Last year my daughter bought me my first tree, a dwarf Tsukomo Cypress. I didn't have a clue as to how to care for it. It was in November and I didn't know if I should put it outside or leave it inside. Didn't know if I should prune or not. I was so confused!
I am very fortunate to live in Upstate New York outside of Rochester which is the same place that bonsai master William Valavanis lives. Through an internet search, I found Bill. I gave him a call and took my tree out to see him. He was very gracious and told me how to care for my tree until the following spring. He also gave me a tour of his greenhouses. I am going to post some pictures in the Bonsai Gallery of his trees. I did sign up for Bill's introductory classes to bonsai. He teaches four lessons, each on a different style and then gives a bonus fifth class where you can do whatever you'd like under his guidance. Each week we left the lessons with a new tree.
The first tree we did was a Japanese Larch. The style was informal upright. After choosing my tree, I found the trunk to have a unique curve to it. It wasn't visible when I picked it out as it was still buried in the soil. Because of the curve, Bill suggested a cascade style.
This photo is after wiring. I did a lot of wiring in an attempt to flatten out the limbs and create the shape I wanted. Took a long time to do but was worth the effort.
Little close-up of the wiring
This shot shows most of my trees on a wooden rack that I display them on. The larch is in the upper left.
The next tree we did was a Japanese Maple in slant style.
First shot is the one (of many) I picked out.
Maple is in upper left.
Third tree was an Azalea.
The azalea produced beautiful red blossoms.
Fourth tree was a Juniper. The original tree I picked actually has two trees in one pot. I cascaded the larger of the two and left the smaller one in the original pot. Later I transplanted it but it died.
The fifth week was a bonus week and we could work on whatever we wanted to. Most of the class bought mini boxwoods. I brought in my Cypress and had Bill give me some advice on shaping, etc.
Since taking the classes I feel pretty confident to go out and obtain stock trees and "do my thing". I know I still have lots to learn but if you ever get a chance to take a lesson..... DO IT!