It might sound strange, but a tree needs to learn to live in a pot, and that takes some time. A year ago a large boxwood took the first step in the process (you can read about it here) and it was about as gentle a transition as there could be — you know, considering it just got cut from the ground, had many of its roots severed and most of its branches removed. After collection, this plant went back in the ground!
The image above is from last spring and shows where it spent the past year. I dug a hole in the clay soil of my yard, and planted the boxwood in it with sand. The hole was, in a sense, its first pot. Roots could grow past the borders of the hole if so inclined, but mostly grew into and through the loose particles of sand.
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Bonsai, the ancient Japanese art of growing trees in pots, is indeed a difficult one to master. It requires the patience of a saint as the plant and the stem will take their own sweet time to grow to the right dimensions to be labelled a ‘tree’. The quest to make a bonsai is lined with failures and disappointments at every turn and requires unflinching perseverance throughout. Even the slightest disregard like failing to water a pot for a couple of days can spell doom for the plant. The training of a tree in a pot is time consuming process and the kind of dedication it demands, is rare to summon in contemporary times when attention spans are on the decrease and patience is on the decline. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of successfully raising and tendering a bonsai is unmatchable.
‘Hmmm…it must be autumn.’
A bonsai can be developed by basically…
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Despite all my efforts meticulously planning for my visit to Japan, a few things slipped through the cracks. Among them my plug converters rendering my laptop a fancy paper weight to slow me down at airport security checks. As such I hand wrote this article 2 nights ago and now, in my delirious jet-lagged state, I am transcribing it to share with others.
I have been accepted as an apprentice at Fujikawa Kouka-en. (en means garden or nursery) It’s been a pretty insane path getting to this point and I would have never anticipated moving to Japan 4 years ago.
Bonsai for me has been an outlet. I absolutely love working with my hands. The unique combination of a living tree with arguably, art pulled me in with no other comparison. I get an immense gratification doing bonsai and right off the bat, I knew I had to get involved.
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