Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bonsai - the smallest trees of the new year

Have any of you noticed that I've never posted about bonsai? How can this be? I think I was waiting for the perfect bonsai situation to present itself, which it did – this past weekend at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Though, from the looks of the photos on their site, I'll have to visit again in April and again in the fall. Even bonsai trees bloom in the spring and change colors in autumn!

What's not to love about bonsai?
1) they are miniature
2) they are works of art
3) they are trees
Plus, they usually come in cool ceramic pots and frequently have tufts of spongy moss growing at the base.

They are beautiful. And cute! Bonsai are so exquisitely manicured and pruned so that some of these less-than-two-feet-tall little trees are actually over 100 years old. It's really quite amazing. Looking closely at a bonsai, I sometimes wish I were the size of a fairy so I could sit underneath one of them and take a nap. That moss would be so soft! bonsai surely must be the smallest trees of their kind in the world.

"Bonsai" refers to little trees in pots...and the art to coaxing a tree to age without growing big has to do with trimming both the leaves and roots. But there is more than just careful clipping involved: Bonsai "demands a spiritual involvement" by the artist. Julian Velasco, curator of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden bonsai collection, says that "the stronger the connection between artist and tree, the more the artist can bring out in that particular tree." The creator has a very intentional role, using wire to gently guide the trees into position.

There's much more to be said and learned about bonsai, but for now let's just enjoy them as works of art, shall we?

1 comment:

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

I love BBG's bonsai in winter. Beautiful portraits.