Great design skillfully marries structure and form into a pleasing work of art. The art of Bonsai is no exception as this ancient horticultural practice brings living art into a landscape or an interior beautifully.
Bonsai, pronounced bone-sigh, is a Japanese expression that originated from the Chinese word punsai, and refers to growing, shaping and pruning dwarf trees in small pots or containers so they closely reflect the forms of wild trees growing in nature.
ZEN AND THE ART OF BONSAI
Anyone entering the soothing landscape of a Japanese Niwa, will attest to the serenity and peace of the surroundings; how hardscape and landscape blend together seamlessly to impart stillness and a calm that infuses the scene and envelops each visitor. An essential element to these gardens is the artful Bonsai tree.
Good design in Bonsai is recognized by overall balance of a tree that compliments the size and shape of the container it is in, which changes as the Bonsai grows and matures. To western culture the aesthetic of the tree is the most important element, while eastern culture also concerns itself with the rich symbolism of each tree and the surroundings it embraces.
CARING FOR YOUR BONSAI
To adequately care for a Bonsai tree it is best to refer to a manual or guide that gives instruction based on the type of tree grown. The maintenance of the trees is relatively easy, no more difficult than care of any tree, it is the practice of pruning and maintaining the unique shape of the Bonsai that takes practice to perfect. Special pruning shears and tools are employed along with wiring techniques used to bend and train the branches into position.
The overall shape of the Bonsai subtly recreates the perspective found in nature. Each Bonsai is shaped with one particular viewing angle in mind and thus the tree is positioned whether in a prominent location inside a home or in the midst of an outdoor garden.
Whether purchasing a delicate Bonsai to enhance an interior or wanting to practice sculpting your own, the art of Bonsai is approachable. It is important to choose a tree with an interesting trunk, since it is highly visible, and to also consider the color of the bark. The foliage should be compact. Bonsai are also wonderful to share and make a luxurious gift for a housewarming, wedding or birthday.
by Lee Anne Michayluk