The Beautiful Art of Bonsai

The Beautiful Art of Bonsai - Two Trees

Bonsai trees have been a popular feature of our range at Gates for around 15 years and we feel enormous affection for these lovely little trees. In advance of our free bonsai workshop on the 8th of June with Gates bonsai expert Jack Bullock, we are taking a timely look at The Beautiful Art of Bonsai and what makes this ancient pastime so appealing and relevant to our modern lifestyles.

What is Bonsai

Bonsai is the Japanese art form of miniaturising trees in containers, the practice is thought to have come to Japan from China in the seventh century and now the word β€œbonsai” is used in English as an umbrella term for any miniature tree in a pot or container.

As early as the 12th century, Japanese craftspeople and monks had evolved the art into a controlled form that later came to be known as bonsai (“potted planting”); while the term itself had existed for centuries, it was not until the Meiji era (1868-1912) that it took on its modern meaning.

By then, elements like trunk shapes, branch placement and preferred species — any locally grown, woody-stemmed perennial with true branches and relatively small leaves, including pine, maple, juniper, beech, elm, cherry and plum, had been classified by scholars.

Bonsai can range in size from just a few inches tall to Imperial trees that exceed six feet. Regardless of species, size or age, each tree distils the sublime beauty of an ancient forest.

The Beautiful Art of Bonsai - Pine

Why the practise of Bonsai reamains so pertinent

Today bonsai is more popular than ever, probably due to our ever more hectic lifestyles causing stress and burnout, we crave the calm and wellbeing that this connection with nature can bring. The beauty of bonsai is that they encapsulate the natural wonder of green spaces even in a small apartment or city home – if you have just one simple, beautiful bonsai you can let your imagination wander and imagine sitting under that tree, soaking up nature on a summer’s afternoon.

Many people also find the process of caring for bonsai trees to be therapeutic and meditative. It requires patience, attention to detail, and a connection with nature, which is a calming influence, helping to promote mindfulness. No matter what is going on in your life, your bonsai will always be there at the end of the day when you come home.

Bonsai trees are fascinating and visually appealing, resembling mature trees in miniature form. They offer a sense of tranquillity, beauty, and harmony, making them popular for decorating indoor spaces, gardens, and even offices. Cultivating bonsai is considered an art form, shaping, and pruning the tree to achieve a desired appearance allows you to express your creativity and personal style.

A bonsai is a living, breathing, growing entity that lives in your home and shares your life without being demanding. Bonsai is far more rewarding than most hobbies, they can live for decades or even centuries with proper care, allowing you to develop a long-term relationship with your trees and to pass them down through generations as treasured heirlooms.

The Art of Bonsai - Jack Bullock

If you would like to learn more about this fascinating subject, then you can join our free Bonsai Workshop with in-house expert Jack Bullock at 10am on Saturday 8th June. Enjoy the demonstration in his friendly and informal discussion where you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share your Bonsai enthusiasm as well as learning how to care for these elegant trees. Alternatively, you can visit our indoor plant area in-store to see our specially curated selection of Bonsai trees, plus you can shop our bonsai care collection online.

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