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Image of Knobbley's Bark

Bonsai

Bonsai Oak TreeThe Meaning of the Word
Bonsai means 'plant in a tray' - a reminder that Bonsai is plant and pot in visual harmony.

(well (refering to image), it's a start)

The Origins of the Art
Bonsai is the ancient oriental art of creating visually perfect trees that are dramatically smaller than their untamed wild counterparts.

The origin of the art is lost in the mists of time; certainly Japanese picture scrolls of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries portray bonsai in ceramic containers.

It is thought that even earlier the Chinese collected naturally dwarfed pines and other trees from mountaintops and rock crevices, to grow in containers in their homes. It is supposed that the Japanese saw this and elaborated the technique.

The Aim
The aim is to reproduce in miniature an aged forest giant or glade of trees, without malformation of any indication of restriction. The results must be natural; this requires understanding, ingenuity and vast amounts of patience.

Container
Shapes vary but usually conform to simple geometric designs, such as a square, circle, and rectangle.

The type of container will vary according to the style of Bonsai tree you wish to create.

Generally, shallow rectangles are particularly favoured for group plantings. These may be rimless or have protruding outer or inner rims. Moderately deep round or oval dishes are generally used for individual trees, especially those grown primarily for their fruits or foliage. Shallow pots are usually glazed with a plain colour - black, grey, blue, dark brown or green - and there should be no ornamentation. The deeper pots are best left unglazed, as they are more susceptible to waterlogging. Taller containers are used for cascading plants that need extra support.

Drainage
Ensure that the container has drainage holes and protect those holes from blockage by soil by protecting them with mesh, bits of broken pots.

Soil
The soil mixture for bonsai trees should be rich enough to sustain healthy growth and very well drained and aerated. To this effect use what you have available. In Japan volcanic soil has these qualities, else where loam, sand and grit are the main ingredients. General mixture would be 50/25/25 Loam/Sand/Grit conifers. However require a very free draining mixture with up to 90% sand and grit. Leaf mould can replace loam for deciduous trees if desired.

The sand should be sharp and coarse, but not salty or dusty.
The loam should be of a sandy nature, although heavier loams are occasionally used for flowering plants.

Grit, should be no larger that 4mm, no smaller than 2mm.
Leaf Mould should be well rotted and from deciduous trees.

This English Oak Tree
Bonsai Oak Tree It was a lack of attention on my part combined with hot summers and mild winters that helped created this tree. It is 3 years old. Severely stunted after the first years growth (as I neglected to water it sufficiently), it died back to the main trunk only (It was looking at a stick). I re-potted it, thinking that new soil and a little attention might revive it and the second year it produced three new shoots. I then repeated my earlier mistake of failing to water and the tree continued to suffer and failed to grow very much at all. This year, I am pleased to say, it has recovered (again) and I have what I think is the beginning of a tree I can bonsai.

Statistics
Height to top (leaf) 150mm
Height to 'V' 70mm
Width (leaf to leaf) 120mm
Diameter  
at base of Truck 10mm
at 'V' 4mm
of branches 2mm

Growing from Seed
See This English Oak tree above and also Planting Instructions

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