Sunday, 14 April 2013



"A Japanese art form using miniature trees grown in containers. Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penjing from which the art originated. The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years, and has its own aesthetics and terminology ".

Zen Buddhism is the foundation for much of the meaning in bonsai. In fact, many myths associate the first bonsai trees with monks, who developed them in monasteries over centuries of careful growth and pruning. Because of this association, early bonsai was regarded as a spiritual practice, meaning peace and tranquillity

A truly beautiful cherry blossom tree in full flower!

On our recent trip to Japan, we visited a Bonsai village, located in Saitama city, which is just outside of Tokyo.  The Bonsai grower we visited was Seikouen

The Seikoen family business started growing Bonsai trees around 1850 and are now in their 5th generation.  One cannot help but be in awe of such age and care when walking around this nursery of Bonsai trees.  I was struck by the symbolism behind the growth and care of these beautiful miniature trees.

We had the delightful young son of the owner telling us about Bonsai (with an interpreter!)... and it was wonderful to see and hear the enthusiasm of this young man,  showing  great pride in his family's business. After asking very nicely,  he allowed me to take the photos below!  He also said that he would sell certain trees but only after the family had assured themselves that the tree would be well cared for by an expert Bonsai master. 

This tree shows incredible form and balance.  I love the trunk!

This Maple shows the brand new spring leaves shooting.

Incredible trunk again and the balance is fascinating !

This tree is 500 years old !!!   

These photos below are of various trimmed trees in Japanese gardens which we visited.
The method used by the Japanese gardeners in molding their trees reminds me of the Bonsai method but on a much larger scale!

This photo was taken of the outside of a private house in Kyoto...I love the treatment of the trees and the clipped Azalea balls !

This photo shows the method of layering a tree... using inter-locking bamboo as a support.  Please note the lowest branch lying down on the left of the photo.  This tree is in the garden of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto and is hundreds of years old.

I have always wanted a Bonsai tree and now more than ever. I wonder how difficult it is to maintain and look after them... Imagine the responsibility of owning a tree which is a couple of hundred years old... I wonder if there are any Bonsai owners out there who would like to share their experiences in Bonsai?

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