Bonsai is a Japanese art form of cultivating small miniature tress in a tray or a pot. The word Bonsai comes from two Japanese phrases, bon and sai, where ‘bon’ refers to the pot or container and ‘sai’ means tree. The Japanese word phrases actually originate from the Chinese word ‘penzai’ which literally translates to tree planting.
Bonsai, or the art of planting trees in a small container, dates back to as early as the 14th century. Using different cultivation and training techniques, the miniature plant does not usually exceed 1 meter in height. Bonsai can be applied to both indoor and outdoor trees. The essence of Bonsai is to produce a healthy miniature representation of an actual tree in a pot or tray.
With rapid urbanization taking over our daily lives, today’s generation is losing touch with nature. Our homes are getting smaller due to constraints of space, and most homes today lack a garden or lawn area. Practicing the art of Bonsai is a perfect way to keep nature alive in our congested homes. With terrace gardens becoming a growing concept, bonsai trees are also seeing more demand.
A bonsai tree has to be cultivated through years of discipline. Bonsai may look like an ornamental object adding to the aesthetic value of a room, but it goes much deeper than that. What most people fail to realize is that Bonsai are not just small plants. They are miniature trees, and as such, require different growing methods. Special attention has to be paid to every aspect of the Bonsai tree, from controlling the size and shape of the trees, to how the first seedlings and cuttings are shaped.
The shaping and styling of a Bonsai tree is the most creative part of this process, as well as the hardest one. It may take years for some people to perfectly master the art of pruning and wiring to keep the trees miniaturized.
In spite of being small in size, a Bonsai tree requires much more attention and care. The most vital step in Bonsai cultivation is to do regular pruning. This has two layers: the first, maintenance pruning, is done to maintain and refine the existing shape of a Bonsai. Secondly, structural-pruning, involves more rigorous pruning to give the tree its basic shape or style.
People who seriously practice the art of Bonsai consider it to be a hard discipline. The use of proper tools is very important for taking care of Bonsai trees. Basic tools like a Pruning Secateur or the Hedge Shear are necessary to be able to execute accurate cuts on the trees. Meant for cutting twigs, smaller branches, leaves or roots, shears are available in many sizes and shapes. Narrower and longer shaped shears make it easier to trim Bonsai.
A Pruning Secateur is designed to ensure fine cutting with minimum efforts. Equipped with a long handles, these are ideal for pruning branches. Concave cutters are a common tool for removing branches from the trunk to achieve deepened cuts which will heal without leaving a swollen scar.
Bonsai is a vast topic. It cannot be mastered within few weeks. It requires patience, hard work, dedication and strong discipline to successfully grow a Bonsai garden at home.