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 Bonsai Tree Art

 By Erik A. Olsen

People who have become involved with growing bonsai, whether as a part-time hobby or for professional show, find this to be an excellent outlet for relieving stress from everyday life. What people quickly discover is that this is not just growing a plant but actually, bonsai tree art. Unfortunately, many myths are wrapped around bonsai that make new growing enthusiasts confused. For starters, the bonsai is not a genetically miniature or dwarfed plant or tree. In addition, growing and training bonsai is not harmful nor is it cruel. The truth is that when given the right amount of water, food, and light, a well-maintained bonsai can live a long time, often being passed down from one generation to the next.

Bonsai tree art is based on the Japanese, specifically Zen Buddhists that would spend spare time creating, defining, and structuring these trees, all intertwined with nature. When growing bonsai you can choose from seeds or small cuttings that come from young trees. However, bonsai tree art can also be accomplished by working with a naturally occurring stunted tree. Typically, a bonsai grown indoors will range between two and four inches although they can be as tall as two feet. The key to bonsai tree art is keeping the tree small through a series of pruning back the branches and roots, along with repotting, pinching back new growth, and then wiring both branches and trunk to help the plant grow into the desired shape.

With bonsai tree art, the tree, the container, and the soil in which it grows are physically dependent upon each other, just as they are also independent from the earth. To design the bonsai, the tree itself would be placed off-centered in the container. With this, you have a nice asymmetry but in Japanese beliefs, you are now creating a center point whereby the bonsai is symbolically aligned with heaven and earth. Another important principle of bonsai tree art is that the triangular pattern is essential for producing visual balance. Then, tradition is that the three basic virtues of ancient beliefs are necessary for bonsai tree art to include truth, beauty, and goodness.

Remember, when creating bonsai tree art, you are working with an ordinary tree or plant, not some type of miniature or dwarf hybrid. However, the best-suited option is plants with small leaves although virtually any type of plant can be used. Even the mighty oak that will grow big and strong in the wild can be trained to be a small bonsai that is displayed in a small container. For instance, for your bonsai tree art, you might consider bamboo, cherry, plum, pine, camellia, and pine, all excellent choices. Regardless of the species of tree or plant you choose, you want to create a natural look, one that appears as if no human intervention has been applied.

Overall, bonsai tree art is a personal craft. Since there are no hard rules that you must follow, you can use your own creativity coupled with known principles to come up with something spectacular. While there are certain styles and of those styles certain plants and trees that work best, you can take your time with bonsai tree art to experiment. Finally, growing bonsai does not have to be expensive, something that has long been a misconception. Yes, you will need some tools, the right soil and fertilizer, and so on, and you will need to provide time and patience, but what typically happens is that as you get involved with bonsai tree art, you begin to find it relaxing and enjoyable. Soon, you have developed a wonderful skill with a beautiful tree to sit and admire! Today, bonsai tree art is growing substantially, as more and more people are discovering the joy involved like no other hobby or craft.
 
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