BONSAI WORKSHOP II
An economical, premium, high-value workshop package suitable for beginners starting with older prepared bonsai stock already four to five years in training. With reasonable care, this workshop package will develop into nice semi-trained medium 12" to 14" tall bonsai within a few years.
Dwarf Schefflera is the most durable proven houseplant with ideal qualities for bonsai. Start with a potted 4LL8 Living Lovable that already has character, well placed branches, and a shallow, compact root system. Use our exact Fuku-Bonsai materials and techniques to move into an 8" diameter x 2" pot to build a larger root system and obtain stronger growth. Learn, create, and save!
4LL8(#8 WORKSHOP) includes a choice of 4LL8 (S-Sumo, R-Roots, or D-Dragon), #8 Conversion Kit, and Workshop Handbook
4LL8(#9A WORKSHOP) similar to above but has a shallow 9" diameter saucer (with holes) instead of the 8"Dx2" deep pot; includes a nursery pot collar. Same price, very attractive future result, but greater bonsai skill required. Consider this as a "special order item" and bring to our attention or you'll create confusion and not get this challenging kit!
THE STORY BEHIND THE POTENTIAL FOR SUCCESS!
This is an ideal place to start into an enjoyable lifetime bonsai hobby. In bonsai, the results of your workshop is partially due to your inherent skills or ability. But more importantly, it really depends upon the potential of the specific plant you're training. All bonsai workshops are really about the plant to be trained and Fuku-Bonsai has gone to extraordinary lengths to produce the ideal workshop trees.
BORN TO BE BONSAI! The romantic concept is that each bonsai is unique and begins as an accident of nature, collected from the high mountains, and transported into your sunny window to bring you the joys and wonder of Nature! Wonderful story but really just doesn't ever happen. First of all, that tree growing in Nature just won't grow in your home and houseplants don't grow on mountains. An ancient collected tree with a lot of character is just barely surviving and will likely die without a high level of expertise. No beginner should really want to be responsible for a tree tittering on the edge of a life crisis!
THE BONSAI LIFE CYCLE. Imagine a totally dependant newborn child. There's a lot of uncertainty and years of growing up and special care is needed for crisis that will occur from time to time. Very young bonsai-to-be are like that. It takes two to four years of skilled professional training to develop strong young trees that have stout trunks with character, low branches, and a shallow, complex root system. We call this "prepared bonsai stock" and such plants are part of our Introductory Workshop Package (IWP-8) that are economical and ideal for creating your first bonsai. A younger tree is vulnerable when the root system that may have a volume of just one or two tablespoons is moved to a one cup container. Plants at this stage are still fragile and need careful attention. A year or two later when it reaches our "advanced prepared bonsai stock" stage sold as 4LL8 Living Lovables, the plants have started to develop harder woody growth and with a larger more vigorous root system, they are fairly easy to transplant. They are also starting their "rapid growth stage" and once acclimated to it's new home, this is the ideal time to begin a higher level of training.
MAXIMUM OPTIONS AVAILABLE! Fuku-Bonsai creates trees that can be trained into a range of stylings. Experienced bonsai growers really like our plants because we try to have "extra branches." This is intentional as trunks develop the most character when there are a lot of branches. Although our trees tend to be stout and compact, some hobbyists like to further reduce the tree and appreciate the strong low branches. Others who prefer to grow a larger bonsai might want to remove major branches. Many like the trees just the way we ship them and will not remove any branches. But in all cases, it is preferable to have the choice as it is very easy to remove an extra branch but frustrating and difficult to graft or glue on a needed branch.
THREE BASIC STYLING CONCEPTS AVAILABLE! Untrained trees are usually straight stiff single trunked trees with few if any established branches. Fuku-Bonsai's basic "SUMO" is short and stout with low branches and well established surface roots. These are ideal for rock plantings or to train into wide banyan crowns. "ROOTS" feature exposed roots to become taller and elegant banyan forms and these continue to be as popular. It is possible to convert "Sumo" into "Roots," and to use "Roots" for root-over-rock plantings. Current experiments explore the possibilities of our newest "HAWAIIAN DRAGONS!" We are still just tapping into the possibilities of this twisty-turny fun bonsai. We believe Dwarf Schefflera can be trained into a greater range of styling than any other bonsai tree! It is possible to have a huge collection of Dwarf Schefflera bonsai with every one different. You're invited to visit to see our growing collection!
SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT DEVELOPING BONSAI IN STAGES
BONSAI WORKSHOP II moves a 4LL8 Living Lovable up into a 8" diameter x 2" deep round pot to develop a larger root system towards becoming a medium size bonsai. This introductory article tells of the second of our three major workshop packages that are available for "Sumo," "Roots," and "Dragon" stylings. This article shows one possible sequence with SUMO with the deeper 8D2 pot.
The next section of BONSAI WORKSHOP II will show the possible sequence with ROOTS and a third future section will show a possible sequence with HAWAIIAN DRAGON, but in the more difficult 9" shallow saucer with holes.
Bonsai develop in a very logical sequence but the most difficult is developing the 2" prepared bonsai stock that is featured in our Introductory Workshop Package, used in our small and desk size Hawaiian Lava Plantings, and in our 4LL8 Living Lovable that was used in this workshop sequence.
Not all plants will make good bonsai and a large part of our success is due to ruthlessly and professionally culling out and discarding weak trees, those that have poor branching characteristics or poor root systems. We don't baby our trees and only strong plants progress to the next step.
If you've done an INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOP PACKAGE, it will depend upon your skills and your actual growing environment that will determine how long it will take to progress from your workshop product to what we call our "advanced prepared bonsai stock" or 4LL8 Living Lovable stage. Here at Fuku-Bonsai with ideal climate in our greenhouses, it will take one of two years. I have seen photos of customer collections that seem to achieve similar results when they have strong supplemental lighting, grow the trees outdoors during warmer seasons, water more frequently, and apply more fertilizer.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GO FROM BONSAI WORKSHOP II TO OUR 8LS8 STANDARD? Again, it depends upon your situation and skills. At Fuku-Bonsai it seems to average five to eight years or more. During this period, the trees are top pruned many times with detailed pruning as time permits.
BONSAI WORKSHOP III uses our semi-trained 8LS8 Living Sculpture in a #17 Conversion Kit to produce an older and larger high quality bonsai. After several years of additional training, these become our CUSTOM COLLECTION and may have a total age of twelve to thirty years or more of training! Once a tree is 10 to 15 years in training, with each year's additional training, the tree takes on its own personality and develops an individual dignity. After you've had it for several years, you'll have a good sense of how the tree reacts when pruned. You'll know which seasons have the strongest growth and will plan to do any potting or major pruning then. Having been exporting since 1973, some of our oldest customers have had our trees for quite a while and it's always a joy to receive a letter with photos or emails with photo attachments!
As Myrtle and I take less public roles and work on publications and the new center, I still enjoy visits from old friends and customers. Please email or write ahead if you plan to visit. For those just starting, please feel free to email if you have questions or problems with our plants. We are continuing efforts to improve and I look forward to hearing from you!
~~~ David W. Fukumoto, president and founder, Fuku-Bonsai (June 2011)