Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scissors and Trees

I've always wanted a bonsai tree. I became fascinated with them in Japan and every time I see one, I ask myself why I haven't tried to grow one yet.  When the kids were younger, Greg and I tried to buy one at a local nursery.  We walked out empty handed because the greenhouse gardener convinced us that we would pay a lot of money for it and then proceed to take it home and kill it.  If the movie Julia and Julia had been out at that time,  I'm sure Greg would have started singing, "Bonsai Killer, Bonsai Killer, Bonsai Killer" to me.

Last Saturday we drove to Pasadena to visit the Huntington Library.  Sounds like a boring day until you realize that the library houses an amazing art collection and catalogs every plant imaginable in their botanical garden.  I could write a couple of weeks worth of blogs on the sites that put me into a state of awe but the Bonsai Garden sent me to the moon.  I know nothing about this art except that the people who tenderly and artfully grew these little trees did not go to the same gardener that we went to when they were learning about Bonsai.  There were some very small traditionally sized bonsais but the majority in the collection were about 18 - 24 inches high.  They were exhibited outside in an amazing little Japanese garden area, surrounded by bamboo fencing.  Here are some pictures of our favorites!

Entering the Bonsai Garden.
Bonsai collection with sunlight coming through the rice paper background.
Bald Cyprus Bonsai - Greg's favorite
Another Bald Cyprus
Cork Bonsai - How many wine corks would this tree produce?
Aren't these just amazing!  I'd still like to buy one of those cute little pairs of pruning scissors and take a class in Bonsai.

Here are some facts about Bonsai for those who are interested:

  • Bonsai is an ancient art form that originated in China more than 1000 years ago.
  • Bonsai art manipulates a natural tree to create an ornamental 'majestic' small tree by trimming, pruning, wiring, and grafting.
  • Originally, a bonsai tree was considered a symbol of wealth but evolved as a symbol of peace and balance in nature. 
" The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, 
and then dead timber.  
The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

"If you want to be happy for a a year, plant a garden;
If you want to be happy for life, plant a tree."
English proverb

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