Click on the photos to see a larger one on Flickr. They are also part of a set on Flickr.
When I posted about a year round bonsai business yesterday, this is what I was referring to. Bonsai is a rather exotic term for many, but all it means in Japanese is tray tree or tray cultivation. Not really all that exotic in English.The art form originated around 265 AD to 420 AD in China as "penzai" and was later copied by the Japanese. In my opinion, we should call it penzai since that is its original name.
My reason for not using the word bonsai to describe my small indoor trees is that I have no formal training in the art form and would consider it somewhat presumptuous to label my work as such. With that said I've seen trees of significantly lesser quality called bonsai on the web.
The trees in this post are all out of my possession since I donated my entire plant lab collection to a group of fourteen Brooklyn elementary and middle schools.
In the spring of 2008, I took cuttings from the donated Ficus trees and propagated twenty-four new trees in soda (pop) bottle propagators. I've given eleven of them away and still have thirteen.
What is significant about these trees is that they were all grown and maintained indoors using sub-irrigation under a combination of natural window light and fluorescent light. None of them are in traditional bonsai pots with drain holes. The planters are all inexpensive housewares containers from discount stores.
This original group of trees from cuttings has produced a second generation of fifty-two tabletop Ficus trees that I will prune and groom to become true bonsai. The total collection is now sixty-five trees and growing. It takes about three weeks to create a new tree from cuttings.
If I can do what I've done in a Brooklyn apartment in less than two years think of what could be done in a more extensive small business facility. I believe it could be done without a greenhouse using artificial light.
I plan to conduct workshops about this and other small business ideas using modern greenscaping methods in the coming year. Stay tuned.