I used to live for one year in Japan, but somehow, the bonsai never grab my attention. Not in a positive way, anyway, as I considered them as a deformity of nature and therefore refused completely to think about having any of them in my house. But I kept being interested in the Asian cultures and when I was offered the opportunity to find out more about bonsai, did took the chance of a couple of hours of reading. The merit of the author was to make me interested in this topic, with the simple writing, in-depth research and tons of tips about how to take care properly about the bonsai.
Contrary to what I knew - and not only me - the bonsai is a Chinese invention brought to Japan and adopted as a fascinating item. It is made of elements that are intendede to create a replica of the nature, into the form of mini-landscapes. Kept in bronze or ceramic warthware, it inspired early yoga postures and is meant to symbolize, among other things, the cycle of life. The bonsai become popular not only in Asia, but also in Europe, where it was often exposed to world exhibitions or the topic of various books, starting from the beginning of the 20th century.
Nowadays, there are books in almost every language about it, and you can find it in many houses over the world. There are even bonsai online clubs where those passionate about these small plants are sharing their experiences and tips.
Besides the historical background and other researched information, the author also outlines some of the advantages of owning a bonsai: it is easily transported, allows the creation of a realistic miniature version of nature, is beneficial for the health and the environment, offers the chance of exercise through gardening, it is an art form and also adds value to the house. So many reasons for such a small tree...
There are different types of bonsai - depending on the size and types - that are treated in different ways. The book presents details about various features, pruning, watering and repotting. Some of the most beautiful ones are magnolia, fuchsia, wisteria, rhododendron or dwarf pomegranate.
The author also shares some of the trivia that at the first sight look really shocking, like the fact that you have to chose if your bonsai is a boy or a girl, a choice that obviously influences its development. Who would have think about this issue?
Although it is supposedly addressed to beginners, it goes beyond the introductory knowledge and explains how to find a soil with good qualities, how to do the drainage or the good aeration, the proper roots checking or the items that have to be included in the bonsai tools or what food to prepare for the bonsai.
After going through this crash course I did look completely different to the bonsai from the Bauhaus store in my area, but I still need some time till will finally decide to buy one for my house. In fact, everything looks more complicated now.
The bonsai photos were took at a local Bauhaus store in Berlin