recent years, many North American gardeners have discovered
the joy of growing and caring for Bonsai trees. These
small trees, which are kept indoors although they can be
grown outdoors as well, provide hours of enjoyment.
Additionally, the bonsai has tremendous success at
reducing stress and centering the gardener's thoughts. In
fact, many experts assert that growing a Bonsai tree is more
about spirituality and achieving artistic perfection than it
is about gardening! While
Bonsai trees were once confined to Japan and other Asian
countries, they are now becoming increasingly popular in the
West, as more and more people look for activities that will
help them deal with their hectic and stressful lives.
is a Japanese word that means, "Tray planted." Bonsai
trees are called this because they are planted in a small
pot or tray and kept indoors, although good Bonsai trees are
more than hardy enough to leave outside all year round. There
is not one specific species of tree used for Bonsai trees. Instead, a variety of conifer or small-leafed deciduous trees
can be used along with other interesting and beautiful
plants and trees. Regardless
of the species chosen, it is important that the tree and the
pot match each other harmoniously since the goal of Bonsai
is to have a pleasing shape from top to bottom. Your
Bonsai tree can be a variety of different sizes ranging from
miniature trees that are only two inches high at maturity to
average trees that reach up to two feet in height or more.
are usually grown from seedlings, allowing them to be
carefully controlled. The
idea of a Bonsai tree is to produce an image in your mind
that you want your tree to look like, preferably that of an
old tree. Then,
the bonsai is trained to that shape.
Training of Bonsai trees is achieved through constant
limiting growth in certain directions, your Bonsai tree
"learns" not to grow that way. You can also shape your Bonsai tree's trunk and branches by
using wires to limit growth.
However, the wires should be removed before maturity
to prevent scarring.
horticulture has become somewhat of an art form in Japan. Bonsai artists with skill can evoke images of the age of the
tree, or can even grow their trees to show seasons. The history of Bonsai can be traced to China more than 1,000
years ago, but it is in Japan that that Bonsai has matured
as an art form. The
spiritual element of Bonsai dates back to a time when only
Buddhist monks raised Bonsai trees. Before pruning, the monks would meditate to find a vision of
harmony and then try to make that vision a reality. Much the same is true today, which is why Bonsai trees are so
useful at reducing stress.
To care for your Bonsai tree properly, you should
first center yourself by thinking of the tree.
This kind of deep contemplation has the effect of
blocking out other concerns, at least for a short time.