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For Dad – all about Bonsai at the Japanese Garden

For Dad – all about Bonsai at the Japanese Garden

Right after entering the Bonsai Garden at Showa Kinen park in Tachikawa, we thought about how much my Dad would have liked it here.

First of all, he is into antiques and many of the trees were over hundred years old. He has cultivated Bonsai trees himself and I am sure he would have enjoyed observing the Bonsai specialists, looking after the mini trees at the garden.

Visitors can learn how Bonsai seedlings grow into trees and how to cut the mini trees. There are work stations where you can place the trees to sculpt them.

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The Garden of Bonsai. The entrance is free – once you have bought a ticket to Showa Kinen Park.

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The exhibition of Bonsai trees was truly like looking at sculptures in a museum.

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There were about 80 trees on display and all looked their best.

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Dear Dad, I found out a lot about Bonsai trees. Here are some interesting facts (which you probably know and this is what I know now, too).

WHY ARE BONSAI SO SMALL

The trees don’t grow because they are cultivated in small pots. Their roots are restricted and growers clip new buds, branches and roots.

 

HOW OLD ARE BONSAI

Trees can be hundreds of  years old. The care and affection of the owners contribute to the longevity of the Bonsai.

Bonsai, like Ikebana is a Japanese art form that dates back a thousand of years. The tree is a symbol of peace and appreciation for nature. The trees are considered ‘living artworks‘.  The cultivation process is endless and one can enjoy a tree throughout life.

 

THE IDEAL BONSAI

Trees with the below qualities are considered ideal Bonsai:

1. The tree has a strong look with roots exposed at the base stretching in each direction.

2. The trunk has a natural flare at the base and is gradually tapered towards the top.

3. Branches are well balanced in shape and size.

 

BONSAI TREE TYPES

From left to right (top row first) – the tree types are: Kabudachi, Yoseue, Ishitsuki, Chokkan, Moyogi, Kengai and Bunjingi.

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WHAT IS THE WHITE SUBSTANCE ON THE TRUNK

On parts of the Bonsai, on the verge of withering and where branches have broken off, a mixture of lime and sulfur is applied – to prevent further damage. This creates an interesting contrast to the living brown and green areas.

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THE PARTS OF A BONSAI

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The choice of the right pot has to be considered carefully.

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Minimalist water-Bonsai composition.

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More of a tree ball.

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Huge and yet wondrous small.

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When you look at the base and the roots, the tree looks surreal. As if little creatures could walk through this tiny tree forest.

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So small, yet quiet big and heavy. Tomek knows. He was helping Dad to carry some trees, Dad has been cultivating for decades – it doesn’t look like much but the pots, the soil and the trees make for a heavy load.

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Phenomenally formed.

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 Shimpaku juniper was impressive 250 years old.

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The Japanese maple cultivar was 100 years old. Dad has a miniature version of this tree, I think.

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The Chinese quince was 80 years old.

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The Japanese white pine was 120 years old.

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Siebold’s spindle tree cultivar was only 25 years old.

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This Tall stewartia was 45 years old.

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The Japanese zelkova was exactly my age and I liked this tree the most, for it really looked like I could walk right through it, feeling the soft moss underneath my feet.

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Enjoy the rest of Showa Kinen Park with us here.

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See you at the next post.

And Dad, I hope your mini trees are still doing swell!

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