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The Fascinating Garden Art of Bonsai Tree Making

 The bonsai tree is a Japanese art form that creates miniature trees grown in containers. The purpose of bonsai is primarily contemplation (for the viewer) and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity (for the grower). But as much as I'm sure you've heard about this practice, most of us are only aware of a few types of bonsai tree, when there are actually hundreds of different types.

 
These 22 beautiful bonsai trees are a great example of how diverse this art form can be.
 
Click on images to enlarge
Cherry Blossom in Full Bloom 
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
A bonsai is created beginning with a specimen of source material. This may be a cutting, seedling, or small tree of a species suitable for bonsai development. Bonsai can be created from nearly any perennial woody-stemmed tree or shrub species.
A Bald Cypress
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Small trees grown in containers, like bonsai, require specialized care. Unlike house plants or other plants used for container gardening, tree species in the wild generally grow roots that are several meters long, as well as root structures encompassing several thousand liters of soil. In contrast, a typical bonsai container is under 25 centimeters at its largest dimension and 2 to 10 liters in volume. 
Wisteria Bonsai
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
One of the oldest bonsai trees in history is a Japanese White Pine. It's estimated that its birthday was in 1625 - nearly 400 years ago. 
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
 
Branch and leaf (or needle) growth in trees is also larger in nature. Wild trees typically grow five meters or taller when mature, whereas the largest bonsai rarely exceeds one meter. Most specimens are significantly smaller. These size differences affect maturation, transpiration, nutrition, pest resistance, and many other aspects of tree biology. Maintaining the long-term health of a tree in a container requires some specialized care techniques.
Adenium  
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Bonsai During Winter
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Bonsai During Fall 
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40 year old Coast Redwood
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Chinese Banyan Over 40 Years Old
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
A 30-Year-Old Hibiscus 
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A Bonsai Designed to Mimic a Forest
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
The source specimen is chosen for its relatively small size and to meet the esthetic standards of bonsai. When the candidate bonsai nears its planned final size, it is planted in a display pot, usually one designed for bonsai display in one of the few accepted shapes and proportions. From that point forward, its growth is restricted to the size of the pot. 
A Beautiful Azalea
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Cascade Style of Bonsai
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Bonsai now has a world-wide audience. There are over 1,200 books on bonsai and the related arts in at least 26 languages available in over 90 countries and territories. So if you fancy trying to grow some of these beautiful examples of bonsai art, and to create something to last a lifetime, there are many online blogs and videos to walk you through the process.
Root Over Rock Style
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
A Japanese Maple That is Approximately 100 Years Old
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
60-Year-Old Crabapple Tree 
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Bonsai is occasionally confused with dwarfing, but they're actually two different things. While dwarfing refers to the creation of permanent genetic miniatures of existing species, bonsai simply concerns growing small trees from regular stock and seeds. Bonsai also uses cultivation techniques, namely pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation and grafting. These techniques are designed to produce small trees mimicking the shape and style of their full-sized counterparts.
Trident Maple With Exposed Roots  
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Atlas Cedar Over 50 Years Old
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
Another Azalea (My Personal Favorite)
bonsai, trees, Japan, Nature
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