I’m New, Opinions Please

I’m literally brand new, I’ve read a few books, and lots of blogs, but I’d love some recommendations from people about what helped them: Books, Podcasts, YouTube.
Also opinions on if this looks ok for a first attempt. I’m recovering from surgery and this seemed like a great hobby to pick up.

Hi - can you say a bit about what you were going for when pruning and wiring the tree?

I was hoping that if I started training it could form a wind blown look and start cascading down the side.
I had left the left hand side of the images thinking that maybe it would start growing upwards. The front facing I left because I had no idea what to do with and figured that if I couldn’t decide, then I could cut it later.
It kinda ended up looking like a Mohawk, which might look interesting?
Thanks for the question. Like I said, super new and really want to learn. I thought a juniper would be simple to learn with before trying something harder.

Thanks, that helps! One thing to think about is whether the movement you created in the branches shows consistency or similarity. This applies to the curves in the branch as well as the general direction of growth (e.g. whether a branch grows up or down).

Some branches grow up and out while others grow down, and the lower branches look like they might be a bit twistier than the upper branches. Does this sound right?

Yes that really does, thank you. The center branch definitely frowns up and the larger front one is more wanting to curve down.
Should those forward facing be curved or removed?

The way I think about it is that the same forces in nature typically effect all of the branches on a tree. This can result in branches that mostly grow up or mostly down. The tree is almost taking a windswept form - that’s one option for styling. As for the cascading branches, I like it when the tree just grows up or just grows down, i.e. it takes on a cascade form or an upright form.

I can add that junipers are prized for their twisty shapes. Adding some additional curves to the trunk and branches can bring out this characteristic in the tree.

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Bonsai with Japanese Maples by Peter Adams
Bonsai techniques 1 by John Naka
Bonsai beginners series 1-6 by Mirai

I also have a list of great links/material if you like.

Join local bonsai society club


I recommend this book for beginners, it is current, well organized and full of great information.
Bonsai techniques, styles, display ideas by Peter Warren ( 2014) available at Chapters.
Cost $25

Welcome Rockhound42! Junipers are a great way to start. When I bought my first juniper, I styles it and then took it indoors and placed it in a window! It didn’t last long. Many nurseries will tell you they are indoor plants but I have never had any luck with one staying alive indoors. I just thought I’d mention that.

The others here have already given great advise. Mirai is an awesome resource and you can go down a rabbit hole watching the videos! I did watch a critique session on YouTube, I think it was from Mirai, and Just watching everyone interact and give advise and criticism taught me so much.

I look forward to seeing what becomes of your first tree!

Awesome, thank you! That’s a great list to start from.

Here’s a thread on the topic: Suggestions for good bonsai books - guides etc

Thanks for that thread. After reading some of it so far and seeing some of the those YouTube vids, do you think it’s wise to (after more research) try another plant or two? I know this is a long and patient process, hence why I was thinking of staggering my entry into bonsai.
What is/are your opinion(s) on finding another one or two to start with?
I really find the Trident Maples and Dawn Redwoods beautiful and was thinking of slow rolling into one of each? Something that I can get small and really learn to work with.
Thoughts and opinions?
Thanks in advance

If you have the interest, getting another tree or two makes all kinds of sense. Dawn redwood and trident maples are both good species to work with as a beginner.

I’m still here asking questions right? Definitely have the interest. Glad to hear I’m heading in the right direction on choices. Thanks!

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