What are Bonsai trees?
Many people think of tiny little Japanese trees cut and pruned to a miniature size but literally speaking Bonsai means ‘plant in a tray’ and while they are smaller than their wild counterparts they don’t have to be a couple of inches tall; they can be grown in a pot in the garden and will be smaller than their wild counterparts.
Misconceptions about Bonsai trees.
Many people believe that training Bonsai trees is a cruel pastime because the cultivator starves the tree and cuts it to such an extent that it becomes unhealthy. Quite the reverse is usually true; while they are cut and pruned quite heavily to keep them to the size of the pot, they are usually transferred from pot to pot regularly and are fed and watered much more often than their wild cousins.
Contrary to belief, Bonsai trees do not originate from Japan, but there are records disabled dating back more than 2000 years that show Bonsai being grown in China. These Bonsai weren’t as small as the Bonsai that people often envisage and were grown on an individual basis outdoors in pots. It was, though, the Japanese that took this art form and progressed it to the level it is at now. This has led to quite different styles in Japanese and Chinese Bonsai; the Chinese Bonsai being much more freestyle and more lightly pruned than the Japanese miniature Bonsai that are very heavily groomed and pruned and look much more like miniature natural versions of the full sized versions.
Bonsai trees do not live shorter lives than wild trees. They regularly live for many centuries and are traditionally passed down from generation to generation of family. They lead nearly exactly the same length lives as their wild cousins and are often much healthier because of the attention they receive.
The advantages of growing Bonsai.
Not everyone has a large garden where they can plant numerous trees and let them grow as big as they want, and even those who do have large gardens still need to wait for many years before the tree becomes truly established. By growing Bonsai you don’t need any more room than the size of your pot and because you only need them to grow to much smaller proportions it really is accessible for anyone who is interested in growing Bonsai trees. You can even grow them inside if you can recreate the correct conditions for the tree you want to grow.
Growing Bonsai trees can fast become an addictive hobby and requires attention to detail, foresight of how the tree will grow and plenty of time and care. You will undoubtedly feel massive satisfaction if you decide to grow Bonsai and are any good at it.
Image taken from page 332 of ‘Adventures in the far interior of South Africa; including a journey to Lake Ngami, and rambles in Honduras. To which is appended a short treatise on the best mode of skinning and preserving Birds, Animals, etc. [With plates.]
Image by The British Library
Image taken from:
Title: "Adventures in the far interior of South Africa; including a journey to Lake Ngami, and rambles in Honduras. To which is appended a short treatise on the best mode of skinning and preserving Birds, Animals, etc. [With plates.]"
Author: LEYLAND, J. – Naturalist
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 10095.bb.34."
Place of Publishing: London, Liverpool [printed] Date of Publishing: 1866
Find this item in the British Library catalogue, ‘Explore’.
Open the page in the British Library’s itemViewer (page image 332)
Download the PDF for this book Image found on book scan 332 (NB not a pagenumber)Download the OCR-derived text for this volume: (plain text) or (json)
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