Saturday, October 1, 2016

Checking off the Bucket List - Bonsai Tree

Bonsi tree ficus

I have a bucket list.  Not anything written down, just ideas in my head.  What's a bucket list?  It's a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  (My favorite movie is The Bucket List.)  Could be to run a marathon, or see the Great Wall of China, or try escargot.

Our city has a touristy place called Meijer Gardens.  It's great actually.  If you are visiting the area, it's a beautiful place to visit - lots to do, especially in good weather when you can see the outdoor art installations, trails and gardens.  Good for locals too.  Huge.  Always changing and Meijer Gardens has a good concert lineup too in the summer.  I've never been to a concert there, but the venue doesn't hold very many people (2,000 I think?) so I'm sure it's a good show.

Recently my husband and I became members of Meijer Gardens, primarily to get access to pre-sale concert tickets.  I pasted the concert lineup from 2016 at the bottom of this post if you are curious.

So this week at Meijer Gardens is the fall Bonsai show.  I'm told the spring Bonsai show at Meijer Gardens is larger because it's state wide, whereas this show is geared more toward local/West Michigan Bonsai Club members.

I don't know why these little trees intrigue me, but they do.  A bucket list item was to learn about them and perhaps start a tree of my own.

Clint, a grower and collector of Bonsai trees works at a local garden center and came in to teach a group of about 20 of us how to select, transplant, and train Bonsai trees.  We were given a ficus tree to start.  From the sounds of it, ficus trees are fairly hardy, and can withstand cooler temperatures.  They like to be watered every few days, misted daily and have plenty of light.  I think my success rate with indoor plants is about 50/50 so we'll see.  Clint works at Growco so he knows what he's doing.  He warns us that Bonsai trees can be addictive.  Once you have one, you'll soon have two, three and so on.
Killing Trees is the Tuition You Pay for Learning Bonsai.    -John Naka
Here's some pics of our class today:

Bob Goddard helping a student trim her Bonsai tree


training a young Bonsai tree

using wire to train the branches to form desired angles

Clint (the Bonsai expert) showing us how to transplant a Bonsai tree

these little weeds might look cute, but they will steal nutrients from your Bonsai
tree so it's best to pull them - tweezers work best.

Clint has offered to help us transplant our trees in the Spring.  (hopefully they will live that long, lol)

a tree from the West Michigan Bonsai Club - looks great!

Boxwood Bonsai Tree - she's been training it since 2012 and it's about 9 years old

Step 1: Nursery Stock - no training
Step 2: starting to shape and train into Bonsai
Step 3: Basic Bonsai

Video footage of the 2014 European Bonsai show:

Meijer Gardens 2016  Outdoor Concert Lineup:
June 8 2016:
The Monkees – Good Times: The 50th Anniversary Tour
Sun, Jun 12
Mon, Jun 13
Of Monsters and MenSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 15
Ziggy MarleySOLD OUT
Fri, Jun 17
Tedeschi Trucks BandSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 22
Michael Franti & Spearhead with special guest Chali 2na & The Funk HuntersSOLD OUT
Sun, Jun 26
Fitz and The TantrumsSOLD OUT
Mon, Jun 27
Jackson BrowneSOLD OUT
Wed, Jun 29
Gregg AllmanSOLD OUT
Sun, Jul 10
Ben Folds with yMusicSOLD OUT
Mon, Jul 11
The DecemberistsSOLD OUT
Wed, Jul 13
Ben Harper & The Innocent CriminalsSOLD OUT
Thu, Jul 14
Old Crow Medicine ShowSOLD OUT
Sun, Jul 17
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic ZerosSOLD OUT
Wed, Jul 20Femi Kuti & The Positive Force Band and Bombino
Sun, Jul 24
An Evening with Lyle Lovett and his Large BandSOLD OUT
Mon, Jul 25Diana Ross
Wed, Jul 27
The Goo Goo DollsSOLD OUT
Thu, Jul 28Jay Leno
Wed, Aug 3
Grace PotterSOLD OUT
Wed, Aug 10WAR & Los Lonely Boys
Sun, Aug 14
Wed, Aug 17
ABBA The Concert: A Tribute To ABBASOLD OUT
Sun, Aug 21
An Evening with The Beach BoysSOLD OUT
Wed, Aug 24
Lake Street DiveSOLD OUT
Fri, Aug 26
Wed, Aug 31Bonnie Raitt
Thu, Sep 1
Wed, Sep 7
Gavin DeGraw & Andy GrammerSOLD OUT
Mon, Sep 26
Tears for Fears - RESCHEDULED

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