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Bonsai Trees

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Practiced for centuries in China and Japan, bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. Bonsai trees are living miniature trees which increase in beauty and value as they mature over the years. Bonsai (Japanese: 盆栽. Chinese: 盆景), is the art of aesthetic miniaturization of trees by growing them in containers. While mostly associated with the Japanese form, bonsai originated in China and was originally developed from Chinese penjing. In Western culture, the word bonsai is used as an umbrella term for both Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing (盆景), and Korean bunjae (분재).

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      13.10.2010 15:52
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      An interesting hobby.

      The definition of Bonsai is growing a tree or several trees in a group in a shallow container. You can have either outdoor or indoor Bonsai and they can be virtually any size that you want them to be, although they are usually a miniature representation of the real thing.


      My husband has been growing Bonsai trees since he was about 11 or 12 years old. It all started when he didn't want to throw away the sycamore seedings that were growing in the garden, so he kept them in a pot. Nearly 30 years later, he has still got some of those very same trees plus other types of trees that he has grown from seed. In fact, all the best trees are the ones that he has actually grown himself from seed, rather than bought. He really loves his trees, and gets quite upset if one dies. If we are arguing, I always threaten to put weedkiller on the trees. That usually makes him see sense! (I know, I am one step away from being a bunny boiler....)


      The indoor Bonsai that you often see in garden centres may look impressive, but without expert care they will probably die off as they are very difficult to keep, as well as being expensive to buy in the first place.
      There is much more joy and satisfaction from creating your own tree from seed. an outdoor tree such as an indiginous British species will survive quite well without any fuss and bother as long as it is kept watered , placing pots in a large flat drip tray should see them through gaps between rain but always check as they can dry out quickly.


      One of my hubby's pet hates is what he calls "Industrially manufactured Bonsai". These consist of plants with small leaves such as Box, that have been grown quickly and then hacked off at the top and shaped with wire. Instead of a slowly tapering trunk leading to branches, on close inspection you will see where the top has been chopped off on these types of Bonsai, and that theyare therefore not really a true representation of a proper tree. Anyone could do the same thing at home for a fraction of the price.


      Some trees that make good outdoor Bonsai include Acer trees (which have beautiful autumn colours), Yew, Birch, Willow and Oak. A beautiful container or pot can complement the tree, and it is a good idea to carefully consider the container and how it will harmonise with the overall appearance of the tree.


      If you grow trees native to the UK, you won't really have to work very hard at maintaining them, and they will still look really good. You can spend as little or as much time as you like on your trees to get the "look" that you are after. Things like repotting and root pruning are best done every two or three years, and obviously, the plants need to be kept well watered in summer. Other techniques, such as wiring to change the shape of the branch or trunk are a matter of personal taste and need practice to master. Likewise, pruning the leaves is also a good way of changing the appearance of the tree, but you really need to carefully consider what you are doing.


      We now have quite a big collection of Bonsai trees in our small garden, and they look really nice at this time of year, although in the winter they do look like a load of twigs in pots! We have given a few away as gifts to friends, and people really seem to appreciate and treasure their gift, often starting their own collections! Bonsai is a interesting hobby for children and adults alike and costs very little to get started, especially this time of year when there are conkers, acorns and sycamore seeds everywhere, completely free!

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        17.02.2009 18:40
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        Give it a go. It's a great hobby.

        Is ther anything cooler than a Bonsai tree? I think not. My girlfreind bought me a Bonsai tree for Valentines day last year and i love it. I have a chinese elm which is highly recommended for people who are just starting out with Bonsai trees as it is probably the easiest one to keep. It also looks really good as well.

        Bonsai trees were started in Japan and have been very popular all over the world ever since. Some are notoriously hard to keep but all are well worth giving a go. It is easy enough to find information about bonsai trees on websites so that makes keeping them a little easier. Some trees can even grow fruits which i would say was pretty cool. Others can also bloom beautiful flowers.

        All in all Bonsai trees are an excellent little hobby but it is important to do research so you know what you are doing and so you don't kill it. Also you need to prune these trees so make sure that you have all the correct equipment before you start.

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        29.07.2007 22:19
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        A gorgeous dwarf tree, in a variety of species, variety of sizes and variety of breeding methods

        Bonsai trees are special miniture trees that grow indoors (usually) in pots.
        Bonsai is japanese for 'potted plant' and originated in China. they are absolutely gorgeous, the idea of having an entire tree on your windowsil amazes me till today, they grow like trees for years and years,
        there are several styles and types of bonsai:
        The formal upright style, or Chokkan, is just as the name suggests, and is characterized by a straight, upright, tapering trunk. The trunk and branches of the informal upright, or Moyogi, may incorporate pronounced bends and curves, but the apex of the informal upright is always located directly over the roots.
        Mr Myagi from the movie Karate Kid was the first person to get me interested in Bonsai trees. In the movie he talks about how precious they are and how they needed to be treated carefully, and can be shaped by cuttings to control their size.

        Personally I water my Bonsai every two days, Its about 5/6 years old, i bought it when it was 4 from Lidl for ONLY £4.00 which is great as bonzai can sell for hundreds depending on the species.

        My Bonsai adapts within two days to changes in positions of light (the stalk/branches always bend towards the light for efficient photosynthesis - and growth)
        My bonsai also has some arial roots and completely holds all the soil in its tiny pot, it grows incredibly quickly and can be cut into shapes by cutting the branch with scissors just below a new leaf.
        I mentioned earlier how a mini tree facinates me, as tree's provide massive amounts of biodiversity. I actually once found two mini snails living in the soil around my bonsai tree! and there is always moss and certain fungi that grow around the bark (not because i overwater the plant!) I have re planted cuttings which sucesfully grow, now my pot looks beautiful with mini 'poles' growing around my tree(poles being the cut branches) Trees are great for rooms as they not only make the room more attractive but provide plenty of oxygen when photosynthesising. As Bonsai are so precious people use special soils information of which can be seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai
        However I used natural soil from my garden and my bonsai is thriving, Bonsai are tree's that are dwarf so are strong and able to survive more extreme conditons than plants would, due to their transpiration stream to cool themselves in hot weather it is important they are watered and the bark should not dry out.
        In summer you can keep the bonsai in the garden, I did this growth was very rapid, but the soil dried very quickly and often the leaves would appear to burn and die quicker. According to instrucions, bonsai should be kept away from direct sunlight and extreme heat, they are indoor plants.

        I strongly recommend any Botanist or plant fan like myself to get a bonsai tree, theyre amazing, you'll have fun cutting them into shapes etc.

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          28.08.2002 00:00
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          Bonsai trees have long been a passion of mine. I started growing them several years ago, and have since built up a large collection of a variety of species of Bonsai. This is probably going to be the longest most informative review I have ever written as I am going to try to cover EVERY single area of Bonsai I know about and more I have researched for this purpose. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ THE MEANING OF BONSAI ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ Most people know very little about bonsai and its meaning. Bonsai is a Japanese word that is used to describe any tree or shrub in a shallow container trained to resemble a full size tree. ?Bon? means a shallow container of tray, and ?sai? means a plant. Bonsai growers aim to produce the most realistic effect possible to make their trees look like the full size varieties. Bonsai is a form of art and there are many different ways the same tree can be planted and grown depending on the artistic effect required. Bonsai trees come in a variety of styles, including formal, informal, and twin trunk. They can also be grown in a variety of different sizes from those that can fit on the palm of your hand, to those that are several feet tall. Many people are also confused about the techniques involve in creating a bonsai tree. Bonsai trees are not grown using un-natural techniques to stunt growth. Bonsai are merely carefully trained into there shapes. Growing a tree as a bonsai is just another way a training a plant, just like some trees are trained into bushes or other shapes. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ BONSAI TRADITION ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ Bonsai growing originated in China but is generally linked most with Japan. Bonsai is known to be a very ancient art and it is thought that Japan first started growing bonsai in
          the eighth century. Japan has long been the origin of many bonsai traditions. Traditional bonsai material includes pine and bamboo, many flowering trees were also commonly used in ancient times. The Western world only became properly aware of bonsai in the twentieth century and this is when interest began to grow. Growers in Europe and America have such a wide range of conditions to cope with that bonsai art in these areas is much more varied than in Japan. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ WHERE YOU CAN OBTAIN BONSAI ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ ---Buying a bonsai--- This is obviously the quickest way to get a bonsai. A mature bonsai can be purchased from a specialist shop or from most garden centres for anything from £5 and upward. Much caution must be exercised when buying bonsai. Most bonsai available to buy have been imported and they can be extremely expensive due to the extra handling costs involved. Also, quality varies a huge amount. Some bonsai on sale are not true ?bonsai? and are simply young plants placed into bonsai pots. However, with good caution buying a bonsai can be the best way to go if you are looking to taken up growing bonsai yourself. ---Growing you own bonsai--- This can take a lot of time, effort, patience, and enthusiasm if you are going to get good results. The growing of bonsai is what I am going to concentrate on for most of the rest of my review. There are many starting points for growing a bonsai tree. You can start from seeds but there is the obvious problem that it can take a huge amount of time to obtain acceptable results. Two quicker alternative are to obtain a semi mature tree from the wild or from a garden centre and simply train it into a bonsai style. These are some of the cheapest options and can provide you with good results with only a few hours work. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:
          #:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ PROPOGATING BONSAI ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ There are many ways to get potential bonsai material from a fully-grown tree. ---Seeds--- Seeds are easily obtained but as I have already said there is a serious time problem before good results can be created. Seeds can also produce seedling inconsistent with the parent plant. Some special characteristics like small leaves may not be passed on into seeds. Also it can take several years, once the seed has germinated, before the seedling can even be considered for training a bonsai. Growing from seed takes a lot of patience. Once you have obtained seeds there will not necessarily just grown if put into the ground. Many seeds require a period of cold before they will germinate. This can by simulated by putting them in a fridge with some damp sand for several months. The seeds may then be placed in water and left for several hours, the seeds that are likely to grow will sink. The seeds can then be placed in a good seed compost and left to grow. Several years later they will be ready for training. ---Cuttings--- Cuttings, again, take a long time to mature, but they are slightly quicker that seeds. Cuttings always have the same genetic characteristics of the parent plant. Cuttings also grow extremely rapidly once rooted and can therefore be ready for training quick soon after they are planted. Cuttings should be taken using a sharp knife. You should cut a small shoot from the parent tree just below a leave. The lower few leaves should then be removed and the cutting carefully placed into a pre-made hole in some sharp sand. Left for a month of two the cuttings should grow roots, and they will then be ready to transfer into individual pots. ---Grafting--- I have never been able to do this so I can?t give much information on how to do it right. The theory is you can put a
          large part a tree into the rooted trunk of another, bind them together, and they will grow together. It should be possible with even different breeds of trees together so characteristics like a fast growing trunk and small leaves can be combined. But I?ve never managed it. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ GENERAL DESIGN POINTS ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ There are many ways to grow bonsai. Many areas of a tree?s growth can be exploited to greatest effect when growing a bonsai. Roots in bonsai are styled almost as much as the branches etc. Roots can be trained over rocks, and the upper part of a root ball may be left above the ground to provide visual interest. Their texture is often used as an integral part in a bonsai?s design. The form and arrangement of the leaves is also often changed to great effect. Copper wiring may be used to train a bonsai into a chosen shape. The wires are adjusted to a chosen shape and left for about a year. When they are removed the branches will have become set in the chosen shape. Trunk form also is important, the shape of the trunk may also be changed using wiring. The form of the tree?s trunk is one of the most important areas in classification of a bonsai?s style. Whether it is formal or informal etc. Also, several trees may be grown together to create a twin trunk design, or even the illusion of a small wood. Water can also be used to great effect. Rocks may be planted on and then placed in a water bowl providing an excellent visual effect. The general arrangement of the bonsai is also important. Some pot colours can bring out a bonsai?s shape of colour, while others can be a distraction. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ POTTING BONSAI ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ The bonsai pot is very distinctive but there is still a wealth of va
          riety in what is available. Oval, square, natural, glazed, blue, red, gold rimmed and of course a huge number of different sizes to accommodate any bonsai. Potted bonsai should be re-potted every few years, generally in late spring. Not re-potting a bonsai can cause the bonsai?s growth to become stunted or even kill the tree. Re-potting is not necessarily moving a tree from one pot into a large one. To re-pot a bonsai several things are usually done. First the roots are cleared from around the pot?s edge to enable to tree to be easily lifted out. The tree is then removed and all soil removed from the root ball. This is then raked out to untangle the roots. The root ball is then trimmed using a sharp pair of scissors, often into a sort of star shape, and the tree is carefully replaced in the same pot. When placing the bonsai in the pot particular care should be taken as to the artistic value of a particular position for the trunk in the pot. Different positions may enhance the bonsai?s shape or create perspective in some cases when more than one bonsai is in the same pot. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ BASIC BONSAI STYLES ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ The are a huge number of bonsai styles but I am going to try to give a short description of the main ones. ---Informal Upright--- This refers to a tree with a slight slant in the trunk. In professional judging the slant should apparently be no more than 15 degrees from the vertical, and must slant to the side in the pot, not toward or away from the viewer. ---Formal upright--- This style refers to a tree growing more or less straight up with a good symmetrical balance of branched etc. ---Slanting--- These bonsai are grown are very obvious angles with the root ball being trained so the strongest roots support the weight of the tree. ---Semi-cascade---
          These bonsai are grown so that the effect created out of the pot is generally horizontal. Many fruiting trees are grown like this. ---Cascade--- This style of bonsai is often trained of a high bench or support so the tree grows out of the pot and then down over its side below even the base of the pot and several feet further. They have a very obvious downward growth. ---Broom--- Quite hard to describe but basically the bonsai is trained into a sort of fanning bush, like a broom. ---Rock--- These bonsai are either planted into small crack in a rock, or are trained with their roots over a rock. One of the most spectacular of the bonsai styles. ---Saikei--- This style of bonsai growing involves the attempt to create a realistic landscape. Many different sizes and breeds of tree and shrub are grown together to create a sense of perspective. ---Twin trunk--- The style of bonsai with two trunks growing from one root ball. One trunk is usually trained to be slightly smaller than the other. ---Clump--- Basically a clump of bonsai trees together. ---Group--- In this style several bonsai, usually three or more, usually of the same species, are grown together in the same pot. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ BONSAI TOOLS ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ There are a huge number of tools used in the creation of bonsai. I will provide a list of some of the main tools used in the maintaining and creation of bonsai. ---Concave branch cutter--- Can be used to remove branches to leave a small cut into the part of the tree the branch was taken from which will ?heal? over time. ---Grafting knife--- Very sharp knife that can be used for taking cuttings. ---Saws--- Used, surprisingly, for sawing stuff.
          ---Root hook--- Purpose made hook for separating out roots in a root ball. ---Soil sieves--- Important for creating the best growing medium for a bonsai to thrive by removing coarse lumps etc. ---Potting knife--- Used as mentioned before to separate a tree root ball from its pot for re-potting. ---Wire and pliers--- Used to train a bonsai into a chosen shape to greatest artistic effect. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ MAINTAINING A BONSAI ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ Unfortunately bonsai cannot just look after themselves. Without regular maintenance it is likely that a bonsai will die due to the fact it is in such a small pot with limited nutrients. There are therefore some regular things you must do to keep you bonsai happy. ---Regular re-potting--- This is important to prevent a bonsai from becoming over ?cramped? in its pot. I have described the technique in a previous section so I will not repeat myself. ---Watering a feeding--- Bonsai should be watered regularly, particularly in summer. When watering care should be taken that no water falls on the leaves as this may cause them to scorch and ruin their aesthetic beauty. Bonsai should also be regularly fed using preferably a purpose made bonsai fertiliser. These are now available in most garden centres in many forms. Feeding should be done every couple of weeks in the growing season and about once a month otherwise. ---Pruning--- Regular pruning is not really important in keeping you bonsai healthy, but without pruning it can easily grow out of control and lose all of its beauty. Pruning is usually done in spring, and the bonsai is pruned either by simply pinching out leaves, shoots, or branches, or by cutting them using sharp scissors. Care should be taken not to cut through the leaves themselves
          as this can cause them to brown and die, ruined how your bonsai looks. Many fast growing species like the cotoneaster need pruning throughout the year to keep their shape compact. The general aim of pruning is to keep the bonsai?s shape and silhouette as sharp as possible. These may be blurred and ruined by long growth strands. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ DISEASES ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ There are quite a few diseases that could damage your bonsai but two of the most common ones are the following. ---Mildew--- These are fungal spores, which grow in damp conditions. There appear as powdery patches on leaves and stems. They leach away at the tree?s sap and can damage its growth. The treatment is to remove the affected leaves. ---Peach leaf curl--- This is the problem when red blisters form on leaves and then grow and turn white. The leaves are damaged and eventually die. The treatment is to destroy the affected leaves and to spray the remains of the leaves and tree with a copper fungicide. ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ THE CONCLUSION ~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~:#:~ Thank you for reading, I hope that the information above will help anyone who is think of taking up growing bonsai and also anyone who already owns a bonsai and wants to keep it looking as good as when they bought it. Bonsai growing is a very worthwhile and satisfying hobby that is very easy to get into and to enjoy with a little patience and commitment. I hope with the help of the information in this review you will be able to enjoy and appreciate bonsai to the full.

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            01.06.2001 05:16
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            Bonsai trees are fascinating and they take years to grow. They are stunted trees that grow in a shallow pot. ‘Bon’ is Japanese for shallow pot and ‘Sai’ is a plant, hence the name. In Japan Bonsai trees are a recognised art form and they are becoming a popular hobby over here in the UK. You can train them to have slanted trunks by tying wire around them and weighting them down to make the trunks bend and even double trunks if you nip the growth at the right time so that the trunk splits. This is a bit out of my league at present but I will have a go one day but for now I will stick to the simple versions. I became interested in them after seeing a really beautiful display at a flower festival. I was so intrigued so I decided to have a go at growing one from seed. It isn’t easy and I have only had two successes up to now over five years, but it is not an expensive hobby if you start from seed. I have managed to grow a Laburnum and I am now after three years trying to prune it to cascade, I just prey that I don’t upset it too much because it is my pride and joy. To start germination plant your seeds in a small plastic pot containing a good potting soil with a peat nutrient. Make sure that you have pierced the base of the pot, then stand in a bowl of water for about an hour until the soil is nice and moist. Put the pot in a plastic bag and place in the bottom of a refrigerator for six to eight weeks. I was surprised that this was necessary but it is because most tree seeds spend the winter in freezing cold soil and it is important to keep them as close to their normal habitat as possible. This procedure is called ‘moist chilling.’ The next step is to keep the tub in the bottom of a warm dark cupboard; the airing cupboard is ideal and remember to water every couple of days. After about four weeks the seeds will begin to sprout, keep a light lid on the tub this helps
            to keep them warm. I tried this procedure twice and had no luck until a friend advised me that I was not keeping them warm enough. I was sprinkling cold tap water onto the seeds, which didn’t help, and the airing cupboard was going cold at night. I retried during the summer months and it worked ok. Once you have sprouts you can put them in a warm light position I just put mine in the kitchen window, and watered them every other day, until they grew to about one and a half inches tall. Potting them is the fun part, put a layer of drainage material in the bottom of each pot and then a good potting compost, just one sprout per pot is all that is needed and do be careful to lift the seedlings gently by the leaves don’t touch the roots. I found it best to stand the pots in a bowl of water to give them a good drink, and then I left them in the windowsill just watering every other day. Putting them in the garden is risky I know that all the books tell you to put them out about May time but I kept mine indoors for the first year. When the plants got to about four inches high I nipped the sprouting tip to allow them to branch out. After two years your trees should be about five inches high and this is the time for the Bonsai potting to begin. Make sure that the soil is really moist and remove the tree from the pot, untangle the roots very carefully and then cut them with scissors leaving the length at about two inches, very nerve racking this stage but it wont harm the tree. The pots should be about one and a half inches tall and about six inches across with a few drainage holes in. A layer of fine gravel is put in then the compost. A good tip here is to anchor the tree with wire twisted around the bottom of the trunk and threaded through the holes in the bottom of the pot, it doesn’t harm the tree but it helps it to sit sturdier in the shallow pot. There you go now all you have to do is train yo
            ur tree over the next couple of years, the general rule is to keep the roots trimmed to lay laterally about the same span as the branches. I have re potted my Laburnums every year for four years now and it is just a case of cutting the roots and then trimming the branches. I am no expert but I am getting quite brave at the pruning bit now and I am trying to get a nice cascading flow to one of them. It is great fun and cost very little to start. Have you seen the price of some of the mature Bonsai trees? They can cost a couple of hundred pounds believe it or not. This is a hobby for a patient person but it is very interesting and has given me a lot of pleasure.

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              22.01.2001 00:55
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              Bonsai trees can range in prices from just a few pounds up to hundreds but there is no need to pay these prices. Any tree can be 'bonsaied' and its not hard to do. It is simply a matter of dwarfing a tree and keeping control of its shape as it ages. Take a young tree and place in a small pot that restricts the root growth. If the roots creep through the drainage holes you simply cut them off. You can train the branches to twist and turn by using wires. Some trees take more easily to this than others. The flowering cherry is one of the easiest. I recently started training a larch tree that had seeded itself in my garden. It lives in its pot but I put it outside in winter so that it can enjoy its natural environment. Real Bonsai enthusiasts will probably disagree with me here and point out that it is an art that has to be learnt and carefully applied but does it really matter how you do it, as long as it works? Try this out and you might be pleasantly suprised.

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                10.01.2001 04:57
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                I wasn't quite sure where exactly to put this opinion, but I saw another one about houseplants in this section so I guess this will have to do. So, Bonsai trees, I love em. Well actually I've only got one, so I'm no kind of expert on the matter but it does make a good houseplant. I've had it for a while now and haven't managed to kill it (so they must be robust) and it adds a bit (ok, the only bit) of colour to my room. Bonsai trees are like no other plant in your house, and its not just the fact that they are trees that makes them different. I don't know what it is about them that I like, but ever since I saw the Karate Kid movie as a kid I wanted one. Be it their mysterious nature, their rugged looks or oriental connections most people find them nice to look at, and being not all that common many people take an interest in them, asking what they are etc. There are loads of different types of bonsai tree you can buy, and they basically mirror every type of real tree you can see from around the world. Personally I prefer the one that has pine needle style leaves but has the shape of a normal tree (sorry I can't describe it any better!). Whatever type of tree you want (it basically depends what your tastes are) there seems to be three ways to buy a bonsai tree. First of all you can buy your tree ready grown, just like you would buy any other plant, secondly you can buy a ready packaged bonsai tree kit which contains everything you need to grow your own Bonsai (seeds, soil, pot etc) or thirdly you can simply buy the seeds, nothing more, nothing less and go on a bonsai tree growing discovery. The advantage of buying the ready grown tree is that it is there, alive and well. It could take years for a bonsai tree to grow, and buying one ready grown means you are guaranteed a well tree that could be years old. The disadvantage of buying these trees is the cost, depending on type and size of your tree it could cos
                t anywhere from £5 to £50. Buying the kit is a good idea for the beginner, but both the kit and the seed routes while cheaper, do not guarantee that your bonsai tree will actually grow. Infact some of the kit boxes I have seen state a 90% germination rate, not too good when you consider 1 in every 10 people who but it will fail to get a tree to grow. A bonsai tree is no harder to maintain than any other house plant, granted you can trim yours manically in a bid to create the perfect tree, but for Joe Average simply a bit of water and food will suffice. All trees have different likes and dislikes, but most trees wouldn't complain at being put in a location which while not receiving loads of direct sunlight, does get a fair bit of light, basically just don't put in a dark place. Potting isn't too bad, as by their nature bonsai trees don't mind being restricted. Bonsai trees are meant to be small, so don't make yours turn in to a real tree! Here are a few links which may be helpful For buying a bonsai tree http://www.mountainlaurelshopping.com/page81.html http://www.gifttree.com/giftshoppgs/giftshopbonsaipg.html http://www.tinytreebonsai.com/index.html Bonsai tree care http://www.concrete-jungle.co.uk/care.htm http://www.bonsai-ko.co.uk/Maintanence.htm Hope that helps. Happy bonsai-ing!!

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