Though the art of Bonsai creation seems to have begun in China, the Bonsai Culture has developed primarily among the Japanese. This stems from ancient times, when the oriental Japanese took the Chinese practice of bonsai, named it and perfected it. The aim of the bonsai is to create an idealized tree in miniature form to display in shallow decorated pots. This expression of natural beauty is very much personalised to its creator, being as intricate or as simple as its owner wishes. The innate beauty of a finely crafted bonsai is unquestionably a sight to behold. Like all artistic expressions, a well tended bonsai can show the multitude of emotions of its owner. Viewing a garden full of intricate bonsai can truly remind you of the truths about life’s transitory nature.
As demand for well created bonsai and the knowledge of their preparation and preservation has increased over time the bonsai culture has expanded from just the small indigenous trees to encompass many other types of trees. Furthermore, as the Japanese people have moved to other countries around the world they found that the traditional trees for bonsai were not available. Because of this, artists have experimented with representing age and maturity of the trees through different species, shapes and styles of bonsai. In America the bonsai culture has evolved into a freer yet more complex style than that of the ancient Japanese. They have incorporated a multitude of other types of trees which create very different bonsai, though some plants are not ideal candidates for the bonsai.
The aim of bonsai is to create realism in miniature, so all the various parts of the plant should be symmetrically smaller to match the size of the completed tree. Leaves, branches, buds, flowers, fruits and of course the trunk are all required to remain in proportion to each other as the bonsai tree grows. Large leaved plants such as sycamores, mangos and the avocado tree end up disproportional as bonsai. Oak and Maple trees are among the species of tree which develop the most pleasing bonsai and are at the heart of the bonsai culture. Their leaves and branches will remain in proportion to whatever size your bonsai has grown to. Other plants which form the basis of the bonsai culture include the pomegranate, the pine and the spruce trees.
Bonsai culture is based on the art form of bonsai creation; therefore the best finished specimens should be an artistic expression. They should have the illusion of maturity, best cultivated by the choice of bark and the length of the main branches. This is meant to emphasise the trunk, and make it seem proportional to the stature of the whole plant. Bonsai creators leave the top third of the roots above the earth when replanting a mature bonsai which also aids in the impression of age. They also aim for the illusion that the branches are floating on air, and thus require to be left extending as far from the trunk as proportionality allows.