Bonsai growing is an artform that originally started in Egypt and was copied by China hundreds of years ago.
Trade and cultural links between China and Japan meant that part of the two countries exchange of ideas and traditions involved gardens and Bonsai in Chinese known as 'punsa' - in English 'tree in a pot'.
Japanese garden enthusiast Russ Chard has put together this book 'The Little Book Of Bonsai ' to explain lots of aspects of this beautiful and eye catching art form that is very popular all over the world. It could well serve as the inspiration for you to become a Bonsai grower and cultivator perhaps as a new hobby or becuse of a long standing ambition to take it up as a hobby.
Subjects covered in this book include:
- History of Bonsai
- What IS A Bonsai?
- What Type Of Bonsai To Choose To Grow
- Styles Of Bonsai
- Sizes Of Bonsai
- Indoor Bonsai
- Outdoor Bonsai
- Bonsai Care
- The Basics Of Effective Bonsai Care
- How To Repot A Bonsai Tree
- Outdoor Bonsai Tree Care
- Indoor Bonsai Tree Care
- Bonsai Maples
- Growing A Japanese Maple From A Seed
- History Of Japanese Maples
- How To Grow A Dwarf Acer
- How To Cultivate & Grow Bonsai From Seeds
- Artificial Bonsai Trees
- Bonsai Maintenance
- Bonsai Plants
- How To Try & Revive A ‘Dead’ Bonsai
- Misconceptions About Bonsai Trees
- The Advantages Of Growing Bonsai
- Starting Your Own Bonsai Growing Project
- What Type Of Bonsai Pots Should I Consider?
- More On The Importance Of Repotting
- Tools And Accessories For Bonsai Growing
- The Numerous Ways To Get Your Bonsai Equipment (at a good price!)
- The 6 Do’s And Don’ts Of Bonsai
'The Little Book Of Bonsai' explains in simple terms the many aspects of Bonsai and how you can easily by learning the basics start growing your own for outdoor and indoor beauty.
Easy to understand and follow this is the complete mini-course in Bonsai growing.
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The Little Book Of Bonsai by Russ Chard
Table of contents:
History of Bonsai
What IS A Bonsai?
What Type Of Bonsai To Choose To Grow
Styles Of Bonsai
Sizes Of Bonsai
The Basics Of Effective Bonsai Care
How To Repot A Bonsai Tree
Outdoor Bonsai Tree Care
Indoor Bonsai Tree Care
Growing A Japanese Maple From A Seed
History Of Japanese Maples
How To Grow A Dwarf Acer
How To Cultivate & Grow Bonsai From Seeds
Artificial Bonsai Trees
How To Try & Revive A ‘Dead’ Bonsai
Misconceptions About Bonsai Trees
The Advantages Of Growing Bonsai
Starting Your Own Bonsai Growing Project
What Type Of Bonsai Pots Should I Consider?
More On The Importance Of Repotting
Tools And Accessories For Bonsai Growing
The Numerous Ways To Get Your Bonsai Equipment (at a good price!)
The 6 Do’s And Don’ts Of Bonsai
About the Author
History of Bonsai
It may surprise you to know that Bonsai initially originated in Egypt thousands of years ago and moved to China.
It was brought to Japan somewhere between the 7th – 9th centuries by the Imperial Embassies to Tang China. Initially it was enjoyed only by the nobility and was not a hobby which was enjoyed by the masses.
However, over time it began to filter down through the social hierarchy and became something which much of the population enjoyed.
From China bonsai along with many styles of gardens that are known today moved to Japan after trade routes were established and a subsequent exchange of culture.
The Japanese perfected the art of bonsai.
Bonsai is a Japanese word, but its roots are Chinese and are derived from the word “punsa”. This word means “tree in a pot”
The Japanese used azaleas to create magnificent bonsai following years of pruning, wiring and careful attention. The Japanese art of bonsai, and its precursor, the Chinese art of penjing, are rooted in the traditions of Asian culture.
The Japanese art of bonsai stemmed from this and so is actually more modern than the Chinese. However, the Japanese version is now the one which is more widely known.
Discoveries have been made in Egyptian tombs of sketches showing miniature trees in pots.
These are thought to have been kept for decorative purposes and the pictures date back to 4000 years ago!
Trade caravans often had bonsai trees as part of their cargo and according to historical records were used for medicinal purposes on what were often long arduous journeys.
The difference between China and Japan for bonsai is that in China they tend to be slightly larger and more often than not placed outside a home.
Whereas in Japan, indoor use is more common which is why they appear so precise and beautiful – they are for show.
The art of raising bonsai - dwarfed potted trees - enabled the Japanese to admire nature in an indoor setting. Over time the art of bonsai spread around the globe and in some places such as the United States changed slightly.
In the US they have a much freer concept and style than you would find with Japanese bonsai.
The quality of a bonsai tree is measured on how well it portrays nature in miniature form.
A bonsai should have a well tapered trunk and have branches all around the tree to give the bonsai tree visual depth.
The art of bonsai involves the bringing together of tree and pot in visual harmony.
"Bonsai" simply means "potted tree." But many of the really fine specimens have been pruned for more than 100 years and recently a bonsai in Japan sold for just short of $1 million!
It was close to 400 years old.
Bonsai expresses the significance of life. The care involved in creating and shaping a bonsai is considered a form of meditation in itself.
Over time, bonsai began to take on different styles, each which varied immensely from one another. Today, hardy as well as tropical indoor bonsai are trained in classic styles, including windswept, slanted trunk, rock clinging, and forest as you will discover later in this book.
Bonsai are highly regarded as a symbol of Japanese culture and ideals.
Contrary to popular belief, bonsai are not tortured trees.
A bonsai may have areas of dead wood but this is to give an impression of age and it may not surprise you that for such a precise way of cultivating and growing that there are several techniques available to the bonsai grower to increase the apparent age of a tree.
Bonsai is no longer exclusively an oriental art form, today bonsai is practiced by thousands of people around the world, on every continent.
The art of bonsai is the art of imitating the spirit of nature.
But it some parts of Japan more modern practical demands mean that there is a bonsai industry of considerable size.
Everybody has heard of the Bonsai tree but very few people know anything about the history of the miniature shrub or where the tradition came from.
Bonsai is a Japanese term which, in its native language, translates to mean “tray gardening”.
This term describes exactly what bonsai is as it is a tree which is grown in a small pot or tub enabling it to be kept indoors or outdoors.
A lot of trees are not always genetically predisposed to be smaller and they achieve their miniature status through great care including careful pruning.
The ability to care for a bonsai tree, keeping it small and healthy, is an art form in itself but not actually as difficult as you may imagine. Like anything it isn’t what you do it’s the way that you do it.
The trees are commonly pruned into an aesthetically pleasing shape, another reason why they are seen as works of art and not just as plants.
You now know that bonsai literally translated means “tree in a pot” but you may be wondering about the meaning of a Bonsai tree.
It is a replication of nature, but you must not be able to see human intervention too clearly.
The connotations or added/implied Bonsai tree meanings include:
•A general tree-like shape or style (although not necessarily natural to that type of plant growing full-size in the wild).
•A tree that has just enough features to easily suggest a full-grown tree.
•Relative smallness, compared with those same types of trees outside of the container, for ease of transport and ability to keep nearby.
•It must give a sense of being natural even though it has been subtly helped by human intervention. To show evidence of human intervention would render the tree ugly and unnatural in appearance.
•A particular representation of something much more than itself, and thus allowing each viewer to interpret what they see.
•Something so valued that it has received care for virtually every day of its [hopefully long] containerized life.
•Something held in such high regard that it was allowed to be brought temporarily into the house for honoured guests even though it contained soil from the garden.
•A portable oasis and transportable miniature garden which can represent the seasons and vast or favourite landscapes close-at-hand for meditation or contemplation assistance.
Bonsai in Japanese is written as: . In short, the definition of Bonsai can be explained as:
The left piece of writing is “Bon” – a dish or bowl that has been modified or cut down from its original size.
The right piece of writing is “Sai” is a tree planted as you would a spear in the ground.
So, Bonsai literally in precise translation means “a tree that is planted in a shallow container”.
As you will learn later in this book pots and containers are a vital part of Bonsai growing and care.
What IS a Bonsai?
It was not until the early 1900s that the Bonsai Tree was introduced to the western world, and it soon became not only a popular hobby, but began to be considered a serious art form in horticulture by many people.
It is a common misconception that the Bonsai Tree is naturally small, the Bonsai Tree comes from exactly the same seed as its larger counterpart but is grown in a specific way to ensure that it remains tiny.
It is vital for the beginner to know that the main element to growing a Bonsai is pruning.
This is the technique that trains and allows the tree to stay small. Without regular pruning, the Bonsai tree will grow to its normal height and size.
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