The gardening technique and art form that we acknowledge these days as “bonsai” was shown to have originated in China in the 3rd century during the Chin Dynasty. It was during the T’ang Dynasty, nearly four hundred years later, that the art form first appeared in Japan. The Chinese used a phrase not familiar to the majority of us, pen-t’sai, to describe their art of creating extraordinary miniature landscapes using small trees, water, and rocks. The similarly sounding word “bonsai” in Japanese would mean “planted in a small basin”. Despite originating in China, it is the Japanese who definitely have popularized the bonsai and improved upon the art form.
The popularity of Japanese bonsai is still growing. There are so many unique species and varieties of plants and trees you can use for bonsai. There is great joy in creating a breathtaking and one-of-a-kind bonsai and then to have somebody else enjoy it. Everyone should try to create a bonsai – you can find much to be learned in so doing. Your life will be altered when you experience bonsai.
Japanese bonsai is the marriage of art and horticulture. It is the process of seeking the true essence of trees, rocks, and soil, and reproducing them in miniature, rendering the appearance of a fully developed landscape, accurately and creatively reproduced, and fitting all this into a little pot.
For most bonsai enthusiasts, there does exist considerably more to bonsai than simply growing small trees. It may become a contemplative leisure activity in which an individual may live completely in the present, recognizing and becoming a participant in the wholeness of all things that can’t be separated, man and nature. Man derives from nature and man eventually returns to nature.
From a philosophical view, bonsai can be seen as being a manifestation of the duality of life – man and nature. It’s also a chance to communicate your personal interpretation of your relationship with nature.
The creation of beautiful bonsai will, naturally, necessitate the application of well-honed gardening skills, along with a understanding of plant physiology. A person with patience and a desire can learn the skills and methods demanded of bonsai. If you take the time to learn the gardening skills, and understand how plants grow and just how to care for them, eventually you’ll be able to look upon your work and realize that you have created a real bonsai. It’s a experience you may never forget.