It's pretty amazing how a bonsai
'artist' can make small trees look like windblown, mature specimens
growing out in nature. With the help of time, and through
careful pruning of roots and branches, along with proper training of these trees,
amazing end results can be achieved.
Bonsai (pronounced bone-sigh)
is an ancient art of growing plants in container to
represent mature plants found in nature. Bonsai
originated in China, was further developed in Japan, and
is now popular throughout the world.
When a plant is selected for
bonsai training, it may be in any stage of its life: a
tiny seedling or a 100-year-old tree. In some cases, the
actual age of the plant is not known.
For bonsai, age is not the most
important quality. The shape of the plant determines its
true character, also reflecting the skill and knowledge
of the gardener. In the true tradition of bonsai, it is
the combined beauty of the plant and container, the
"overall aesthetic," that is most important.
During a visit to Longwood
Gardens we captured the following images of bonsai plants that were
on display. The 'Hornbeam Grove' was my favorite, so we begin
with two photos from different angles: