"Bonsai" in the original Chinese and Japanese means "plant in a container". In western usage this has come to mean a tree grown in a container, conforming in all respects to a normal tree except for its miniature size. The cultivation of bonsai depends on careful selection of suitable specimens, skilful root pruning and potting and regular attention thereafter. This concise, illustrated handbook is an invaluable reference tool for both amateur gardeners and experienced growers alike. The straightforward approach to essential techniques, together with advice on tackling pests and other problems and the directory of recommended species will ensure successful results.
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Jon Ardle is technical editor for the RHS magazine The Garden, specializing in bonsai and Japanese gardens. He is the author of two books on bamboos and grasses and lives in Peterborough.Review:
A specialized gardening technique, Bonsai has been around for centuries, originating in Japan where the term literally means "plant in a container". This slightly simplistic term in reality covers a skill more complex in its manner than a simple containerised plant. Works of living art, they embody nature in a way not found in other areas of art or gardening. Reliant entirely on the grower and shaped by him to his satisfaction, it is a case of man controlling nature - a powerful position to be in. Either entranced by these tiny giants or repulsed by their capture and unnatural growing form, bonsai always invokes an opinion and here Jon Ardle, a long-time bonsai grower, shares his thoughts and growing techniques with the interested reader. From choosing a specimen to training and growing it, caring for it and repotting, pruning and watering, he knowledgeably imparts his wisdom. The complex rules and regulations of the various forms of bonsai are clearly explained and shortcuts such as using unwanted garden shrubs demonstrated. Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs and pen and ink drawings for techniques, it is an indispensable guide to all bonsai growers and potential devotees. This is part of the RHS Wisley handbook series, a comprehensive and concise look at Bonsai, fully illustrated and clearly written. Aimed at both the amateur and professional grower, this is an invaluable addition to any serious horticulturalist's bookshelf. - Lucy Watson
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