Plants are a fascination to many. Live with them and you will know the sentiments of a plant lover. Plants offer a wide scope for experimenting. They add a touch of class to your homes and can bring about lot of cheer and joy to its immediate surroundings. Have them in pots or in jugs, have them hanging or have them creeping, they are always a pleasure to look at and be with.
Apart from flowering plants, green leafy ones too are quite appealing. How about a pine tree in a pot? Let the eyes not pop out! I’ am referring the art of Bonsai. For subsequent weeks now, we will look into the various aspects of mastering Bonsai.
It is not a difficult art, but needs ample patience, determination and the know how to do it. Bonsai skills include the knowledge of when and how much to cut the roots, how much fertilizer and water to use and to decide which of the branches need to be pruned to give the plant that aesthetic look.
Bonsai is the art of cultivating miniature trees. In Japanese, Bonsai is literally translated as ‘tray planting.’ But today it has grown into a whole new form. It is the art of dwarfing trees or plants and developing them into an aesthetically appealing shape by growing, pruning and training them in containers according to prescribed techniques. Pine that grows tall in the wild, is the most typical plant used for Bonsai. Others can be used as well. Creating miniature plants doesn’t mean that you starve the plants or treat them cruelly. In fact, given an adequate supply of water, air, light and nutrients, a properly maintained Bonsai will mostly outlive a full size tree of the same species.
The best way to achieve miniaturization is to frequently transfer the plant into new pots and when doing so trim the roots a little. It is not enough just to plant a tree in a pot and allow nature to take its course. Every branch and twig of a bonsai needs to be shaped or eliminated until the chosen image of your choice is achieved. From then on, the image needs to be maintained and improved by a constant regime of pruning and trimming.
Bonsai can be developed from seeds or cuttings, from young trees or from naturally occurring stunted trees transplanted into containers. Most bonsai range in height from 5 centimetres (2 in) to 1 metre (3.33 ft). Apart from pruning and repotting, their branches and trunk are wired so that they grow into desired shapes.
A Bonsai tree should always be positioned off-center in its container, for, not only is asymmetry vital to the visual effect, but the center point is symbolically where heaven and earth meet, and nothing should occupy this place. Another aesthetic principle is the triangular pattern necessary for visual balance and for expression of the relationship shared by a universal principle (life-giving energy or deity), the artist and the tree itself. Japanese tradition holds that three basic virtues are necessary to create a bonsai: shin-zen-bi standing for truth, goodness and beauty.
With good care, Bonsais can live for hundreds of years, and mostly plant lovers pass them down from generation to generation. They are admired for their age. Although these Bonsais are extremely beautiful it must not be forgotten that they are meticulously cared for over the years and contains a wealth of knowledge about them.
Bonsais are ordinary trees or plants, not special hybrid dwarfs. Small leafed varieties are most suitable, but essentially any plant can be used, regardless of the size it grows to, in the wild. Initially in your Bonsai effort, although things may not go as planned, don’t give up. Remember that the Japanese Bonsai masters were once beginners too and they have surely had their share of trials and errors. Overall, bonsai is a great interest, hobby or even profession to undertake.