The Art of Bonsai

Bonsai is the art of planting and cultivating trees in a pot and shaping for a selected color, texture and shape.

“Bonsai” translates from Japanese to mean “tray planting”, but bonsai has evolved over the centuries to an art form.

Bonsai trees are shaped into intricate styles – it may take years to achieve the desired shape. Once the initial shape has been obtained, the tree is continually trimmed to maintain the design. Bonsai is a fascinating hobby that takes time to perfect but is challenging and rewarding.

It is important that when you are first starting out with bonsai that you have a general idea of what it is that you want to achieve. Even expert and experienced bonsai creators have some personal concept of what it is that bonsai means to them. You need to make your own decision about what you want to see when you are finished dwarfing and shaping your bonsai tree.

Before beginning a bonsai project, find out as much information as you can about bonsai in general, so you understand the direction to pursue. A good starting point could be collecting pictures of bonsai you find appealing combined with information on how to achieve this style. Many areas have local bonsai nurseries, bonsai shows, or bonsai exhibitions as part of a botanical garden. When starting your first bonsai project, select inexpensive materials which will allow you to experiment without concerns for the costs.

There are two primary bonsai styles: “koten”, or classical bonsai; and “bunjin”, or informal bonsai.

The Koten style is a tree with the traditional wider bottom and tapering top.

The bunjin style is the opposite – the bottom is narrow and the top grows wider.

With a basic understanding of the bonsai styles, you can move onto to creating variations developed by other bonsai hobbyists. Eventually, you’ll be able to add your own unique style to your bonsai creations.

Growing An Herb Garden For the Gourmet Cook

The best recipes call for fresh herbs rather than their dried equivalents that are found on the spice aisle in the grocery store. Fresh herbs add a delightful flavor and zest to foods that just doesn’t compare to dried spices to the trained palette. What is the ardent gourmet cook to do when the plebian local grocery store caters to only the mediocre taste buds? Consider growing your own herbs indoors, of course! If you want that just right flavor and aroma for your gourmet dishes, it’s worth a little extra effort to have your own supply of completely fresh herbs.

If herbs have a delicate flavor, does that mean the plant is also delicate?

Don’t let their delicate flavor mislead you into thinking the herb plant is also delicate. In fact, many herbs grow so hardy that they are labeled “invasive”.

In garden language, that means herb plants will totally dominate and take over an area. To save your garden from this invasiveness, it’s much simpler to grow herbs indoors in a dedicated location. Begin your garden by picking out a variety of small to medium flowerpots with drainage holes.

Your selection looks best if the pots match your decor. The herbs that you select should interest you and maybe even look good in your room’s surroundings. When you scoop in potting soil, be sure to prepare the soil according to the bag’s planting directions.

Decide which herbs are your favorites that you would like to try growing.

Any of these herbs make a good choice for starting your herb growing adventure: basil, thyme, sage, chives, and rosemary. Purchase a packet of seeds or starter plants from your local greenhouse or nursery. If it is winter and your local garden centers are closed, you can buy seed packets online any time of year. Plant herb seeds according to the package directions, being careful not to plant the tiny seeds too deep.

The windowsill is not always the best place to put your herb plants. While these plants will get plenty of sun, they will also be harmed by a cold climate. These flowerpots should be placed someplace that gets a minimum of 6 to 8 hours every day. When the soil feels dry to the touch, water your herbs. If you have a difficult time determining when to water your plant, purchase a thermometer-like device for your plant from a garden center. The device is simple to use: place it in the soil and it reads if your type of plant needs water or not. To catch draining water through the pot’s drain holes, put a plastic drip pan under your flowerpots.

If you don~t think you can grow a garden on your own, consider purchasing the Chia pet, which is made for anyone to grow. As your herbs grow, simply sheer off the fresh herb with a kitchen scissors. In no time, you’ll find out why these homegrown herbs are so much better tasting inside your homemade gourmet dishes.