A Step-by-Step Guide
by Colin Lewis and Neil Sutherland
This is an excellent book. The pictures are stunning, the text is easy to understand and well-written in a conversational way, not just simply informative. It covers the art and design of bonsai, techniques and methods used to shape the trees, their care, feeding and health. But there's far more than that. Growing and Displaying Bonsai also tells the reader what the function is of each part of the plant, so you know exactly what effect you're having on it when you trim and prune, and understand why certain tasks must be done in certain seasons. There's also information on how to set up a display, pick out good trees from a nursery, and grow your own stock. I especially appreciated all the extra tips, like how to make do with what you have already on hand until you can afford specialized bonsai tools, how to redesign a plant you're dissatisfied with, or even when to give up and start over. Aside from their beauty, the pictures are particularly useful because they show each stage of a bonsai's training, and often plants showed at a very early stage are pictured later in the book, after several years' development (the author stresses keeping a yearly photographic record of your plants!)
I read it for the Random Reading challenge (random.org gave me #68 off my TBR shelf) but it was a perfect book for right now- I've been messing around with my rather pathetic little bonsai plants without any guidance and needed to just sit down and read a book already!
Rating: 5/5 ........ 124 pages, 1993