Author Topic: When is Bonsai finished  (Read 1191 times)


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When is Bonsai finished
« on: October 08, 2013, 08:29 PM »
Well according to Lynn Perry "Bonsai: Trees and Shrubs - A Guide to the Methods of Kyuzo Murata" "When training a bonsai, it is considered finished if 5 limbs from the base of the trunk upward are completely trained and require only yearly pruning , but no further wiring. Generally, deciduous trees should reach this stage at about 35 years of age and conifers at about 45 years."

Kaname Kato in his foreword to the book reminds us that it takes years to grow outstanding bonsai. Perry in her preface reminds us there are two prime requisites: patience and an intimate understanding of nature. She tells us the purpose every bonsai artist has in mind while spending his life working with bonsai is to create with living materials a composition so that the viewer may experience an intimate communication with nature as if he were sitting high on a mountainside viewing a wind tormented pine, or visiting an orchard mantled in spring's blooms or wandering alone through a sunlit forest glen.

I think I am going to love this book.


John Kirby

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Re: When is Bonsai finished
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 08:49 PM »
It is a nice read, I have an old copy, the Black and White photographs should remind us that the technical advances over the past 50 years have been spectacular. If you want a real eye opener, find the Kokufu 30 showbook. It is a double show, and many of the trees may not be as good as trees on the benches of many westerners today, in fact many US trees are much better. Enjoy the read, it should inspire you to know how much bonsai has improved!


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Re: When is Bonsai finished
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 11:22 AM »
When it's dead?

Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: When is Bonsai finished
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2013, 05:43 PM »
When it's dead?

 :D  True in so many ways.

Bonsai are alive, and do grow, they are never finished.

Lynn Parry's definition could be used, or you could use one that is a little less rigid. In my mind, a bonsai is "Finished" when you feel it looks good enough that you could enter it into a show in the 'open' category, or "advanced" category, and not feel embarrassed, or feel it is out of place with the others in the same category. If it looks good in the novice class, but not the open class, then it is 'not finished'. Or, if your club show has such a designation, and even higher bar would be ''does it blend in with the trees in the professional class?"

Finished is a relative term, up until the time the tree dies, then it is "Really Finished". It might be overly simplistic, but if the tree meets the goals you set out for it, your mind's image for it, it is finished as far as you are concerned. Though as I (we?) learn, my goals keep moving forward or outward, so by the time my tree meets my goals from a decade earlier, I am no longer satisfied with that previous vision, I will have a more refined idea, and there will always be more work that can be done.

A tree in advanced stages of development certainly needs different techniques than a young, in training plant. When your work with a tree is mainly to keep its current shape, keep the leaves or needles small, and keep the energy balanced, these are the advanced stages. When you are no longer thinking about adding major branches, only fine twigs, and using strategies to force back budding to replace aging branches, you are in advanced development, or the "finished stage".