hundreds years http://rgbonsai.com/ Wed, 16 Mar 2022 08:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://rgbonsai.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/profile.png hundreds years http://rgbonsai.com/ 32 32 6 Amazing Trips to Do in China During Qingming Festival – Thatsmags.com https://rgbonsai.com/6-amazing-trips-to-do-in-china-during-qingming-festival-thatsmags-com/ Tue, 08 Mar 2022 03:52:44 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/6-amazing-trips-to-do-in-china-during-qingming-festival-thatsmags-com/ April 1-5 | Xishuangbanna Rainforest Tour Image via Dragon Adventures China’s only tropical rainforest nature reserve, designated by the United Nations Biodiversity Conservation Circle, is home to an incredible sixth of all plant species and a quarter of animal species in the entire country. Highlights of this trip include Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (the largest […]]]>

April 1-5 | Xishuangbanna Rainforest Tour

Image via Dragon Adventures

China’s only tropical rainforest nature reserve, designated by the United Nations Biodiversity Conservation Circle, is home to an incredible sixth of all plant species and a quarter of animal species in the entire country. Highlights of this trip include Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (the largest and most important in China), Wild Elephant Valley, exploring Dai culture and much more.

For more information, click here

April 1-5 | Hexi Corridor Tour from Zhangye to Dunhuang

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Image via Dragon Adventures

Part of the Northern Silk Road, the Hexi Corridor is a must-see for any culture lover in northwest China. Explore the splendid Rainbow Mountains of Danxia in Zhangye, the markets of Dunhuang and the Mogao Grottoes, home to the largest, best-preserved and richest Buddhist art in the world – the first cave was dug here in 366 AD.

For more information, click here

April 2-5 | Avatar Mountain and Glass Bridge Tour

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Located in the mountain ranges of northern Hunan, the remote Zhangjiajie National Forest was only known to the Tujia, Miao and Bai minority groups for centuries. Today, with its towering karst spiers, rich brown earth and lush forests, Zhangjiajie has become a striking and iconic Chinese landscape. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and immortalized in film Avatar, the park is a spectacular landscape of deep forested canyons and huge isolated limestone peaks, each with its own miniature bonsai forest-like ecosystems. This tour also includes the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge, the longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world. Walk there if you dare!

For more information, click here

April 3-5 | Hike in Xinchang Fairyland

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Image via Dragon Adventures

Xinchang is a county full of surprises, with many hidden and beautiful hiking trails. Two of the most beautiful were chosen for this trip; walk through lush green valleys and past beautiful lakes and rivers, and enjoy the beauty of nature away from the mad crowds of the city. Xinchang is especially beautiful in spring, when green returns after a long winter.

For more information, click here

April 3-5 | Stunning Huangshan Hot Spring Resort

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Image via Dragon Adventures

Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of China’s top tourist destinations. Located in the province of Anhui, it is a must-see destination in the country and has served as an inspiration to Chinese painters for hundreds of years, with its landscapes of peculiarly shaped granite peaks, pine trees, hot springs , sunsets and views of the clouds from above. And what better way to enjoy its majesty than to soak and relax in thermal pools.

For more information, click here

April 3-5 | Speed ​​train to amazing Mount Wuyi

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Image via Dragon Adventures

This trip to Mount Wuyi, or Wuyishan, includes Wuyishan National Resort, Wuyishan Scenic Area, and Wuyishan National Nature Reserve. Enjoy sightseeing, rock climbing and floating on the beautiful waters. Explore the Water Curtain Cave, with its small ancient shrine hidden inside; go rafting on the famous Nine Bend Stream; climb the heavenly peak of Tianyou; and visit Tiger Roaring Rock, a huge cave through which the wind blows, echoing the roar of a tiger among the mountains.

For more information, click here


Do you have a travel offer you would like to promote? Contact Christy by email at christycai@thatsmags.com and on WeChat by scanning the QR code below:

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[Cover image courtesy of Dragon Adventures]

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‘Bonsai Factory’, The Theory and Practice of Bonsai Cultivation – The New Indian Express https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-factory-the-theory-and-practice-of-bonsai-cultivation-the-new-indian-express/ Sat, 29 Jan 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/bonsai-factory-the-theory-and-practice-of-bonsai-cultivation-the-new-indian-express/ Express press service The cramped neighborhood of Rohini in West Delhi, home to tall buildings and tiny balconies, includes a terrace that houses hundreds of small bonsai trees, adding greenery to the cityscape. The work of 79-year-old Mangat Singh Thakur, this bonsai garden features more than 550 bonsai trees, including species like Chinese orange, mango, […]]]>

Express press service

The cramped neighborhood of Rohini in West Delhi, home to tall buildings and tiny balconies, includes a terrace that houses hundreds of small bonsai trees, adding greenery to the cityscape.

The work of 79-year-old Mangat Singh Thakur, this bonsai garden features more than 550 bonsai trees, including species like Chinese orange, mango, guava, which Thakur has diligently maintained since 2001. Its compact terrace is the place where he experiments with art.

Thakur believes bonsai cultivation is not just a routine practice; it is an art, a philosophy and a form of exercise. His interest and willingness to continue working despite his advanced age keeps him going.

Bonsai plant from China orange

years of learning
A traditional Japanese art form, bonsai cultivation refers to the practice of growing a plant in a miniature form. A bonsai tree, if planted and cared for properly, can live for hundreds of years.

Thakur first discovered the concept in 1978 at a workshop organized by the Indian Bonsai Association at ITC Maurya in Delhi. Here, Thakur understood the basics of these plants. “The more I learned, the more interested I became,” he says. After retiring in 2001, Thakur decided to carve out more space for himself to get serious about bonsai planting.

The first bonsai he planted was a banyan tree in 1972, which is still in good condition on his terrace. “This tree accompanied me throughout my transfers to various places in India. It taught me a lot about this art,” he comments.

As his collection grows day by day, Thakur makes it a point to spend two to three hours in his garden. During potting season (usually February), he works on his plants for about six hours.

Catalyst for change
Thakur was able to introduce the theory and practice of bonsai cultivation to a wide audience. He regularly posts informative bonsai videos on his “Bonsai Factory” YouTube channel – he has over 9,000 subscribers – and also hosts virtual classes for enthusiasts. He taught over 100 students in nine batches; its tenth batch begins in February.

Thakur’s work has also been widely appreciated. “I became more popular after my retirement than when I worked in the bank (laughs).”

Hoping to take these lessons forward, Thakur is writing a book on bonsai planting in Hindi. Understanding bonsai can help farmers use their resources properly, and so, Thakur adds, his book will be geared towards farmers and gardeners.

“Most bonsai books are in English and are expensive. I thought I should write in Hindi so that it reaches the common man. I also plan to keep the cost low so people can easily buy these books,” he says.

Although he is no less than a master of bonsai cultivation who is well versed in the ins and outs of this art form, Thakur still considers himself a student. “I am not an artist. I am simply a student and will remain so until the day I die,” he concludes.

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The Ever-Evolving Bonsai Art https://rgbonsai.com/the-ever-evolving-bonsai-art/ Tue, 09 Nov 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/the-ever-evolving-bonsai-art/ The practice of miniaturizing factories is believed to have come to Japan from China around the 7th century, when the two countries formally established diplomatic relations. At that time, Chinese gardeners had probably created potted landscapes, or penjing (“pot landscape”), for hundreds of years, bringing nature into the homes of political elites, painters and calligraphers. […]]]>

The practice of miniaturizing factories is believed to have come to Japan from China around the 7th century, when the two countries formally established diplomatic relations. At that time, Chinese gardeners had probably created potted landscapes, or penjing (“pot landscape”), for hundreds of years, bringing nature into the homes of political elites, painters and calligraphers. Penjing, as it developed over the centuries, did not idealize nature, but rather depicted – or, as some bonsai scholars suggest, exaggerated – its strange and expansive beauty. Until the 1970s, when the Chinese government began codifying five regional schools of penjing, each with its own approach to styling local species through cutting, wiring or pinching, there were few rules: the first guides published in the 16th and 17th centuries suggested that practitioners should attempt to emulate values ​​such as vigor and austerity depicted in classical landscape painting, says Phillip E. Bloom, the 38-year-old curator of the Huntington Library’s Chinese Garden, from the Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Often the principles were abstract—a craftsman might have aimed, says Bloom, to “somehow create heaven in the tree”—which left penjing open to poetic interpretation.

By the 12th century, Japanese craftsmen and monks had also evolved the art into a form of controlled observation, later known as bonsai (“pot planting”); while the term itself had been around for centuries, it took until the Meiji era (1868-1912) for it to take on its modern meaning. By then, researchers had begun to rank such things as trunk shape, branch location, and preferred species – any locally grown woody-stemmed perennial with true branches and relatively small leaves, including including pine, maple, juniper, beech, elm, cherry and plum. Bonsai trees could range in size from a few centimeters tall to imperial trees that could exceed six feet. Regardless of size, species, or age, each tree exuded the sublime beauty of an ancient forest. Today, Hitomi Kawasaki, 41, a Kyoto-based bonsai curator and scholar, compares the ideal form of classic bonsai to the Kamae Nô theater posture, with the actor’s knees slightly bent and arms away from the body. “If you’re in that position, that’s the most stable point, and if you can let go, it’s almost like floating,” Kawasaki says. “With bonsai, it’s similar: there is a point of balance, you reinforce this point and everything takes shape.” When practitioners do this, their trees can survive them for centuries, their growth slowed, but never completely halted, by confinement; if the specimens are unbalanced, they eventually wither. Between control and abandonment, creation and destruction, life and death, art is, as Kawasaki writes in a forthcoming essay, “an attempt to find a middle way out of dualism.”

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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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6 types of bonsai that are best for beginners https://rgbonsai.com/6-types-of-bonsai-that-are-best-for-beginners/ Fri, 14 May 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/6-types-of-bonsai-that-are-best-for-beginners/ istockphoto.com Bonsai, a horticultural art originating in ancient China, is still a popular hobby today. A common misconception is that bonsai is a type of tree. In fact, bonsai refers to the craft or art of growing, shaping and caring for tiny trees. Like their full-sized siblings, bonsai trees can survive for hundreds of years. […]]]>

istockphoto.com

Bonsai, a horticultural art originating in ancient China, is still a popular hobby today. A common misconception is that bonsai is a type of tree. In fact, bonsai refers to the craft or art of growing, shaping and caring for tiny trees.

Like their full-sized siblings, bonsai trees can survive for hundreds of years. Some even outlived their keepers. A Japanese white pine from the collection of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington DC, for example, has been in formation since 1625, making it almost 400 years old.

Those looking to try their hand at bonsai should know that it takes time and patience to master the craft. With practice, however, it is possible to turn unwieldy saplings into works of art. The first step in this long and rewarding process is to choose the right tree, the one suitable for beginners. Here are the top contenders.

1. ficus

types of bonsai

istockphoto.com

While most people associate bonsai trees with indoor displays, many varieties do better outdoors. This can make it difficult for those who live in colder climates to get into the hobby. Fortunately, some trees, for example the ficus, thrive in an indoor environment. The two varieties best suited to growing indoors are Ficus retusa and Ficus ginseng., both of which have visually interesting trunks. However, those living in USDA zones 10 and 11 can get away with growing most ficus species outdoors.

What makes ficuses so adaptable is their ability to respond positively to increasing restrictions. In bonsai, the selection of a small container is essential to limit the size of the plant. Because ficuses are happy in smaller containers, they are well suited for bonsai. They also forgive mistakes in watering and other types of care. Ficus plants, for example, are generally not afraid of the dry conditions of indoor environments. Just be sure to choose a sunny spot for your mini ficus.

2. Chinese Elm

types of bonsai

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This slow growing plant is perfect for bonsai beginners as it can keep content almost anywhere. Chinese elm trees do just as well indoors as they do outdoors and can survive outdoors in USDA zones 4 through 9. Just be sure to choose a spot with plenty of morning sun that gets shady l ‘afternoon.

Another reason this tree is ideal for bonsai art is that it is easy to prune and its slow growth makes shaping simple. The trees are also not very susceptible to pest infestations, with the exception of spider mites. But these little insects are usually easily controlled with a few applications of neem oil.

RELATED: 12 Stunning Dwarf Trees Perfect For Big Yards Or Small Yards

3. Juniper

types of bonsai

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This needle-leaved tree is very attractive in miniature form. It is important to note, however, that junipers do not do well indoors. Instead, grow these trees outdoors in USDA Zones 4 through 9. Place them in a location where they can receive at least 4 hours of sunlight per day. Unlike other less hardy, bonsai-friendly trees, junipers can handle the cold.

As with other beginner-friendly bonsai trees, junipers are resistant to pests. However, spider mites and corn borers sometimes target them. Prevent infestations with regular pruning to keep the leaves from getting too messy. Juniper is also perfect for bonsai beginners as it tolerates over-pruning well. Although aggressive pruning can weaken them and cause browning, trees will eventually recover from pruning errors.

4. Cotoneaster

types of bonsai

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These trees, small at first, lend themselves well to the art of bonsai. Native to three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa – cotoneasters feature glossy green leaves and small, apple-shaped fruits that appear after a bloom of small white flowers.

To grow cotoneasters, choose a spot with full sun, either indoors or outdoors. Provide frost protection for container plants, although cotoneasters planted in the ground should tolerate frost fairly well. Most varieties are cold hardy in zones 5 through 8, but hardiness varies by variety. Unlike more difficult bonsai species, these trees are drought tolerant as long as dry periods are short. Also, since the branches of cotoneasters are flexible, they support shaping well via wires.

RELATED: The Most Expensive Houseplants People Actually Buy

5. Portulacaria

types of bonsai

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Portulacaria trees, also known as dwarf jade or baby jade, are excellent beginner bonsai species because they don’t need regular watering. If you have a habit of killing plants with your poor watering habits, this might be the right tree for you to try bonsai growing methods. Just be careful not to over the wateras these trees are susceptible to root rot.

When shaping portulacarians, avoid wires and stick to a neat size. Because they grow quickly, regular pruning is necessary to maintain an aesthetic shape. You can keep baby jades outside during the summer, but ideally they should be brought in when nighttime lows reach 40 degrees. In zones 10 and 11, it is possible to grow baby jade outdoors, but the succulent is also perfect for indoor environments.

6. Rosemary

types of bonsai

istockphoto.com

Make edible art by choosing a rosemary plant for your bonsai hobby. Even better, when you prune your rosemary bonsai, you’re not only helping to maintain the shape of the plant, but you’re also cleaning up the herbs for dinner. Frequent watering is necessary for rosemary plants to thrive, but they are also vulnerable to root rot, so be sure to keep the plants in a pot with ample drainage.

To maintain the plant’s miniature size, remove new shoots that appear after the first set of leaves. Cutting off at least 25% of the roots will help prevent the plant from overgrowing its pot. You can shape the branches with wiring as long as they are young and flexible enough.

Another advantage of choosing rosemary as a small “tree” is that you can quickly start it from seed. Grow this herb in containers and bring it in before the first frost.

Other herbs suitable for growing bonsai include:

  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • bay laurel
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America’s youngest bonsai master flourishes in native soil https://rgbonsai.com/americas-youngest-bonsai-master-flourishes-in-native-soil/ Thu, 01 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/americas-youngest-bonsai-master-flourishes-in-native-soil/ Bjorn Bjorholm, 34, zooms in from his home near Nashville, Tenn. It’s February, a deep winter, and her skin looks pale surrounded by bare white walls. Outside, an unusual cold snap has closed the town and its Eisei-en bonsai nursery sits under a thick blanket of snow. “Dreary” would be the best word, ”he says […]]]>

Bjorn Bjorholm, 34, zooms in from his home near Nashville, Tenn. It’s February, a deep winter, and her skin looks pale surrounded by bare white walls. Outside, an unusual cold snap has closed the town and its Eisei-en bonsai nursery sits under a thick blanket of snow. “Dreary” would be the best word, ”he says to describe the space. “Which is always the case in winter.”

Bjorholm, from Knoxville, Tenn., Explains the name of his dormant business: “Evergreen garden,” roughly translated from Japanese; the one that is always in bloom. “But it also has some deeper meanings,” he continues. “Forever young”, or having an open mind, ready to learn. “And that can also translate to ‘always green’, like always making money,” he laughs. “My wife made it up.”

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Called the “Brad Pitt of bonsai,” the six-foot-six Bjorholm is a house of mirrors when juxtaposed with his chosen contraption. With the muscular construction of a tight end, in good weather he towers over miniature trees which he bends, tears and cuts. He was even more visible during his nine years in Kyoto, Japan after college, most of which was spent in the routine of learning bonsai seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. He was an anomaly, “a novelty,” he says of his apprenticeship under the guidance of elder Keiichi Fujikawa. Despite the master’s initial reluctance to hire an apprentice, let alone a foreigner, Bjorholm came to be treated like a son as well as some sort of local celebrity. Customers in their forties, depositing their trees at the nursery for annual maintenance, would seek his hand rather than that of the owner. “I like to think it was because I was good,” he said, “but I think it was because they wanted to brag to their friends that a Westerner had styled their tree.”

But as infatuated as he was with Japanese culture, which led him to make the decision to emigrate, the great American quickly left his tourist mentality behind and became one with the land itself. (After all, after a decade very few people still feel like a foreigner.) One of his greatest lessons: patience, a virtue he believes most North Americans don’t understand. “Say, for example, that you remove a large branch from a tree,” he says. “You want that wound to heal in four, five, six years, so in 20 years it’s imperceptible on the trunk of the tree. You must therefore know the right technique and apply it now to be able to achieve this result in 20 years. These are all things that I think about much more deeply from my learning in Japan. “

Contrary to the understanding of many in America, bonsai is not a species of tree but a style of cultivation, in which specific trees, selected by the merits of their curvature, the size of their leaves and their adaptability. , are established in small pots and trained to grow. in certain curves and planes. In a field, they can grow to 40 feet or more, but with precise pruning, dressage wires, and shallow dishes, they live their hundreds of years in miniature. Another detail that goes against popular belief: while bonsai training can be gradual, for young trees it is often violent, with pruned branches and sheared taproots. Any action plan, fast or slow, is obtained by a spirit of decision turned towards the future. Cuts are made to focus the blossoming. “It totally changed my perspective on work, on life, on thinking about the future, on culture, on everything,” says Bjorholm.

In Japan, bonsai, like sumo and sushi, is a subculture in itself that far exceeds the surface knowledge of the United States. with pages in glossy magazines and portraits sewn onto handkerchiefs. “There are 50 to 60 trees in Japan that everyone knows. And of those 50 or 60 trees, there are probably four or five that will forever be considered the best bonsai in the history of the world, ”he says. “So, yeah, seeing these in person was crazy.”

Bjorholm looks like an American when he talks about the awe he felt walking through these exhibition halls with his head and shoulders higher than the native population and speechless from his poor Japanese and the effects of ‘be struck by the stars. But his actions were anything but stereotypical American during the long hours of a six-year apprenticeship, which could include repotting hundreds of trees and then walking through town to help Fujikawa-sensei’s parents pull vegetables from them. their garden. Under the guidance of his teacher, he grew up, and after graduating from the program, he remained working in the same nursery while traveling within the country. He and his wife, a Chinese national he met during a study abroad program in his last year, considered staying in Japan, but immigration restrictions meant they would have to still a decade before they can start their own nursery. In the long run, it was a bad future, and so Bjorholm made a decision, returning to the United States in 2017 and relocating to Nashville, where he believed he would find the most fertile ground to develop his own business.

Bonsai has been in the United States for decades, although it is largely a japonophile hobby. Bonsai techniques were passed on from first generation Japanese immigrants to other Americans, who then passed them on to young people like Bjorholm. In this generational transfer, Asian trees had become orthodoxy. “It was the Japanese species,” he recalls. “It has never been so cool working with native stuff until I come back from Japan and realize how good the base material is here.”

While he had experimented with American flora as a high school student – after all, it’s cheaper to dig up a tree in a field than to buy a seedling from a garden center – red cedars and Virginia pines didn’t hold the mystery of a Japanese Maple. But after nearly a decade in Japan, with mystery replaced by practicality, Bjornholm began to soberly appraise New World wood, and what he found was promising.

“When [the Japanese] see our native material here, they are very jealous, ”he says, explaining that in Japan, the overexploitation of wild trees from the 70s adapted to bonsai, or yamadori, led to the scarcity of wild nature, and since then the collection has been prohibited. At the same time, a growing and affluent Chinese market buys heritage trees, a second deforestation. “All that is bonsai in Japan is all they have,” he said, “so there are fewer and fewer good trees in Japan. Here there is an almost endless supply.

Bjorholm has not only become a pioneer and advocate for North American species adapted to bonsai, but he is also a leading educator in the United States. Thanks to his YouTube channel, which he films and edits himself, he has already amassed over 150,000 subscribers, which is no small feat for what many consider a niche hobby. For subscribers, part of the attraction is its natural magnetism; minimalist and refined sets; and clear instructions. But a lot can also be attributed to the influx of bonsai researchers in 2020, during which any socially remote activity that state governments have not restricted, from houseplants to bicycles, has seen unprecedented demand. .

“Right now in the United States, bonsai is booming,” he says. “Plus, the ability to work with native material and do unique and interesting things that have never been done before has all happened before us.”

The late winter season, which he calls “the calm before the storm,” offers a brief respite. Its workshop and cold frame are filled with trees stacked on all surfaces to protect them from single-digit temperatures, which are extreme even for hardy trees, and the outdoor benches they are typically displayed on are buried under six inches of height. ice and snow.

But spring is coming.

With temperatures forecast to reach the 60s in the coming week, Bjorholm can already see into the future. Over the next few days, this snow-covered space will melt on the bare wood shelves, and it will slowly move the trees towards the sun. In March, the bare brown and gray branches will swell with green buds before the reds of the freshly foliated deciduous trees, the chartreuse feathers of the juniper branches and the pale blossoms of the cherry trees will dot the space. Customers will drive, lay down their overwintered trees for annual maintenance, prune new growth, and rewire branches and trunks. And at the end of April, his wife will give birth to their first child, a daughter.

We talk a little more about the North American wild species that he collects to learn about a new culture. The agents he works with in Colorado scour the backcountry looking for the right trees to carefully remove and return to Eisei-en and a new home in the south.

“These plants, in their natural environment, survive. That’s why they all look twisted and gnarled, ”says Bjorholm, owner of the evergreen garden. “Our goal is to make them prosper.

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Lessons Learned in South Korea’s Popular Bonsai Garden https://rgbonsai.com/lessons-learned-in-south-koreas-popular-bonsai-garden/ Sat, 12 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/lessons-learned-in-south-koreas-popular-bonsai-garden/ Breadcrumb Links Travel Local trips Travelling abroad Do not let the gardener choose his favorite. “People often ask me and I say it’s like choosing your favorite child,” Sung smiled. Publication date : December 12, 2020 • December 12, 2020 • 3 minute read • Join the conversation Spirited Garden on Jeju Island is a […]]]>

Do not let the gardener choose his favorite. “People often ask me and I say it’s like choosing your favorite child,” Sung smiled.

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In Jeju, an island off the southern tip of the South Korean peninsula, there is a beautiful garden called Spirited Garden dedicated to bonsai. No less than 2,000 bonsais and garden trees are displayed in a 4-hectare green space conducive to quiet strolling.

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There are three things a visitor immediately learns from Spirited Garden. Bonsai originated in China, not Japan, hundreds of years ago, then went to Korea, then Japan. Bonsai is called bunjae in Korea.

Bonsai can be defined as the art of training and growing dwarf trees and shrubs in containers over years of work. Although the trees are tiny, it is no small task to spend decades caring for bonsai trees.

All of Spirited Garden’s bonsai trees are native Korean trees, with the oldest being a 600-year-old yew. There are also terrestrial pines, maritime pines, quinces, hornbeams and common camellias. Most bonsai trees are over 100 years old.

I first encountered the garden’s charming designer and main worker, Bum-young Sung, looking for a few floating ticket receipts that garden visitors had carelessly dropped on an otherwise immaculate winding path. The sprightly 80-year-old who identifies himself as a farmer was dressed in loose Garot work clothes worn in Jeju.

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Sung doesn’t speak much English but it didn’t take long before it became clear that he likes meeting visitors. Do not ask him to choose his favorite bonsai.

Spirited Garden creator and director Bum-young Sung has dedicated 50 years to creating and nurturing plants in green spaces.
Spirited Garden creator and director Bum-young Sung has dedicated 50 years to creating and nurturing plants in green spaces.

“I get asked that question a lot and I say it’s like choosing your favorite child,” Sung smiles as an employee interprets and we share a cup of pu’er tea in a small cafe on the second floor. The cafe has a stunning view of the garden.

Sung’s garden is his life’s passion. He started working in 1969 clearing thistles on what was considered wasteland. He had fallen in love with Jeju Island and was driven by a desire to revive Korea’s dying bonsai culture and embrace the peace that nature brings. Before starting the garden, he lived near Seoul and survived the hardships of the Korean War. It was not until 1992 that the garden was opened to the public and now welcomes 200,000 visitors a year. Koreans make up 60% of visitors, with the rest coming from Europe, Asia and North America.

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Bordering the garden is a high basalt wall with stones from Jeju, a volcanic island. Sung designed and built the wall layer after layer mostly by himself to protect the potted trees from strong winds and storms. There is also a waterfall, two teeming koi ponds, stone bridges and black lava sculptures, found on Jeju.

Regarding torturing a tree to make bonsai trees (wires are used to shape growth), the garden signage that Sung wrote notes that a bonsai tree would not survive, look healthy and beautiful s he was tortured.

A Korean pine is one of more than 2,000 bonsai and trees in Spirited Garden on Jeju Island.
A Korean pine is one of more than 2,000 bonsai and trees in Spirited Garden on Jeju Island. Photo of Spiritual Garden

Regarding the monetary value of small twisted trees that are hundreds of years old, the signage indicates that the living cost of the art cannot be reflected in an amount.

The friendly garden staff reflect the peaceful atmosphere of the garden. They say the best way to see the beauty of a bonsai tree is to lean over and watch the little trees take on their graceful shape by looking inside the plant.

Sung said, “All of the descriptions along the trails represent what I have learned from the silent plants I have cared for over the past half century. I hope visitors will not only enjoy the view of the trees, but also learn from nature by reading these descriptions.

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Where does the earth come from? This Lancaster County company makes soil mixes to grow anything from flowers to cannabis [video] | Life & Culture https://rgbonsai.com/where-does-the-earth-come-from-this-lancaster-county-company-makes-soil-mixes-to-grow-anything-from-flowers-to-cannabis-video-life-culture/ Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:48:11 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/where-does-the-earth-come-from-this-lancaster-county-company-makes-soil-mixes-to-grow-anything-from-flowers-to-cannabis-video-life-culture/ This story was originally published in March 2020. You have heard of topsoil and potting soil and maybe even seedling potting soil. Did you know that there are also organic soil, vegan soil, and soil mixes just for hanging baskets or cannabis? Chances are, some of the soil bags for your garden shed are made […]]]>

This story was originally published in March 2020.

You have heard of topsoil and potting soil and maybe even seedling potting soil. Did you know that there are also organic soil, vegan soil, and soil mixes just for hanging baskets or cannabis? Chances are, some of the soil bags for your garden shed are made in Lancaster County. Frey Group at the south end of Lancaster makes earth and sends it all over the East Coast and into the Midwest.

It’s a family business that started with a metal shop, added a sawmill, and started selling the leftover bark as mulch. Now the third generation is part of the team that offers new soil mixes.

So what exactly is soil?

The floor is not dirt. It contains nutrients to help plants grow, as well as things like beneficial fungi and bacteria.

“It’s an ecosystem,” says Dustin Frey, sales manager for the mid-Atlantic region.

Where does the earth come from? Frey Group, a company in the Quarryville area, shows how it makes custom soil mixes.






Make a potting soil

At the Frey Group headquarters in East Drumore Township, the soil begins in the form of towering piles of peat, coir, compost, fine pine bark and sand. Some of the materials need to be broken down to the right size. Some need to be old. Compost, for example, is ready after being heated, to kill internal seeds and pathogens, explains Felicia Newman, Quality Manager.

Each potting mix has its own recipe, like Frey’s most popular mix, the professional potting mix found in the Purple Bag. Soil amendments are mixed with inputs such as fertilizer, bone meal, blood meal, lobster meal, and perlite (to lighten the soil). There are also custom blends created to meet the needs of a client’s crop.






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After the laws were changed to allow the cultivation of hemp, Frey created a custom hemp potting mix and worked with growers on the new recipe, says Dustin Frey.

Coast of Maine Organic Products, which Frey merged with in 2017, offers a personalized cannabis blend. Newman worked with home gardeners in Maine to develop this soil mix. In Maine, medical marijuana has been legal for two decades. Patients and caregivers can grow many of their own plants here at home. Frey has since created his own custom cannabis blend for professional growers.

Two mixes go to the Southeast Penn State Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Manheim. This year, more than a thousand flowers will be evaluated during the floral trials. Some, like geraniums, will be potted in a mix with a higher pH and others will be planted in a general flower mix, says Sinclair Adam, director of floral testing.






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Inside the greenhouses of Green Leaf Plants in Lancaster County, where over 20 million starter plants are grown

The recipes for these blends are regularly modified to meet the needs of the plants. Adam likes being able to contact Frey and make these changes easily.

Other mixtures are in preparation. Peat thins the soil, retains moisture and improves soil structure, according to Oregon State University. However, peat takes hundreds of years to form. Frey hears from customers concerned about the use of a non-renewable resource. The company therefore plans to design peat-free mixtures as well as vegan mixtures made without animal by-products, such as blood meal or cow manure in the compost.

From metallurgy to mulch

Making land is the last hub of the business Dustin’s grandfather started in the 1960s. Ernie Frey started the business next to the family farm. There was a construction company and a metallurgy that specialized in equipping cattle. He added a sawmill and started selling the by-product, mulch. It took off and in the mid-1990s the company turned to mulch manufacturing. Later, they added soil mixes.

The second generation, siblings Ernie Frey Jr., Jamie Kreider and Karl Frey, took over the business. Now Dustin is the third generation.

The Philadelphia Flower Show's event manager started gardening as a child in Lancaster County

The company merged with Coast of Maine in 2017. After the merger, Frey went through the process of listing its products with the Organic Materials Review Institute, a non-profit organization that monitors biologics. The Lancaster operation now manufactures conventional soils and organic blends.

Some are bagged and shipped from Maine to South Carolina and as far west as Illinois. Some of it is trucked to customers, and some of the material just blows away in the wind. Lately, the company has used a drone to measure the size of piles of soil, mulch and inputs, Dustin said.

The land goes to garden centers to be sold to home growers. It also goes to large-scale growers in their own greenhouses.

Production increases in April and May to send fresh soil throughout the region, says Ernie Frey Jr., director of operations.

Step inside this New Holland hydroponic greenhouse run by volunteers

After a busy spring, the company plans to make some changes to help the environment. A new bag will include plastic made from sugar cane. Another bag will be recycled by Terracycle.

“I’m not a big fan of using plastic, and I know our industry is important for it,” Dustin said. “So it’s nice to see that we’re doing something to help clean it up. “

What's in your soil?  How to get it tested

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Time, Knowledge, and Experience Help Arnold Arboretum’s Bonsai Collection Grow and Thrive – Harvard Gazette https://rgbonsai.com/time-knowledge-and-experience-help-arnold-arboretums-bonsai-collection-grow-and-thrive-harvard-gazette/ Thu, 25 Jul 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/time-knowledge-and-experience-help-arnold-arboretums-bonsai-collection-grow-and-thrive-harvard-gazette/ “As long as the leaves are green and the plant is healthy, I don’t care about anything else,” Schneider said. “We’re a 1,000-year-old institution, so if someone says to me, ‘You’ll be dead a long time before it’s exposed,’ that’s fine with me.” The Arboretum’s bonsai collection began in 1937, when former Ambassador to Japan […]]]>

“As long as the leaves are green and the plant is healthy, I don’t care about anything else,” Schneider said. “We’re a 1,000-year-old institution, so if someone says to me, ‘You’ll be dead a long time before it’s exposed,’ that’s fine with me.”

The Arboretum’s bonsai collection began in 1937, when former Ambassador to Japan Larz Anderson died and his widow, Isabel, donated 30 plants he had brought back from the island nation in 1913. Nine more followed Isabel’s death in 1949.

Over the following decades, the fortunes of the collection rose and fell. Several of Anderson’s original plants have died from improper care or damage from harsh New England winters, leading to the construction of a concrete cold store in which they are kept just above freezing point during the most icy months. Plants have also been stolen, including six lost in a 1986 burglary that led to renovations to the bonsai house and the addition of a new security system.

When Director of the Arboretum and Arnold Professor of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology William Friedman took over in 2011, he found a bonsai collection that needed more care and attention.

“It’s one of Harvard’s great museum collections. He happens to be alive,” Friedman said. “And keeping a very stressed plant alive for hundreds of years is a huge responsibility.”

In 2014, he put Schneider, director of operations and public programs at the Arboretum, in charge of the collection, and Schneider dove in, educating himself as much as possible here and on trips to Japan. Japan was a revelation, Schneider said. Before going there, he had the illusion that the Arboretum managed the collection well. When he left, he realized how much they had to learn.

“This is a collection that has the potential to do much more in terms of visitor experience and showcasing Chinese and Japanese traditions of penjing and bonsai,” Friedman said. “What Steve has done – he has a passion for plants, a personal passion – is spent years thinking about a strategy to bring this collection to its potential.”

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Master gardener: bonding with bonsai https://rgbonsai.com/master-gardener-bonding-with-bonsai/ Mon, 26 Jun 2017 07:00:00 +0000 https://rgbonsai.com/master-gardener-bonding-with-bonsai/ Bonsai, literally translated, means “tree in a pot”. However, bonsai are more than just a potted plant. They are naturally dwarf trees that are trained to look like mature trees in the wild. Trees are living sculptures residing in a container carefully selected to fit in harmony with the tree. The art originated in ancient […]]]>
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