New Inventory for the New Year

We have been working hard to bring in new inventory as we prepare for our upcoming event. We want to have lots of stock and finished trees on offer to make the drive out here worth it for all of you. More than just having our guest artists at the shop to expand your knowledge, we want to have a selection of trees that speak to each and every one of you.

After spending the weekend picking up several truck loads of new stock, I’d be lying if I said my back didn’t ache. Who knew this getting older thing would stick?

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Fortunately for me, one of my Christmas presents this year was a back massager. I’ve needed it more than once after picking up and transporting hundreds of trees. So. Much. Lifting.

Now all we have to do is weed them. And organize. And trim. And…okay, so, work isn’t done yet but I’m excited to get to it and to experience our Winter Event with all of you. One of my favorite parts of this job is leading other people into this hobby, watching them learn and grow as the years go along. It’s always so rewarding when someone comes to bonsai with fresh eyes and excitement. I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and there is still little I enjoy more than watching someone fall in love with bonsai for the first time.

Obviously bonsai is no longer just a hobby for me, I chose to focus on it and to make it an every day, pivotal part of my life and I wouldn’t change that for anything. But even without starting a nursery yourself, you can incorporate some of the skills, teachings, and general atmosphere surrounding this hobby into your every day life.

Bonsai teaches us patience, gentleness, and  thoughtfulness. These things can be hard to find in this day and age. But with this art form, we can take a page from a way of life that at times feels unreachable with the constant rush of modern life. In the simple moments you take every week to care for your own bonsai, you gain a snippet of quiet contemplation and a connection with nature.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2019 bring you peace and prosperity. I look forward to keeping up with this blog again and getting to share a slice of life with all of you. Thank you for being part of this journey!

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Coming to our event? Let us know! You can RSVP on our Event Page on Facebook HERE.

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Happy Holidays

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Happy Holidays from all of us over here at Schley’s Bonsai!!

We’ve already told you about our upcoming event in January, but we’re happy to update that one of our classes will be taught by Mike Rogers.

He will be teaching our all day beginner class on the 27th. Click here for more information. Be sure to snag your seat before they are all sold out.

And don’t forget to check out the other classes we are offering here, including root stand carving with our special guest artist, Sean Smith, and a Black Pine grafting class with Louise Leister.

Coming this January, we are having an epic weekend of education and savings!

Yikes, long time no blog. We here at Schley’s Bonsai, contrary to popular rumor, are not dead at all. Just forgetful and very busy at the shop. But we have exciting news coming for the new year, we will be having a Winter Festival with special guest SEAN SMITH!

Beyond just a packed schedule of classes and workshops, everything in the shop will be on sale 20% off during the event!!

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of bonsai, check out the links below for some of the classes that are being offered.

Full Schedule and more information about our guest artist beneath the cut. Continue reading

2017 Spring Event – May 12 -13

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It’s been a few months since we’ve posted anything new on here and a lot has happened.

We have been hard at work getting the nursery to an all new level of beauty. We have added walkways and done quite a bit of landscaping. We’ve built a wedding area and held our very first wedding out at the property which was lovely.

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Those are just a few photos to keep you guys in the loop, you can expect a much more detailed video in the not-too-distant-future about all that we’ve been doing so far this year.

We also have an event next month, our usual Spring Festival (only two days this year) and we are excited to share all the beautiful things that we’ve added to the nursery.

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The event page on Facebook has more details about what we have planned for our event so click here to visit that page and RSVP.

There will be free beer and mead, (as always), as well as demos with Mike Rogers on Friday (the 12th), and a workshop with Ed Trout on Saturday the 13th. It’s the same weekend as Mother’s Day so come to shop, we will have 20% off all stock, soil, tools, non-specimen trees, and bonsai pots.

Happy Holidays From Schley’s Bonsai

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Last week Jason and I picked out one of the larger bonsai trees from the benches and had a bit of fun with it for the holidays. The video is below, we hope everyone is having a great week. 2017 is drawing nearer and nearer and we are excited about things to come!

Winter officially begins tomorrow but we plan on having another contest idea ready for Spring. Hopefully we’ll have details to announce soon.

And, as a reminder, we have our new page on Patreon to help us to bring all of you more quality content. If you’d like to check it out you can do so by clicking here. If you are interested in contributing, one of the Patron levels gives you first dibs on entering our future contests.

Winter Website Special

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I just wanted to take the time today to update all of you who are looking for great deals during the holiday season. We have a special going right now on our website where every order of $100 comes with a gift certificate for $20. You can either save the certificate for your next order or you can give it to someone else for the holidays. The extra bonus is that this deal is stackable: if you spend $200, you’ll receive two separate certificates for $20 each.

In the coming weeks we will be updating the website with more trees so keep checking back, this holiday special runs until December 31st.

We also recently made a video for a contest that we held last month on Facebook, so check the video out below:

This contest was a lot of fun and we hope to have another one soon, so stick around if you’d be interested in participating. All of the entries that we received were fantastic and we had the opportunity to work with some excellent judges and were able to reward the winners with some really great prizes.

And, as a reminder, we also recently started a page on Patreon to help us to bring all of you more quality content as well as future contests for all of our fellow bonsai enthusiasts. If you’d like to check it out you can do so by clicking here.

The Future of Bonsai

For quite some time now we have been wondering how we could possibly expand to include more bonsai lovers from around the world into our community. Although we have always offered classes at the shop, we are limited in how many people can truly join in. In order to combat the location limitations, we’ve been making YouTube videos periodically but we want to do even more for all of you and especially for those who live in areas without much exposure to bonsai. In a perfect world, we’d have the ability to speak with each and every one of you who has questions or comments.

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We think we’ve found a way to make this more possible with Patreon. If you have even just $1 to spare, we will take it and build something beautiful for all of us. For now our short-term goals revolve around our continued output of videos and blog posts but in the future we would love to offer online courses dealing with different aspects of bonsai as well as interactive live Q&A sessions and whatever else that we, as a community, can come up with.

This is just the beginning and we need your help: if you can contribute to our Patreon then you will be unlocking the behind the scenes area of what we at Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies do. You’ll get exclusive blog posts and videos. If there are enough of us there, we will have weekly discussion posts where all of our patrons can join together to talk about whatever takes their fancy. In the further off future, we will be holding contests and video demos that everyone can get involved in.

Whether you are a life-long bonsai fan or just starting to get into the hobby, consider sharing this blog post so that we can start our work on growing this community into something even greater and more inclusive. And if you don’t have the ability to contribute at this time, sharing the page is just as valuable. Thank you!

Click Here to Visit Our Page on Patreon

Click Here to Visit Our YouTube Channel

Click Here to Visit Our Website

A Look Around the Nursery & Updates

I took some time today to go around the nursery in search of things to photograph. I was very lucky to catch the deer and she let me get incredibly close to her before running off into the woods.

Our beginner class for the month is tomorrow morning and next week we have the privilege of hosting Sean Smith. In the morning he will be teaching a class on hut carving and then in the afternoon he will be doing a “bring your own tree” workshop.

If you are interested in either class (it may be took late for this beginner class but we will have another one next month) you can read more on our website here.

Also worth mentioning, we have an awesome sale on the website on all of our pots. Jason has been bringing in a lot of awesome new inventory so check them out here. They are all 25% off until the end of the month.

And last of all, we have been doing our best to keep updating our YouTube channel with new content. Currently we are in the middle of a series on how to care for your bonsai trees in a hotter climate like Florida. Most information that we have seen is geared towards other parts of the country so Jason wanted to take the opportunity to explain a few things that are done differently in the South. Check it out. Our next video in the series will be up on Monday morning.

Making the change from hobby to profession (and ramblings)

 

So for many years my most intense involvement with bonsai was attending the odd class or workshop and the mad rush of activity of repotting, trimming, and wiring the majority of my trees in spring (or summer for tropicals). But that changed recently. That was all enjoyable of course but there would be long stretches where, other than watering daily, I didn’t really have to think about trees, even with my own trees numbering into silly numbers. Now I find myself thinking about bonsai a lot more. From my regular day to day tasks of working at a nursery to the way my wheels turn while I’m sitting at home watching T.V. I’m thinking about ways to improve my own work, ways to help a bonsai nursery run efficiently… All the nerdy stuff that generally hurts my brain but also makes me happy. This has definitely given me a new perspective on a not often seen side of the art.

The odd thing that I never would have considered was how other people would react to the fact that I’ve started doing what is generally not a normal job. Not for most Westerners anyway. I went to a friends wedding this past weekend and the never ending question that always comes up when you’re at a table of people you don’t know is “So, what do you do?”. I’ve always cringed at that question but I understand why people ask it. I’ve had slightly odd jobs in the past (Like managing an exotic pet shop full of snakes, lizards, and tarantulas) but they’re usually jobs people have some sort of relationship with, even peripherally.

Most people’s experience (aside from the fancy people reading this blog 🙂 ) with bonsai is a)The Karate Kid, and b)Those destined to die mallsai that are at way more places than they should be. So inevitably the reaction to my answer is either met with a blank stare as the wheels in their head try to wrap their heads around the foreign concept of bonsai being a job. Or the next most common reaction is “Oh, I love bonsai!”. Surprisingly a lot of people go right from the first to the second within a breath or two.

I guess I bring all this up because culturally bonsai is at once appreciated as an artform (or at least as an idea) and also rather misunderstood. I’ve been talking to my parents about bonsai for about as long as I’ve been messing with trees but about 6 months ago my dad bought my mom a grocery store juniper mallsai. It died (and may have been dead when he bought it). I wish he would have asked ahead of time, I could have thrown together a simple tree that would have at least had a head start in that it wouldn’t have been mishandled, mistreated and neglected for who knows how long before he even put it in his cart.

And sadly that’s probably the experience of 90% of the people who, on a whim, buy a bonsai. It was mine- I bought a flea market tree that either I killed or may have been on death’s door from day one. I happened to try again a while later and obviously my experience eventually got better. But I’ve got a hunch that most of those people who have a mallsai experience leave it there. Probably either disappointed in the tree, or even worse in themselves. And that’s a sad thing.

So here’s where I unsuccessfully try to wrangle all these disparate thoughts into some coherent point. People like bonsai. People want to try bonsai. People see a “bonsai” in a store and suddenly they fantasize a world where they have their own priceless Karate Kid juniper experience. And then it dies and that little fantasy dies and gets buried in that graveyard of forgotten hobbies that we all have. What I’d like to see happen is that if someone you know says “oh hey, bonsai trees are cool” put together a simple and easy to care for tree as a present (and cheap because a first tree likely will become a sacrificial introduction). And then offer guidance when needed or steer them to sources, local or online so they can learn. At least this way maybe we can spread a little of the better, more grass roots style of bonsai- not the watered down and vaguely bonsai shaped one that gets foisted on the big-box store shopping public. Hopefully what that will do is begin to jump start the hobby and get it  into more people’s hands with a positive outcome. That will have the eventual effect (hopefully) of more people becoming tangentially aware that it’s a hobby that is within reach. One that’s not quite so culturally foreign. One where people’s first reaction to the wedding reception job question is “Oh hey, I have a bonsai. I love my tree!”

Speaking of, I think it’s high time I put together a tree for my mom. One that hopefully will only die because of bad luck or just simple forgivable inexperience. One which also hopefully turns into a first learning experience on the long road of an enjoyable hobby.