What is bonsai?
This was at one time, the most commonly
ask of all questions, but, since
the Karate Kid was first shown,
the frequency with which this question
gets asked has decreased a little
bit..Bonsai is literally a plant,
(usually a tree or shrub) grown
in a tray, or dish. The first plants
grown in pots were in Egypt about
4000 years ago, mostly for practical
reasons, mobility, and convenience.
The Greeks, Babylonians, Persians,
and Hindus copied the technique.
The Chinese were the first to plant
trees in pots for aesthetic purposes
about 200 AD. It then moved to Japan
with the monks that also brought
Buddhism in the 6th and 7th centuries.
This data is supported in essence
by a scroll from Japan's Kamakura
period (1192-1333), in a scroll
describing life in the Heian period
in China more than 1,000 years ago,
but it has been pursued and developed
by the Japanese. A bonsai industry
of considerable size exists in certain
sections of Japan. It has
popular in many parts of the world.
A Japanese word meaning "tray-planted,"
bonsai refers either to dwarf trees
or to the art of training and growing
the miniaturized trees in containers.
Bonsai may be either conifers with
small needles or deciduous plants
with small leaves. Some bonsai are
small-flowered or small-fruit trees.
Good bonsai can be kept outdoors
all year long.
The overall artistic effect is of
great significance in growing the
trees. Everything must be proportional:
the size of the tree, its leaves
or needles, its flowers or fruit,
and the container in which it grows.
The containers, especially, must
be chosen to harmonize in size,
shape, and color with the tree.
There are four
sizes of bonsai: miniature, small,
medium, and average. Miniatures
range up to only 2 inches (5 centimeters)
in height. Started from seeds or
cuttings, they mature in about five
years. Small bonsai are from 2 to
6 inches (5 to 15 centimeters) and
take from five to ten years to train.
Medium bonsai are from 6 to 12 inches
(15 to 30 centimeters), and average
bonsai are up to 2 feet (0.6 meter);
both sizes can be produced in
as little as
The bonsai are dwarfed by pruning
roots and branches. Their shapes
are controlled by wiring the trunk
and branches. The wires must be
removed before the bark becomes
art of raising
in an indoor
are able to
bear fruit and
to drop their
leaves in season,
nature in miniature.
A skillful bonsai
artist can prune,
bend, and shape
in a field or
bent and gnarled
by age or weather.
The beauty of
a natural landscape
is evoked in