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Hello! I'm guessing you have seen something I've written on one of the forums and came to see if you could learn a little about me. Thank you for that interest. I'll start by saying that a fair number of years ago (20+), I became enamored of bonsai trees and quite suddenly decided I would become a bonsai practitioner; then failed miserably at it, having to accept the reality in the fact I didn't have the skill set required to keep diminutive plants alive in the small volumes of soil they are grown in. I quickly determined that to minimize my frustrations and maximize my satisfaction, I'd need to do some extensive homework. I began to study the more technical aspects of plant physiology, container culture, and soil science. After about 4 years of fairly diligent study, I set about acquiring a few new trees & companion plants to replace the dead ones, and to my surprise, I was able to keep them flourishing.

Incidental to my bonsai related studies I found a growing interest in understanding the broader culture of container gardening, with emphasis on soils and nutrition (fertilization). I still continue to attempt to satisfy a considerable appetite for the knowledge I gather from many texts and the net, and to carefully observe and note the cause/effect relationships that affect my own plants. To further my knowledge of plant systems and their individual cultural requirements, I regularly take advantage of local symposia, and travel often to conventions and other plant related events. I'm also called on regularly by local clubs and organizations, frequently Master Gardener groups, to speak about plants, pruning, propagation, soils, container gardening, or other related subjects.

I maintain several of my own gardens, many raised beds, some 250+ containerized woody plants/bonsai, and dozens of companion plants in containers. I also 'build' about 30 large display containers for the gardens each year, including both floral and foliage compositions, pictures of which litter the forums here at GW. I never buy soils, choosing instead to build all my soils from easily obtainable components, always kept on hand. I'm active in 5 garden/plant related clubs, and have completed Master Gardener training. I have a large indoor growing area (64 sq ft) with controlled humidity, temperature, and supplemental lighting where I maintain many tropical bonsai, assorted houseplants & succulents. If you'd like to search these forums for any comments I may have offered about a particular subject, simply enter the search word tapla, followed by the subject of your search. e.g. tapla container soil, or tapla fertilizer. The satisfaction I enjoy in exchange for my participation on the forums comes in large part from the thought that what I offer on the forums might possibly be helping another gardener. I probably neglect a few things, (including perhaps, my own plants at times) just so I can hang here with the 'plant people' I enjoy so much.

The fact that I'm learning new things every time I log in, and each time I open a book or search the net to confirm the accuracy of my comments is a big plus for me, too. I hope to see you on the forums; or, feel free to contact me off-forum by e-mail. Don't be bashful - I average several plant related questions or comments in my mail every day, so your questions won't pose an imposition.

Thanks for taking the time to read about "where I'm coming from".

_____ Best growing to you!
_____ Al

I live in: United States

My zone is: z5b-6a mid-MI

My Birthday is May 3 .

My favorite forum 1 is Container Gardening.

My favorite forum 2 is House Plants.

First registered on October 03, 2002 .