The blog’s top ten most popular posts August 2013 from The Ancient Art of Bonsai.

1.- Thread Grafting Bonsai.

'Free' grafting, where the new branch or shoot is made using a scion completely removed from the donor plant prior to grafting, is a difficult technique to master. Free grafts have a failure rate, even when carried out by experienced nurserymen; for the amateur, the failure rate can be high.Alternatively, approach and thread grafting techniques utilise a scion to make a new branch or shoot that is still attached to the donor plant (very often the same plant that also receives the graft) and the scion is not separated from its donor until it is has successfully grafted in its new position.  The fact that the scion is supported by its donor until the graft has taken makes approach and threadgrafting much safer, even for the beginner.


2.- Outdoor versus indoor bonsai.

The trees sold as bonsai often come from temperate regions.This means that, just like the trees in those regions, they require full sunlight, well aerated soil and a winter dormancy period at near-freezing temperatures.Kept in the artificial environment of a home, these trees will become weakened and die. This category includes junipers (Juniperus), spruces (Picea) and most other conifers.Plants from tropical regions, however, where temperatures remain warm year-round, are able to survive and even thrive when grown as indoor bonsai. Check the table for the best species.It is very important to be able to distinguish between outdoor and indoor bonsai in order to choose the right plant.


3.- Meishi is a Japanese business card.


4.- Thread Grafting New Roots onto Bonsai.

Threadgrafts are by far the easiest and most reliable grafts available to the bonsai enthusiast. Normally used to create new branches on a bonsai, a young, pliable shoot is threaded through the trunk of the tree. As the shoot grows and fattens, the cambium layers of the shoot and the trunk are forced together and a join or graft is made. Threadgrafts can also be used to attach new roots to a bonsai. With the English Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) below, a new root is required to improve the nebari (rootspread) of the tree and this is provided by thread grafting a young Hawthorn seedling.


5.- Most Expensive Bonsai And Ficus Ginseng.

The most expensive bonsai – 2million USD. Yes, this is the price that has been paid for a bonsai.Following a bit of research I have discovered that people really do have an interest in the price that some will pay for a Ficus Ginseng and for that matter any type of bonsai. But one thing that has been made starkly clear to me is that price really is quite a subjective topic and that just as two art dealers may disagree on the price of a Rembrandt masterpiece, so too will bonsai collectors. One thing that can’t be argued is that collectors are willing to pay top dollar for the most expensive bonsai they can get their hands on and that is none more evident than the recent sale of a 300 year old five needle pine which sold for 100,000,000Yen…a lot of zeros…but roughly 1million USD.


6.- Ficus Bonsai Care.

If you have decided to try your hand at growing a bonsai tree, you are in for a real treat. While it takes a little time and patience to learn how to grow bonsai, the results are truly incredible. As you begin your search for the perfect tree, you will be faced with all types of options. For example, bamboo is a nice bonsai option that is reminiscence of true Japanese gardens. Then, you have the Braided Monkey Tree that is referred to in many Asian cultures as the “Bringer of Good Fortune”. When it comes to bonsai, this makes an excellent choice that is easy to care for and tolerant. Another option for bonsai is Jade tree, which makes an exceptional bonsai. Coming from South Africa, this plant is hearty and boasts succulent, green elliptic leaves and a thick trunk.


7.- Success With Indoor Bonsai.

Growing bonsai indoors is one of the passions that has kept me enthralled with bonsai for nearly 30 years. During that time I have grown bonsai on windowsills and indoors under various types of artificial light. Over the years I have learned some crucial concepts about growing trees indoors. This article will present some of these ideas that may help you save time, effort and avoid killing trees in your indoor growing efforts.

Indoors is not indoors.
At best growing trees indoors is a difficult task, and part of the problem is that indoor growing conditions are not at all similar to the natural conditions under which trees normally grow.


8.- Penjing: History, Aesthetics and Spiritual Background.

Penjing: History, aesthetics & spiritual background.
Many people think of bonsai as exclusively Japanese. But there is a long tradition of bonsai from China. Penjing is the Chinese art of creating a miniature landscape in a container. The word consists of the two characters shown on the left: “pen” - “pot” or “container”, and “jing” - “scenery”. An artist may use plant material and natural stone to portray an idyllic mountain retreat with a murmuring brook or a waterscape with a lush tropical island. Or he or she may design a much simpler scene where one single tree makes up the entire composition.


9.- Ficus (Figs) Growing Indoors Under Lights.

ficus bonsaiFicus is my favorite plant material for indoor bonsai. Figs are resilient plants and are easy to grow indoors. They also show basal trunk flare, stable rootage and wonderful aerial roots suitable for many tropical and temperate bonsai styles.
What is an indoor tree?
Nature never created an "indoor" tree, so bonsai material must be able to cope with the rigors of the indoor habitat. Trees must tolerate low light, low humidity, and lack of chilling. To be considered a good indoor bonsai a plant must be able to grow its entire life indoors, in the usual temperature range of most homes; perhaps allowing for some additional light and humidity. Ficus is a large genus of plants which contains hundreds of trees potentially suitable for indoor growth.


10.- Bonsai Display Area.

Where we currently live, the garden was a bit on the huge side so it was ideal to create a dedicated Bonsai Display area. Starting with just the timber, some post-crete, numerous clamps, a jig saw, circular saw and a pair of steps I managed to get the base structure up on the first day. I’d fiddled for days on paper, well, the back of a cornflake packet actually. I’m no designer, I just knew roughly what I wanted. The rest would follow …or so I hoped. I used string lines and a level mostly. Digging out the post holes was a breeze and each mound of concrete is rounded above the ground level to prevent rot ever setting in. An old ‘mucker’ of mine … Maurice Stone, taught me how to dig post holes properly and so I put into practice what he passed on to me.

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