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Arts & Crafts : Exploring Bonsai & Suiseki: Artful Trees Large and Small

Exploring Bonsai & Suiseki: Artful Trees Large and Small

Outdoor Bonsai TreeBy Chris Dunmire

When you think of "bonsai trees" you just might envision a sage Japanese master (like Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid) carefully cultivating and pruning tiny tree branches and transforming a shrubby plant into a small potted work of art. The attention and care given to these small growing wonders is reportedly both therapeutic, meditative, and creative! Imagine "Bonsai Therapy" as a new form of of Art Therapy!

Bonsai plants or trees are commonly sold in decorative potted containers and kept small on purpose, but that doesn't keep some bonsai enthusiasts from maintaining these growing works of art naturally outdoors, where they are not miniature anymore! The picture of the outdoor bonsai tree above was taken at Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois.

What is it about these small potted trees (or large luminescent bloomers), with foliage dwarfed by special methods of culture and trimming, that keeps plant lovers and miniature hobbyists in awe? (Desktop bonsai kits make popular 'executive' gifts!) Is it their beauty? Delicateness? Their likeness to freshly-groomed poodles? Or is it all of these things plus experiencing the personal process of growth and care cultivated into them?

Begin your exploration into the fascinating world of bonsai and suiseki trees, plants, and shrubs through these recommended Websources featuring a wealth of information on the history, growing processes, care, materials, books, and other "plant" information, technical and otherwise that will make taking care of your first bonsai tree, well... tree-mendous!

How-to Bonsai & Suiseki Websources

Bonsai at Wikipedia
Online encyclopedia discusses history, cultivation, containers, common styles, size classifications, indoor bonsai, and collecting.

Bonsai Information by Craig Coussins
Features articles, books, and an extensive image gallery of bonsai and related information by Craig Coussins.

Bonsai Empire
Learn about the art of growing Bonsai. Features image gallery and material covering bonsai styles, creation, training, caring, and studies.

Bonsai Primer
A guide for beginners starting out in the hobby or craft of bonsai. Includes comprehensive articles on bonsai history, the elements of a bonsai, selecting and taking care of bonsai, and many other bonsai and suiseki topics.

Bonsai on the Web
Dedicated to bonsai enthusiasts and businesses on the Web. Has a searchable bonsai article database, and other databases where you can search for bonsai nurseries, suppliers, products, and clubs.

Bonsai Site
"A truly detailed guide to bonsai, as an art, hobby, and horticultural practice." Includes an introduction to bonsai, the history of bonsai, simple and advanced styles and common techniques, and a bonsai gallery.

Penjing: The Art of Chinese Landscape Bonsai
Selected articles about Penjing and related topics including: Water and Land Penjing; Wasser Land Penjing, Bonsai Art; Rocks and Rock Landscapes; and Worlds Within: Reflections on the Art of Chinese Penjing Master Qingguan.