July 1 – 7 – seven straight days of bonsai. I attended Tropical Bonsai School, Year One directed by Bonsai Master Pedro Morales. Pedro travels extensively as a bonsai speaker and artist and has a nursery in Puerto Rico and the class was at Wigert’s Nursery in Ft. Myers Florida. It’s a 3 year program with an optional fourth year. We celebrated Independence Day working on Bonsai but I did wear my USA red tee shirt and watched fireworks on the way home and later on television. My hands felt like they had run a marathon by week’s end. Although they are used to working all day long, using bonsai tools, bending branches and pulling guy wires ALL DAY is a whole different exercise. Highlights of the week included working on trees using new techniques, educational powerpoint presentations, learning about specific tropical trees and then working on them, making a karama (cement pot/slab), eating Pedro’s cooking at our dinner celebration (yummy), spending time with new and old friends, walking through the nursery and a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I worked on big trees and little trees, all tropicals – each one with their own good features and little challenges. To improve at bonsai involves paying attention to your tree(s) and practice. Practice analyzing options, cutting, styling, pruning, wiring, potting etc. Like with computers, bonsai is a life long learning process and people are at all different stages and that’s okay. We learn from each other – novice, intermediate, professional and master. Reading is very important but to learn from other bonsai artists and masters and from other people’s trees is a wonderful opportunity. The trees themselves teach you a lot if you will just look. Speaking of looking, check Orlando Bonsai’s Facebook page for pictures. Our group picture is there as well as a small Ilex that I worked on but haven’t finished yet. I will add more pictures in the coming days so check back often. I highly recommend a focused period of bonsai – pick some trees and some time and focus on something you want to improve i.e. wiring, certain styles, a new technique, watering, pest control etc. Have your own backyard bonsai workshop and work on a tropical tree or two or three!
• Monday, July 16th, 2012
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