Get started well
As a beginner in to the art of Bonsai, it can be hard to avoid the eager for a fast result. Who doesn’t want a beautiful Bonsai to admire almost at once, when the interest of these beautiful trees has first been evoked? So the long time perspective of starting a Bonsai from scratch can be a hard and frustrating blockade getting started.
To get started well as a newcomer to Bonsai, the buying of a preshaped bonsai can be a satisfying start. Else the perspectives of getting a bonsai in to your life with the almost endless time perspective can in the beginning be a very long termed, and in many cases a not realistic way, true the woods of trees.
After that, you slowly can move on to start your trees from rough material, and even collected material from the wild, after some years of experience.
In contradiction to this advice, I have to say that I my self started all my bonsai from ground zero, and therefore I really had to learn the lesson of being patient. In the same breathing I must say then, that I truly benefits from these lessons nowadays. But at the same time, I would have preferred an easier and not so bumpy road.
Shohin for beginners. Select a specimen, that will be tolerant of the stress of being cut, wired, and replanted. Specimens like Cotoneasters, Lonicera and Juniperus, are advisable starters for Shohin growing. They can be found on nurseries in sizes suitable for beginners work.
In the case of Shohin, you have though to pay attention very much to the daily care. Shohins has only a very limited amount of soil that the spare some roots can consume water from. So they dry out easily. In general, by placing them in half shaded areas in the garden, in spring and autumn, they will live well. In summertime on hot days, you might better move your small trees into the shadow. Else they will simply dry out to fast, and the risk of a dead Shohin will be bigger.
Be satisfied. Don’t you hesitate to buy a small and satisfying Bonsai that can be worked on. There are plenty of dealers who offer okay material for at start. The best advice is to get help from an experienced enthusiast, which will help you buying a healthy, and tolerant plant to begin with. Better started of with success, than with disappointments and failures.
By the way, when you are enjoying and working with your first Bonsai, you can start collecting trees for future bonsai aside.
A bought Bonsai is not a bad Bonsai. Only the quality of the tree determines what is a good and talented plant. Not its origin.
But the experiences and story of a collected tree will add mental and historical value to a Bonsai, that makes it increase its value as a piece of art. Like when a painting and its history melt together. The newcomer to the art of Bonsai often breaks their neck, on newly collected plants, when they are dying between their hands.
Mostly because they (my self included in early days) are too hasty in doing all at once. Or the collected plants are not healthy enough. Specially when digging up a tree the worst faults happen. It is absolutely essential to get a healthy root cake back home, with enough intact fine water consuming roots.
This is done by digging carefully around the root ball, and then packing it firmly in a towel, or anything else that is able to do the job.
Bind it tightly with a robe or tape, and plant in a big wooden box at home. Prevent to damage the roots at the time of planting, and do not do anything to the tree but watering, for at least two or three years after. It is a long time project, but you will win a strong healthy tree by following this advice. A tree that afterwards will be strong enough to be wired cut and formed. In the mean time, you can work and enjoy your bought specimen.
One thing at a time. It is particularly important not to stress the tree by doing several operations at the same time. Let the tree rest between for example wiring and replanting. A doctor will not amputate the legs of a man, and then try to let him run afterwards.
Plants are living things, and they need full recovery from one operation, before the next step is taken. A thumb rule is to wait one too three months after a transplanting before you start working on the tree. Or until you see clear signs of vigorous growth.