Feb 14, 2010

Bonsai: 101 Essential Tips

by Harry Tomlinson

I think the title is misleading. This is not a book of useful tips, not in the sense that a book like Trowel and Error is. Instead, it's an overview of the art of growing bonsai, arranged in very short numbered statements (I really don't understand why it was arranged this way). For someone like me, entirely new to the art, Bonsai: 101 Essential Tips gave me a rough idea of what growing bonsai can entail, but without the detailed instructions or troubleshooting help that would really get me started. (I'm still leering of grabbing clippers and engaging in what, to me, appears to be nothing less than plant mutilation and torture! although the results are beautiful) Still, I now have a general idea of what creating and tending bonsai entails, and the photos are simply lovely. I especially liked that the book has a short of gallery of many plants that are suitable for bonsai, with brief description of their particular care. There is also quite a bit of info about the design principles involved in creating an elegant, aesthetically pleasing plant. It is a nice and handy little book, actually- I just think it could have a better title, and do without every little paragraph being numbered inanely.

On a similar note, yesterday I was ecstatic to discover this video clip online, of Thalassa Cruso's TV show, an episode about bonsai! It was thrilling to see this woman I've come to admire so much through her books, and her vivid personality, frank no-nonsense attitude and lively humor was just as I had imagined it.

I acquired the bonsai book free through Paperback Swap.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 72 pages, 1996


  1. I've always wanted to try growing a bonsai tree. But I'm so afraid I would just destroy it.

  2. Show us some of your bonsai plants sometime, please!!

  3. Well, so far I only have this one, but I've seen pictures of bonsai made from shefflera and crassula (jade) plants, and I have both those as regular houseplants. Maybe I'll get brave enough to take a clipping from one and turn him into a bonsai too, someday.

  4. Plant mutilation, eh? I've never thought of it that way, but I'm like Nan. I figure I'd probably just kill a bonsai. I haven't had much success with plants, in recent years, and I'm hoping I'll get kittens soon -- not usually the best time to get things that can be knocked over or chewed.

  5. Bookfool- some plants can poison kitties who unknowingly chew on the leaves, too!

    And about the mutilation- well, I didn't know how bonsai is shaped before, and when I saw how the wires bend branches into different angles, it looked kind of torturous to the plant! Not to mention having its roots nearly all cut off, as well.


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