Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Basics of Bonsai

An eight year old with a handful of G.I. Joes, I was always on a look out for newer terrains to keep adding my own little chapters to the never ending battle between good and evil. The old study table, bedroom floor, bath tub… these were just some of my preferred ‘battlegrounds’. My favorite was mom’s little Bonsai garden. The bonsai conifers and maples were just perfect for ‘jungle battles’! Sure, I wasn’t even allowed to lay a finger on those ‘precious plants’, doesn’t mean I didn’t. Unfortunately, that also doesn’t mean I never got caught, but that’s another story! My point is- I’ve been fascinated by bonsai ever since I was eight and although it’s become very popular over the last decade or so, I always considered bonsai gardening a tough nut and didn’t try my hands at it until last year. As it turned out, I wish I’d started earlier!

The ancient Japanese art of growing miniature trees and plants does call for some care and dedication, but it allows you to create some truly wonderful spectacles! Bonsai is often confused with Dwarfing, but one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. While dwarfing pertains to developing dwarf trees by means of genetic modification, the essence of bonsai lies in growing small sized trees and plants from regular seed and stock, employing techniques like leaf trimming, root reduction, selective pruning, defoliation and grafting. Virtually all perennial woody trees and shrubs can be used for bonsai. While the material of container is a matter of personal preference, its volume shouldn’t ideally exceed 10 liters. Once your bonsai trees reach their planned final size, the container environment serves to restrict further growth.

Regular, careful irrigation is one of the most important aspects of bonsai care. Along with watering, fertilization and composition of soil too, needs to be specialized to the cultural needs of the bonsai plant. You’ll also be required to re pot your bonsais as they gain in age and vigor.

Remember, the true aim of bonsai is creating a miniature replica of a full grown tree or plant. Keep your goals in mind at all times, have some patience and you’ll do wonders!