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The bonsai is an art in a particular way it is the art of creating tree miniatures cultivating them for whole years in small pots, in fact with particular techniques the vegetable material is guided to assume particular forms and dimensions. The term bonsai derives from the Japanese and Bon means tray or container while the word sai would mean educating but in this case it means cultivating. This is an ancient Chinese horticultural crop, practiced for over a thousand years, but in reality it is used to create a miniature plant, which presents all the features that the plant presents in reality. This technique was developed based on the theory of the five elements, water, fire, wood, metal and earth, this has a particular interest also from the didactic point of view, in fact a student, with a miniature, can see details that in reality could become difficult, because we would have to face different difficulties. Bonsai originated from an ancient Chinese puni-technique, initially only the elite of the society practiced this art and the creations were distributed throughout China as a luxury gift. Then everything was inherited from Japan, in fact during the Kamakura period, all the traditions were adopted by the Japanese, they started to create Bonsai under the influence of Zen Buddhism and by the fact that the Japanese territory was only four percent of the Chinese one. Many famous techniques, with styles and instruments, were developed by the Japanese on the basis of Chinese traditions. After many centuries, only in recent years has the art of Bonsai developed in other lands outside its native lands.
The cultivation of Bonsai, foresees a great attention, also based on the typology of tree that is wanted to reproduce; depending on the plant species to be reproduced, an appropriate pot must be purchased and the needs of the plant itself must be taken into account. The main objective of Bonsai cultivation is to reproduce real plant miniatures, whose peculiarity is to look like old trees and remain small. In general, almost all tree species can become Bonsai, but there are some that are very much more suitable than others, including those species that have small leaves. There is knowledge that cannot and should not be underestimated because the success of the operation depends on it.
For the cultivation of a bonsai one can start from two cases, the first is the purchase of a Bonsai already grown, but which however must continue to grow and the second case is to start from the seeds. Naturally there is a greater difficulty starting from the seeds, since it is the most delicate moment, in which the plant must be born. It is possible to buy a bonsai in any garden center; it is possible to give life to a Bonsai starting from the seeds or from a cutting, which means that a high dose of patience is used, since the growth times are very slow. The seeds are plants are available in the woods and parks, in the autumn, while the cuttings are available in the summer. Another way to start a cultivation of Bonsai, is to collect the plants in the woods, which then must be modeled later .
As already mentioned, there are some special techniques used for modeling miniatures, the two most widely used propagation techniques are layering and the Grafting. The fundamental principle of the layering technique is to push a twig of a tree or a small branch, to put roots in a particular position interrupting the flow system of the nutrients coming from the roots, which are, the most important apparatus of the plant as the growth of the plant depends on them.
There are other techniques for plant stylization:
- the first concerns the stylization of the bonsai through the pruning system. A special stylization, as a regular maintenance pruning could be, is essential to create and maintain a tree with natural and real miniature features. When you want to model a plant, you need to decide which branches are best suited to the project and which ones need to be removed, which could be the most difficult task of the whole crop. So, first of all, we must take into consideration, that is, we must keep in mind a basic design of the tree, deciding, above all what the frontal part of the plant should be. From this point, that is from this position, one could begin to think, which branches must be removed, that is pruned to optimize the general shape of the tree making it more personal. After which, having decided the initial setting, that is, after having decided more or less the general lines, the regular pruning of the tree is fundamental, and important to push the plant to develop a luxuriant vegetation, that is a thick crown and an apparatus radical that is adequate, to best perform its function and a good structure of the branches, attributing to it the desired shape, which will naturally keep over time, if cured.
Although true that the bonsai has oriental origins, a wide use is having on the western market, in particular, are sold, those bonsai that have reached a certain size, since it is less difficult to cultivate. Prices on the western market vary depending on the size, in fact they are mainly purchased for medium sizes.