Invite the Timeless Beauty of Bonsai into Your Life and Home

With its growing popularity in Western Culture, Bonsai has captured the interest of everyone from expert horticulturists to beginner gardeners.

Literally meaning “tray growing” or “tree in a pot” the art of dwarfing trees and training them to yield to the design and purpose of the artist is a unique way of creating masterpieces that enhance gardens and add an eye-catching intrigue to any landscape.

But, bonsai is much more than a cultivation technique. It is not simply a tree in a pot.

To the true Japanese masters, it moves beyond simple aesthetic appeal and actually reflects a spiritual connection. Like a painter with a canvas or a sculptor with a mound of clay, the tree is a medium that is worked, and shaped, and molded, through specific tools and techniques at the tender hands of the artist, to become a finished work that represents nature and tells a story. In other words, a tree planted in a container does not become bonsai until it is pruned, grafted, shaped, and styled to depict a specific image or scenario.

Did You Know?

Japanese tradition holds that a bonsai can only be created through the practice of “shin-zen-bi”, or Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. It is believed that by cultivating the tree, these three virtues are also cultivated. In essence, these three elements are brought together and the bonsai is an expression of these forces at work through the artist. Trees are planted slightly off center because the very middle of this little bonsai universe is thought to be where Heaven and Earth meet, representing harmony between the two. Everything from the tree to the choice of container, chosen shape, and even the color will form a harmonious unit, with each aspect complementing the others.

Yet, even though each bonsai is unique to its creator and no two are exactly the same, the ultimate goal is to design a miniature version of a natural scenario with no trace of human hands. The final masterpiece will look natural, and all evidence of the artist's intervention or manipulation will be hidden.

Basically, Bonsai creates a small depiction of what the tree would or could experience in its natural environment. In fact, most of the traditional Bonsai styles are derived from nature and have a very symbolic interpretation.

Types of Bonsai Trees

  • Slanting Style - mimics a natural tree that is leaning as if reaching toward light or being pushed by strong wind.

  • Raft Form - replicates a tree that has toppled over yet overcomes this adversity when its surviving branches become individual trees connected by a single root system.

  • Cascade Style - modelled after trees that grow on cliffs, mountainsides, or over water sources.

  • Shari Form - a portrayal of a tree that continues to thrive despite being damaged or victimized by harsh conditions.
While it is not necessary to be aware of all the spiritual foundations of bonsai, understanding the meanings behind the various styles can help you master the basic principles and allow you to put a little more heart and soul into your creations.

You do not have to be an Asian bonsai guru to enjoy this art. In fact, anyone is capable if they are willing to invest a little bit of time and patience. All it takes is choosing the right tree for the environment, learning the best way to take care of it, and following the proper steps to create the shape and style you desire. Of course, your personal taste, creativity, and life experiences will also play an important role in the design and interpretation your artwork.

Bonsai uses ordinary trees and plants – not genetically dwarfed ones – and almost any woody-stemmed species can be used, although choosing ones with small leaves or needles is usually best suited to the miniaturized nature of bonsai. The beauty is that regular trees and shrubs are kept small by a series of techniques such as pruning, transplanting, wiring, grafting, defoliation, or clamping. The skill is in achieving asymmetry and proper proportions so that the small version is actually an accurate representation of the full-grown tree, the way it would be if allowed to develop in its natural habitat.

Since they are smaller replicas of their large-scale counterparts, Bonsai will require special care, but this will vary depending on the environment and type of tree. If proper attention is given to watering, fertilizer, repotting, insect removal, and disease prevention, your Bonsai tree will live hundreds of years. It can become a beautiful heirloom that is passed through the generations, with each owner adding their own personal touch. What better way to connect the past with the future than with a living legacy that has been nurtured and maintained by generations of ancestors?

Whether you are a beginner starting with your first plant or an enthusiast with dreams of creating a bonsai garden where you can display your beautiful specimens like paintings at an art show, you will be able to find all the bonsai instructions and training that you need to take the hobby to any level you desire. It doesn't matter where you live – by choosing the right tree or shrub, bonsai is suitable to any environment. And, there are plenty of indoor bonsai trees to choose from so you can enjoy the beauty and pleasure of bonsai year-round, even if you are located in a colder climate.

From evergreens to breathtaking blooms, Bonsai is a great way to help you relax, connect with nature, and create something that represents the beauty you find in life. Whether it is a serious interest or a casual hobby, let the roots of this ancient art form nurture you and help cultivate Shin-zen-bi – Truth, Goodness, and Beauty!

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How to Grow Bonsai and Train Them
Learn how to grow bonsai and create unique pieces of living art. You can start from a seed or cuttings or even a mature tree. It's a therapeutic and rewarding pasttime you'll enjoy for a lifetime.
Caring for Bonsai Trees
Caring for bonsai takes some tender loving attention to the needs of the plant and not necessarily a regimented schedule. Learn how to provide the best conditions for your bonsai tree to thrive.
Types of Bonsai Trees
There are several styles and types of bonsai trees. Some are better suited to certain climates. Others are a matter of taste. Find the one that best fits you and start enjoying the beauty of bonsai.
Bonsai Tools for Pruning Beautiful Living Masterpieces
To shape a bonsai you need the proper bonsai tools... pruning shears, branch cutters, bud scissors and more. Learn all about what tools are required for each step in pruning your bonsai creations.
Bonsai Supplies - What You Need to Nuture and Display Your Bonsai
Nurture and display your natural works of art with quality bonsai supplies. Proper care can mean you will be able to enjoy your bonsai for many years and even pass it down as a family heirloom.
Bonsai Containers and Display Units
Show off your beautifully crafted plants in bonsai containers that compliment your trees, including ceramic pots, root stands, wooden containers, sculpted designs, or simple plastic training pots.
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Bonsai Terms and Definitions
Dictionary of bonsai terms for your reference when creating, buying, and caring for bonsai. Includes definitions for everything from bonsai tools to pruning techniques.
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