Bonsai Art of Japan by Bjorvala Bonsai Studio

For the last few months, I’ve been watching a great series that Bjorn Bjorholm produces from his experiences at Kouka-en bonsai nursery in Japan called Bonsai Art of Japan. So far, 32 episodes have been posted that run about 8 to 10 minutes each. This is an invaluable resource for any bonsai artist, but especially for the beginner. As an added bonus, I found out that Bjorn was born right here in the South.

I usually have a tough time staying still long enough to watch a 10-minute video on the internet, but a few months ago I stuck my exercise bike in front of my computer. I put the bike timer on 10 minutes and watch the video. It’s worked out great for me learning about bonsai and getting some exercise in at the same time. I’ve posted my favorite episode so far below that shows techniques on developing Japanese Maples, but I encourage everyone to start from episode 1 and watch this series.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/KauXPxmiT5c?list=PLtzepPeCy5b6-AhwKsxUZbsv9YWJGxvaw&hl=en_US

Southern Bonsai Blog update

I’ve spent some time updating the software on the site and I hope to start blogging again soon. Seems like winter is always the time where I start reading and trying to learn more about the trees that I am busy trying to keep alive in the summer. I’ve read some great bonsai books and watched some great videos. I’ve also taken a couple of trips that I need to share. Not that I’m an expert, but just trying to help further bonsai in North America and my region, the South.

Lindsay Farr’s World of Bonsai Series 2

I just got finished watching the first episode of Lindsay Farr’s World of Bonsai Series 2 and this series continues to be fascinating (I’m a little behind since it was posted 6 months ago).  I think anyone who loves bonsai should be following this series and watching the videos.  I encourage everyone to head over to Vimeo and subscribe to this series and watch the episodes that have already been released.  If you haven’t watched World of Bonsai Series 1, then you have a lot of catching up to do, but it will be well worth your time.

http://www.bonsaifarm.tv is the World of Bonsai web site, and here is a list of all of Lindsay Farr’s videos on Vimeo.

Indoor Bonsai

Wintertime in the South is a time that my house fills with all the tropical plants from my bench.  Growing indoor bonsai can be a very rewarding experience especially if your new to bonsai and want to keep it close to you.  Unfortunately, it can be the most frustrating start to your bonsai career.  I started like many others have, with a juniper “mallsai”.  It was a gift from my lovely wife.  I made the classic bonsai beginner mistake and kept it inside for a couple of weeks.  After reading through many of the sites linked to on this site, I figured out that a juniper is for outdoors only.  My second purchase was a Ficus Microcarpa and a much better choice for indoor growing.  Since then, I have purchased several tropical bonsai that I have enjoyed taking care of.

Each year, I experiment with lighting conditions for these indoor bonsai, and this year is no different.  This year, I am trying a 24-inch fluorescent grow light for my smaller bonsai that was actually pretty cheap at Wal-Mart ($9.95).  My ficus gets it’s own 100-watt 6500K daylight CFL and my jade gets a 75 watt desk lamp that does a terrible job.  This seems to keep them barely happy for the winter months.  I really can’t wait for the summer months to put them back outside.  They seem much happier in the sunlight.  I fully intend to create a new setup before next year that would include 3 24-inch fluorescents of different color temperatures.  Apparently, when using florescent, you should try to vary the color temps to cover as much ground as possible.  From 2700K to 6500K.  Here’s some articles that I run across while doing my research:

Indoor Bonsai – As Difficult as You Make It

Fuku Bonsai

Growing Bonsai Indoors

Growing Indoor Plants with Success

Grow Lights (Wikipedia)

Ficus: Growing Indoors Under Light

Bonsai Jewelry

Looking through the latest issue of American Bonsai Society’s journal and I found an ad for bonsai jewelry. Frank’s Custom Jewelry makes many different pieces using the lost wax process. Each piece is handcrafted by 2nd Generation Bonsai Master Frank Mihalic. I think it would be an interesting conversation piece to have and I’m considering buying something.

Pendant shaped like a tree

Pendant shaped like a tree

http://www.franksbonsaijewelry.com/

All about pot selection

Bonsai Tonight has a good article on pot selection that’s worth reading.  I have been looking at several different kinds of pots lately, but for an entirely different reason.  I have been struggling with the best type (size and material) of grow pot for future bonsai.  Maybe I’ll blog about it once my research is done.  For now, head over to Bonsai Tonight

Part 1: http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/01/05/show-pots/
Part 2: http://bonsaitonight.com/2010/01/08/pot-selection-redux/

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