GardenGrrl's WunderBlog

Back to Biting Birds & Bonsai

By: GardenGrrl, 12:33 AM GMT on May 03, 2012

When you ask different Bonsai enthusiasts what bonsai is you are likely to get many answers and philosophies.
Let's clear up one that had confused me for many years.
Bonsai translates as small potted plant. It is often confused with Banzai, the famed Japanese battle cry.

After seeing Banzai spelled Bonsai many times, I truly wondered why Japanese warriors yelled "small potted plant" on their way to death and glory. With this matter cleared up lets go on to the origins of bonsai.

Most enthusiasts will agree that this art started in China where it is called Penjing. This translates as "tray scenery". Chinese style tends to be more relaxed. The pottery can be brighter. Scenes such as mountain and water features can be added.

Japanese Bonsai relies on simplicity of form guided by many complex rules.

Whatever the rules or style, we can all appreciate how amazing a mature bonsai is. Here's the time to salute the folks that brought their prize bonsais to exhibit at the convention. After all, bringing a small but heavy tree growing in a 2 inch deep clay tray that is worth huge money from home to convention, what could possible go wrong? Thankfully they all made it.

Check out this black pine.

Here is a line of prize trees on exhibit. If you look to the far back there is a little girl in red that was dancing to the classical music they were playing.

This tree is a classic "Slanting" style. Notice a partial branch a third the way up. That is part of the rules for this style.

Here is a very nice semi-cascade bonsai. Notice the deep square pot.

This complicated tree uses a technique called "jin" where parts of the bark are deliberatly stripped away and the wood beneath is bleached to give it the appearance of being older than it is.

And here is my favorite part of the convention, the vendors area. These are bonsai azaleas.

Here are all the different tools for sale that are used to style bonsai.

Also available were lots of finished and unfinished bonsai for sale. I bought a few.

A few more bonsai Faq's. Bonsais are real trees carefully clipped and cultivated to be minitures of their wild selves. Most bonsais must be grown outdoors because they are real trees; oaks, elms, maples, junipers etc.
Only a very small number of bonsai trees can be grown indoors.
A bonsai hobbyist can expect to lose 50% of the trees they attempt to bonsai. (Learning that made me feel a whole lot better.)

Thanks for checking out the bonsais.

Updated: 6:59 PM GMT on May 21, 2012


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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