bonsai master http://rgbonsai.com/ Tue, 08 Mar 2022 07:57:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://rgbonsai.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/profile.png bonsai master http://rgbonsai.com/ 32 32 The Secret Bonsai Philosophy https://rgbonsai.com/the-secret-bonsai-philosophy/ Mon, 06 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/the-secret-bonsai-philosophy/ In the 1383 nostyle game potted treesby Japanese poet Zaemi Motokiyo, a poor samurai offers to throw his last three bonsai trees on the fire to warm a traveling monk. That this small act struck contemporary audiences as profoundly noble testifies to the popularity of the art of bonsai cultivation – which Japan had adapted […]]]>

In the 1383 nostyle game potted treesby Japanese poet Zaemi Motokiyo, a poor samurai offers to throw his last three bonsai trees on the fire to warm a traveling monk. That this small act struck contemporary audiences as profoundly noble testifies to the popularity of the art of bonsai cultivation – which Japan had adapted from Chinese Zen Buddhists only 70 years ago – was beginning to gain in the country. .

Even then, bonsai were considered works of art. They were so valuable that people refused to part with them, even in times of financial crisis. Not only do bonsai trees serve as direct manifestations of the trends influencing Japanese aesthetics, but they also function as a means of putting into practice principles unique to Eastern thought. In other words, bonsai trees are as visually appealing as they are intellectually stimulating.

For reasons that will be explained in a moment, the term “bonsai” eventually spread beyond East Asia and entrenched itself in the vocabularies of Western societies. But while nearly every American is able to recognize a bonsai tree the moment we see one, few of us know the traditions and ideas that continue to inform how these iconic little plants are meant to be planted, grown, and cultivated. , potted and exposed.

More than carving trees

Simply put, bonsai is the art of manipulating the growth and appearance of small, young trees to make them look like older, larger trees. When Chinese Buddhists began teaching their traditions in Japanese monasteries, bonsai cultivation was a small but crucial component of a larger program: miniature gardening. Over time, Japanese students transformed this demanding practice into a discipline in its own right, one that emphasized perseverance and quiet contemplation.

Although species like junipers and pines are easier to work with due to their flexible nature, almost any type of plant can be made into bonsai as long as they receive the proper care. Growers work with saplings or plant their own seeds so they can closely monitor the growth of their trees. They analyze the unique characteristics of each bonsai, then choose to present it on a side that accentuates its strengths and hides its imperfections.

In order to give their bonsai trees a more aged look, growers carefully trim the foliage to bring out the shape of the hidden trunk below. Unnecessary or uninteresting branches are amputated, preferably with tools like a concave cutter to minimize scarring. Some may remove parts of the bark, bleaching the exposed sapwood with lime sulfur solutions. This gives the bonsai a weathered appearance, suggesting previous encounters with high winds and bright thunderstorms.

Wabi and sabi

While notions of what bonsai trees should look like vary from age to age, some preferences have remained relatively constant. In addition to having a deceptive appearance of maturity, a good bonsai should show no trace of human intervention; scar tissue must appear natural rather than man-made, while aluminum wires used to bend trunks or reposition branches must be removed or covered before the tree can be exposed.

Unlike Western art movements, symmetry should be avoided at all costs when growing a bonsai tree. Perfectly straight trunks should be bent or countered by cascading foliage in another direction. Branches with abnormally sharp angles should be cut or removed entirely. The most notable bonsai trees have always been asymmetrical in their design, but the arrangement of the branches still manages to impart an undeniable sense of harmony.

The rules that bonsai growers try to follow are not arbitrary but informed by the wisdom of two ancient worldviews. Chief among these influences were Zen Buddhism – a movement based on overcoming the meaninglessness inherent in existence through patience and self-control – and wabi-sabian elusive Japanese concept equally interested in accepting life’s many imperfections through silence, solitude and an unwavering appreciation of how the decaying hand of time affects the world around us.

Recall rather than represent

By growing a bonsai tree, you are essentially acting on ideas formulated by these intertwined branches of Eastern thought. Trees, unlike statues, are not inanimate organisms but living and breathing. A canvas may hold Rembrandt’s or Vermeer’s brushstrokes for hundreds of years, but bonsai trees are always on the move. They develop leaves in certain seasons and lose them in others. Their branches and roots keep twisting and turning, constantly undoing the work of its cultivator.

Saburo Kato, a bonsai master who formed one of the first international communities of growers in the 1980s, compared bonsai cultivation to raising children. This is basically a different way of saying that the art of bonsai is not about creating a flawless masterpiece. Rather, it is an endless and painstaking battle with the forces of nature. To win, practitioners must acquire the kind of perseverance and unconditional kindness normally reserved for devout monks.

Kyozo Murata, another bonsai master, perhaps put it best when he said that the purpose of bonsai trees is not necessarily to represent a thought but to remind us of a feeling: “Bonsai”, a- he said, “not only has a special plant’s natural beauty, but the appearance reminds people of something other than the plant itself. A person awakened to the essential mutability of life does not fear the decline physical or lonely; rather he accepts these facts with a quiet resignation and even finds in them a source of pleasure.

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A beginner’s guide to bonsai care https://rgbonsai.com/a-beginners-guide-to-bonsai-care/ Fri, 26 Mar 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/a-beginners-guide-to-bonsai-care/ When Queensland went into lockdown last year, Lawson Dibb didn’t bake bread or start making TikTok videos – he got into bonsai. “I turned 30 and thought…it would be pretty cool if I had kids in the next 10 years to say, ‘Hey, I’ve had this tree for 10 years. Here’s a picture of it […]]]>

When Queensland went into lockdown last year, Lawson Dibb didn’t bake bread or start making TikTok videos – he got into bonsai.

“I turned 30 and thought…it would be pretty cool if I had kids in the next 10 years to say, ‘Hey, I’ve had this tree for 10 years. Here’s a picture of it when I first got it, compared to now.'”

Now the Gold Coast local has nine trees, having started with just one from his local nursery. He encourages others to take up the hobby.

“I thought I could never have bonsai because it’s so difficult. But here I am, learning little by little and loving it.”

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What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is not just another type of potted plant.

As Bonsai enthusiast Austen Kosasih explains, it is an “art form that involves maintaining a living, miniature-sized tree within the confinement of a pot.”

Mr. Kosasih did a bonsai apprenticeship in Japan with a bonsai master, where “some trees were 1,200 years old and had been passed down from one generation to the next.”

How to start

Mr Kosasih says your first step should be to visit a local tree nursery to “see what kind of trees you gravitate towards”.

You can ask the nursery staff for advice on what type of tree is right for your location and budget, as well as tips for caring for it.

He says that in Japan, some of the trees have sold for $500,000. But here you can find affordable trees for as little as $5.

“It really depends on the age and design of the tree, its beauty and maintenance, and the pot itself.”

Mother and son horticulturists Megumi and Alex Bennett run a bonsai nursery on Sydney’s northern beaches.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, they recommend starting with a younger stock and letting it grow.

Mother and son Megumi and Alex Bennett at their bonsai nursery in Sydney.(Daily ABC: Christian Harimanow)

What type of bonsai to choose

Mr. Kosasih recommends starting with a juniper, as they are hardy and fairly common throughout the country, both in colder regions and in tropical areas.

Ms. Bennett suggests native figs like Port Jackson or Moreton Bay, as they are also hardy and difficult to kill.

Native figs typically grow on the east coast from New South Wales to Queensland. They also do well in tropical climates like the NT, but will find areas like Tasmania too cold.

What you will need

Besides the tree and the pot, you will also need a variety of tools to effectively care for your bonsai.

Mr. Kosasih says you should have a pair of bonsai scissors, wire, wire cutters and branch cutters in your bonsai toolbox.

It is also important to avoid using standard potting soil. He explains if you’re using “from the dirt you get from [major hardware stores]what tends to happen is that it clogs the drainage holes and that will really hamper the growth of the tree” because the roots cannot develop properly.

Instead, visit your local bonsai nursery or search online for a bonsai soil mix.

Mr Kosasih says it is usually “a mixture of pine bark, pumice stones, volcanic rocks and other inorganic materials, just to add drainage to the soil mixture”.

Where to place your bonsai

Although it is in a pot, Mr. Kosasih points out that “indoor bonsai does not exist”.

“Trees are designed by nature, they are meant to be outdoors.”

A sunny position in your garden or on your balcony is the optimal place for most bonsai.

As Ms Bennett explains, bonsai like rain and a “sunny position and ventilation like the wind”.

“Morning dew [is also] very important for plants because they are the same as garden trees.”

If you live in an apartment with no outdoor space, Kosasih says some tropical species adapt well indoors due to the heat and humidity.

Lawson sits on his balcony, showing off his bonsai collection.
Lawson with his bonsai collection.(Provided)

When to water a bonsai

It’s important to remember that bonsai are not like the succulents you might be used to. They need lots of water.

“Eighty percent of all beginner bonsai deaths can be due to lack of watering,” says Kosasih.

In summer you should water your bonsai every day or even twice a day when it is very hot. You can also temporarily move it to the shade during those 40 degree days.

Watering every couple of days in the winter should be fine, but it depends on your climate, so ask the nursery staff how often to water your bonsai when you buy it.

Mr Bennett says that if you keep your bonsai outside and it’s raining, you should always keep an eye on it to make sure the water has penetrated deep enough into the ground.

You can do this by picking up the tree to feel its weight, sticking your finger in the ground, and checking to see if it’s wet underneath.

Ms. Bennett’s advice is to always remember your daily routine: “Wash your face, clean your teeth and water the bonsai.”

Potting, wiring and pruning

These steps are a bit trickier and not essential during your first few months of bonsai care.

You can ask your nursery how often to repot your bonsai – usually every few years.

Mr Kosasih explains that repotting involves pruning the roots to keep the tree healthy, “usually at the end of winter and you usually only do it because the tree has outgrown the pot” .

“You have to remove the tree from the pot, cut the roots and put it back in the same pot or in another one.”

Mr. Kosasih prunes a bonsai.
Austen Kosasih tends to her bonsai.(Provided)

Bonsai tree pruning and wiring is done for aesthetics to create a certain look.

“To make it work, you wrap the wire around the branches, so you can design the shape of the tree,” says Kosasih.

To prune, cut off any branches that don’t match the design you’re aiming for in your tree.

Although bonsai care can seem complicated, Bennett advises to have fun and learn as you go, because “every good bonsai practitioner has killed a few trees”.

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The ancient history and symbolic meaning of bonsai https://rgbonsai.com/the-ancient-history-and-symbolic-meaning-of-bonsai/ Sat, 06 Mar 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/the-ancient-history-and-symbolic-meaning-of-bonsai/ Photo: Photos by Thanun Patiparnthada/Shutterstock Bonsai trees have a strong association with Japan. But did you know that the art of growing miniature trees actually originated in ancient China? In 700 CE, the Chinese used special techniques to grow dwarf trees in containers. The practice became known as “pun-sai” (or “penzai”) and was originally cultivated […]]]>

Photo: Photos by Thanun Patiparnthada/Shutterstock

Bonsai trees have a strong association with Japan. But did you know that the art of growing miniature trees actually originated in ancient China? In 700 CE, the Chinese used special techniques to grow dwarf trees in containers. The practice became known as “pun-sai” (or “penzai”) and was originally cultivated only by the elite of society. It was not until the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333) that the cultivation of miniature trees in pots was introduced to Japan. And today, even western nature lovers grow and care for bonsai like living works of art.

Read on to learn the history and meaning of these special trees.

a bonsai

A Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) bonsai, China Collection 111, on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in the United States National Arboretum. (Photo: WikimediaCommons (CC BY-SA 3.0))

What is the meaning of the term bonsai?

Bonsai is a Japanese word meaning “tree in a pot”. However, the term originally comes from the Chinese word “pun-sai” or “penjing”. In Chinese, “pen” means pot and “jing” means decor or landscape.

Bonsai trees are meant to be a miniature representation of nature, planted in decorative containers.

What does bonsai symbolize?

When bonsai trees were first introduced to China over 1,300 years ago, they were considered a status symbol among the elite of society. Today, however, bonsai trees are enjoyed by people all over the world.

Depending on a person’s culture or beliefs, bonsai trees are considered symbols of harmony, balance, patience, or even luck. Many people simply use potted trees as living ornaments for interior decoration, while others – Zen Buddhists for example – think of bonsai as an object of meditation or contemplation.

The history of bonsai in China

a bonsai

Penzai mural in the Tang dynasty tomb of Prince Zhanghuai, 706 AD (Photo: WikimediaCommons Public Domain)

In ancient China, early explorers were probably the first to discover miniature trees growing high in the mountains. This climate saw harsh conditions where growth was difficult, so the prized dwarf trees were particularly gnarled in appearance. As early as the 4th century BCE, Taoists believed that recreating aspects of nature in miniature allowed people to access their magical properties. Hence, penjing was born. It involved creating miniature landscapes displayed on earthenware.

In an effort to recreate the natural trees they found in the mountains, the Chinese developed pruning and binding techniques that gave plants twisted shapes and an aged look. Some historians believe that the Taoists shaped the branches and trunks of miniature trees to resemble animals from Chinese folklore, such as dragons and snakes. Others believe that the distorted plant formations resemble yoga positions.

The first pictorial evidence of artistically formed miniature trees appeared in 706 CE in the tomb of Prince Zhang Huai. Upon entering, archaeologists discovered murals depicting servant girls wearing penjing, which contained miniature trees and rocks.

The history of bonsai in Japan

a bonsai

Japanese woodblock print by Keisai Eisen, 1848 (Photo: WikimediaCommons (CC0 1.0))

During the reign of the Hang dynasty, Chinese monks migrated to Japan and other parts of Asia, taking with them examples of penzai. Japanese Zen Buddhist monks learned the techniques needed to make miniature trees, later known as bonsai. The Japanese developed their own methods for creating dwarf trees, resulting in different styles compared to Chinese penzai.

Japanese bonsai trees were usually about one to two feet tall and required many years of expert care. The branches, trunks and roots got their twisted look by maintaining the desired shape – using bamboo and wire – as the tree grew. And to achieve a particular shape, artists often grafted new branches onto existing ones. Some species even bore fruit, while others bloomed leaves and flowers. By the 14th century bonsai trees were considered a highly respected art form. Prized plants quickly made their way from monasteries to the king’s houses. Just like in China, trees have become symbols of status and honor.

In the early 1600s, Japanese bonsai evolved again. Skilled artists began to use special pruning techniques to remove all but essential parts of plants. This created a minimalist look, which reflects the Japanese philosophy and belief that “less is more”. In medieval times (1185 to 1603), bonsai became accessible to people of all social classes. The increased demand meant that more people had to learn the art of bonsai, and soon miniature trees were commonplace in almost every Japanese home.

Related Articles:

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Bonsai Master Masahiko Kimura Creates Gravity-Defying Mini-Forests

Artist Turns Wire Into Bonsai Trees That Will Live Forever

391-Year-Old Bonsai Survived Hiroshima Bombings and Still Growing

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The art of bonsai: imitating the shape and scale of a mature tree https://rgbonsai.com/the-art-of-bonsai-imitating-the-shape-and-scale-of-a-mature-tree/ Fri, 11 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/the-art-of-bonsai-imitating-the-shape-and-scale-of-a-mature-tree/ Bonsai is an ancient art form dating back over a thousand years. The trees themselves can live for a long time – between 200 and 300 years – while there are even vines grown using much older bonsai techniques. “Bonsai means ‘planting in containers'”, explains bonsai specialist Martin Mueller. Thus a bonsai is a tree […]]]>

Bonsai is an ancient art form dating back over a thousand years. The trees themselves can live for a long time – between 200 and 300 years – while there are even vines grown using much older bonsai techniques.

“Bonsai means ‘planting in containers'”, explains bonsai specialist Martin Mueller. Thus a bonsai is a tree sculpted by human hands and planted in a tray or container. But bonsai master Werner Busch points out that not all potted trees are bonsai.

“The shrub should mimic the shape and scale of a mature tree in the wild,” he says. Growth is restricted and redirected, and the branches shaped so that the tree changes accordingly.

“Wood plants, whether broadleaved or coniferous, are shaped by techniques such as pruning and wiring,” says Mueller.

The art of bonsai is to make a tree look like an adult tree, but in miniature. — Jan Woitas/dpa

Busch says there are two approaches to shaping bonsai trees: “You plant a woody-stemmed cutting, trimming and pruning the sapling regularly. It is necessary to plan at least 10 years before obtaining a visible result.

Alternatively, you can also work a partially grown source plant from a nursery. “They are kept small, sometimes forming a thick trunk,” says Busch. Conifers such as pines, junipers, spruces, larches and yews are the preferred species, according to Mueller, while for deciduous trees, elms and beeches are often shaped.

The list of garden tools needed for bonsai is quite short: a pair of pointed and sharp bonsai shears for thin branches, a concave knife for thicker branches, wire cutters and a mini rake. Anodized aluminum wire of various thicknesses is required for wiring. Besides pruning, wiring is one of the most important techniques for shaping bonsai trees.

“The young branches are gently wrapped and positioned with the aluminum wire,” explains Busch. The older a tree, the more horizontally the branches stand as their own weight pulls them down. The thread can be used to imitate the image of the old tree.

Young shoots are cut with the bonsai shears to stimulate branching, while a concave knife is used to prune thicker branches. This way the pruning heals faster and the cut is not visible.

“This is very important when it comes to the value of a bonsai: interventions in growth must remain invisible”, emphasizes the bonsai teacher.

The supply of nutrients is also important. Busch advises the use of organic fertilizers outdoors. “Nutrients are released evenly and absorbed accordingly,” says the expert.

Some tree species are grown outdoors year-round, which means location is important. While beeches and hornbeams prefer partial shade, pines, larches and apple trees like the sun.

Once a bonsai has its shape, the main care required is the supply of water and nutrients. Especially in hot weather, it may even be necessary to water your bonsai twice a day. – dpa/Dorothée Waechter

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Bonsai: a booming business https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-a-booming-business/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-a-booming-business/ From ficuses and fig trees to bougainvilleas and elms, the Bangladesh Bonsai Society hasn’t found a tree it can’t prune. The society, which this year completes more than two decades of existence, has grown from a handful of members in 1999 – its founding year – to more than 120 active members today. Each member […]]]>

From ficuses and fig trees to bougainvilleas and elms, the Bangladesh Bonsai Society hasn’t found a tree it can’t prune. The society, which this year completes more than two decades of existence, has grown from a handful of members in 1999 – its founding year – to more than 120 active members today.

Each member is an artist of their garden of evergreen plant varieties with spiky needles pruned and guided into traditional bonsai shapes. Some of the trees are their treasured “masterpieces”, almost half a century old.

Contrary to the common belief that bonsai is just a small world of plants, company president Nazma Shafique said it was about creating a certain look. “The bonsai specimen is supposed to look old in the pot. You have to achieve a sense of age in a tree.

She said the idea is “to keep pruning it down to reduce the size of the leaf. If you don’t follow them, a branch can have a long gap before it has a leaf, and it just doesn’t look good. The detail with which the members of the company work to create the best bonsai specimens is remarkable!

“Bonsai is an art. We work on a living plant, shaping and pruning it to give it an aesthetic appearance. We work like architects. It is also a science, because without knowledge of horticulture and botany, you cannot create a bonsai. And as we are completely immersed in the process, it also becomes a philosophy of life,” Nazma said.

In addition to company meetings and workshops, they regularly facilitate the exchange of ideas with other bonsai companies around the world. Nazma herself was introduced to this art form during one of the workshops she attended with Indian bonsai master Govind Raju in 1997.

Today, her garden is a cheerful picture of more than 40 bonsai trees, each with an artistic touch. Many members live in apartment complexes with beautiful balcony gardens showcasing their green fingers.

According to historical references, bonsai trees were brought from China to Japan as souvenirs in the 6th century. These trees came to adorn the homes of wealthy Japanese people and the “potted trees” became the symbol of Japan. Ironically, while bonsai is now considered an old man’s hobby in Japan, in Bangladesh it’s a thriving passion among plant enthusiasts in the capital, with some setting up their own for-profit businesses. .

home businesses

In the Bangladesh Bonsai Society, there are at least four members who have turned their passion into small home businesses. Anisul Haq, who also started bonsai as an extension of his gardening hobby, is doing a great business thanks to the growing interest in bonsai in the capital.

“I normally sell specimens that are two to three years old. Bonsai trees can give yields of up to Tk 1 lakh–Tk 2 lakh, sometimes even more. It all depends on the age of the specimen and the complexity of the root system, among other parameters,” he said.

For example, there are 1400-year-old bonsai trees in the Japanese royal palace which are kept as royal heirlooms. According to Borhan Hossain, a bonsai specialist and member of the company that also sells Bondai, landscape bonsai have seen good demand.

Borhan has a terrace garden in the Mohakhali DOHS area which has a wide range of landscape bonsai specimens. “So far, I’ve done it out of passion. With so many requests coming in, I’m now taking orders too,” he says.

Borhan said bonsai today is more or less like a DIY (do it yourself) project. One can start with basic gardening tools and saplings or cuttings, and learn the art on their own. “I also give lessons when a group of people send in a request,” he said.

“It takes a lot of dedication, perseverance, patience, passion and practice to make a beautiful work of art using a plant. For me, it’s a spiritual process, like meditation. I stay connected with each of my creations,” he said.

Exotic varieties

Adding exotic varieties to the bonsai collection is considered another level of progress for the bonsai artist. Australian ficus, ginseng and Brazilian rain tree are some of the species grown by these ardent city gardeners in their home gardens.

Shahzadi Sultana has the Chinese elm of which she is proud. With more than 30 varieties of bonsai in her terrace garden, Shahjadi said exotic plants need a little more attention.

Exotic bonsai species in his collection include flowering trees like Muria Exotica, Temple Tree, Pomegranate, Citrus varieties, Bottlebursh, Legostomia and Rudraksha.

“During the summers, these cannot withstand too high temperatures,” she explained.

Shahzadi said creating bonsai requires a lot of dedication and especially visualization. “The fact that you take a plant, visualize it as a large tree, and help it grow into a miniature tree, seeing the change every day while retaining its genetic characteristics, that’s what makes bonsai so innovative and unique,” she said. .

Since the necessary moisture content is essential, bonsai should be watered every day and need sun every three days, she added.

The plant is initially kept in a large pot until it reaches maturity. “Then we visualize the shape the tree would take and wire the branches using flexible copper wires. You have to keep changing the wiring until you get the shape you need, which takes a lot of skill,” she said.

The plant is then transferred to a shallow container where it grows for about six months before being moved to a shallow porcelain container. A bonsai must be repotted every one and a half years, she added.

Single-shoot monocotyledonous plants such as coconut, areca nut or palm cannot be made into bonsai. In Bangladesh, bonsai mainly belong to ficus species like peepal or banyan, Shahzadi said.

“Some people think that you restrict the natural growth of a tree, but the plant has the ability to adapt to a pot. So it’s definitely not unnatural or cruel,” Shahzadi said.

EA

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Bonsai trees take centuries to grow and years of training https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-trees-take-centuries-to-grow-and-years-of-training/ Tue, 02 Jul 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-trees-take-centuries-to-grow-and-years-of-training/ Bonsai is the art of shrinking an ordinary tree to create a perfect miniature representation in a small pot. The craft originates from China and requires years of training and centuries of dedication. At the 2012 International Bonsai Convention, a tree was on sale for 100 million yen, or just under $ 1 million. Many […]]]>
  • Bonsai is the art of shrinking an ordinary tree to create a perfect miniature representation in a small pot.
  • The craft originates from China and requires years of training and centuries of dedication.
  • At the 2012 International Bonsai Convention, a tree was on sale for 100 million yen, or just under $ 1 million. Many more of these trees are considered to be totally priceless.
  • We spoke with a fourth generation bonsai master in central Japan to understand what makes these trees so expensive.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Bonsai is an art form that takes years of training and centuries of dedication. At the 2012 International Bonsai Convention, a tree was on sale for 100 million yen, or just under $ 1 million.

And many more of these trees are considered totally priceless. So what makes bonsai so expensive?

Bonsai is the art of shrinking an ordinary tree to create a perfect miniature representation of nature in a small pot. It has a long history. Originally from China, the practice of creating tiny trees and landscapes appeared as early as the 6th century.

Tree growth is limited by years of pruning, wiring, repotting, and grafting, and the plants need to be controlled and watered often every day. The skills required to grow these trees play a huge role in their value.

They are often bent and twisted, placed around rocks or even placed with other trees to simulate a small forest. Many of these techniques take years to master, and any mistake made can result in permanent ruin of the form or even death of a plant that has grown for centuries.

Chiako Yamamoto is a fourth generation bonsai master based in central Japan. She has been creating and selling bonsai for 51 years, and one of the hardest skills to master when growing these plants is patience.

The time and dedication this process requires is unlike almost any other form of work of art. While the work is almost a form of sculpture, the plants are living things and will always react in their own way.

The extraordinary amount of time this process takes means there just aren’t many trees around. Some of the most valuable bonsai are over 800 years old, so the supply isn’t going to increase anytime soon.

Other factors can contribute to the cost. Bonsai pots and the tools used are often handmade and can cost thousands of dollars themselves.

Certain types of trees are also more difficult to grow or require certain techniques and may fetch a higher price. But, more than anything, these trees are works of art valued for their beauty and the artist’s vision.

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How to train your bonsai https://rgbonsai.com/how-to-train-your-bonsai/ Fri, 29 Mar 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/how-to-train-your-bonsai/ Bonsai master Hal Sasaki. Photo by Theo Stroomer House Growing a bonsai tree isn’t as difficult as you think, says this Denver bonsai master. By Joe Lindsey March 29, 2019 Harold Sasaki wants to dispel some myths about bonsai: that they are difficult to grow, for example. “Most often a bonsai tree dies from lack […]]]>
Bonsai master Hal Sasaki. Photo by Theo Stroomer

House

Growing a bonsai tree isn’t as difficult as you think, says this Denver bonsai master.


Harold Sasaki wants to dispel some myths about bonsai: that they are difficult to grow, for example. “Most often a bonsai tree dies from lack of light,” he says. “So maybe you just put it in the wrong place.” Sasaki, who is 82 and goes by Hal, hears many such failure stories; he has several, especially since he started his teenage years in Hawaii. One of Denver’s most prominent bonsai masters, he has co-taught beginner’s bonsai classes ($105) at the Denver Botanical Garden for over 40 years, and also teaches and sells trees through his own business. , Colorado Bonsai ($150, one class smaller). His main goal: to make bonsai accessible, not intimidating.

Bonsai (say: bone-sai) is the ancient Japanese art of growing tiny trees in pots; the term bonsai literally means planted in a container. Contrary to popular belief, bonsai trees are not genetically dwarf varieties; they are of the same species as their full-sized brethren. Bonsai enthusiasts train or shape the trees – using techniques such as careful pruning or wiring the branches to grow in a certain way – into the shape of a life-size tree in miniature. The results can be amazing, with patient work. But they are surprisingly resilient plants, if you give them a fighting chance (a ficus bonsai in Italy is over 1,000 years old). The key, says Sasaki, is to treat them for what they are: trees, not ornaments.

“One of the big misconceptions about bonsai trees is that they grow differently from their natural large-leaved form,” says Sasaki. “So people put them on a low table, because it’s better there. They treat the plant like it’s made of silk and forget that it’s alive and growing and needs a certain amount of light. You have to make things grow where they have to grow.

(Learn more about Harold “Hal” Sasaki.)

Ideally, this means a sheltered but sunny location outdoors, at least in warm weather (in Colorado, bonsai cannot be left potted in the winter). But Sasaki knows that growing bonsai outdoors is impractical or impossible for many people, especially apartment and condo dwellers. So, for his practical lessons – students go home with a tree – he tries to select species that are more suitable for growing indoors all year round.

The smaller the leaf size, Sasaki says, the more light a bonsai tree needs. Ironically, this rules out many native pine and juniper species for most indoor environments. Sasaki’s must-have bonsai tree for beginners in Colorado? Portulacaria afra, aka Dwarf Jade, a succulent with thick leaves the size of a penny. “I use it to make students more likely to succeed,” he says. Dwarf Jade, native to South Africa, also tolerates the constant warm temperatures of indoor growing better than native conifers, which like cooler nights. These long-lived ficuses are another good choice for indoors.

Sasaki says he tries to give as much basic horticultural advice and care as possible in his classes, so students understand not just what to do, but why. To water, Sasaki fills a tray large enough for the entire pot, then submerges the plant past the edge of the pot and leaves it there until the air bubbles stop. This, he says, completely wets the root zone and he doesn’t water again until the plant is nearly dry.

Most importantly, if something isn’t working, he says, change it. Move the plant to a different location with more light. Or water less, not more. “People often say their tree died because they overwatered it,” he says. “And I say to them, ‘If you think you overwatered it, then why did you keep doing it’?”

What enabled Sasaki to teach for four decades? “I want other people to benefit from what I’ve had for all these years,” he says. “I try to make it as resilient as possible for them and demystify it. I want to tell people what joy you can get from these plants. The rewards are there to make your heart happy.

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Bonsai Tips From an Atlanta Master https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-tips-from-an-atlanta-master/ Thu, 08 Feb 2018 06:16:14 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-tips-from-an-atlanta-master/ Photography by iStockphoto.com Translated from Japanese, bonsai simply means a tree in a pot. However, the techniques used to grow such a plant are a bit more complex. “Bonsai is the art of making a tree look older,” says Rodney Clemons, nationally respected bonsai master and teacher at Stone Mountain. Each planting tells nature’s story […]]]>
Photography by iStockphoto.com

Translated from Japanese, bonsai simply means a tree in a pot. However, the techniques used to grow such a plant are a bit more complex. “Bonsai is the art of making a tree look older,” says Rodney Clemons, nationally respected bonsai master and teacher at Stone Mountain. Each planting tells nature’s story in miniature, evoking living oak trees twisted by ocean winds or maple trees reaching skyward through snowdrifts.

Tropical varieties are best suited indoors, but native species are often easier to grow, Clemons notes. Evergreens are the most conventional, but deciduous trees make great bonsai trees, especially when their leaves change color in the fall.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, a 16-acre public botanical garden, features one of the region’s best bonsai collections, renovated this year. (Clemons manages both Smith-Gilbert and a garden at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.)

Although big box retailers may sell bonsai (aka “con-sai”), Clemons recommends purchasing plants from specialty nurseries such as Monastery of the Holy Spirit, Full Moon Bonsai in Marietta, Plant City Bonsai in Clermont or Allgood Bonsai from Clemons. at Stone Mountain.

You can find small bonsai trees for as low as $25, but Clemons says beginners should opt for more established trees 12 to 18 inches tall (usually $75 to $125). Ficus and juniper are two varieties that are relatively easy to grow, he says.

Bonsai is 80 to 90 percent horticulture, and the rest is art and technique, Clemons says. The practice teaches how plants feed, grow and respond to climate.

Contrary to popular belief, bonsai trees are not always dwarf specimens. They are often regular species trained to produce small leaves by techniques such as manual defoliation and timely pruning of branches and roots. Many trees and shrubs can be trained, even magnolias, oaks and azaleas. Amazingly, tiny fruit trees will produce full-sized flowers and fruit: a 12-inch-tall apple tree will produce full-sized apples.

To be involved: Atlanta Bonsai Society has flourished since 1963 and offers many opportunities for bonsai studies, performances and workshops. Find the company at JapanFest at the Gwinnett Center on September 19-20.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of HOUSE of Atlanta Magazine.

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This Brazilian brewer makes beer with $ 20,000 bonsai trees https://rgbonsai.com/this-brazilian-brewer-makes-beer-with-20000-bonsai-trees/ Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/this-brazilian-brewer-makes-beer-with-20000-bonsai-trees/ The craft beer market has grown so rapidly in recent years that breweries are increasingly creative in differentiating their products from others. In the case of Heroica, located in the Brazilian town of Jundiaí (about an hour from São Paulo), the tiny Gypsy brewery relies on a master bonsai to provide some of the exquisite […]]]>

The craft beer market has grown so rapidly in recent years that breweries are increasingly creative in differentiating their products from others. In the case of Heroica, located in the Brazilian town of Jundiaí (about an hour from São Paulo), the tiny Gypsy brewery relies on a master bonsai to provide some of the exquisite ingredients they use in their brewing processes.

Heroica beers don’t just combine hops, barley and yeast; they also use branches of ancient Japanese bonsai trees. For some recipes, the pruned branches come from trees that can cost more than US $ 20,000.

The idea came from Renato Bocabello, one of the greatest bonsai masters in Brazil. His brother-in-law, Lucas Domingues, started making his own beers when Bocabello gave him a home brewing kit. With his new equipment, Domingues began to test his own recipes.

“I was already working in a commercial brewery, following predetermined recipes without the possibility of adding a personal touch or making any changes,” explains Domingues. “I decided to do some very experimental testing at home and got very different results.”

His early experiments included a farmhouse beer made with pepper, lemon, and coca leaves, the South American herb known for its psychoactive alkaloids. The idea of ​​using bonsai branches came to him after tasting a cachaça infused with branches of kuromatsu (Japanese black pine).

“I noticed a certain similarity with many flavors of resinous hops, noticeably perceived in some IPAs, and we wondered how a beer made with the branches of bonsai pine would taste. So we created our Kuromatsu Kamikaze IPA”, he said. According to Domingues, the Scandinavians have historically used pine instead of hops to make beer in order to balance the flavors. “Everyone who has tasted beer loved it, so my partner, beer sommelier Fábio Walsh, and I started a commercial brewery,” he adds.

Bocabello usually prunes his more than 400 bonsai trees (including a hundred kuromatsu) twice a year, so he ends up with several kilos of these precious leftovers that can be used in the IPA recipe. His kuromatsu trees were a gift from a third generation member of a Japanese family who came to Brazil in 1912 aboard the Itsukushima-maru, the second ship with immigrants from Japan to dock in the country, now home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan.

The seeds were brought by a member of the Hayashida family, who passed on the tradition of the art of bonsai to his descendants. Many of the trees in Bocabello are over 100 years old. “Traditionally in Japan, every time a baby boy is born, a kuromatsu is planted. They are appreciated and cultivated plants because they age very well, and they are the most representative of the art of bonsai,” he explains. he. “And when it comes to aging bonsai, it can take 100, 200 or even 300 years.”

Among American hops used in its formula, Heroica[sKuromatsuKamikazeIPAcomprendChinookAmarilloetpasparhasardCentennialLabièreaétélancéeen2016etenviron1000litressontproduitstouslesdeuxmois”Avecunedemandeplusélevéenousenvisageonsd’augmenternotreproductioncetteannée”expliqueWalsh[sKuromatsuKamikazeIPAincludesChinookAmarilloandnotbychanceCentennialThebeerwaslaunchedin2016andabout1000litersofitareproducedeverytwomonths”Withahigherdemandweareconsideringincreasingourproductionthisyear”Walshexplains[sKuromatsuKamikazeIPAcomprendChinookAmarilloetpasparhasardCentennialLabièreaétélancéeen2016etenviron1000litressontproduitstouslesdeuxmois« Avecunedemandeplusélevéenousenvisageonsd’augmenternotreproductioncetteannée »expliqueWalsh[sKuromatsuKamikazeIPAincludesChinookAmarilloandnotbychanceCentennialThebeerwaslaunchedin2016andabout1000litersofitareproducedeverytwomonths”Withahigherdemandweareconsideringincreasingourproductionthisyear”Walshexplains

The partners, with the help of the bonsai master, recently developed a new recipe using ingredients from another Bocabello bonsai tree: junipers. SuperSonic SourTonic is a sour beer made from cucumber and juniper berries, a tribute to gin and tonic. “Because of the flavor and smell of juniper berries, it’s hard not to think of the famous cocktail,” says Walsh.

SuperSonic was based on sahti, an old style of beer from Finland spiced with juniper berries which has seen a resurgence in popularity recently. It is a cool beer designed to pair well with the high temperatures of Brazil. “It has an herbaceous, tangy and citric acidity which makes it really fresh”, emphasizes Domingues.

Now the trio are thinking about new recipes and styles to develop for Heroica. Bocabello literally looks around his garden for new ingredients that could be used in new brewing experiments.

The bonsai master is particularly interested in native Brazilian trees. “There is huge potential. Brazil is a very tree-rich country, and we have some wonderful species that could make some great beers,” he says. According to him, there are many fruit trees that Heroica partners could use to create new recipes, such as jabuticabeiras, the Brazilian grape tree.

“But I only provide the ingredients,” he adds. “They are the ones who have the arduous task of turning what is left of the size of my bonsai trees into good beers. I am only the bonsai master. They are the real heroes.”

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In training since 1625: How a 390-year-old bonsai tree survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima https://rgbonsai.com/in-training-since-1625-how-a-390-year-old-bonsai-tree-survived-the-atomic-bombing-of-hiroshima/ Mon, 03 Aug 2015 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/in-training-since-1625-how-a-390-year-old-bonsai-tree-survived-the-atomic-bombing-of-hiroshima/ Breadcrumb Links World New Bonsai history is honored this week at the Washington National Arboretum, as Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing Author of the article: Washington post Photo for the Washington Post by Amanda Voisard Content of the article Moses Weisberg was riding his bike through the National Arboretum in northeast […]]]>

Bonsai history is honored this week at the Washington National Arboretum, as Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing

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Moses Weisberg was riding his bike through the National Arboretum in northeast Washington when he stopped in front of a mushroom-shaped tree. The first thing he noticed was the thickness of the trunk, estimated to be nearly a foot and a half in diameter. And then there was the abundance of slender leaves, healthy hair for a 390-year-old botanical relic.

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But it wasn’t until he learned the whole story of the tree, a Japanese white pine donated in 1976, that he was truly stunned. The tree, which is part of the Arboretum’s National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, has not only survived the perils of age to become the oldest in the collection; he survived the explosion of an atomic bomb, Little Boy, dropped on Hiroshima, Japan during World War II.

“On the one hand, it’s amazing to think that something could have survived an atomic explosion,” said Weisberg, a 26-year-old student at Georgetown University Law Center. “And then, by chance, a Japanese tree from the 1600s ended up here.”

The history of bonsai is in the spotlight this week, as Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. But visitors can view the tree as part of the museum’s permanent collection throughout the year.

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AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

The tree, donated by a bonsai master named Masaru Yamaki, was part of a gift of 53 specimens to the United States for its bicentennial in 1976. Little was known about the tree until March 8, 2001, when – without notice – two brothers visiting from Japan showed up at the museum to check out their grandfather’s tree.

“I find it incredible that Masaru Yamaki could give invaluable bonsai to his enemy and not say a word about it,” said Felix Laughlin, president of the nonprofit National Bonsai Foundation. “I get emotional just talking about it. “

Shigeru Yamaki and his brother, Akira, filled in the blanks for museum officials, although they had never seen the tree before their visit and only heard about it through family stories. News footage taken at the Yamaki Nursery after the explosion shows the unscathed pine in the background.

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Ensuring the continued survival of such an important piece in the collection is no easy task. It was Jack Sustic, who since 2002 has been the curator of the Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum.

AP Photo / US Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
AP Photo / US Army via Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Bonsai, Sustic said, does not refer to the type of tree but rather how it is maintained. It’s the mix of nature and art, he said.

Care includes making sure it is watered daily, inspected for insects, turned for the sun twice a week, and repotted occasionally.

In winter, the tree is moved to the air-conditioned Chinese pavilion in the museum. Currently, it is located in the courtyard of the museum.

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NP Graphics
NP Graphics

“One of the things that makes it so special is, if you imagine, that someone has taken care of this tree every day since 1625,” Sustic said. “I always like to say that bonsai is like a verb. It’s not a name, it’s doing.

He joked that tending to a century-old tree every day can be enough pressure to keep it awake at night. Unlike other museum pieces, there is no recourse when a plant dies.

“I have a full suitcase at home,” he said. “There are a few trees here that are just kind of ‘Where’s Charlie’ if something is going on.”

The tranquility of the arboretum is a far cry from the fury of Hiroshima decades ago.

On August 6, 1945, a 9,700-pound bomb exploded over the city at 8:15 a.m. A fortified Yamaki-owned nursery was within two miles of the bomb site, but the ancient tree, Sustic said, was just far enough away to survive.

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“Location, location, location,” Sustic said, explaining the tree’s survival. “It was against a wall. It must have been the wall that protected him from the explosion.

All family members inside the house also survived the blast. He blew up all the windows, leaving everyone inside cut out of flying glass, but no one suffered permanent injuries, according to the museum.

Someone has been taking care of this tree every day since 1625

White pine has long exceeded its lifespan and has spent about a tenth of its life in Washington.

“I’m reluctant to watch because I don’t want him to say 200 years,” Sustic said of the tree’s maximum life expectancy.

In 2016, museum officials said the bonsai will have a new home in the Japanese pavilion, which is being renovated in honor of its upcoming 40th anniversary.

The tree will carry the same sign that every day arouses the wonder of passers-by: “In training since 1625.

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