floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Big on bonsai; small on space

Morning All & Happy Spring!

I reside in a small 3rd floor apt in Maine. I help my husband w/ his business but, it leaves me w/ plenty if time to study further & spend time w/ each tree. My limitations are in space.

In my bathroom I mounted two 3ft shelves. Each has 2 Walmart grow lights underneath. I painted the shelves flat white. The walls in the bath are white too & the room also has a west facing skylight. I want to try to optimize my space & of course, my trees. I originally made it for starting cuttings of house plants. The lights are an inch above the tallest. I have a small fan oscillating Suggestions on how I could improve it? It's nice looking too other than all the cords! I want hubby to hide them in the wall somehow. Comments? Another idea? Ideas & criticism welcome!!!

My apt only has 3 windows! (1 being the above mentioned W facing skylight) the next largest is S facing & opens to a flat 5x5 ft area. My landlord is fabulous & as long as I make "it" safe, she's fine w/ me DIYing. I'd like to create a wood perimeter or something so my trees can summer vaca out there. 1 caveat; a very large, very old tree will be filling in soon & I haven't been here long enough to know how much it'll change things.

I'm willing to invest more money to elaborate/create better spaces to grow & display my trees. There's little traction in So.Maine for bonsai culture. I'm very hungry to learn & improve. I enjoy nature & art. I consider myself a decent artist & bonsai is the marriage of nature & art!! Thanks in advance, I look forward to learning things from experienced growers!!!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

Sounds terrific - show us some pictures of your grow shelves and your trees! :)
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hendi_alex
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Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

What about adding one of those window green house units. Hanging three floors up could be a problem, but if the landlord is o.k. with it. Seems to me that the unit could be added and removed without hurting the structure. That might be especially useful for the window that has a flat roof area. Perhaps could even hinge the unit so that it would swing out, giving access to the roof area.

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Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

I will take some photos later; ill mention now, the shelves are more impressive than the trees at this point!! My serissa & brush cherry are pre-bonsai & look like sticks in pots! The nursery offered to pot them for free & I thought it wise at the time b/c it meant I didn't have to buy any potting medium. I realize now they'd be more appropriately fitted in a grow-box; to develop roots & trunk. Hindsight is truly 20/20!

I like that window greenhouse idea. I'm lucky I've got the type of husband who a "jack-of-all-trades" sorta guy. I really want him to help me make a few screen sided grow boxes. I've seen photos of them that seem do-able. 2 pieces of wood slightly longer than the box are screwed underneath allowing maximum airflow. I figure, since they'll be there for awhile, I might as well create something attractive (I've read pond baskets do the trick but are homely)

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hendi_alex
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Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

I'm just thinking that bonsai are probably going to be a challenge inside, especially if artificial light is the primary light source. Most trees need lots of natural light. There are likely many low light candidates though. Ficus, jade plant, citrus all might do o.k. in a low light situation. Up in Main, I would be drawn to candidates that could live year round on the balcony like various evergreen trees and maple. A bench placed on that 5 x 5 roof area might be ideal, especially if it gets some afternoon shade.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

tomc
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Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

Lighted "wonder boxes" are a very rugged environment (some would say destructive) for bonsai. None of the native hearty trees we have been talking about will live long indoors.

Can you set out a bench in the back yard?

Even tender trees of your earlier collection will do better June through October outdoors.
Think like a tree
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floraAdore
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Location: Southern Maine

Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

There is a shared backyard area, nice size but , I'm downtown Portland. There are restaurants on each side of me. Ppl come out to smoke & sometimes wander into my garden! (& leave cig butts, beer cans etc) Surely some jerk would break or steal them.

I bought a boxwood from nursery stock & did plant that out there ( above a tile). Not worried b/c at this point it's not very attractive! :>

I have a willow-leaf ficus that's the most developed tree I have. A string around the bottom of trunk measures 1.5".

I also am developing a sm jade & 4 sm "elephant tree?" just becoming woody now. I got them quite cheap & perhaps in the future will do a group planting of the elephant. I know these are low- light but, I personally don't find them as attractive ( beauty is in the eye of the beholder: my opinion)

I'd like to expand to outdoor species. My in-laws own various properties in rural ME. I can't go looking for trees though unless I can find a suitable home for them 1st! I've seen trees I'd like to collect. wish another enthusiast lived near me! id like a partner for my 1st yamadori hunt! My mother lives 2 min drive from me so, that an option.

An unforeseen problem; my a/c will probably need to go in that window opening to flat area :( unless I build it into the wall, which I can but, would have to leave it there if I moved (I'm 2/3 yrs from homeownership, at minimum!)

tomc
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Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

Type it up to some of the other mugs here. To me it sounds like you might just be able to barter upland blueberry or larch, for elms...
Think like a tree
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floraAdore
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Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:03 pm
Location: Southern Maine

Re: Big on bonsai; small on space

You're clever!!
It's warmer now & I'm out fishing for trout. Takes me to lots of terrain. Everything budding/freshly budded so I easily identify AND see branches. I've come across interesting trunks but I didn't know species & I don't want to take an awesome tree & kill it slowly!!!

I'm a Maine-ah though, I know what blueberry looks like & where to find it!!
THANKS

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