Bonsai is an ancient oriental horticultural art form. The word Bonsai literally means, in both Chinese and in the Japanese language, tree-in-a-pot. The first plants grown in pots were in Egypt about 4000 years ago, mostly for practical reasons, mobility, and convenience. The Greeks, Babylonians, Persians, and Hindus also used this technique. The Chinese are thought to be the first to plant trees in pots for aesthetic purposes. This occurred about 200 AD. Bonsai then moved to Japan with the monks that also brought Buddhism in the 6th and 7th centuries. Bonsai as we now know it today was perfected in Japan. Over the years, techniques have evolved which allow the grower to change the height and direction of growth, and in some cases to dwarf the foliage as well as the plant. Today, bonsai is an art form, a living sculpture and is practiced throughout the world.
A tree planted in a small pot is not a bonsai until it has been pruned, shaped, and trained into the desired shape. Bonsai are kept small by careful control of the plant's growing conditions. Only branches important to the bonsai's overall design are allowed to remain. The unwanted growth is pruned away. Roots are confined to a pot and are periodically clipped. The appearance of old age in a plant is much prized and bonsai may live to be hundreds of years old. The living bonsai will change from season to season and from year to year requiring pruning and training throughout it's lifetime ... and as time goes on it can become more and more beautiful.
Sei Boku Bonsai Kai is a group dedicated to learning, sharing knowledge, and improving the art of bonsai. Visitors and those interested in becoming members are invited to check us out at our monthly meetings.