Monday, February 5, 2007

Learning Bonsai

Oddly, there is no specific "beginning" when learning bonsai. I learned about bonsai with wild collected trees, meaning I had to learn to shape the tops of trees first; I had a trunk already and knew how to keep it alive. Others start from seed, so they must learn about trunk growing first. Still others purchase ready made bonsai and need to learn pruning techniques before anything else.

Workshops ($50-$80) start participants off with a tree, so they do not teach selection principles. They cover identifying the bonsai within the raw material, and how to make the tree like that. They do not cover how to care for the tree horticulturally. Nor do they teach how to refine a tree with the passage of time.

Bonsai is learned gradually; through trial and error; reading books; conversing with people of experience; and looking at bonsai trees. The Joshua Roth New Talent Competition considers "new talent" those with less then 10 years experience.

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