Bonsai is a Japanese classical art of growing and keeping trees as small as pot plants. They are carefully shaped and nurtured to have an aesthetic quality that is sought after among practitioners. The pots traditionally are simple earthenware pots that are left un-decorated leaving all the attention to fall upon the miniature tree. These bonsai trees are not specific trees that are miniature. Contrary to some beliefs; bonsai can be made from any species of tree, even fruit trees. Although when this is done the fruit is not the same as when the tree is allowed to grow naturally and is either not sweet or unpleasant tasting. Trees that are often used are those native to the area.
The trees are kept miniature by careful and knowledgeable trimming of the branches, re-soiling, and sometimes carefully trimming the roots.
The art form – although taken over by the Japanese – originated in China over a millennium ago.
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As with any craft and art where there is a variety of styles and schools of thought, this is no different with the simple and detailed art of bonsai. There are five main types of bonsai styling that you are likely to encounter.
There is the Slant style, where the tree is specifically slanted to one slide growing at a diagonal. In nature, trees can grow at a complete diagonal when situated by very rough winds – for example by some windy coastal areas especially when the wind typically blows in a certain direction.
The next style is called the Cascade style, the tree is grown downward or cascading down. This is often achieved by shaping one of the main branches to grow downward in a swooping motion – this is reflective of the trees that grow on the side of mountains. These are just two of the many styles of bonsai that are crafted.