How to create a maple (acer) bonsai tree in 20 mins by Peter Chan.
Bonsai are now a part of our lives. Like oriental food, they are now taken for granted and most people are familiar with them. No longer are these tiny trees regarded as curiosities or botanical freaks, as they were a few decades ago. There was a time when they were available only at specialist centres, but now it is possible to buy bonsai in shopping malls and on the internet. These plants can also be found at garden centres and horticultural shows.
Some Bonsai are relatively inexpensive, while others can be very costly. As with any commodity, the different styles and grades of bonsai are reflected in the price. You can buy a young, newly trained bonsai with very limited funds, or you can spend thousands on an exquisite masterpiece that has been shown at major exhibitions in Japan. Serious Bonsai enthusiasts regard good-quality bonsai as works of art, and these are highly collectable plants.
Although the art of Bonsai is essentially about growing trees, for many people it is much more than that. Bonsai plants convey something about the owners lifestyle, aesthetic sense and attitude towards nature and the environment. Growing bonsai has come to be associated with Zen aesthetics, and some practitioners derive a special therapeutic benefit, which comes from the innate peace and tranquility that working with bonsai imparts. Like yoga and t’ai chi, bonsai are said to have a calming influence on the mind and spirit, and they can help to relieve the stresses of today’s busy world.
Bonsai are certainly beautiful to look at,but there is much more to the pastime than simply achieving beauty. The image of an ancient tree clinging to a rock and struggling to survive against all the odds has been a source of inspiration for Chinese sages and scholars for at least two millennia.
Keeping bonsai is not just about gardening - it is art and spirituality combined with horticultural techniques. Creating bonsai is a challenge, and enthusiasts are forever striving for horticultural and aesthetic excellence. Unlike other artistic projects, however, a bonsai is never finished. It continues to grow and change, which means that perfection is always transitory and beauty is only momentary. Growing bonsai is a never-ending quest for perfection.
Those who are dedicated to the hobby regard it as a way of life. It requires commitment and can dictate the way you spend your time and resources. Your weekends and holidays can soon become geared around your bonsai activities. Nevertheless, the rewards that come from striving for a perfect work of art more than compensate for the time and effort involved.
We are Britain’s Premier Bonsai Nursery, with over 7 acres of land dedicated to bonsai, and have 21 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medals, and have a display at Wisley Gardens dedicated to our bonsai. We sell our bonsai through our website Herons Bonsai.