“I feel a great regard for trees; they represent age and beauty and the miracles of life and growth.”
-Louise Dickinson Rich-
What is Bonsai?
A short question with a lifelong answer. From the Japanese; Bon, a short sided pot, or tray. Sai, a planting. Literally a plant in a pot. This art form has been practiced for thousands of years in Japan, and as Americans it is where we usually associate it. But it came to the Japanese from the Chinese art form Penjing, and was practiced artistically before in the Middle East and India. Humans have been putting plants in pots for as long as we can remember and have stylized them since the time of the pharaohs.
In American history Bonsai takes root in California, with trees that made it over seas and further survived the internment camps of WWII. Still others have been grown from domestic material or collected off the Cali coast, and from our native mountainsides, making true American Bonsai about 100 years old in the form we know it today. Make no mistake this is an art form when practiced at it’s highest level, and when practiced in the backyard by even the most novice it connects you to a rich and wonderful history that spans the globe.
Think back to your first memories. I bet one includes a tree. Climbing it. Laying in the shade of it. Staring up in wonder at the size of it. Tap into your roots. Cultivate your imagination. Grow yourself.