Bonsai Advice?

I've been thinking about bonsai for a long time and considering whether I should branch out into this type of "gardening". Whenever there is a bonsai exhibit nearby I go to admire all the different types and dream about having some of my own bonsai trees. One of my favorite types are those that are in groups resembling little landscape scenes, like this one which I admired at the bonsai exhibit at White River Gardens on Sunday.

Here's another example of a bonsai landscape. This one even has moneywort plant with it, which somehow they manage to keep under control!

This is the sign for the bonsai which shows the owner and grower and the age of the plant, which in this case is 41 years! This one comes from a Cisterian monk, who seems to have been a well known bonsai grower. In fact, it appears that the monks at this monastery grow bonsai and sell supplies to help support themselves. I must investigate further.

Anyway, I digress... I was bound and determined that this time I would not just admire the bonsai, I would buy a tree to get started. Fortunately, the local bonsai club was selling some seedlings. They had three I was interested in, including Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) and Trident Maple (Acer buergerianum).

I decided on the Trident Maple, pictured here because it has a lot of branching and they told me if you defoliate the tree in June, it will leaf out in again with smaller leaves.

Now that I have my seedling, my next step is to successfully overwinter it outside. I'll do some further reading, web-surfing and research on bonsai over the winter, and then in the spring, I'll hopefully know what my next step is. I think it will be to actually plant the seedling tree in a bonsai container. Then I'm going to need some help.

Does anyone have any advice on bonsai for me?


  1. Carol, my experience with growing bonsai is small, but my admiration is large! We've seen exhibitions in both Austin and Chicago, but the most spectacular was at the Arboretum in Washington, DC. One group of bonsai were given to the United States by Japan for the Bicentennial in 1976... some were nearly as old as our country.

    There's a related art called penjing, the Chinese precursor to bonsai, featuring trees in groups like miniature forests. I find this one fascinating, too.

    I now have a bonsai Ficus from the local bonsai society, which lives inside all year. I overwintered a bonsai juniper [bought as a high school fundraiser] for several winters, set under an overhanging evergreen with shredded mulch packed over the dish, so if I can do it, you sure can. The Trident Maple is very pretty - good luck with overwintering it.


  2. It's a very wonderful hobby, yet it's more than a simple hobby, it's like taking care of "someone else", you see it growing changing it leafs, it does tell you how it is and ask for water or to stop watering...they all have their "mood" about water...

  3. well, winter has passed, how did the little Maple do? I have had some experience with Bonsai, but it is limited. I tend to be too exlectic and eventually end up neglecting my poor tree. Better liuck to you.


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