Author's posts

Jul 24

Bonsai – Introduction To the Living Art

Say ‘art’ and most will think of painting or sculpture. There is a kind of sculpture, though, that takes as its raw material not stone or wood but a living tree. That is the art of bonsai. From the Japanese word for ‘tree in a tray’, Bonsai is the art and product of shaping trees …

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Jun 24

Bonsai: How To Care for White Pine

Though no bonsai is easy to train or care for, pine is among the easier species. More tolerant to drying, they adapt well to a pot and often require only regular trimming and biannual repotting. In the wild, pine commonly grow to 50 feet or more with trunks that are a foot in diameter and …

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May 24

Bonsai: How To Care for Maple

Maples come in a variety of sub-species, but all of them make beautiful bonsai trees. Slightly more difficult to care for, they are nonetheless greatly in demand by bonsai enthusiasts. Their leafy appearance is attractive, particularly in the fall when they turn to yellow and red, just as do the full-sized maples. Some varieties thrive …

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Apr 24

Bonsai: How To Care for Blue Junipers

Junipers are, along with pine, another of the common species sought by beginning bonsai enthusiasts. And for good reason: it’s a beautiful species that tolerates a wide variety of conditions well. Junipers make an especially good species for the kengai (cascade) style in which the trunk and branches grow out over the pot and below …

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Apr 16

Bonsai – Advanced Styles

Beyond the basic styles of chokkan (formal upright), shakan (informal upright), kengai (cascade) and so forth there are several that don’t fit neatly into those categories. The divisions are arbitrary to an extent, but like any specialty they evolve over time to help bonsai artists guide and discuss their work. Some of the more common …

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Dec 24

Bonsai Basic Styles, Part III

Kengai (Cascade) The cascade style is among the more beautiful and desired, but also more difficult to achieve. The trunk grows down below the level of the container, often twisting as it does so. In nature, a tree growing near a cliff subject to heavy snows, avalanches and wind may assume this inverted position. Those …

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Dec 24

Bonsai Basic Styles, Part II

Shakan (Slanting) Japanese bonsai artists have developed many intricate and detailed forms of bonsai, in which each element is positioned just so. This is evident in the shakan, or slanting, style. As the name suggests, the trunk is slanted, usually at a moderately steep angle, mid-way between an upright and a cascade style. The slant …

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Dec 24

Bonsai Basic Styles, Part I

Over the centuries the artists of bonsai have developed hundreds of unique styles. But within this complexity there are a few that form the basis of most of the variations. Chokkan (Formal Upright) The simplest, but still exquisitely beautiful, is the chokkan or formal upright. Though still a miniature, this style most resembles the full …

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Oct 24

Bonsai Pruning, The Primary Art

Since bonsai are grown from ordinary, not dwarf, species, their small size is primarily the result of pruning, both branches and roots. Though much learning and experience is required for proper soil preparation, watering and other needed skills, no other aspect is so critical for making the bonsai more than just a small tree. It’s …

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Dec 24

Bonsai Wiring Made Easier: Preparation

Wiring is the practice of wrapping aluminum or copper wire around the bonsai trunk or branches to shape the tree. Training bonsai is never easy, but it can be made easier by proper preparation and execution. Here are some basic guidelines. Why? Pruning a bonsai is a selective process that helps determine the number and …

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