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Bonsai Banter Issue # 58 Bonsai Resolutions
December 31, 2014

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Bonsai Resolutions

Just in case you haven't included bonsai in your new year's resolutions, here are a few suggestions:

Build those bonsai benches you promised yourself last year (or was it the year before?)

Sort and clean your bonsai pots - again.

Clean and sharpen your tools often.

Give away or sell bonsai that will never be the tree you intended.

Make plans to attend at least one bonsai convention in 2015. You owe it to yourself!

Bonsai Photography and Shohin

When you see this pyracantha bonsai photo, do you have any idea how tall it is? Would you guess 8 inches (20 centimeters)?

If you're new to bonsai, know that there are many ways to classify bonsai. The species or type of tree is just one; size is another. “Shohin” is a Japanese word meaning “tiny thing” and refers to bonsai in the 6" - 8" size.

I especially enjoy the photos that give me a clue, such as Suthin's easily recognized photography of a shohin Ficus and an apple.

Special Connections to Check out!

Stay up to date on everything at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum & the National Bonsai site.

nbf sign up page

Exprit Bonsai Goes international! - "Created in 2003, Esprit Bonsai Magazine - France is now the leading French magazine on bonsai read by thousands of bonsai enthusiasts. The diversity and the quality of its content is known worldwide and, as wished by many international readers, it is now available for the first time in English." - Anne-Christine

In last month's BonsaiBanter I mentioned the new Bonsai Only Auction Facebook group page, and asked for comments.

I received this note from Dale Cochoy, Wild Things Bonsai Studio: "The “Bonsai Auctions” site is terrific and I sell pots there often. They also have a sister site called “99 cent bonsai” which is more lower cost items. No junk, just lower costs (it’s not really 99 cent stuff.).

Novice Questions re:

Age of Bonsai

Tom L wrote: I was recently at the Morakami Gardens and saw the collection of Bonsai there. One thing I'm curious about . . . is the dates each tree has included in their description. There was an origination date of some sort ... and then a date for the year it became a bonsai. Ten or more years might pass between these times.

My questions are - what exactly is that first date (the date the seed sprouts, a cutting of the tree is planted)? And what is the tree doing between then and when it first becomes a bonsai (surely it would grow too big in 10 or more years left alone to grow)?

Vlad Foursa, curator at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, a public bonsai garden in Delray Beach, FL responded:

Date of origin - Tom is correct in his guess. Date represents time when plant started growing either from seed, cutting, air layer. In some cases it's an educated guess. That information is provided by the donor of the bonsai (except for a couple of cases when I know previous owner, we just have to accept it, but it seems pretty accurate)

Date when tree became bonsai - When it was styled with intention to make bonsai out of plant. Between the date of origin and this date plant could have been part of someone's landscaping, patio plant, or it grew in the wild (in which case estimating of it's true age is difficult.)

A Winter Tip for Tropicals

If you're struggling with tropical bonsai indoors, AND you're sure you have enough light -- but they're still not happy -- maybe they have "cold feet."

Use a seedling propagation mat to keep tropical bonsai feet warm.

Keep in mind water and electricity do not mix ... do not use household heating pads!

Ficus bonsai shown here belongs to Dave Bogan. See where Dave keeps his tropicals: Greenhouse - Bogans Bonsai

BonsaiBanter Gets Mail

I receive tons of email, however, if you miss-type your email address I have no way of finding you! Internet problems also occur. When you don't hear from me, I'm not ignoring you, please write again.

Larry S from Texas sent me this:

First, thank you for having this informative site. It's great. I have been searching for a Harland boxwood to no avail what-so-ever. Can you help me with places that can be contacted to possibility obtain one. I want to buy the plant and style it myself.

Hey Larry Contact Me again, I have a response for you!

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Happy New Year !

May 2015 bring all the answers and good things you wish for yourself and those you love.

Until next time, thanks for your input and for visiting my site.


Mary Miller

P.S. Remember, this time of year the weather can be tricky, vigilance is the key.

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