Top 10 5 minute crafts DIY | mix ideas
The word “bonsai” means in Chinese “trees in shells”, which makes it rather strange that the art of bonsai is mainly associated with Japan. However, this is only because the Japanese were the first to perfect the art of deliberately putting trees in the shade.
The main idea of bonsai is to make a tree grow on a tiny scale so that it finally looks exactly like the tree that would grow in nature… at its full size. In other words, it should be a perfect miniature of what you would find in your garden or in a forest.
Unlike trees, which provide shade or even a source of material for construction or furniture making… a small living ornament. And it’s a long-term art since dwarf-sized trees take many years to mature.
Origins of the Art of Bonsai
The art of bonsai dates back thousands of years and it is believed that there are living bonsai trees up to 500 years old.
One of the first documented bonsai trees in Japan dates from 603 to 839, when several Japanese diplomatic missions traveled to China. Japan’s Shosoin, a veritable 8th-century treasure house, is an amazing example of this type of art, although the trees are more sculptures than living trees.
The best trees for bonsai
It is generally believed that the most suitable trees for bonsai are oaks, maples, apple trees, and crab plums, as well as acacias, some of the Ficus species, scholars, and wild olive trees. Also popular are some evergreen plants, such as azaleas, cotoneasters, and pyracantha. Conifers are also excellent subjects.
Here are some tips to get you started
The best way to start a bonsai is to grow it from a seed. Alternatively, you can transplant widely found seedlings that have been planted in the garden.
It usually takes around two years until the seedlings reach a height of around 30-40 mm (1-1.5 ins). At this stage (in spring) they can be encapsulated in a container with about 80-100 mm (3-4 ins) of fertilizer. Keep the plant outside in a protected and shady environment.
The following autumn, the tree should be transplanted into a bed of good soil or replanted with about 130-150 cm (5-6 ins) of fertilizer. The pot or pots should be placed in a sheltered place in front of the door, and professionals usually bury the pots (up to the edge) in peat.
At this stage, you can also start training the stem. Use wire to bend the trunk (which is actually the young trunk) to achieve a knotty, aged look, but be careful not to damage the tree.
A good rule of thumb is to wait until the trunk is about 10 mm (less than half an inch) in diameter, trim the trunk – cutting it about 100-150 mm (4-5 ins) from the base. That sounds hard, but it has to be done. It won’t take long for the side shoots to form.
Towards the autumn, when the tree has obviously stopped growing, you will have to prune the roots heavily. Leave only the fibrous roots. Then transplant the tree into smaller pots that are large enough to contain the remaining roots. If you look at the pots in which bonsai grow, you will see that few roots should remain.