Bonsai continues to evolve . . .
from newly planted "youngsters" to ancient patriarchs provoking
thoughts of strength and endurance . . . from solitary sentinels to
multi-tree landscape arrangements . . . from traditional hardy
evergreens to tropical plants suitable for growing indoors.
With origins in the Orient, bonsai has spread around the world
with new techniques being introduced, new plants being tried,
and new designs evolving. Many factors are hastening this
evolution as each region adapts and interprets the basic principles.
No longer an exotic mystery, bonsai can be a simple,
unrestricted suggestion of trees or scenes or an amazingly detailed
miniature replica of nature's majestic trees. Bonsai is
container growing, but with an appreciation of display and drama.
Bonsai are pruned and shaped; but unlike topiary, the
goal is to minimize evidence of man's presence.
Contrary to widespread myths, bonsai are not stunted plants that assume shapes only after many, many years of arduous applications of secret processes. Rather, they are selected healthy plants grown with basically sound horticultural techniques. Training techniques vary with imagination and innovation. After a time, each bonsai reflects the values and skills of the owner-grower no matter who began the initial shaping. They'll grow as you permit them; and although there are priceless ancient specimens in existence, a bonsai need not be old to bring you the enchantment and peach of nature.
Bonsai will bring you the appreciation and peace of your natural surroundings. It will expose you to the beauty of scenic panoramas, asymmetrical designs of nature, and overlooked details of common plants. In your search for styling inspiration, common items, even rocks, have added significance.
The guidelines for success are logical. Obtain plants that will thrive in the environment you can provide. Select plants that have small leaves, flowers, and fruit that are in scale. Choose plants that will withstand container living and will remain compact with pruning. Younger starter plants may be naturally occurring seedlings or those propagated in a nursery. If a plant can be found that already has "character," you'll have progressed into the intermediate stage from the start. With the knowledge of plant care, you'll keep the plant healthy. With basic bonsai techniques, you can maintain and improve a partially shaped plant or begin shaping your own. With innovation and skills of an artist you'll create a masterpiece!