Bonsai, pattern recognition and developing taste


If you look up ‘beginner’s guide to bonsai’ on the internet, you will find a plethora of resources. Perhaps the best site I’ve ever seen on the subject was Harry Harrington’s If you have not, I highly suggest that you read through every article in his bonsai basics section; the effort is well worth it.

I will not talk about bonsai techniques in this post, or bonsai horticulture. Those topics are well covered on the internet. What I would instead like to talk about is the cultivation of artistic taste in bonsai.

Taste can never be wrong. 

To argue otherwise is simply snobbery. Taste is an expression of a personal experience. Art moves us, compels us, delights, seduces, mesmerizes, whatever. It makes us feel something. My girlfriend has spoken many times of jewelry looking delectable, tasty.

Indeed, this bracelet looks like candy or cake. Every time I…

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