Bonsai is an extremely therapeutic pastime. The ancient art of bonsai involves growing, nurturing and shaping small plants that mimic large scale outdoor trees. Bonsai is an ancient practice that first came about in China and was took on by the Japanese.
If you’re considering dabbling in the world of bonsai or you’re a beginner looking to learn more, here are five things you should know:
The art of bonsai requires many skills but patience is perhaps the most essential. If you’re naturally a very impatient person trying your hand in bonsai could help you to improve on that. Shoots like to take their time in growing into trees, even on a small scale. If you choose to grow your own bonsai from seedling it can take 30 years or so for the shoot to grow into a miniature tree. Similarly, if you choose to work on a bonsai that has already reached its full size, any design changes you choose to make will also take a significant amount of time. Design changes such as wiring branches and trimming roots is a type of work that does not produce instant results and therefore requires a lot of patience as you wait to reap your reward.
Don’t Expect to Know Everything, All at Once
Bonsai is an art form that dates back as far as 6th Century BCE, therefore there are thousands of years worth of knowledge behind it. Even the most skilled and experienced bonsai artists are always learning new things about the practice. Bonsai is an excellent pastime to take on if you love learning new things!
Look for Hardy Species
Not all bonsai trees are created equal. Different tree species are easier to train and care for than others. Therefore, it is important to do your research before purchasing a tree or seedling to train. Look for species which are more suitable for beginners, they may even be labelled as beginner bonsai trees. And remember, there is no such thing as a bonsai seed. Bonsai trees are created from the seed of a full-sized tree and cultivated to stay small.
Don’t Spend a Fortune on Tools
When deciding to build on a new skill or take up a new hobby shopping for the necessary tools and equipment can be very exciting! However, it’s very easy to get carried away or even conned into buying things you don’t need. Of course, as you grow and develop your collection you may want to splurge on higher quality, more extravagant tools and accessories but try to stay sensible when shopping for your first tools. If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to your tool kit, speak to others within the bonsai community to discuss your concerns. Usually, a simple pair of trimming/pruning scissors should be sufficient for a beginner.
Expect to Make Mistakes
With any new endeavour, mistakes are inevitable and so therefore it should be expected that you will make many mistakes on your bonsai journey. If you’re experiencing issues with your bonsai tree, all hope is probably not lost, especially if you’ve chosen a particularly hardy variety. Even if you feel your bonsai is on the brink of death, an expert bonsai trainer may be able to salvage it. Look for bonsai workshops in your local area if you feel you have made a mistake with your bonsai and need some advice. Most workshops will allow you to bring in your own trees.