they wouldn't need to ask the questions. I no longer crap in my pants (at least for now) but there was a time when I did. I am now older and know better.

Bonsai Nut
October 29th, 2011, 12:05 PM
Actually I don't respond to threads like this any longer. I have no idea why anyone would buy a piece of material with a purpose in mind and then come to a forum and ask how to proceed with making it into something....but thats just me..

Good luck with your piece of material. May it bring you many years of enjoyment, Al

We've all been there. We all started somewhere. I have bought my share of material like this - particularly back when I lived in the MidWest and didn't have access to good nursery stock or wild material. You CAN learn from working with ANY material - no matter how humble its source - even if what you learn is not to start with that type of material again :) Or how to ramify pines even if the pines aren't going to end up anywhere. Or just how to keep a tree alive or how to repot something.

The whole point of asking for help is to express your own ignorance. Does an algebra teacher belittle their students because they don't know algebra on the first day of school? And no matter how full our knowledge base is, is it ever complete? Is it ever perfect? :)

Bonsai Nut
October 29th, 2011, 12:40 PM
I'm an absolute beginner trying to find some stuff to learn on so I got this scots pine from home depot on sale for like 10 bucks. So I guess I have a few questions

Joe, here's the honest truth from someone who has been exactly where you are now.

That particular material will be good for you to work on if you focus on building stepping stones of bonsai knowledge that will prepare you for future material. In other words, you will probably throw that tree away at some point in the future. :) I'm just being totally honest. If you take THAT approach and say "hey it was 10 bucks - now I want to do "X" and not kill it" you will be happier in the future than thinking you will use this particular tree to end up with a beautiful bonsai. It would require years and years of work and ultimately not be worth the effort - in that you can start somewhere else with different stock and be decades ahead of the game for not too much more money. And is a decade of your time worth $100? :)

So what could you learn with this tree? You could learn:

(1) How to depot, untangle roots, and repot without killing it. Nice skills to have before you start working on more expensive stock.
(2) How to balance energy in a pine, and go through a couple of seasons of needle cutting, bud selection, candle trimming, etc (this is a hard subject to master, even after years)
(3) In conjunction with (2), how to wire branches properly and develop good ramification.

Focus on THESE THINGS and worry less about design because design on this tree really isn't worth it. Create an awesome ramified Scots Pine, and after three years plant it in your yard :) Then you will be well ahead of the game when you go to buy pre-bonsai stock from a nursery. Trust me. Five years from now you will be well past this tree's potential IF you focus on developing skills. Otherwise you will continue to beat your head against the wall trying to make a purse out of a sow's ear :)

Klytus
October 29th, 2011, 12:53 PM
Even after yard planting there is still the possibility of enjoying design,Niwaki.

Here an example i could be bothered to highlight.

http://swindon-bonsai.co.uk/2011/05/18/niwaki-pine-workshop-part-i/

And even part deux.

http://swindon-bonsai.co.uk/2011/10/12/niwaki-pine-workshop-part-ii/

Bonsai Nut
October 29th, 2011, 01:51 PM
Even after yard planting there is still the possibility of enjoying design,Niwaki.

I wish I had a photo of the Japanese Black Pine in front of Chikugo-En Bonsai Nursery in Gardena. Last time I asked Gary how long it took him to maintain it and I think he said he spends three days trimming and selecting buds in the Fall. Three days on one tree! And Gary Ishii probably knows as much about JBP as anyone in the country!

Smoke
October 29th, 2011, 03:17 PM
The whole point of asking for help is to express your own ignorance. Does an algebra teacher belittle their students because they don't know algebra on the first day of school? And no matter how full our knowledge base is, is it ever complete? Is it ever perfect? :)

Yes but does that student come to class on the first day with a partial equation on the theory of quantum mechanics expecting to learn how to solve it in a day?

Once again I am sorry I even typed a message. But...thats the world we live in.


I work with Ted Matson several times a year. I am amazed at the breadth of knowledge he has and the soft touch he uses when speaking with new people. A very nice person that has nothing but nice things to say at all times. I have watched him work with a new person with a piece of material that is less than perfect. He works his way around all the flaws and tells them where they went wrong. Now the person comes back next time with much the same piece of material. They are not learning. This is something they will have to learn on their own. It is not something that is teachable.

This person bought this peice of material for two reasons. One, it was cheap. Two, it was big.

Whenever a newbie can combine big and cheap in the same purchase it has to be good right?

Well Colin Lewis thought bonsai were trees 10 inches tall for years because he saw them in a book and the book was only 11 inches tall. He didn't know any different. Today we have books and magazines and Kokufu books and internet that show large bonsai with thick trunks and massive amounts of deadwood. Those are the attributes that standout to someone new to this scene. A person can spend one night on the internet and think they know everything there is about bonsai from one session.

After this guy soils a few diapers and shows me some work, I may have some things to offer...but this forum does not need me to pile on with "buy a few juniper, buy a better tree."

Klytus
October 29th, 2011, 04:11 PM
It will be easier once the graft is visible,it may be freaking hideous and look like the scion will slide off at any moment.

But maybe not.

Shimpaku
October 29th, 2011, 05:43 PM
I am new to this forum, but have been working with Bonsai for a decade. It's a shame that this forum has such a welcoming feel, but a couple individuals that go out of their way to condescend a beginner. After reading some of the threads, it is the same repetition of this from a couple users; and it is troubling when this hobby has so much gratification to offer, even a beginner. Why bother making a comment sometimes?

Deriving pleasure in others belittlement really is sad.

SMOKE--You chased off another---I am referring to myself. Signing Off.....

Joeface
October 29th, 2011, 05:44 PM
Thanks Bonsai Nut that is exactly what I needed to hear! I was trying to rush it too much, I was a little overeager, being excited isn't a bad thing though is it? :p We'll see if I can keep this guy alive for a few years.

Al, you don't have to be care bear nice for me to learn some things from you, it just helps a bit :p (it does seem like you're trying really hard to discourage me though)

Thanks!

greerhw
October 29th, 2011, 06:18 PM
I have yet to see a piece of material like this turned into a decent tree, but I hope you prove me wrong. There is a reason places like Home Depot don't advertise pre bonsai material. In my opinion, noobs should start out with material that someone with experience started in the right direction, otherwise you will waste your time and get frustrated in the end. That's just the way it is. You CANNOT make a silk purse out of a sows ear, period and this Scotts is a sows ear. Plant it in the ground and make a landscape tree out of it, that way you didn't waste your money.

Harry

Vance Wood
October 29th, 2011, 07:01 PM
I don't mean to take a sort of moral high road here but the future of bonsai is in our hands for better or worse.

Is there anyone now in bonsai, outside of Japan where finding experienced help and professionally grown material, has not started with something like this? There may be a few living in California where it is more common to run into experienced bonsai people than anywhere else in the country. If an individual's interest was piqued by a book or the Internet the likely hood is good that material like this will be the result. Many will find this stuff frustrating and lose interest but it should not be because people like us who have likely traveled the same road.

Joedes3
October 29th, 2011, 08:43 PM
Read, read, read. Join a local club. Practice on this with the knowledge that this is not going to be your masterpiece. Develop the skills you will need and learn from your mistakes. All of this will keep you interested and want to learn more. Some of the people here are experts and some want the hobby to grow.

From what I have observed, sometimes the experts just don't seem to have much tolerance of beginners.

I would also use this tree as a test for keeping something alive during th e winter months. It was only ten dollars, enjoy yourself. But learn from all aspects of the experience with this tree, even if you kill it. And you may kill it. But that is OK.

Remember, read, join a club, ask questions and then ask more questions. Forget those who will be negative. Best of luck and welcome to the forum.

Brian Van Fleet
October 30th, 2011, 07:07 AM
Joe,

Enough people have already weighed in about the difficulty of learning/starting with pines for bonsai, and especially those not grown specifically for bonsai. Do work with other trees, but since you asked about working on this one specifically, you did get some good advice on what can be done if you decide to practice. For now, a couple other very general rules of thumb that weren’t mentioned include…brace yourself:

1. Once you identify the trunk line with the best taper; mark the pot to identify the front.

2. Most convincing bonsai have the primary branch emerging from the right or left side; the next branch should be higher, and emerging from approximately the opposite side, and the third branch is even higher, and emerging from approximately the back. This is repeated until you get to the apex. Again…this is very general.

3. Pines tend to produce whorls of branches at the same point around the trunks and branches; like spokes of a wagon wheel. This results in taper and visual balance problems.

4. To keep the tree tapering properly, reduce each of these whorls of branches to the best single branch emerging from the trunk:
a. The best single branch is a branch with needles closest to the trunk, and emerging on the outside of a curve.
b. When you reduce each whorl to the best single branch, you’ll see why this isn’t the best starter material.

5. This step would be best to do with someone with experience:
a. Keep foliage close to the trunk, take what’s left and reduce each branch back to the closest couple tuft of foliage to the trunk. This is the OPPOSITE from the “Poodle” look; you want to remove the outer growth, leaving interior growth that is close to the trunk.
b. Take the end of a branch in your left hand, trace it all the way back to the trunk. Find the tuft of growth on that branch that is CLOSEST to the trunk, then the second closest tuft…then remove everything beyond that second tuft.
c. Be sure each tuft of foliage has a bud on the end.
d. You can see some of this on an unfinished article called "Fall work for pines" at my website here (http://www.nebaribonsai.com/Nebari_Bonsai_112109/Projects.html).

Also, keep in mind that the present trunk might not be the best trunk line. You mentioned liking the trunk line, but remember that you could more easily identify a branch that can be shaped to achieve point 2 above (see attached photo as one option).

18893

After this, post some photos and let’s see what’s left.

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 10:42 AM
Scotts in general do not make good bonsai, I known there are exceptions to every rule, but it takes someone with a lot of experience and skill to develope one and that is usually from a very old yamadori.

Harry

JudyB
October 30th, 2011, 11:52 AM
Even if it's the worst piece of material in the world, there are all kinds of things he can learn from it. I think that it would be easier if Joeface started with deciduous trees, yes. But if he can keep this alive and learn pruning and shaping techniques on a $10.00 tree, then he'll be ready for better stock and know what to do with them in a couple seasons. Better to do that than kill a promising tree....
Welcome to the forum Joeface. Do yourself a favor and get a decent deciduous tree to work as well. It'll teach you faster and you'll be able to do more work sooner.

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 12:37 PM
Sorry to disagree with you Judy, but every beginner should start with a green mound juniper (Procrumbens Nana), the least expensive, easiest to style and keep alive. In most cases you can have something resembling a bonsai after the first styling. In the club I used to belong, we did 4 demo trees at our show. We always used green mounds and sold all of them to people watching the demo. It's as close to instant gratification as possible in bonsai, and a great learning plant.

Harry

Joedes3
October 30th, 2011, 01:02 PM
My first tree was a Juniper. I killed it the very first winter. The price was right (Home Depot) and I learned from the experience. I also joined a local club. Harry is right, it looked like a bonsai instantly. I thought I knew it all, what a surprise!

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 01:49 PM
Picking out good material, pruning and wiring, keeping your plant alive all take different skill sets and all are equally important. Learn them all !!

Harry

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 02:34 PM
I wish I had a photo of the Japanese Black Pine in front of Chikugo-En Bonsai Nursery in Gardena. Last time I asked Gary how long it took him to maintain it and I think he said he spends three days trimming and selecting buds in the Fall. Three days on one tree! And Gary Ishii probably knows as much about JBP as anyone in the country!

Here ya go....

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 02:59 PM
Read, read, read. Join a local club. Practice on this with the knowledge that this is not going to be your masterpiece. Develop the skills you will need and learn from your mistakes. All of this will keep you interested and want to learn more. Some of the people here are experts and some want the hobby to grow.

From what I have observed, sometimes the experts just don't seem to have much tolerance of beginners.

I would also use this tree as a test for keeping something alive during th e winter months. It was only ten dollars, enjoy yourself. But learn from all aspects of the experience with this tree, even if you kill it. And you may kill it. But that is OK.

Remember, read, join a club, ask questions and then ask more questions. Forget those who will be negative. Best of luck and welcome to the forum.

Just what exactly constitutes tolerance? I am not tolerent because I do not respond to threads such as these anymore? Have you read every post I have ever posted in the last 13 years on the many forums I belong to?

Negative? Forget those that will be negative? Is it negative to tell someone that they have wasted their money on a poor buy? Is it negative to tell someone that only learning Doctors work on cadavors, and it will be more prudent to spend ones time on more productive learning experiences?

My replys come from years of experience, a body of work left on many forums and articles written on a variety of bonsai subjects for everyone willing to type my name into an advanced search engine. Why are my negative replies less important than those of someone more positive about the elephant in the room? Is there not room on this forum for those that don't beat around the bush and really have experience with this sort of tree?

In all the posts here I have still not seen anyone share anything as to how to utilize this tree into anything near looking like a bonsai. Brian's idea is to cut 95 percent of the tree off retaining a small branch at the bottom....yea good luck with that.

Sometimes it's OK to tell someone to cut their loss and just move on. Is that so bad?

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 04:39 PM
Just what exactly constitutes tolerance? I am not tolerent because I do not respond to threads such as these anymore? Have you read every post I have ever posted in the last 13 years on the many forums I belong to?

Negative? Forget those that will be negative? Is it negative to tell someone that they have wasted their money on a poor buy? Is it negative to tell someone that only learning Doctors work on cadavors, and it will be more prudent to spend ones time on more productive learning experiences?

My replys come from years of experience, a body of work left on many forums and articles written on a variety of bonsai subjects for everyone willing to type my name into an advanced search engine. Why are my negative replies less important than those of someone more positive about the elephant in the room? Is there not room on this forum for those that don't beat around the bush and really have experience with this sort of tree?

In all the posts here I have still not seen anyone share anything as to how to utilize this tree into anything near looking like a bonsai. Brian's idea is to cut 95 percent of the tree off retaining a small branch at the bottom....yea good luck with that.

Sometimes it's OK to tell someone to cut their loss and just move on. Is that so bad?

I feel ya pain brother, nobody wants to hear the truth when they think they know more than you do. When someone posts a piece of crap material for opinions, well then I'm going to tell them they posted a piece of crap. They probably won't listen anyway and spend a few months snipping and wiring the damn thing before it dies. I know it seems harsh to some sweet natured folks, but patting someone on the head and lying to them about what they are about to embark on is much crueler than being blunt.

Harry

Brian Van Fleet
October 30th, 2011, 05:08 PM
Just what exactly constitutes tolerance? I am not tolerent because I do not respond to threads such as these anymore? Have you read every post I have ever posted in the last 13 years on the many forums I belong to?

Negative? Forget those that will be negative? Is it negative to tell someone that they have wasted their money on a poor buy? Is it negative to tell someone that only learning Doctors work on cadavors, and it will be more prudent to spend ones time on more productive learning experiences?

My replys come from years of experience, a body of work left on many forums and articles written on a variety of bonsai subjects for everyone willing to type my name into an advanced search engine. Why are my negative replies less important than those of someone more positive about the elephant in the room? Is there not room on this forum for those that don't beat around the bush and really have experience with this sort of tree?

In all the posts here I have still not seen anyone share anything as to how to utilize this tree into anything near looking like a bonsai. Brian's idea is to cut 95 percent of the tree off retaining a small branch at the bottom....yea good luck with that.

Sometimes it's OK to tell someone to cut their loss and just move on. Is that so bad?

Thought you "don't respond to threads like this any longer"...? Pretty sure we've all agreed on the answer to his first question: this tree isn't headed to the show, but the guy's second question was for some "styling pointers", presenting an opportunity to adhere to your original post, or add to your body of work. I provided several pointers, including one radical. You and I were both new once, and if there's one thing to remember from back then...newbies are going to work on trees; best to point 'em in a direction and hope they learn.

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 05:21 PM
Whats wrong with pointing them in a better direction?


OK I have really had it with this "you and I were new once too crap".

Are you telling me that you went out and bought a crappy pine and posted it to a forum and told everyone you were new and thought someone else would design yur tree for you?

Or did you in the privacy of your own home kill a few dozen trees by actually working on them, learning from your mistakes, and continue to grow to the person you are today.

I don't know about you but thats not the premise of this thread at all. This guy did not come here and ask what would be an appropriate tree to begin this art with. He did not start with square one, he started with buying a tree wayyyy over his head, and then posting it here expecting everyone to fawn over it and then tell him that he could produce something great in a couple years. Just admit it, it was a bad buy, end of story. Plant it in the ground, give it to a neighbor, plant it in somebodies name on arbor day, but for heaven sake get something more worthy of this persons capibilities and get get an honest start on something that has potential to be something.

I have made some pretty good trees out of crap before , but even I would not want to work on that pine. Let's be honest Brian, if that guy came to your house and asked for help would you really tell him to cut that thing down to the crown?

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 06:03 PM
If you can't handle "The Truth" please don't post something you bought. Some us that have been do this for a long time will tell you the truth, but it will probably not be what you want to hear. If you can handle the truth, it will save you time, money and make your experience a much faster learning curve. I wish someone would have helped me. I'm going back to the bar, this is why I don't hang out on this side much anymore, I feel like I'm just wasting my time.

Harry

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 06:20 PM
I am new to this forum, but have been working with Bonsai for a decade. It's a shame that this forum has such a welcoming feel, but a couple individuals that go out of their way to condescend a beginner. After reading some of the threads, it is the same repetition of this from a couple users; and it is troubling when this hobby has so much gratification to offer, even a beginner. Why bother making a comment sometimes?

Deriving pleasure in others belittlement really is sad.

SMOKE--You chased off another---I am referring to myself. Signing Off.....

Posts like this crack me up. This guy has three posts and feels like I'm a bad guy for chasing him off. Give me a break.

Harry you hit the nail on the head. It's guys like Walter Pall who do not take time to post anymore to forums like this because someone is always telling him he's harsh or he doesn't know what he's talking about. Come on, it's the posters that provide good reading material about technique and can back that up with pictures over many years and how plants respond to technique that are missed when someone decides to quit posting.

Piss off all the contributers and what do you have left...a forum full of those eager to pat you on the back. Good luck planting than in a bonsai pot.

Peace out, Al

Vance Wood
October 30th, 2011, 06:26 PM
Come on guys, you can tell people the truth that doesn't include a long drive off a short pier. Sometimes a real bad choice can manifest itself in the very material being impossible or not worth the effort. You can't expect a bonsai virgin to know all these things. But the bottom line is this. Trying to encourage someone to stay in bonsai is more valuable to the art than putting a blind fold on them and pointing them on a walk through a mine field.

I don't believe either one of you are so mean spirited as to exploit an opportunity to be hurtful to someone who asked for help. If you think answering one of these questions is below you then don't answer it. I have certainly ignored more than my share of threads in my lifetime; mostly because they didn't interest me.

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 06:49 PM
Hey Vance, when I tell a newbie to buy a Procumbens to start on, is the best advice I can impart to them. Starting with material that has no chance or requires the efforts of a pro. will run them out of the hobby faster than my comments will. Good luck with your new hobby folks. First I will go see the exciting thread "what's your weather like"
then back to the bar !!

Harry

PS:
Never mind what I say, buy what you like and make a beautiful specimen tree out of it three years.

Brian Van Fleet
October 30th, 2011, 07:00 PM
Whats wrong with pointing them in a better direction?


OK I have really had it with this "you and I were new once too crap".

Are you telling me that you went out and bought a crappy pine and posted it to a forum and told everyone you were new and thought someone else would design yur tree for you?

Or did you in the privacy of your own home kill a few dozen trees by actually working on them, learning from your mistakes, and continue to grow to the person you are today.

I don't know about you but thats not the premise of this thread at all. This guy did not come here and ask what would be an appropriate tree to begin this art with. He did not start with square one, he started with buying a tree wayyyy over his head, and then posting it here expecting everyone to fawn over it and then tell him that he could produce something great in a couple years. Just admit it, it was a bad buy, end of story. Plant it in the ground, give it to a neighbor, plant it in somebodies name on arbor day, but for heaven sake get something more worthy of this persons capibilities and get get an honest start on something that has potential to be something.

I have made some pretty good trees out of crap before , but even I would not want to work on that pine. Let's be honest Brian, if that guy came to your house and asked for help would you really tell him to cut that thing down to the crown?

Nope, and I didn't suggest cutting it down to the crown. But I would teach him that the current trunk isn't necessarily the only option...which was exactly the point I was making.

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 07:12 PM
Come on guys, you can tell people the truth that doesn't include a long drive off a short pier. Sometimes a real bad choice can manifest itself in the very material being impossible or not worth the effort. You can't expect a bonsai virgin to know all these things. But the bottom line is this. Trying to encourage someone to stay in bonsai is more valuable to the art than putting a blind fold on them and pointing them on a walk through a mine field.

I don't believe either one of you are so mean spirited as to exploit an opportunity to be hurtful to someone who asked for help. If you think answering one of these questions is below you then don't answer it. I have certainly ignored more than my share of threads in my lifetime; mostly because they didn't interest me.

ahhhh.... Vance I was minding my own business when someone else decided to drag Harry and I into it. Go back and read the first sentence in post 9. I had already read this thread the day before and had nothing nice to say and passed right over it. I stand by my original post saying buying something without a plan in mind is just wasting ones money anyway you cut it. Besides isn't this a discussion forum? Am I not entitled to an opinion even though you may disagree? I think everyone needs to just step back a moment and reflect on this thread and stop beating on those just being honest.....I don't remember there being any rules that I have to stretch the truth just so the forum will like me. We both have been on the internet a looong time and have history together way back to gardenweb being a list server. We both know each others past, don't try to sound too goody goody, we all know otherwise eehh....

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 07:16 PM
BTW, Vance, just thinking about it (chuckle)...How many times did Spike Hernandez send you to Disneyland?

I went three times...I know that wasn't a record........

Vance Wood
October 30th, 2011, 07:29 PM
Hey Vance, when I tell a newbie to buy a Procumbens to start on, is the best advice I can impart to them. Starting with material that has no chance or requires the efforts of a pro. will run them out of the hobby faster than my comments will. Good luck with your new hobby folks. First I will go see the exciting thread "what's your weather like"
then back to the bar !!

Harry

PS:
Never mind what I say, buy what you like and make a beautiful specimen tree out of it three years.

Come on Harry; I've never told anyone to buy a procumbens Juniper. Personally I am not a big fan of Procumbens Junipers they are difficult to work with unless you are familiar with some of the major problems with them, one is keeping them alive. I have never told anyone that they can make a beautiful specimen tree out of a nursery tree in three years either.

Vance Wood
October 30th, 2011, 07:38 PM
BTW, Vance, just thinking about it (chuckle)...How many times did Spike Hernandez send you to Disneyland?

I went three times...I know that wasn't a record........

None, not once.

greerhw
October 30th, 2011, 07:44 PM
Come on Harry; I've never told anyone to buy a procumbens Juniper. Personally I am not a big fan of Procumbens Junipers they are difficult to work with unless you are familiar with some of the major problems with them, one is keeping them alive. I have never told anyone that they can make a beautiful specimen tree out of a nursery tree in three years either.

Hey Vance, those of us in the south have very good success with Procumbens, thats why I always recommend them. I can't think of any major problems, just spray for spider mites and enjoy the plant, they are very forgiving and bud back where ever you want them to, the branches are limber and respond well to wiring. As far as the comment " make a tree in three years" had nothing to do with you or your suggerstions, I just wanted to make that clear. That's just the way I felt when I started, boy, did I wake up fast.

Harry

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 07:46 PM
I'm impressed. You are good......

Of course part of that three times was defending Ripsgreentree about some material he "talked" about but never showed any pictures. You know the ASANF club.

I coexed some readers to bonsaiTALK to look at the pics and Spike did not like competition too much, in the forum arena that is.

Joedes3
October 30th, 2011, 08:18 PM
I want to hear the truth but I think the problem is that the forum, as well as email, is one dimentional. Some us look at your comments and say, "Wow, did I screw up!" Others, may not be ready to hear it, even though they may have screwed up.

Ninety nine percent of you have so much more knowledge than me. I just keep on reading old posts, looking at pictures etc. Personnaly, I need your knowledge, as well as the hands on at the club. That's where they show me that I misunderstood what I was reading.

Again, the forum is one dimenionsal!

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 09:11 PM
I want to hear the truth but I think the problem is that the forum, as well as email, is one dimentional. Some us look at your comments and say, "Wow, did I screw up!" Others, may not be ready to hear it, even though they may have screwed up.

Ninety nine percent of you have so much more knowledge than me. I just keep on reading old posts, looking at pictures etc. Personnaly, I need your knowledge, as well as the hands on at the club. That's where they show me that I misunderstood what I was reading.

Again, the forum is one dimenionsal!

You know you are exactly right. In fact without naming a whole bunch of names, what makes it OK for those unmentioned to gang up on my remarks for the remarks that I made to the original poster. If the original poster has a problem with what I say about his tree then he can ask me for clarification. I don't need a buch of busy bodies telling me how I should pass along my expertise.

As far as I'm concerned I have no idea why it is anybodies business how I wish to pass along my expertise.

I think it's time for some to just mind their own business.

Does that make sense? I mean some of these people are guilty of the same thing they are criticising me about...whats up with that.

Bonsai Nut
October 30th, 2011, 10:21 PM
Does that make sense? I mean some of these people are guilty of the same thing they are criticising me about...whats up with that.

I'm guilty of nothing. I'm perfect. By the way, we missed you today.

Smoke
October 30th, 2011, 10:36 PM
I'm guilty of nothing. I'm perfect. By the way, we missed you today.

Hah! I'm saving my nut for Shohin. Teaching a workshop and still deciding if a workshop is in the cards for the afternoon. Riverside is just so far to go and my schedule in Oct, Nov. and Dec. is packed. Kazari next weekend, family reunion in Santa Paula the next weekend with a stay at the Crown Plaza, Thanksgiving weekend four days at the coast, then the central valley swapmeet and three Christmas parties at the three clubs I belong to in Dec., Boons exibit in Jan. and then Shohin in Feb.

I'm spendin money like a drunken sailor and I just wasn't able to throw a grand at Riverside. Catch me at Sacramento next year, I'll be the guy buyin Kevin Wilson a warm beer!

Vance Wood
October 31st, 2011, 07:06 AM
Sometimes you can't win no matter what you try to do. I remember years ago an individual came onto another site, a little earlier than ripsgreentrees, boasting of this that and other things. He and I got into it but in the end he posted pictures from his bonsai business and asked for comments. Personally I thought his material did not measure up to his rhetoric but I was not going to say anything. He kept asking and asking what I thougt, in more of a challenging manner, and I refused to comment because I figured the truth would lead to a flame war. So----I kept my thoughts to may self---- and was still rewarded with a flame war because of my silence. Go figure?

We are in fact intitled to our own opinions but these must be tempered with the realization that not everyone has to agree or may agree with that oppinion. It should be understood that we should attempt to diminish the harm to others that opinion may hold. The simpelist solution I have found is to remain silent, or ask someone if they are willing to hear the truth.

Stan Kengai
October 31st, 2011, 08:46 AM
ahhhh.... Vance I was minding my own business when someone else decided to drag Harry and I into it. Go back and read the first sentence in post 9. I had already read this thread the day before and had nothing nice to say and passed right over it. I stand by my original post saying buying something without a plan in mind is just wasting ones money anyway you cut it. Besides isn't this a discussion forum? Am I not entitled to an opinion even though you may disagree? I think everyone needs to just step back a moment and reflect on this thread and stop beating on those just being honest.....I don't remember there being any rules that I have to stretch the truth just so the forum will like me. We both have been on the internet a looong time and have history together way back to gardenweb being a list server. We both know each others past, don't try to sound too goody goody, we all know otherwise eehh....

I apologize for dragging you guys into it, that wasn't what I intended. I personally admire those who talk straight and don't sugar-coat things. I think that there are enough "encouraging" posters on here who tip-toe around the subject, and that has to be balanced somewhere with a little reality and frankness. I think one of the problems with our society today is that most people don't want to hear the truth, they only want to hear how good they are. Anyway, that's another thread for the karaoke bar. Sorry, Al and Harry.

greerhw
October 31st, 2011, 11:37 AM
Don't sweat the small stuff. I would never discourage anyone from starting bonsai as a hobby. I do try and save folks some of the problems I had when I started, it is possible to fast forward in the hobby if you listen to people who have been there. It's only a matter of time before we have a new and cheap soil mix, or does Superthrive work threads.
What is the best fertilizer, now before someone asks that question, Walter Pall goes to his local nursery and buys whatever is on sale, good enought for Walter, good enough for me. Oh, by the way, Superthrive is snake oil.

Harry

Joeface
November 1st, 2011, 07:49 PM
did some butchering, it was kind of fun being my first plant, hopefully its not going to die

JudyB
November 2nd, 2011, 10:37 AM
Are you going to post a photo?

Chiang Cheng Kooi
November 3rd, 2011, 12:52 AM
Like what most of the bonsai master said in this forum, learn how to manage pine tree first. How ever for a starter, if u wants to start to bonsai this tree, i think semi cascade is a better option becoz the deeper and larger volume pot use for semi cascade provide a more stable medium for the root.

Fangorn
November 3rd, 2011, 06:05 PM
Scotts in general do not make good bonsai, I known there are exceptions to every rule, but it takes someone with a lot of experience and skill to develope one and that is usually from a very old yamadori.

Harry
I've seen lots of very nice non-yamadori Scots bonsai around here, and not just at Colin Lewis's or Nick Lenz's place. In fact, I think that they are the best pine to grow in our area

greerhw
November 3rd, 2011, 06:32 PM
I've seen lots of very nice non-yamadori Scots bonsai around here, and not just at Colin Lewis's or Nick Lenz's place. In fact, I think that they are the best pine to grow in our area

I would love to be proven wrong, please post some pictures. I have not seen very many pictures of specimen Scotts.

Harry

Fangorn
November 3rd, 2011, 07:30 PM
I would love to be proven wrong, please post some pictures. I have not seen very many pictures of specimen Scotts.

Harry

CLICK (http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t7106-conifer-bonsai-in-valavanis-summer-garden)

Julian Adams has some nice Scots. The pine on page 1 received the Certre Award for the Finest Bonsai & Container at the first National Exhibition. It was dug from a Christmas tree farm in 1976.
I bought a Scots similar to the one on page 3 from Julian a couple of years ago and did some work on it with Colin, but it came out of winter storage weak and faded away (roots). Very Sad
CLICK (http://www.adamsbonsai.com/websitelong_016.htm)

greerhw
November 3rd, 2011, 07:50 PM
Thanks for your post, Most don't interest me but the very last one, it has some movement and seems to be ramified very well.

Harry