‘The little book of bonsai’: peaceful plants that are better than succulents

“The Little Book of Bonsai: An Easy Guide to Careing for Your Bonsai Tree” by Jonas Dupuich ($14.99, Ten Speed ​​Press): The book is small in size, but it’s packed with fascinating and practical information about these unique trees, which are attracting the attention of novice gardeners looking for alternatives to small-scale succulents as well as ways to bring a sense of tranquility to their home, indoors and outdoors.

The award-winning bonsai expert’s passion for this ancient but evolving living art form is clear from page one as he tells his story of becoming hooked and wanting to help readers keep their trees healthy and beautiful.

Dupuich describes the development and distinctions of bonsai trees, and how styles are based on the character of the trunk, roots, and branches of a variety of different species.

The chapter on how to feed bonsai trees is very clearly written with information on the critical elements of care – watering, fertilizing and pest control.

Most of the guide covers tools and techniques. Dupuich details pruning, wiring, and styling methods, the elements for sculpting small wild pines, junipers, and other familiar trees into artistic, natural shapes.

Excellent photography by David Fenton complements the prose throughout the 112-page hardcover book and helps the reader understand the complicated process of caring for intricate miniature representations of nature.

The final chapter provides bonsai enthusiasts with “starting points that can help you deepen your understanding of bonsai, develop your skills, or get help with your trees,” writes Dupuich, who founded the informative website. Bonsai Tonight. It ends with suggestions for seeing bonsai around the world as well as additional reading and other resources to satisfy your passion.

-Sally Peterson

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