One more thing about the grounds that I should mention is that they have a building devoted to workshops and classes on bonsai. You can check out their calendar here..
OK! Let me share with you some things I learned
One of the big things that I talked to everybody about is growing bonsai from seed. And I learned that it is really not a big thing in the bonsai world. This is because you really can't do any bonsai work with a seedling. Depending on the type of tree and how quick it grows you typically have to wait 5 or so years before you can start to treat it like a bonsai! Makes absolute sense. So, if you are looking to grow bonsai from seed like I am you don't need a bonsai expert; you need a seedling expert!
Plan your tree around your environment. This is an important thing that I learned. You have to have a grasp of where the tree will live then select a tree that will thrive in this environment. Do you want an indoor tree? Do you want an outdoor tree? Do you live in low humidity or low humidity? And where in the country do you live? Is it seasonal? Is it temperate year round?
It is important to understand this before you select a tree. You really just can't have any "Bonsai" you want just because it is aesthetically pleasing to you. It is a living thing with a limited range of environmental needs. You have to put some thought into choosing one that will thrive in your selected environment.
The Canary in the coal mine Bonsai: I thought this was quite brilliant. And probably a very common thing in greenhouses. Hitoshi (an owner) pointed out a Tea tree to me and he said that the tree is considered to be very "sweet" to pests and insects. So, they will tend to want to bother that tree first. So watching that tree carefully for any problems is a good way to be ahead of the curve when it comes to problems amongst other trees. I like this a lot. This type of tree is an early indicator of any problems that could come up among the other trees.
And Hitoshi and I had a great conversation about the philosophy of bonsai. He told me about a man in his 90's who has been caring for bonsai his whole life. I quipped "Looks like bonsai is the secret to a long life". To which he responded, "Yes, there is a giving and taking with bonsai. You care for them and they care for you." I thought wow this is exactly what I love about bonsai. The philosophy of it. The slow progression and the planning out for years. And the fact that you can't rush it.
In modern day American life we strive for things to take care of themselves. We don't have the time for anything. Everything is microwaved, self-defrosting, auto inflating etc.. etc.. etc.... tweets go out automatically, software updates itself automatically and tv shows are recorded automatically.
But Hitoshi told me a little bit about bonsai. "They are something that you have to care for. You need to observe and check on them every day. You will start to get a feeling for the trees. You will learn to see when it is ok or when something is not quite right."
It takes time.
A good idea when it comes to bonsai from seed is for me to consider using seeds from local trees. These trees have been perfectly adapted to the Weather and seasons of New England. They have been bred to thrive here where I live. And they would be a good choice for me.
One Final Thought - If you are a regular visitor to my website you know I am passionate about meaning in and the meaning of life. And during the two hours I spent at the bonsai garden something struck me very strongly.
I had a wonderful conversation with a young man about propagating bonsai and how to do it successfully. He has lots of great ideas and techniques on caring for them, getting them to grow, how to trim them and how to get seedlings to grow. He is clearly very capable at all of this.
And I had several conversations with an older gentleman. Well, by older I mean my age. We talked about the various philosophical aspects of the art of bonsai and the meaning of it. Much like this tree he has many insights into the philosophy of bonsai and life.
And I thought to myself that bonsai are very much the same as humans.
The younger bonsai, new into their adult years, grow vibrant and green. Firmly rooted in the world and how it works. They revel in the environment in which they live.
And the older bonsai have a certain wisdom to them. You can just see it. The thoughts of wisdom spring forth like tiny flowers.
And when you put this together you get the sense that all these various aspects of people are kind of like a wonderful arrangement of bonsai that all compliment each other. Each one is different yet they all make a wonderful whole.
Want to see what Will bought at the NE Bonsai Gardens? I bought two bonsai that are excellent for beginners. I have pictures and more right here
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