Summer Fun at Schley’s Bonsai

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We are officially in the midst of summer in Florida now and we have lots of exciting things to look forward to in the coming weeks and months. This weekend is the first part of our pinch pot class with Rob Addonizio, if you are coming out for it we are looking forward to seeing you here on Saturday, June 29th ūüôā

For the second part of this class we are also holding a special event out here on the same day. July 27th is our first ever Summer Bonsai and Barbecue event! We are offering free and freshly grilled burgers, hot dogs, as well as a selection of chilled beverages. Food and drinks are free to all who show up on this day, not just those here for Rob’s class. We will also be hosting some demos and a raffle or two with some really exciting prizes but you will have to be here to find out what they are. If none of those are enough to whet your appetite, everything in the shop will be on sale for the duration of the event!

We would love to have you here, it’s looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun so join us on Saturday, July 27th from 10 AM to 3 PM to hang out with your fellow bonsai enthusiasts.

Summer Bonsai Festival July 20th, 10 - 3

You can keep updated on this event over on Facebook by clicking here.

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Pinch Pot Class with Rob Addonizio

We have another fun time planned in the coming months with a two-part pinch pot class being held at the shop. This workshop is being presented by the Kawa Bonsai Society during their club meeting, held monthly at Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies, but is open to the public as well.

A two-part workshop where you will create your own accent pinch pot with Rob Addonizio. In the first part of this class, held on June 29th at noon, you will make your pot and Rob will take the pots with him to fire. In the second part of this class, held on July 27th at noon, the pots will receive their glaze. Once again the pots will be taken home with Rob to set the glaze. Finished pots will be returned during the next Kawa club meeting, August 17th (again at noon). All materials are included in the price of this workshop.

Where: 2745 Audubon Ave, DeLand, FL 32720

If you are interested in reserving your spot in this two-part class Click Here.

About the artist:

Rob began making pottery in the late eighties while studying to become an educator at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Being involved in the hobby of bonsai since 1997, the same year he began to teach art and music full time, Rob kept dabbling in pottery.  Continuing to explore and develop new artistic ideas through the years, he began to learn and teach himself how to construct his own bonsai containers. In 2009, working out of his garage he opened Taiko-Earth pottery. Rob is truly happy with the challenges attributed to creating original ceramic containers. Today his pots are sold internationally and recognized in high regard by some of America’s premier bonsai artists.  Besides teaching, his adult pottery classes and lectures at local bonsai clubs keep him very active. Rob currently lives in Lake Helen, Florida with his wife and two sons.

Spring Festival Spotlight

Today we are doing another spotlight on one of the classes that will be offered during our annual Spring Festival here at Schley’s Bonsai and Supplies. Another one taught by our special Guest Artist Sean Smith, and this time you’ll get the chance to build your own bonsai display table. Sean has an extensive background in both carpentry and bonsai so this should be an excellent time for all!

Not only do you get to craft your own table, but Sean will also give a history on how display tables got their start in the realm of bonsai and explain how best to use them. Tips on choosing the right set up, including accent pieces will also be discussed. This is a new class for us here, unlike the root stand carving class which was also featured at our January event (you can sign up for a root stand class during the event by clicking this link).

As with our other classes and workshops, lunch is included in the price. By the end of the day, you will be taking home a fully assembled and stained black walnut bonsai stand at less than the cost it would be to purchase the stand outright!

Getting to hold these kinds of events and share knowledge about the different aspects in the bonsai world is one of my favorite parts about being in this business. I hope we get to see all of you here in April. Click Here to save your spot before they are all sold out!

When: Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Where: 2745 Audubon Ave, DeLand, FL 32720

Don’t forget to RSVP!

Spring Festival Spotlight

Spring Fesival

As always, we will have free beer available during our Spring Festival. On site we will also have a menu of fresh, hot food available for purchase (or free when you participate in one of our classes or workshops).

received_533246773818067On Sunday morning (April 7th), Sean Smith will be teaching another session of his tall root stand carving class. No experience in woodworking is necessary to participate in this class where you get to take home a work of excellent art at the end of the day. At less than $100, this class is a steal!

You’ll want to stick around for the rest of the day Sunday after this class to catch a free demonstration as well. And, following the final two classes of the event, the three bonsai demonstration trees from the weekend will be raffled off!

To sign up for this class (or one of the many others) visit our website or Click Here. Admission is free and open to all who want to make the trip out here in DeLand to learn more about an ancient art.

We are getting close and are excited to share this wonderful time with all of you!

When: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 5th, 6th, and 7th)
Where: 2745 Audubon Ave, DeLand, FL 32720
What: Schley’s Bonsai 2019 Spring Festival

RSVP Now

Annual Spring Festival Details

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Hey everybody, our January event was super fun but now we are gearing up again for something even better! Like with the winter event, everything at the shop will be 20% off during the festival. And beyond that, we have a weekend jam-packed with things to do!

This year it takes place Friday through Sunday, April 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Our Guest Artist, Sean Smith, is returning this April and will be taking the lead in several classes, workshops, and demos. As usual this event will have FREE BEER as well as lunch available on site (included in the cost of the classes and workshops).

New this year is our bonsai display area, if you are interested in having your bonsai on display during the event, contact Jason at schleybonsai@aol.com or call (386) 675-3118 for more information.

During this event there will be free demonstrations each day. For more information about the individual classes and workshops, CLICK HERE.

RSVP TO THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK

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This Weekend is our Winter Event

We still have a few spots left for classes during this event, but with the weekend fast approaching I wanted to take the time to show off some of the trees our students will be able to choose from. I also wanted to gush a bit more about this years Guest Artist. So, onward…

We have two instances of Sean Smith’s wood carving class, both with a shorter block and a taller (both pictured above). No woodworking experience is required in order to participate in this class, though students will need to come prepared with their own electric dremel. This class is good for those who are new to bonsai, as you can still create a work of art without the fear and responsibility of long-term care of a plant. It’s a pretty neat and artistic way to get your bonsai feet wet. Equally rewarding for those experienced in bonsai and looking to enhance their skill set by creating a beautiful stand to use when showing off their trees. Click Here to learn more and to save your spot before they are all gone!

When: (Shorter stand) Friday, January 25th at 1:30PM and (Taller stand) Saturday, January 26th at 9:00AM

Where: 2745 Audubon Ave, DeLand FL, 32720

Interested in learning the basics of bonsai from one of the best artists in Florida?

On Sunday, January 27th we will be having an all day beginner class taught by Mike Rogers. You’ll get your very own tree along with the tools needed to start styling your new work of art. You’ll have the chance to choose your own Juniper from our selection, the images above are just a few examples we have out on the tables. Click Here for more information on the class and to claim your spot.

While we have Sean Smith with us, he will be teaching several other classes. One of them will be a class on Bald Cypresses, where you will get your very own tree to begin styling. This class is also on Sunday, at 9:00 AM. These are pretty massive and more than ready to begin their life in bonsai. Click Here for more information and to claim your spot.

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Sean Smith will also being leading a Bring Your Own Tree Workshop on Friday morning. He will give you a plan of attack to design your tree, with direction on styling and wiring. Click Here to learn more.

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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.

What marketing plans to make the art of bonsai mainstream

Ok, so I’m gearing up for another very busy spring. We have been repotting and wiring and planting trees nonstop this Jan,   feb, and March in anticipation of busy season in April and to get ready for our April spring festival.  ( april 15th, 16th, and 17th), just sitting down waiting for tea bags to do their work to the hot water,  when I noticed yet another article on the withering of the art of bonsai in Scotland.
    I had just read a similar article on the withering of the art of bonsai in America last week.  Considering this is my full time job,  and now the full time job of David,  my son Avery,  myself,  and a yet to be determined future online manager, this was disconcerting to say the least.  I actually disagree with that statement, at least in the US.  In the 25 years I’ve been doing bonsai,  and in the 13 years schley’s bonsai was been in business,  I’ve never seen more people in the 1 to 5 year active range.  Sure,  when I started there were more people,  but they were the previous generation,  that got excited by the wave of enthusiasm in the 70s, or were swept up in their excitement in the 80s with karate kid franchise.  Most of those people unfortunately moved,  or moved on from this earth,  the central florida hobby suffering with each loss .
  I was the youngest in the club back then,   at least who stayed long term,  for years. The next youngest members beating me by at least 12 years.  That slowly changed,  which was wonderful, since I’m no spring chicken these days,  but it was still just a trickle of new members. Not a flood like most of us bonsai hobbyists expect when we get into this hobby and can’t imagine anyone in their right mind not doing this.  There wasn’t even enough new members to replace the old,  or in some cases just enough.
  Now we have the Internet.  That alone has simultaneously made this hobby emense, but even smaller all at the same time.  I see people and talk to them in Texas, Michigan,  Ohio,  Utah,   California,  Louisiana and Oregon on literally a weekly basis.  That is amazing.
  I have been doing classes for beginners since 2004 on a once a month basis.  I would expect some would bow out of hobby due to other interests, but some will surprise me a couple years later seeing them still interested and still with the same living trees. They will come in and require help or supplies.  And this is once again encouraging. 
However,  I still think we are too nitchy.
The people in bonsai come from all walks of life,  which is fantastic,  but also may be why we are still so tiny in comparison with other hobbies. Golf,  for instance.  Surfing,  biking,  even orchids if we are going to stay in the plant genres.
So I propose that we start to focus on certain groups,  and try to make bonsai a part of said group.  Here are some examples.

Retirees?
Sure.  A bonsai in each hand.  A requirement for mature enlightenment. This has always been one of our strong factions .  At a certain age,  backs and knees don’t work like they used to,  and bonsai is a great way to enjoy nature without getting on your knees to plant and pull weeds and trees.  It makes perfect sense.

Chess players?
  Why not.  In bonsai,  you need to think 5 moves ahead.  And it takes years,  even decades to master.  And you only get better when you go against better competition. Not a hobby anyone will get board with because they have mastered it.  Not going to happen.

Truck drivers?
Hear me out on this one.
Driving on the road can be extremely stressful and extremely long and boring all during the same day. Cars may dart out in front or a bridge may be precariously low.  Sure, after work it’s good to unwind with a beer and burger, or possibly self destructive habits to relax,  but as bonsai growers can attest to,  bonsai is a great form of meditation to relax and wind down for the day,  or even gear up for the morning to bring your mind in focus, before you are dodging that tiny car that had no idea you almost squashed them like a bug.   It’s really a great transitional event either way.

Yoga practitioners?
You betcha. Meditation.  It fits like peas and carrots. In fact,  every yoga student should have at least 3, so they can always have one in their meditation/yoga studio,  and 2 outside in the sun to stay healthy,  and cycle them out.  They really need more,  but the start is 3. If every yoga student got into the art in the US,  we would become the biggest bonsai consumer in the world. 
In fact,  there is maybe another group of people I think could transport bonsai from a niche hobby to a mainstream phenomenon. Case in point.

Hipsters?
If we could get the hipsters excited about it in the states, like truely interested to almost “I need to improve my tree, this is more than a passing fad, but a lifestyle and I need to show how ironic I am” level,  it could kill two birds with one stone. One: is youth as hipsters tend to be under 40. In fact under 30 their ranks swell to pseudo main stream,  and because of that,  Two:  get the hobby more into main stream.
   So that’s my calling. Make the hobby 1# with the ironic artsy crowd.  It also may take the hobby in a few different directions many never thought of,  which is fine as well for the sake of art.  America has a large influx very quality,  youthful talent right now,  but it still seems to wax and wane. Let’s make it so large and such a part of everyday lifestyles that it no longer wanes to any noticeable level. 
The yoga crowd, the truck drivers,  the retirees, the chess players,  in fact,  every man woman and child should get in this hobby.  It will elevate and appreciate all aspects of bonsai. 
Ok my morning thoughts.  A little tongue in cheek.  But not.
Come to our event.  Bring a hipster.  Or a truck driver.

Live oak (Quercus virginiana) gets its first styling

Today’s project.

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This is one of 15 southern live oaks I have left of the origonal 50 cut back and container grown from seed for the last 13 years as of this summer. It was left in a pot for a few reasons.¬† One,¬† to sell. It’s difficult to sell a tree in the ground,¬† expecially out of season when you can’t safely dig it up.¬† Also,¬† ease of maintenance.¬† It’s a lot easier to keep trimmed and clean in a 12″ bulb pan.¬† This was cut to a line and placed on a finished container a year ago. The roots were close and it tolerated an aggressive root trimming, just like all the others. Plus,¬† tons of activity in the soil.¬† It’s amazing how much healthier they are with good drainage and correct fertilizing.

If it was grown in the ground,¬† or even in a larger container for a few years,¬† it would be triple this sized.¬† In fact,¬† 30 more of the original batch of oaks in 2003 were left to grow into A1 landscaping and the last 7 I have left are all over 4″ inch trunks and 10′ tall now. Just goes to show you what limiting roots in bulb pans or bonsai pots can do to tree stunting.¬† I¬† agree that growing on the ground is the best way to thicken trunks long term. However,¬† it is at the expense of any branch refinement. You grow those later,¬† in stages.¬† The ground is not for refinement,¬† it’s for trunk development.¬† On a side note, root maker pots seem to be a good tradeoff on trunk development,¬† plus being able to do some initial styling work.¬†¬†¬†¬† One thing I did notice,¬† is oaks have beneficial microbes in the soil.¬† More than any other tree I work with other than pines.¬† And health is indicative by amount of living organisms in mix and just general toughness.¬†¬† Oaks are hungry, but really thrive with organic fertilizer, which makes perfect sense if the microbes in the soil do in fact help uptake nutrients like other trees displaying similar traits.
Neat stuff.
So,¬† I did the initial wiring. Instead of curing back hard,¬† I wanted to try to replicate some of the trees on the property.¬† How some of the branches are very long,¬† And actually touch the ground,¬† reroot, and come back up again.¬† This isn’t there yet, but I’m trying to give you an idea.¬† Also,¬† top straight section on upper trunk has to back bud, and be replaced in the future to create more believable taper and a better transition. I didn’t cut it back hard because we are in fall here. Leaving extra foliage up top will keep it viable and vigorous. Heavy cuts are for¬†spring.¬† The last burst of growth will be nice,¬† And set it up next year’s chop and rewire. I’ll also do some carving on hollow in front.¬† Enjoy

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