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While I enjoy all aspects of bonsai gardening, I especially love pruning. Not only does it offer a relaxing break from daily stress, but I’ve found it offers a creative outlet as I try to shape my trees into miniature art forms.

As I was trimming some bonsai the other day, it occurred to me that the lessons I’ve learned can really apply to real life. So here are five of my pruning secrets, and I hope they help you with your bonsai and help you navigate life a little better, too!

Five Bonsai Pruning/Real-Life Tips

  1. Start slow. I learned this lesson the hard way one year when I rented a power washer to clean my front deck. Instead of starting in a far-away corner, I began right under my front door. Turns out I had the machine on the wrong setting and promptly blasted an ugly scratch in the wood that still shows today. My advice: Whenever you’re unsure about what you’re doing, start in an inconspicuous area until you feel comfortable. That way, mistakes (and mistakes do happen!) won’t be quite so glaring.

  2. Focus on the big picture and don’t waste time with the small stuff. I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time (in pruning and in life) by focusing on those things that didn’t really matter. With bonsai, I used to start by cutting the smallest branches first, only to discover that I wanted to cut the larger branches they were attached to. Not only did this waste time and create more of a mess, but it made me reluctant to prune further, which had an adverse effect on the overall shape of the tree. Which leads me to my next point …

  3. Take risks. Sometimes you have to be bold, so if you’re going to cut, cut. I’ve found that sometimes the only way to bring out a new angle or shape is to get a little aggressive and try something new. Like they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so don’t always play it safe. But at the same time …

  4. Be disciplined and in control. One time, I was trimming a Japanese Maple and got frustrated in the process. A certain amount of apathy set in, and I kept snipping away. When I was finished, the poor tree looked like some sort of sheep-shearing incident gone horribly wrong. So, take it easy and step back and take a look every so often, so things don’t get out of control.

  5. Stand up for your vision. Bonsai, like life, is a constant learning experience. So, don’t be worried about your day-to-day results, be proud of yourself, and apply a little of what you learn to the next interaction. That’s all we can do.

 

So in many ways, bonsai emulates life and can even teach us more than we’d ever expect. Next time you’re pruning, pay attention to the process and you may just learn something new you can apply in your own life, too!

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life is not about finding yourself. life is about shaping yourself

(~_~)

 

article found here

HISTORY OF BONSAI

The history of bonsai (pronounced bon-sigh) is cloaked in the mist of the past but it is now widely accepted that it was the Chinese who first created the miniature landscapes and trees that we now know as bonsai. In Japanese, bonsai can be literally translated as “tray planting”, but since originating in Asia so many centuries ago – it has developed into a whole new form. Called penjing by the Chinese, bonsai was believed to have had its start in the Han Dynasty. In this essay I will discuss some of the legends and facts surrounding the beginning of bonsai.

One of the earliest Chinese legends contends that it was in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.) that an emperor created a landscape in his courtyard complete with hills, valleys, rivers, lakes and trees that represented his entire empire. He created the landscape so that he could gaze upon his entire empire from his palace window. This landscape form of art was also his alone to posess. It was said that anyone else found in possession of even a miniature landscape was seen as a threat to his empire and put to death.

Another Chinese legend relating to the beginnings of bonsai points to a fourth century A.D. Chinese poet and civil servant named Guen-ming. It’s believed that after his retirement he began growing chrysanthemums in pots. Some historians believe this was a step towards the beginning of bonsai in the Tang dynasty some 200 years later.

The earliest documented proof of bonsai was discovered in 1972 in the tomb of Prince Zhang Huai, of the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.) who died in 706 A.D. Two wall paintings discovered in the tomb show servants carrying plants resemblingbonsai. In one of the paintings a servant is seen carrying a miniature landscape and in the other painting a servant is shown carrying a pot containing a tree.

Even though it’s the Japanese who get most of the credit for bonsai, it wasn’t until the Heian period (794 – 1191A.D.) that Buddhist monks brought bonsai to the island. For many years following the arrival of bonsai, the art was practiced by only the wealthy and thus came to be known as a nobleman privilege. The fact that the art of bonsai was limited to the noble class almost caused the art to die out in Japan. It was with the Chinese invasion of Japan in the fourteenth century that the art of bonsai started to be practiced by people of all classes. Once the art was practiced by all classes, bonsai began to grow in popularity in Japan. The Chinese influence on the early bonsai masters is apparent since the Japanese still use the same characters to represent bonsai as the Chinese. After the establishment of bonsai in Japan, the Japanese went to great lengths to refine the art and a lot of credit must go to these early bonsai masters. The refinements that they developed has made bonsai what it is today.

The earliest bonsai to come to the west came mostly from Japan and China. The showing of bonsai at the Third Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878 and later exhibitions in 1889 and 1900 increased western interest in bonsai and opened the door for the first major bonsai exhibit held in London in 1909. In these early years many westerners felt that the trees looked tortured and many openly voiced their displeasure in the way the trees were being treated by bonsai masters. It wasn’t until 1935 that opinions changed and bonsai was finally classified as an art in the west.

With the end of World War II, bonsai started to gain in popularity in the west. It was the soldiers returning from Japan with bonsai in tow that sparked western interest in the art, even though most of the trees brought home by these soldiers died a short time after their arrival. They survived long enough to create a desire in westerners to learn more about the proper care of their bonsai. The large Japanese-American population was invaluable to Americans in this respect. Their knowledge of the art of bonsai was of great interest ot many Americans learning the art.

Today, bonsai are sold in department stores, garden centers, nurseries, and many other places. However, most of these are young cuttings or starts and not the true bonsai produced by bonsai masters. Most trees purchased today are known as pre-bonsai and are for the most part only used as a starting point. To create a true bonsai work of art you need to learn as much as possible about the art and the trees you use. Information is your key to success and it is important to read as much as possible. It is also a good idea to join a local bonsai club so you are able to discuss the subject with experienced bonsai enthusiasts. As your knowledge and confidence grow, creating your own bonsai works of art will become easier and your enjoyment of bonsai will grow.

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bonsai of thorns

by Art~

the midget cactus stood there
next to the train tracks
under blistered sun
drowning in the drought
shriveled up like raisins
as if waiting for a ride

she just turned, and was eight
set to save it’s life
to be the hero
with pink sparkling dress
taking stellar cellular photos
barking demands was her super power

I, the parent
plucked and planted the cactus
according to her whimpers
in an elephant ear pot
spreading multi-colored pebbles like frosting
adding faucet rain drops

magnify glass, tweezers and lamp
surgically removing miniature thorns
from callused grown up fingers
measuring no regrets
in exchange for adolescent smiles
pondering lessons learned

passing by, a green fly swatter
in hand makes a Jedi’s sword
daring to save the planet
killing flies one smack at a time
running into the black cat
passing by, a bonsai of thorns

 

we hold the world in our hands

(~_~)

the midget cactus stood there
next to the train tracks
under blistered sun
drowning in the drought
shriveled up like raisins
as if waiting for a ride

she just turned, and was eight
set to save its life
to be the hero
with sparkling pink dress
taking stellar cellular photos
barking demands, was her super power

I, the parent
plucked and planted the cactus
according to her whimpers
in an elephant ear pot
spreading multi-colored pebbles like frosting
adding faucet rain drops

magnify glass, tweezers and lamp
surgically removing miniature thorns
from callused grown up fingers
measuring no regrets
in exchange for adolescent smiles
pondering lessons learned

passing by, a green fly swatter
in hand makes a Jedi’s sword
daring to save the planet
killing flies one smack at a time
running into the black cat
and a bonsai of thorns

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

how to pick up a cactus

have an excellent day

 

Art~

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Art~

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