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 Bonsai Bonsai Tree (Like it So Much I Said it Twice!)

 By Erik A. Olsen

Today, more and more people are becoming interested in bonsai, bonsai tree growing, which is the training of a miniature tree. Although bonsai started in China where it was known as Penjing, it made its way to Japan where the name Bonsai was established. The name Bonsai, for bonsai trees, translates to “tray planning” because they are grown in trays or small pots. The tree and the pot are believed to form a harmonious unit whereby the shape, color, and texture of the two become one, complementing, and enhancing each other.

Bonsai, or bonsai tree growing involves training the tree with copper wiring so the tree takes a specific shape. Unlike other plants that are simply potted and left to do their own thing, the bonsai requires special care and attention. Each branch of the bonsai tree is carefully shaped or eliminated until the desired appearance is achieved. Once the tree has been formed to the desired shape, it would then be maintained through pruning and trimming.

Bonsai or bonsai tree growing is an excellent hobby. After the bonsai tree made its way from Japan to the western world, the popularity of this art form has continued to climb. Remember that what makes bonsai so interesting is that it is the perfect balance of art and horticulture. First, remember that bonsai or bonsai trees are not naturally dwarfed trees. They are regular trees that are trained to be small. In addition, training the bonsai by wiring, cutting, and trimming is not cruel but actually important to the overall health and success of the tree. In fact, when bonsai trees are cared for properly, they will outlive a full size tree of the same species.

To people in China and Japan, bonsai or bonsai tree growing is an important link to the society, which is based on Zen Buddhism. With this belief, there must be a harmony of man, nature, and elements. The bonsai tree is one way of expressing these beliefs. However, to the people in the United States and other westernized countries, the bonsai or bonsai tree is more of a hobby whereby great enjoyment and gratification is achieved with the perfecting of the tree. Either way, bonsai trees are magnificent and tremendously satisfying to grow.

Now, if you were interested in growing bonsai, you can choose to grow the bonsai tree from seeds or cuttings. Typically, the bonsai will stand between two inches and three feet tall, which again by pruning both branches and roots, along with periodic repotting, pinching off new growth, and wire training the trunk and branches, it will remain small and in the desired shape. To keep with the ancient Asian culture, you want the bonsai tree to be positioned just slightly off-center in the container. Again, this is not just symbolic but also more visually pleasing.
 

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