To create a bonsai in the house or in the garden, juniper fits perfectly. This ancient Japanese (Chinese) art of growing dwarf trees for decorative purposes has become very fashionable with us in recent decades.
There is a legend about how the art of growing dwarf trees came about. It says that one emperor commanded that his entire empire be depicted in miniature in all details. There were no problems with models of mountains, rivers, buildings. But to depict forests and parks, the craftsmen had to take young trees from nature and, transplanting them into pots, grow dwarf plantings.
This is just a legend. In reality, this art, numbering at least 12 centuries, arose in China during the reign of the Tang Dynasty. A Chinese reading of hieroglyphs “bonsai” sounds like “pengzai”. It means "grown on a tray."
This art was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks. They believed that a person growing a bonsai is likened to a Buddha caring for his “garden” - the earthly world.
The tiny growth of trees is achieved not only by trimming the crown, but also by the horizontal arrangement of the roots of the trees. Indeed, to create a bonsai (the so-called art of growing dwarf trees, and these trees themselves) they never use deep and large pots in diameter.
Although art is ancient, the first exhibition of potted trees was held in Tokyo in 1914. However, the technique of growing miniature trees gained world fame only in 1937, when 50 copies of tiny plants that looked like real ones were presented at the World Paris Exhibition for everyone to see. The audience was surprised and admired by Japanese art. The collection won first place and the main prize of the exhibition.
Now there are many traditional and special styles of creating bonsai, which are widespread not only in Southeast Asia, but also around the world. Many people are interested in this art, while others seek to acquire ready-made bonsai trees for their home or garden.
The popularity of this technique of growing tiny trees is evidenced by at least the fact that bonsai books are published in 26 languages.
We have a widespread idea that dwarf trees are grown only in gardens. In fact, this can be done in the house. However, the plant must be provided with sufficient lighting, and for deciduous trees or shrubs - a period of rest. To do this, place the bonsai tree in cold rooms, for example on a glazed, but not heated balcony or loggia.
Juniper bonsai is very popular. This plant is quite unpretentious and not demanding on soil and light regime. In addition, it can grow well both in open air and indoors. Such varieties as Cossack juniper, Sargent juniper, Chinese juniper, are quite suitable for growing at home.
Juniper requires light, slightly fertilized with organic matter soil.
Therefore, only 8-10% of well-rotted compost is added to the juniper mixture.
To grow a miniature juniper bush or tree, take a soil mixture of 2 parts peat, 1 part land and 1 part sand. It is better to use not ravine sand rich in clay, but washed with river. A small amount of perlite or vermiculite is also added to the mixture. These minerals have the ability to absorb moisture, and then gradually give it away. They will contribute to good drainage of the soil mixture.
These materials are available at garden centers. In addition, they are sold in construction supermarkets, but in bulk packaging. In the absence of perlite or vermiculite, you can use broken fired brick.
Juniper does not require abundant watering. In the hot season, it should be watered no more than 2-3 times a week. In winter, watering should be limited to 1 time.
This plant is not particularly photophilous, so the juniper bonsai bowl should be placed so that it does not fall into direct sunlight, but also not in a completely shaded place. After all, it is a green plant, and it requires sunlight for photosynthesis.
In warm time, a miniature bush or tree can be taken out into the fresh air.
If you intend not to purchase a ready-made bonsai, but to independently form a tree, then you need to choose a young seedling, which has a stalk that bends well. The plant is shaped with copper wire (in ancient times, the Japanese used strings from animal veins).
From a young plant, you can create any shape that your fantasy tells you. However, you can read in books about bonsai styles.
The formation of a miniature plant is a rather lengthy work that requires certain knowledge and skills. It will be possible to form bends of the trunk in only 2-3 years. But even after this, the bonsai requires constant cutting and maintaining the shape of the crown.
In the photo you can see the stages of formation of the crown of dwarf juniper trees.
Nivaki, or garden bonsai, is a group of plants for setting up a Japanese-style garden. However, the Japanese garden and its European prototype are significantly different from each other.
The main difference is that the Japanese choose far fewer species of trees and shrubs for their garden than the Europeans. Indeed, for the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun, the creation and contemplation of nivaki is a whole philosophy. For us Europeans, these are simply exotic forms and the original appearance of plants.
European Nivaki is more like a topiary - architecturally formed stands. The Japanese use a pruning method to form plantings for such a garden, while Europeans prefer to trim rather than prune the trees.
To create a garden bonsai in our conditions, such evergreen conifers as juniper, pine, cypress, yew berry are best suited. Also used are larch, euonymus, elm, hawthorn.
Professional gardeners or amateurs devoted to this business form a garden bonsai even from old bushes by radical pruning. To do this, they use bushes of lilac, jasmine, spirea, as well as some trees.
Forming a nivaki and creating a Japanese-style garden requires years of painstaking work and constant care. First of all, care consists in constant haircuts. For the season they need to be held at least 7.
Due to the complexity of the process of forming garden bonsai, most lovers of Japanese beauty acquire ready-made miniature plants. You can buy high-quality dwarf seedlings far from any garden center. Therefore, you need to contact proven and trustworthy centers. After all, such crumbs are not cheap.