"Bonsai art is the display of a landscape - without the landscape."
This quote couldn't be truer. Growing and sculpting bonsai trees can be quite a satisfying hobby. It is a hobby however, that requires a tremendous amount of patience. When you take a simple sapling and mould it to your desire, you'll be rewarded with a beautiful piece of art you can truly be proud of!
The term bonsai literally means plant in a pot or tray planting. Bonsai however is much more than simply a plant in a pot. The goal of bonsai is to create the appearance of great size and age. This is accomplished by creating a bonsai with strong roots that extend in all directions, creating a sense of stability, a large trunk which tapers as it goes upward, a clear apex, and well formed and well placed branches. These features all combine to create a careful blend of symmetry, balance and proportion. It also must be displayed in a pot, which harmonizes well with the plant material.
Bonsai is the art of growing trees in a confined space to simulate certain environmental conditions such as great age, extreme weathering, twisted or contorted form, landscape, or other factors. Bonsai trees are modeled on and take inspiration from nature. The idea of bonsai is to recreate some of nature's most stunning and beautiful effects on trees which are reduced in scale.
When undertaking bonsai, you are beginning an experience that will expand your horizons in countless ways. You may find a new sense of appreciation for nature; you may start looking at trees, bushes and shrubs differently.
You will certainly find yourself looking around all the "worst parts" of your local nurseries where they keep the plants that most people wouldn't look twice at. How the art of bonsai will change you is as unpredictable as nature itself, but be assured of one thing: Bonsai will change the way that you look at things.
To the Japanese, there is a link to many of the ideals that their society is based on. Zen Buddhism - where the pastime originated, man, nature, elements and change all are intertwined into this unique method of meditation and expression. To our world now, bonsai is viewed as a hobby that allows a greater understanding and being with nature and also a way to enhance our gardens.
The tree and the pot involved with bonsai form a single harmonious unit where the shape, texture and colour of one, compliments the other. Then the tree must be shaped. It is not enough just to plant a tree in a pot and allow nature to take its course - the result would look nothing like a tree and would look very short-lived. Every branch and twig of a bonsai is shaped or eliminated until the chosen image is achieved. From then on, the image is maintained and improved by a constant regime of pruning and trimming. So read on and enjoy your e-book "Bonsai Trees!"