Article 67 – ‘Pursuing the vision not the money’

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai in this post we share our perception meaning the organization, identification, interpretation of information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment and present it in a professional manner. 

Introduction – this article is for those who constantly send messages to Taiga Bonzai (T.B.) with comments including “Great site with innovated, interesting and educative articles on many topics, but I see that you don’t make money, let me show you how” and “why don’t you go on YouTube you can make money there.” There are reasons why we do not partake in such ventures, these will be explained and although we will probably be criticised for our point of view, we appreciate your concern and the interest shown.

The vision – T.B. pays a higher annual subscription for the privilege of preventing companies regardless of their intentions be they fair or foul from advertising on our site. We have been in operation since February 2016 – an on-going project filled with unique and engaging content unravelling the complexities associated with the world’s ‘oldest living art form’ via simplification.

The articles are educative informative discussions covering the many aspects of bonsai horticulture, read by our followers world-wide whom we invite to share views and ask questions, which many have entered into; we also engage in topics that are of a major concern including pests and disease.

Advertising – is a form of selling where communication is intended to persuade an audience or individual to purchase products or services regardless of whether they need them or not. Of course advertising if implemented in a professional manner does have its uses as vendors need to inform the public of their products, but it increasingly invades public spaces and in many cases is a constant annoyance.

For example if the vendor’s message fails to create interest they change strategy adopting different tactics including, unsolicited commercial email and other forms of spam that have become so widespread they are a major irritant to internet users and a financial burden on internet service providers.

YouTube – is an audio visual channel where countless people portray their various activities for example, homesteading, mechanics, restoration, culinary, bonsai horticulture and much more. The tools used, drones, various cameras, microphones and editing platforms have greatly improved over the years, but although are less expensive than broadcast equipment they are inferior unable to take the abuse they are put through. This evidence is borne by the people whom use said equipment that are constantly having to replace it due to misuse.

Arguably some of the footage aired is acceptable, but much of it is indifferent; it is what it is a ‘home video’ lacking in structure, content, context and directive failing to captivate the audience. However, we do not condemn this practise far from it, good luck to those who use YouTube as a platform to boost ratings gain sponsorship and if financial incentives are the reward then so be it.

T.B. – owns broadcast film equipment readily available should it be needed and as a professional filmmaker the old adage of ‘quality not quantity’ still remains our watchword, a perspective applied to all that is undertaken regardless of its genre. But as the pundits persist in saying “YouTube video presentations do not have to be broadcast standard” which, is a ludicrous and morally unacceptable statement; “If a task is worth doing, do it well or leave it alone“, you have all heard that phrase at sometime in your lives.

Bonsai horticultural practises are abundant on YouTube covering a number of topics including, seminars, workshops and demonstrations, but in the main the quality leaves much to be desired. To add to this a new approach has to be devised, one that has structure, content, context, meaning and message as governed by the laws of film language and its narrative structure, which the vast majority of YouTube presentations fail to adhere to. Professional filmmaking takes time to complete from the initial concept to the finished presentation.

Another important factor to consider is once one starts a YouTube channel, one has to continuously work at it on a regular basis to maintain a following and although some succeed in their endeavours, many fail. Moreover, the content has to of a moral standard according to YouTube guidelines whatever they are and failure to follow the rules can result in unwanted consequences.

For the foreseeable future Taiga Bonzai will remain in its current status – a platform continuing to write educative articles for our followers. Perhaps were are missing out by not chasing the filthy lucre, but do we want to go down the road of no return, not at this juncture – we prefer to pursue the vision not the money. Until next time BW; Nik.

‘filthy lucre’

Nota bene: In the last article 66 Unseen enemies update’ we gave reasons why restrictions were imposed due to unprecedented message problems, this has now ceased henceforth restrictions are now removed. However, should the onslaught reappear they will be reinstated; if you wish to contact us our email address can be found in the ‘about’ section at the top of the article.

Article 61 – ‘A balanced composition’

Hi, welcome to Taiga Bonzai in this post we discuss the marriage of tree and container starting with the definition of the Japanese word ‘Bonsai’ (the umbrella term for this art) – ‘Bon’ is pot and ‘Sai’ is tree.

Introduction – as we have often stated, the old rules are today mere guidelines nonetheless, they contain logic, common sense and a learning curve for the multitude who practice the horticultural art of bonsai. Arguably one of the most important factors is the overall composition of how a plant in its container is perceived, our latest book Taiga Bonzai Simplifying the Art ‘Revised Edition’ (which can be found on google play books) goes into lengthy discussion on this topic. Because bonsai like other art forms, paintings, sculpture, music, fashion and culinary has its critics and pundits who review the work by said artists, which can often be unforgiving.

A balanced composition – it has been said by the bonsai masters that the four types of pots used in bonsai, which include rectangularround oval and deep square glazed or unglazed are designated for particular tree designs for example, conifers are normally associated with unglazed pots whereas deciduous varieties are suited to glazed containers. These pot types are classed as masculine, feminine and neutral, deep square pots are only for cascade Kengai and semi cascade Han-Kengai, of course pot designs have changed over the decades, colourful designs, fluted, eight corner bowls and moon bowls are now relatively common; the identification of pots is shown below.

1. Masculine 2. Feminine 3. Neutral 4. Cascade pot

Masculine pots are normally quite deep with robust corners, feminine pots can be round without sharp corners or lines and oval pots will have a gentle rim also without lines, deep square pots are wider at the top with tapering sides as shown. By looking at the image the masculine pot would be ideal for a robust pine formal upright Chokkan or informal upright Moyogi as the pot’s design and colour (unglazed) would enhance the rough texture of the bark and dark green foliage.

The feminine pot (glazed/unglazed) would suit a delicate Japanese Maple Acer palmatum, Juniperus sabina, or a flowering species, designs can include literati Bungin or slanting Shakan. The oval pot (glazed) could be used for most tree design to reflect the colour of the bark, leaf, fruit and flower for example, deciduous varieties including Beech, Fagus Weeping cherry Prunus and Rowan Sorbus aucuparia. As stated the rules are guidelines to assist us finding the correct pot for the plant in question because the tree is the painting and the pot is the frame and both must compliment each other, to explain further have a look at the image below.

Oopjen Coppit 1634 by Rembrandt

As the image shows the dress worn by the subject is black marginley distinguishing her from the dark background, it is the skin tone of her hands and face and the lace shawl that stand out making the painting what it is; quite remarkable yet subtle. But more importantly it is the overall composition of frame and picture that is the main factor. The gilded frame probably a heavy wooden moulded/carved one has a warm luster with various tones opposed to a brassy-gold finish and it can be argued that picture and frame compliment each other. But before we move on go back to the painting and in your mind substitute the gilded frame for one of polished aluminium – would the composition be correct? this same consensus applies to bonsai; pot and tree.

In article 57 ‘The wait is over’ we took some time to choose a pot for our large S. aucupariaOmono Dai‘ class (100 centimetres or 40 inches) the tree has light green foliage, smooth grey bark, white flowers and orange fruit and is considered to be neutral. Strong dark colours such as blue or green would be overpowering disrupting the overall composition of tree and pot as would an brown unglazed pot; hence the decision was to go for glazed neutral white, which would be in balance with the tree’s colourisation.

As to the pot shape round bowls and ovals were discussed, but extensive searching did not yield anything suitable. Another option was to have one made, but this was out of the question due to lengthy production time, overall cost and delivery; the last option was a rectangular pot. Pot depth was another important factor to consider, a large deep pot although ideal for ‘root-run’ would be overbearing, the decision was to opt for a shallow depth rectangular pot that would be in harmony with the tree creating a balanced composition.

If you have plants in training it matters not what containers you use; metal, wood, clay or plastic however, if the aim is to eventually use a ceramic pot especially for public display much thought and consideration is necessary in choosing the correct pot. It is not just the pot style and colour, other factors have to be taken into account for example, trunk height and thickness, canopy spread, tree style and attributes, Chinese Penjing (Penzai) or Japanese Zen Buddhist styles. Moreover, ceramics can be expensive especially if hand made make sure the decision you make is the correct one.

If you are familiar with article 56 ‘Bug apocalypse’ regarding the reduction of insect populations vital to our existence, we mentioned an upcoming 4 part series called ‘Unseen enemies’. In these articles we concentrate on the increasing problem of invading pests and disease devastating agriculture, horticulture, natural woodlands and forests across the globe. Until next time BW, Nik.

Article 55 – ‘The new book’

This is not a publicity or marketing ploy to promote our ‘new book’ (Taiga Bonzai Simplifying The Art – Revised Edition) it is to inform the many whom have asked where is the book and on what platform is it available? Our sincere apologies for the time taken to respond, but publication was delayed due to complications we had to address due to the following.

The original book (Taiga Bonzai Simplifying The Art) was sent for publication in 2018, but it’s progress to date remains unclear although we have tried on numerous occasions to contact the publishers without success. In addition, a contract between the publishers and ourselves was entered into which is legal and binding, hence we were prohibited from publishing elsewhere.

To solve the problem the book was re-written during 2020 with more chapters, content and images being added, making it into a ‘Revised Edition’ which is different from the original work. In addition, the original art work for the book’s front and back cover could not be used as this would breach the terms of the contract, it had to re-done which took time to complete.

As this new book will be published as an ‘E-Book’ choosing the right platform was not an easy task as there are many available with all having rules and regulations of one kind or another, hence a lot of research was needed. We decided to go with Google Play and the new book will be available beginning of this month ‘August 2021′. We do not envisage any technical problems, but if there are – our contact details can be found in the ‘About’ section at the top of the article.

According to Google indexing a book usually occurs within 48 hours on Google Play and for Google Books it can take up to 2 weeks. After indexing is complete, people are able to search for the book by either it’s title, author or the book’s ISBN or simply search for the book on Google Play Books. Alternatively, here is the ‘Google Play Books’ link for the book: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=GGKEY:FEGZU8E1P6Q

The original book took 4 years to research and write with an additional 18 months for the re-write, art work and platform research, taking into consideration these factors we believe that (€15,00) is a fair price for a comprehensive 200 page book on bonsai horticulture. Moreover, as we are ‘non-profit making‘ all proceeds go to education and research.

The next post article 56‘Bug apocalypse’ will be available August 8th, because at this juncture it is a ‘hot topic’ among the scientific fraternity – until next time, BW, Nik.

(New book front and back covers below)