Alice Young demonstrates the process of planting of a miniature Japanese juniper during her program on the art of Japanese bonsai during a recent Great Bend Garden Club meeting.
The art of bonsai demonstrated to Great Bend Garden Club
During their October meeting, 14 members of Great Bend Garden Club learned the story of bonsai (pronounced “bone- sigh”), the ancient oriental art of miniaturizing trees. Alice Young told that images of bonsai have been found in Chinese art as old as 1500 years and on Japanese scrolls between 600 and 800 years old. The Japanese call the small trees “A Spirit of Nature,” and they are created for the purpose of contemplation.
A bonsai can be created from any tree or shrub, but popular ones include apple (which bear full sized apples), bougainvillea (which blossoms), dwarf Japanese juniper, Black Hills spruce and bald cypress. The tiny trees can be started from seeds, or cuttings, or any very small tree found growing in your yard. The trees are formed upright in a container into a variety of shapes including a cascade, slanting, windswept, a forest grove, a broom, and driftwood.
The process is time consuming and continual. Alice ordered both a fully assembled bonsai and a bonsai kit from Amazon.com. She used her kit to demonstrate the procedure used in the planting and the formation of a bonsai which is literally defined: “tray planting.” The kit included a tree with roots which had been initially miniaturized.
The steps include choosing a small decorative container with a hole in the bottom, placing a mesh over the hole, covering the bottom with small pebbles and then a layer of potting soil. The tree is then placed off-center in the soil and more soil is added. The soil is then covered with moss followed by small gravel and stones decoratively placed around the scene which often includes a miniature statue or decorative bridge. A small wire is then wrapped around the tree from its base to the top and bent to the shape desired for the finished bonsai.
Periodically the tree branches and the roots must be trimmed to retain the miniaturization. The wire remains on the tree throughout its life with the exception of the bonsai being entered in a bonsai show or competition, when the wire is removed and then rewound after the show.
There are bonsai which are passed down from generation to generation and continue to live in their miniature state for many years. There is a bonsai in Japan which is over 500 years old.
Garden Club President Nancy Swafford led the business meeting in which it was decided to determine and formulate a list of future improvements and additions needed for the Great Bend Cemetery Rose Garden and initiate plans for writing a grant to submit to the Barton County Community Foundation. Plans were also made for the Rose Garden’s fall maintenance and preparation of the Rose Garden for winter which will be done in cooperation Tim Wornkey, sexton of the Great Bend Cemetery, and the cemetery staff.
Refreshments which were both attractive and delicious were served by Kerry Lampe.
The next meeting for GB Garden Club will be held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 19 at the Barton County Extension Office Meeting Room. Giving the program will be Sherry Brent and hostess will be Nancy Swafford.