The bonsai tree is more than just a gardening experiment. It's even more than just a Japanese art form that uses living things. The incredible patience it takes to grow a bonsai tree (sometimes, over a decade) and the millions of ways one can design and encourage it to grow, open a world of philosophy and beautiful ideas expressed through the physical form of these amazing living creations. If you liked our previous series of gorgeous bonsai trees, you're going to LOVE this one
1. An 800 year-old bonsai tree at Shunkaen
This tree is well known for how ancient it is. Reported to be over 800 years old, this is one of the world's most expensive bonsai trees. Its owner, master Kobayashi, is one of the most celebrated Bonsai artists in the world, and has won prize after prize for his lovely works. You can visit his nursery, Shunkaen, in Tokyo, as it is open to visitors.
2. A very special Juniper Strain
This Juniper strain is also over 3 decades old, and its outer branch reaches a whopping 2 meters in length, all self-supported! This tree took decades to cultivate in a way that supports this kind of weight distribution.
3. Small bonsai; a Shohin tree
This picture was taken in spring - in summer this tree blooms with flowers, and in winter, it produces little red berries. It's only four inches tall and is planted on a miniature rock. It's about 20 years old but took a decade to cultivate.
What's most incredible about this bonsai is how realistic it is, something every bonsai master wishes to create. The foliage pads are very dense, as if there were clouds above! Even diminutive, it has the look of a much larger and complex tree.
5. Chinese-style trees; a Penjing landscape Penjing landscape
One can also use bonsai trees to create magnificent landscapes. This Chinese-style landscape is kept at the Man Lung collection in Hong Kong. The trees are Chinese Bird Plums (Sageretia Theezans) and create a very realistic, beautiful scene. Presentation is everything, so these trees, rocks and miniature figurines were placed on a marble pot sitting on an antique wooden table.
6. Flowering Azalea bonsai
The beautiful Azalea bonsai tree is only 5 inches (14 cm) tall. It blooms in later spring to early summer only for a short time, but it is so beautiful when it does - with its flowers reaching up to 7 inches (17 cm) in diameter.
7. The world's tiniest apple tree that produces real apples
This tiny tree is over 30 years old, and as small as it is (under seven inches), it can produce one or even two full-sized apples. We're not sure of the taste, as the fruit is too rare and special to be eaten
8. A Famous Japanese maple bonsai (Acer palmatum)
This is one of the most famous bonsai trees, belonging to the collection of a European artist by the name of Walter Pall. The tree is so realistic-looking, you could swear it was a maple until you see the size of it. Relative to other bonsai trees, however, it's quite large, almost a meter in height (which is the max allowed to be called a bonsai tree). It's over 100 years old.
9. Semi-cascade juniper bonsai tree
Designed and developed by Harry Hirao, this very old, semi-cascade style bonsai was collected in the white mountains of California. The deadwood on the trunk is very obvious and there's only one stripe where the tree connects its leaves to its roots. This kind of style is called literati and it is considered a lyrical style of growing bonsai, displaying tension in the trunk and release in the cascading branches, as a form of yin and yang, completing each other.
This tree is grown from a small cutting and took 12 years to cultivate. It is native to Central and South America, and seen as one of the most beautiful trees of the tropical world, which makes it a great candidate for making a bonsai.
11. Goshin "Protector of the spirits"
Goshin (in English, "protector of the spirits") is a special bonsai tree created by John Y. Naka. He used the forest planting of 11 different trees, the earliest of which he began cultivating into bonsai form in 1948. In 1984, Naka donated this priceless tree to the United States National Bonsai Foundation, to be displayed and admired.
12. A Miniature Bougainvillea in Full Bloom
Native to South America, the Bougainvillea Bonsai is a tree grown accustomed to warmer climates, and is able to grow wherever there is sunlight. It has a wonderful array of colorful flowers, changing between the variety of species, which entices Bonsai artists all the more. It blooms in the winter and in early spring, bursting into colors of yellow, orange, red, pink and purple.
Bonus Video: A closer look at the amazing bonsai trees (To shut off main music go to the top of the page and click on the play button)
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