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The Green Art of Bonsai: Complex but Simple Trees

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Bonsai is a delicate art, one wherein the final product may not even be accomplished in a single lifetime. We introduce the basics of this aesthetic art along with information on where to buy your own bonsai.

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Bonsai is the term for the art of caring for and maintaining a potted tree or plant for dozens if not hundreds of years, by paying the utmost attention and care to the growth, shaping, and nurturing of the same plant.

It is a type of green art, somewhat similar to ikebana. Until quite recently, bonsai were not very popular with younger people, but it is increasingly gaining attention and now there are many people of all ages that take care of these living works of art.

Bonsai: How to Care for and Appreciate Potted Trees

Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai

But what is a bonsai in the first place?

With the passage of the seasons, plants go through their own unique changes in form and growth. For bonsai, they go through these changes while being raised in a pot. This makes it possible for their artists to not only admire the aesthetic sense of the plant itself but to also appreciate its natural state.

The subtle charm of the curved trunk and branches and the balance of the leaves and their attachment to the plant define the bonsai as a work of impeccable art.

Bonsai Have Gained International Recognition!

Do you have an Instagram account? Try searching for #bonsai. You are sure to find many different bonsai pictures from all around the world.

Surprisingly, you get more results by searching in English for #bonsai than in Japanese This just goes to show that bonsai are becoming more and more popular on an international level.

Anyone Can Start Growing Their Own Bonsai

These are the bonsai the author has been growing.

Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai

Goyoumatsu, Japanese white pine

Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai

Choju bai, or Mauls quince (this one has red flowers)

Small bonsai such as these can be purchased online for about 2,000 yen per plant. The author purchased their bonsai from Bonsaimiyo, a Japanese site that also provides excellent follow-up service.

Bonsaimiyo also has an English page, BONSAI 101, wherein they give advice on how to take care of a bonsai yourself.

What is the Appeal of Bonsai?

Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai

This bonsai tree has a very beautiful balance between the branch, trunk, and leaves.

Regardless of how many years you spend growing it or how much you love it, a bonsai will not form into the shape that you have imagined for it. In order to raise a bonsai into the image that you desire, you must have the necessary knowledge, experience, skills, and patience to achieve that goal.

It has often been said that growing a bonsai properly is very similar to raising a child. As long as the plant is alive, it can form many different shapes; there is no such thing as completion when it comes to bonsai.

Complex But Simple Trees: The Green Art Of Bonsai

I think that plants are quite similar to humans in this regard. As we grow, we are formed and shaped by our own experiences, limitations and needs - that isn't something that only humans experience, bonsai grow in the same manner. Rather, wouldn't it be better to say that all living things have this point in common?

Although they may look simple at first, bonsai are a very deep and profound art. A complex, yet simple, living thing that you can only truly appreciate by becoming more acquainted with it.

It might seem a bit extravagant initially, but anyone can live with and grow a bonsai. Those coming to Japan, those in Japan, and those that have returned to their home country, wouldn't you like to have a living part of Japan to keep with you?

Main image and article pictures from PIXTA

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日本の田園風景が残る土地で暮らしたいと思い、田舎に引っ越してきました。詩を綴る人。趣味は盆栽と手まりを作ることです。いつか自分の畑を持ちたい!

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