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Anyone have a green thumb?

IfloatTHRUlife

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I dont really make threads, it isnt my thing, but i have a question.

I really love Bonsai, (hence me deciding on a bonsai as a new avatar after having my old one since i first joined the forum) I have wanted one for a long time but havent seen anything in any stores around where i live that caught my eye the few times i have actually looked.

Now i know where i can get pretty much anything i could want, but i am starting to question if i would even enjoy it.

So my question is, do any of you have any bonsai, or anything that could be compared, like a garden? And if you do, do you really enjoy it, or does it just seem to have become more of a task than a hobby?

Keep in mind that i dont neccessarily care for the actual growing of the plant, i just really enjoy the beauty of trees, and having my own personal mini-tree seems magnificent, being able to form it and shape it over time, you could potentially make an entire scene. I always picture having a huge scene set up with a small "lake" scaled down, with a shore, and bonsai forming a tree line.
 

RubberDucky451

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I always picture having a huge scene set up with a small "lake" scaled down, with a shore, and bonsai forming a tree line.

Tilt-shift photography?

My father is a landscape architect so I've grown up knowing a lot of Latin and English names for plants. I'd love to cultivate a herb garden but I've yet to work up the energy to start. I do have a basil plant that works wonders in spaghetti sauce.
 

Cavallier

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Plants are something I know about. :tree01:

I've got some bonsai and several other plants that I keep on my porch (I live in an apartment). I enjoy it though it's a pain if you have to leave town for any length of time because you have to find somebody to water your plants. I like the way they make my porch look and I enjoy the ritual of watering them all. It doesn't feel like a chore but I know it's a pain in the ass for many since I've nursed a lot of plants back to health because friends and family decided they just didn't have the time/desire to take care of their plants. That's how I got a Lilac, Ginko, Elm, two Maples, and a Cedar bonsai. A friend was really into bonsai for a while and kept getting new ones. Then a few months later I'd find it dying on his porch when he'd given up.

I really like plants to have fruit or give something edible. I have a whole herb garden going right now (Just do it Ducky! Also, I am jealous of your Basil.) with a sage plant that's gotten so big I'm starting to worry it will eat my cat soon. I make brown butter and sage pasta with it a lot during the summer. Herbs are great because they are so tough. Just make sure they get some water sometimes and you've got a porch full of nice smelling plants. I've got rosemary, sage, and mint. Basil is a little pickier. I don't have much luck with it but I think it's because Basil prefers it being over 75f before it's happy. It's a bit to chilly for it where I live though I got just enough to make pesto this year.

I don't really like growing flowering plants. The only flowering plant I have is a strawberry that was left behind by an old tenant. I like going out and finding the odd strawberry poking out of a pot.

Bonsai:
As a first bonsai (just to see if you can keep one alive) I'd suggest a Ginko or a Juniper. They are both very hardy. I had a squirrel try to bury an acorn in the pot of my Juniper last fall. It was hilarious because the tree had fallen over completely and the acorn was wedged underneath it. There is no misting or special treatment with either the Ginko or the Juniper. The Ginko has pretty little leaves that turn yellow in the fall. You don't really have to sculpt them either. Although, if you enjoy such things you can shape the Juniper to your heart's content. Some of the most interesting twisted old tree bonsai are Juniper. Mostly you just have to make sure they get enough water during the summer. They dry up quickly because of the small size of the pot and the denseness of the roots. Also, you have to make sure they don't overheat again because the pots are generally very small. The soil gets hot in the sun and the roots don't like that. Semi shade is the key...depending on the climate of where you live. I keep my bonsai outside almost all year long. I live in a temperate climate with a lot of rain during the winter. They seem to really enjoy getting rain but I make sure it's indirectly. They are just under a roof so they get a little bit of the splash up rain as apposed to getting hit directly by the rain. Generally from about mid November through mid to late January when it's freezing outside or snowing I bring them inside. You don't want the roots to freeze or the tree will die. If you enjoy that you could move onto a Japanese Maple. They have stereotypical pointy leaves that turn red in the fall and can be very visually appealing but they are a little pickier temperature and moisture wise. Also, they just aren't as tough. Find a store or a grower who knows their bonsai. They are essential. Oh, and getting a little moss or something to cover the surface of the dirt in your bonsai pot is very important for moisture control. That's why you often see it on bonsai. If you live somewhere where moss grows easily don't worry about it. That stuff naturally shows up after a few months anyway.

Eh. Growing things comes easy to me and I've always had a head for plants. Try growing something and see if you enjoy it. Some people just suck at taking care of plants even if they enjoy trying. I think a lot of it comes from being patient and not over-watering. I'm constantly surprised at how much people over-water their plants. If your plant isn't currently producing fruit/veggies/flowers (or you live in a desert) it probably doesn't need as much water as you think people!
 

IfloatTHRUlife

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I am pretty confidant i can grow pretty much whatever, given my climate permits it of course. I have read a lot about the pruning, potting, watering, nutrients, even a little bit about growing from a clipping. My brother has a japanese red maple in his front yard that i have always planned on taking some samples from to see if i can get them to root.

I live in Maryland, it is pretty humid here and we have fairly hot summers (mid 80s-mid 90s this past summer) and pretty cold winters (often down in the 20s last winter). Which i guess would be a temperate climate, i cant remember the definition off the top of my head. Think you could reccomend any kind of trees that would thrive here? I tend to lean more toward non flowering trees, i prefer something more simple and consistant. I have just never been able to decide, havent spent enough time looking at specific trees, just kept looking into actually caring for it.
 

IfloatTHRUlife

Active Member
Local time
Today 4:14 PM
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Location
the eastern shore of the USA
I have decided to just get a juniper like you suggested, i can probably find one at a nursery that i can take home and work with immediately. Just so i have something easy to learn from while i wait for next spring to try to root a clipping from my brothers maple that i mentioned.

The only thing i want to ask now is, what kind of soil would you suggest i go with?
 
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