When I began bonsai I didn’t know where to go for just about anything. There was no guidance on which book to read, what course to take, where to buy plants, and where to find or what to look for when buying a long list of other tools and supplies. For years going to any bonsai meeting or reading about any new technique introduced a new thing that I didn’t have. Most purchases are $30 and under but there was such a long list. Below are my recommendations on where to find an assortment of bonsai tools and information.

Tools

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These are the Tools I suggest for Bonsai

Books

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Books I have found to be helpful

Information

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Useful links to other stuff

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION SOURCES

If you have a question related to a specific bonsai, you can try online directly. But frequently you have to look for information on bonsai principles and care for the species in question separately. So if your first web search doesn’t yield results, drop either the name of the plant or the word bonsai in your next search request.

  • Your local bonsai club. (ABS lists all local clubs here.) If I suggested only one resource, this is where I’d start. Your local bonsai club is excellent for meeting people who can answer questions, finding discount supplies (due to bulk discounts and minimized shipping costs). Some clubs go on outings where they collect specimens – tagging along may get you into material you couldn’t find anywhere else. Some clubs have raffles or swap unwanted supplies, and if you’re a beginner, taking the scraps from someone advanced will likely beat the pants off whatever you’d find at a big box store. The importance of being able to talk to local bonsai-lovers cannot be understated because it is a whole group of people who know your precise climate zone.
  • Your state bonsai association. May offer an annual convention as well. This is a great option for those who could travel within the state but not across the country.
  • American Bonsai Society (ABS).  They hold an annual convention, publish a quarterly bonsai journal, publish a select group of books, and offer a few courses.  One of those courses is an “Introduction to Bonsai.”  It’s a train the trainer type program – that is if you find a local place teaching an intro to bonsai course, you may get a manual from ABS.  ABS is a small group, run by volunteers and it remains the umbrella under which all bonsai clubs stand in the U.S., (and really in North America).  Membership in ABS is separate from your local bonsai club.

 

 

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This site involves product reviews. The opinions of the reviewer are strictly my own.