Lessons in Learning and Teaching... Growing Aspects... Problems and Pests... and Bonsai Stories are a few of the chapters in this book. Some of the author's suggestions are more practical than traditional. She shares her experience of gowing bonsai trees for over 30 years, talks about a variety of trees to use and tells stories along the way. Mary included an exceptional list of her favorite reference books.
Mary Miller's clear and unique style of teaching comes through in her writing. Throughout the book her easy humor compliments her zeal for bonsai.
Creating Skeletons or "You Paid What for That?"
Tropical plants for the most part are fast growing. Most are tolerant of hard pruning. We can frequently begin a good tree in one fell swoop! A tree without a good skeleton will never be a good bonsai. Create good skeletons!
Analyze your tree intently. Expose the nebari (surface roots), find the front, consider branch placement and calculate where the top should be. Think about what will happen next.
Start by taking off what you know you don't want -- branches you will never use, branches growing straight up, branches growing straight down and shoots on the inside of curves. Why wait until next year? Yes, it will look skimpy. No, it won't help to wait . . .
Transporting Tropicals When a Chill is in the Air
Planning to display your tropical bonsai at a winter society meeting? Maybe you're buying one as a gift. When the temperatures are cold, be careful moving your tropical bonsai outdoors, even if it is just to or from the car.
A plastic bag (large enough to enclose the entire tree, and still close the top) will capture sufficient warm air to make it to a heated car. Once in the car, make sure the plastic is not in the sun (cooking your tree) ...
Bonsai is a passion for Mary Miller. Her familiarity with bonsai (as both hobby and business) has given her many years of hands-on experience. This experience is obvious when she speaks. She has a talent for simplifying explanations of techniques and presents a 'teaching story' which entertains. Many people have asked her to "put it in a book". Bonsai with Tropicals, Some Things I Learned Along the Way is that book.