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Our March Newsletter is now online for your viewing pleasure folks! ......
2020 Event Calendar
(Saturday meetings start at 09am)
*** Mark your calendars. Some dates for 2020 meetings have been reserved ***
*** Dates NOT reserved are marked with TBD (to be determined) ***
> January 11th Club meeting. Preparation of starter Juniper trees for sale at Japanese Garden Spring Festival.
> February 08th Club meeting. Continued Preparation of starter Juniper trees.
> February 19th Annual Business meeting. (At 7PM in the Orchid Room - not mandatory) but open to all members.
> March 14th Club meeting. Repotting Workshop.
*** Some Event Dates Below Have Been Changed/Canceled Due To Ongoing COVID-19 Outbreak ***
> April 04th CANCELLED Covid-19. Club meeting. Will Baddeley presentation and workshop.
> April 25th & 26th Japanese Garden Spring Festival.
> May 09th Bonsai Smith's Workshop - Deciduous trees.
> May 14th thru 17th Thursday thru Sunday - Lone Star Bonsai Federation Convention in San Antonio.
> May 14th thru 17th FWBS Annual Exhibit cancelled due to conflict with LSBF state convention.
> June 13th Bonsai Smith's Workshop - Japanese Black Pine and Tropicals.
> July 11th Club meeting. Our Annual Auction & Raffle.
> August 08th Club meeting. How to pick the best pot to show off your tree.
> September 12th TBD - Nomination Committee appointed.
> October 10th TBD - New officer slate presented.
> November 07th & 08th Japanese Garden Fall Festival.
> November 14th Smith's Workshop - Winter Work, all species. Vote on club officers for 2021-2022.
> December 12th Club meeting. Annual Christmas Party.
Fortworth Bonsai Society Members Emeritus Award
The board has announced that two long-time members were selected to be "Members Emeritus" as recognition for their many years of service to the club.
Joining Ted Guyger, Estella Flather and John Miller for this honor are Joe Andrews and Stephen Hendricks.
Members Emeritas Award
Congratulations to Joe and Stephen !
FWBS Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote knowledge of and interest in bonsai and to serve as a focal point for bonsai fanciers in and around the Fort Worth area. We provide a variety of educational and support services to the bonsai community. The Officers and Directors of FWBS are unpaid volunteers who are dedicated to spreading the word about this wonderful, satisfying and challenging hobby.

FWBS Club History

The Fort Worth Bonsai Society was founded on April 25, 1985. The instigator and founding member was Estella Flather who is still an integral member of the club. We are a fairly young club with many beginners to the art. Meetings range from talks on various aspects of bonsai, to demonstrations by nationally recognized bonsai artists, to member workshops.

The Society holds its monthly meeting on the second Saturday of most months at 9am at the:

Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory
3220 Botanic Garden Drive North (off University Dr)
Fort Worth, Texas 76107.

We have two yearly shows held in conjunction with the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens at "Springfest" in April and "Fallfest" in November in the Japanese Gardens. In addition, we have one yearly "Show & Sale" at the Conservatory of the Botanic Gardens at which vendors sell bonsai and bonsai-related items. The Fort Worth Bonsai Society is a member of the Lone Star Bonsai Federation an organization encompassing all of the bonsai clubs of Texas.

Bonsai Club Meeting Location
Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory
3220 Botanic Garden Drive North (off University Dr)
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Club Artist Workshop Program

Our Club Artists Program:

This program is designed to improve the quality of bonsai art in FWBS through a comprehensive, regular, and long term engagement of a 'Club Artist'. The thought is that seasonal work on the same tree over a period of years with the same teacher is a better bonsai education than occasional visiting artists and expensive workshops.

Three times a year, we will hold the 'Club Artist Workshop' as our regular monthly meeting on the second Saturday of most months. We will still meet in the regular room. Every member is invited to bring in 1 or 2 trees that they would like to work on for the next several years with the 'Club Artists'. Though not a fast rule, the idea is to bring in the same trees to each workshop, thereby continually improving those trees.

The Club Artists:

The Club Artists are Howard & Sylvia Smith, both members of FWBS. They are graduates of Boon Manakitivipart's, intensive training program and continue to work with Boon each year. Their bonsai trees have been featured in many publications and on internet sites in this country and abroad. They both displayed trees in the USA National Exhibitions in Rochester, NY. Howard has a tree featured in the gallery area of the Jan-Feb, 2011 issue of Bonsai Focus magazine. Well known in the local area, FWBS has awarded Sylvia the 'Members Choice Award' in 2009, and Howard was awarded 'Best of Show' at the 2010 LSBF Bonsai Convention in Fort Worth. Owners of 'Bonsai Smiths' bonsai sales and services company, they have conducted workshops for many years. They are skilled in deciduous trees, tropicals, conifers & pines, as well as bonsai display. We are fortunate they accepted the position of 'Club Artists' for FWBS.

Benefits of our 'Club Artist Workshop':

Every member now has an opportunity to take a tree and develop it with professional help into a nice bonsai. There is no question that you will have a better tree every year.

  • Any type of tree or bonsai style is acceptable material.

  • Your confidence in your bonsai skills will improve.

  • Your new found confidence will translate over to your entire bonsai collection.
This program should appeal to all members of FWBS, beginners as well as more experienced bonsai enthusiasts. The workshop setting allows you to learn from the other participants with a large variety of trees and styles. Watch everyone's trees develop over the years and you will advance beyond your own collection.

This is an entirely free program to FWBS members. The bonsai art in Fort Worth should improve dramatically. Our public shows will improve as our trees improve.

We should increase our membership with this program.

The Best Trees For Bonsai
( Credit: Balcony Garden Web )
1. Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is chosen for bonsai primarily due to its lobed leaves, color, and its adaptability to become a bonsai. Also, there are countless varieties and the bonsai tree can be formed in a variety of styles.
Position: The Japanese Maple prefers a sunny, airy position but during great midday heat it should be placed in the light shade to prevent damaged leaves. The Japanese Maple is frost hardy even when trained as a bonsai, but it should be protected from strong frost (below -10° C / 14° F).
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Broom, Cascade.

2. Bodhi tree (Ficus Religiosa)

Did you know the Ficus Religiosa was the tree under which Buddha received enlightenment? Due to this, it is commonly known as sacred fig, peepal tree, and Bo-tree. It makes an excellent bonsai. The bodhi is a tough plant that grows fast and forms aerial roots. It has attractive shiny heart-shaped foliage that appears in bronze color, which later turns into glossy green as the leaves mature. Also, the leaves can be easily reduced in bonsai culture.
Position: As it is a tropical tree that loves the sun and heat. Place it in a position that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily (the more the better) and provide protection from freezing temperatures.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Slanting, Twin-trunk, Literati and Banyan style.

3. Cotoneaster horizontalis

Cotoneaster horizontalis is often formed in the cascade style or planted on the rock, thus called rock cotoneaster. It is a deciduous shrub that is suitable for bonsai culture because of its forgiving nature (very suitable for beginners), it looks great due to its long-lasting color, grows best in temperate regions.
Position: It can be grown in full sun or part shade, but flowers best in full sun positions. Protection from frost is required if long cold spells are expected.
Styles: Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Literati, Group planting, Saikei.

4. Baobab

Tall, gigantic and fabled African tree, the great baobab is truly adaptable to become a bonsai. Easy to care and maintain in warm climates, the baobab tree bonsai requires some care in winter in cooler zones. Learn everything about growing this amazing tree here.
Position: If you live in a warm climate just keep it in the sun, this, largest succulent in our world will thrive. However, if you live in a temperate zone, place the pot indoors in winter.
Styles: Broom, Informal upright, Baobab style.

5. Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

This tall stately tree becomes large to medium sized bonsai specimen and best presented in the style of an upright plant. Young shoots can be easily formed and the leaves in autumn turn to golden yellow color. Keep in mind, the beech tree is a slow grower and takes time.
Position: Keep your beech tree bonsai in semi-shade to full sun position, providing a space that is sheltered from the intense afternoon sun, especially in summer.
Styles: *Group planting, Formal upright, Informal upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade.

6. Boxwood

Not only for hedging, boxwood can also become a bonsai. Super adaptable to containers, any species of this genus is easy to care for and maintain and becomes a handsome bonsai. If you are in making your first bonsai, try boxwood.
Position: The boxwood is an outdoor plant that is tough and resilient and withstands the sun as well as shade, however, in its natural environment it grows under the canopy of trees so it is better if you place the plant in partial sun. As boxwoods don't tolerate severely cold temperatures protect the plant in winter.
Styles: Informal upright, Formal upright, Slanting.

7. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is one of the nicest fruit trees and easiest one to make into a bonsai. Because it has shallow root system it adapts well to bonsai culture. This robust plant with eye-catching bark, stunning red flowers, and gorgeous fruits looks magnificent.
Position: It should be kept outside in full sun for the whole year except when the temperature drops below 41 F (5 C) bring the tree indoors, in a bright position.
Styles: Informal Upright, Semi-cascade, Multi-trunks, Slanting, Deadwood and twisted trunk.

8. Juniper

Junipers are one of the most popular trees for bonsai. It is a genus of 50+ species of evergreen coniferous shrubs of which Juniper Procumbens Nana is very popular among beginners who are just starting out to make a bonsai tree. All junipers are easy to train and care and makes very appealing bonsai.
Position: Junipers cannot live indoors. Best to place them in a sunny spot with shade from afternoon sun. Protect the tree once temperatures drop below 14 F in winter.
Styles: Junipers can be made into a variety of styles, including informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, full-cascade, driftwood, twin and triple trunk.

9. Ficus Retusa

It is probably one of the most attractive trees among the tropical bonsai growers. Easy to style, resistant to negligence and mistakes and probably the best plant for both beginners and advanced level bonsai growers. You can learn the basics of bonsai making by doing experiments on it and forming it in different styles.
Position: If growing in warm climate keep it in partial sun. You can also keep it indoors, especially in cool temperate climate, in a well-lit position but out of direct sunlight.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Sinuous, Straight Line, Group planting, Saikei.

10. Ficus Benjamina

Benjamin Ficus (Ficus Benjamina) is one more popular plant you should consider. It is a beautiful evergreen tree that makes a wide canopy of fine branches that cascade down towards the ground giving it the name weeping fig.
Position: It can be grown either outdoors or indoors on a windowsill that gets bright light.
Styles: Formal upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Informal Upright, Slanting, Twin-trunk, Clump and Group planting.

11. Jade

Jade tree (Crassula ovata) is a succulent plant with thick fleshy stems and leaves. Jade is an easy-care evergreen bonsai. Its hardiness and thick trunk give it mature look quickly.
Position: Jade tree can be grown indoors, although it enjoys sunny positions and high temperatures. Keep temperatures above 41 F (5 C) or all the times.
Styles: It can be trained into many styles including informal upright, clump, slanting and root over rock.

12. Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle is one pf the best trees for bonsai. Its key features are exquisite branch formation, showy flowers of pink, white or purple and more over it shed outer layers of bark from time to time and the color of the underlying bark can vary from gray, rusty brown to almost pink.
Position: Crepe Myrtle enjoys the full sun for the formation of flowers. Although it can be kept indoors on a sunny windowsill. In winter maintain the temperature of 45-54 F and low light to stimulate dormancy. Move it to good light again in spring when buds begins to swell.
Styles: Cascade, slanting, root over rock, informal upright, curved trunk can be made with this tree.

13. Fukien Tea (Carmona retusa)

One of the best plants, Fukien Tea is a great addition to any bonsai collection that makes great small indoor bonsai. Its small dark-green shiny leaves have tiny white dots on them. Small white flowers bloom all year round and sometimes produce tiny red berries.
Position: Fukien Tea is an indoor bonsai but can be kept outside all year round in warm climates. It needs bright sunny position in the house. The perfect temperature is around 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Styles: It is well suited for the informal upright, broom and literati.

14. Chinese Elm

One of the most splendid elms, this east Asian native becomes a spectacular bonsai easily. This ideal plant is really forgiving and doesn't mind regular pruning and styling.
Position: Keep the plant in a spot that receives the sun in the morning and in the evening if possible. Chinese elm can tolerate the wide range of temperatures but doesn't like cold drafts.
Styles: Broom, Informal upright, Cascade, Semi Cascade.

15. Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is one of the best bonsai plants. So colorful and pretty, its beautiful papery flowers of many colors make an attractive display, appear incessantly, especially in favorable climates. Bougainvillea grows fast, its branches are easy to wire and it can be made into almost any style.
Position: Place it in a spot that receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. Protect it from freezing temperatures.
Styles: Bougainvillea is suitable for any traditional style of bonsai except formal upright.

16. Dwarf Schefflera

Dwarf Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) is one of the most popular indoor bonsai trees. It is easy to grow, drought resistant and difficult to kill which makes it a perfect bonsai plant for beginners. It is easy to train too and forms aerial roots, it is very good for making a dramatic banyan style bonsai.
Position: Position your dwarf Schefflera bonsai in bright, indirect light and protect from direct sun. It can also survive in low light conditions.
Styles: Banyan, Informal Upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Clump, Group planting.

17. Indian Banyan (Ficus benghalensis)

Banyan tree, which is also called Bargad/Bar in the local language is the national tree of India. It is one of the largest tree species. The tree releases its aerial roots and once these roots reach the ground they grow into the woody trunk. The tree naturally looks old and becomes an amazing bonsai specimen.
Position: The tree requires warm humid climate to thrive. If you live in a cool climate you can try to grow it with care in winter. Place the plant in a spot that receives all day long sun but shade in the afternoon.
Styles: Banyan style, Informal upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade.

18. Adenium

Thick bulbous trunk, vibrant blooms, and glossy foliage makes the Adenium an ideal tree for bonsai. This flowering tree creates fast and natural looking bonsai with minimal efforts.
Position: It needs a sunny position sheltered from the wind. If growing in non-tropical climate, in winter, bring the tree inside and maintain the temperature around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Styles: Informal Upright, Twin Trunk, Slanting, Cascade, Baobab style.

19. Olive

Olive bonsai is easy to care for and very strong so it is a suitable choice for use as bonsai. Their smooth trunk and good branch structure make them a spectacular bonsai.
Position: Hardy in zone 9, an olive tree can be successfully grown as an indoor plant, but it is best to keep it outdoors in full sun.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Straight Line, Group planting, Saikei.

20. Azalea

Azalea is a must-have Bonsai and looks unbelievably stunning. It is popular for its growth habit and bountiful blooms that come in many different colors, shapes, sizes and patterns. It requires plenty of care and acidic soil to thrive well.
Position: Azalea needs to be outdoors in a sunny spot that gets afternoon shade to produce its beautiful blooms.
Styles: Root-over-rock, Informal Upright, Slanting, Semi Cascade, Windswept, Multiple Trunks.

21. Guava

Not very popular but guava tree becomes an excellent bonsai and doesn't require too much care or maintenance. It is even possible to make it produce fruits that make an amazing display.
Position: The guava is a tropical plant and therefore, it should be placed outdoors on a location that is sunny. If you live in a temperate region keep your guava bonsai indoors in winter.
Styles: Informal Upright, Formal Upright, Slanting, Semi-cascade, Broom.

22. Pine

Pines make a wonderful bonsai. However, they are not ideal for beginners. Pines are a classic bonsai species and their rugged, rough bark and trunk make them appear old.
Position: Place the pine outdoors in full sun, where it will get good air circulation.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Literate, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Group planting, Saikei.

This questionnaire and comment section concerns the Bonsai Exhibit at the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens sponsored by the Fort Worth Bonsai Society. The exhibit contains 3 trees and is located on the east deck of the Treasure Tree Gift Shop. If you have seen it, please give us your feedback. If you have not seen it, go and take a look and come back to our website and give us your feedback.

Take Our Bonsai Exhibit Survey

The History of Bonsai

Although the word "Bon-sai" is Japanese, the art it describes originated in the Chinese empire. By the year 700 AD the Chinese had started the art of "pun-sai" using special techniques to grow dwarf trees in containers. Originally only the elite of the society practiced pun-tsai with native-collected specimens and the trees were spread throughout China as luxurious gifts. During the Kamakura period, the period in which Japan adopted most of China's cultural trademarks, the art of growing trees in containers was introduced into Japan. The Japanese developed Bonsai along certain lines due to the influence of Zen Buddhism and the fact that Japan is only 4% the size of mainland China. The range of landscape forms was thus much more limited. Many well-known techniques, styles and tools were developed in Japan from Chinese originals. Although known to a limited extent outside Asia for three centuries, only recently has Bonsai truly been spread outside its homelands.

The History of Bonsai in China

Shallow basins or flattened bowls "pen" or "pan" or "pun" had been made out of earthenware in what we now call China since about 5,000 years ago. A thousand years later during the Chinese Bronze Age, these were among the chosen shapes to be recreated in bronze for religious and political ceremonial purposes. About 2,300 years ago, the Chinese Five Agents Theory (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth) spun off the idea of the potency of replicas in miniature. By recreating a mountain, for example, on a reduced scale, a student could focus on its magical properties and gain access to them. The further the reproduction was in size from the original, the more magically potent it was likely to be. Two hundred years later, importations of new aromatics and incenses took place under the Han Emperor because of newly opened trading with its neighbors. A new type of vessel was created, incense burners in the form of the mountain peaks which rose above the waves and symbolized the abodes of the Immortals, the then-popular idea of the mythic Islands of the Blessed. Primarily crafted out of bronze, ceramic or gilded bronze, some of these burners rested on small pen dishes to either catch hot embers or to hold a miniature symbolic ocean. The removable lids to these burners often were covered in stylized portrayals of legendary figures climbing the sides of forested hills. From the perforations in the lids the incense smoke arose out of the cave openings like the mystic vapors in the full-size mountains. It is thought that some later lids made out of stone may have been found with lichens or moss already attached natural miniature landscapes. From about the year 706 AD comes the tomb paintings for Crown Prince Zhang Huai which included depictions of two ladies-in-waiting offering miniature rockery landscapes with small plants in shallow dishes. By this time there were the earliest written descriptions of these pun wan tray playthings. As the creation and care of these was somewhat already advanced, the maturation of the art had taken place (but its documentation has not yet been discovered by us). The earliest collected and then containerized trees are believed to have been peculiarly-shaped and twisted specimens from the wilds. These were "sacred" as opposed to "profane" because the trees could not be used for any practical, ordinary purposes such as lumber. Their grotesque forms were reminiscent of yoga-type postures which repeatedly bent-back on themselves, re-circulating vital fluids and said to be the cause of long-life. Over the centuries, different regional styles would be developed throughout the large country with its many varied landscapes; earthenware and ceramic containers would replace the porcelain ones displayed on wooden stands; and attempts would be made to shape the trees with bamboo frameworks or brass wire or lead strips. Many poets and writers each made at least one description of tree and/or mountainous miniature landscapes, and many painters included a dwarfed potted tree as a symbol of a cultivated man's lifestyle. After the 16th century these were called pun tsai or "tray planting", The term pun Ching ("tray landscape," now called Penjing) didn't actually come into usage until the 17th century.

The History of Bonsai in Japan

It is believed that the first tray landscapes were brought from China to Japan at least twelve hundred years ago (as religious souvenirs). A thousand years ago, the first lengthy work of fiction in Japanese included this passage: "a [full-size] tree that is left growing in its natural state is a crude thing. It is only when it is kept close to human beings who fashion it with loving care that its shape and style acquire the ability to move one". Read the article about Bonsai tree meaning for more information. The first graphic portrayals of these in Japan were not made until about eight hundred years ago. All things Chinese fascinated the Japanese, and at some point the Chinese Chan Buddhism (Indian meditative Dyhana Buddhism crossed with native Chinese Daoism) also was imported and became Zen Buddhism in Japan. Finding beauty in severe austerity, Zen monks with less land forms as a model -- developed their tray landscapes along certain lines so that a single tree in a pot could represent the universe. The Japanese pots were generally deeper than those from the mainland, and the resulting gardening form was called hachi-no-ki, literally, the bowl's tree. A folktale from the late 1300s, about an impoverished samurai who sacrificed his last three dwarf potted trees to provide warmth for a traveling monk on a cold winter night, became a popular Noh theatre play, and images from the story would be depicted in a number of media forms, including woodblock prints, through the centuries. Everyone from the military leader shoguns to ordinary peasant people grew some form of tree or azalea in a pot or abalone shell. By the late eighteenth century a show for traditional pine dwarf potted trees was begun to be held annually in the capital city of Kyoto. Connoisseurs from five provinces and the neighboring areas would bring one or two plants each to the show in order to submit them to the visitors for ranking or judging. The town of Takamatsu (home of Kinashi Bonsai village) was already growing fields of partly-shaped dwarf pines for a major source of income. Around the year 1800, a group of scholars of the Chinese arts gathered near the city of Osaka to discuss recent styles in miniature trees. Their dwarf trees were renamed as "Bonsai" (the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese term pun-tsai) in order to differentiate them from the ordinary hachi-no-ki which many persons cared for. The bon or pen is shallower than the Hachi bowl. This shows that at least some growers had better success with the horticultural needs of dwarf potted trees in smaller containers. Bonsai was now seen as a matter of design, the craft approach replacing the religious/mythical approach of tradition. Different sizes and styles were developed over the next century; catalogs and books about the trees, tools, and pots were published; some early formal shows were held. Copper and iron wire replaced hemp fibers for shaping the trees. Containers mass-produced in China were made to Japanese specifications and the number of hobbyists grew. Following the Great Kanto Earthquake which devastated the Tokyo area in 1923, a group of thirty families of professional growers resettled twenty miles away in Omiya and set up what would become the center of Japanese Bonsai culture; Omiya Bonsai village. In the 1930s as formal displays of Bonsai became recognized, an official annual show was allowed at Tokyo's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The long recovery from the Pacific War saw Bonsai become mature and cultivated as an important native art. Apprenticeship programs, greater numbers of shows, books and magazines, and classes for foreigners spread the word. The use of custom power tools matched with an intricate knowledge of plant physiology allowed a few masters to move from the craft approach to a truly artistic-designing phase of the art. Recently, Bonsai seen too often as just a tired pastime for the elderly now even has a version becoming popular among the younger generation with easy-to-care-for mini-trees and landscapes, unwired and wilder-looking, using native plants.

The History of Bonsai in the West

In 1604, there was a description in Spanish of how Chinese immigrants in the tropical islands of the Philippines were growing small ficus trees onto hand-sized pieces of coral. The earliest-known English observation of dwarf potted trees (root-over-rock in a pan) in China/Macau was recorded in 1637. Subsequent reports during the next century also from Japan were root-over-rock specimens. Dozens of travelers included some mention of dwarf trees in their accounts from Japan or China. Many of these were repeated in book reviews and excerpted articles in widely distributed magazines. Japanese dwarf trees were in the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876, the Paris Expositions of 1878 and 1889, the Chicago Expo of 1893, the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, the 1910 Japan-Britain Exhibition, and at the 1915 San Francisco Exposition. The first European language book (French) entirely about Japanese dwarf trees was published in 1902, and the first in English in 1940. Yoshimura and Halford's Miniature Trees and Landscapes was published in 1957. It would become known as "Bible of Bonsai in the West," with Yuji Yoshimura being the direct link between Japanese classical Bonsai art and progressive Western approach which resulted in elegant, refined adaptation for the modern world. John Naka from California extended this sharing by teaching in person and in print first in America, and then around the world further emphasizing the use of native material. It was by this time that the West was being introduced to landscapes from Japan known as saikei and a resurgence from China as Penjing. Compositions with more than a single type of tree became accepted and recognized as legitimate creations. Over the years, slight innovations and improvements have been developed, primarily in the revered old Bonsai nurseries in Japan, and these have been brought over bit-by-bit to our countries by visiting teachers or returning traveler enthusiasts. Upon their return Japan, teachers would immediately try out a new technique or two in front of students at previously scheduled workshops. The new Japanese techniques could then be disseminated further and this living art form continued to be developed. Most of the earlier books in European languages, for the most part, leaned more towards basic horticultural knowledge and techniques for keeping the trees alive. Western science has been increasing our awareness of the needs and processes of the living trees and other plants in our compositions. At the same time, published material has shifted towards explaining the aesthetics involved in styling and shaping. Large permanent collections began to be increasingly set up around the world, including Scotland, Hungary, Australia, and Korea, and numerous shows, exhibitions and conventions became annual events for enthusiasts and the general public. The Karate Kid movies were released. In their own way they spurred many young people to investigate our art/hobby. Read more about Bonsai in the Karate Kid movies. "Mica pots" originated by this time out of Korea and independent potters were trying their hands at making ceramic pots, including non-standard designs. In 1992 the first Internet Bonsai website was started with the alt.Bonsai newsgroup and the next year saw rec.arts.Bonsai, the forerunner of the Internet Bonsai Club. The first Bonsai club website came about less than three years later.


There are over 1200 books in 26 languages about Bonsai and related arts. There have been over 50 print periodicals in various tongues, and five on-line magazines just in English. Hundreds of web sites, over a hundred each discussion forums, on-line club newsletters, and blogs can be studied. Constantly popping up are references on TV, in movies and commercials, and general fiction and non-fiction. This is truly a worldwide interest with an estimated thousand clubs meeting anywhere from once a year to two or three times per month, all with their share of politics, personalities and passions. Membership might be close to a hundred thousand in over a hundred counties and territories, with non-associated enthusiasts totaling perhaps ten million more. So the next time you prune a branch, wire it or re-pot your tree, reflect that what you are doing is continuing a thousand plus year tradition. In your own way you are exploring and composing a miniature version of your universe.

Article Credit: Bonsai Empire

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