Bonsai Landscapes

Generally speaking fine arts not only flourished, but were also at their peak in China during the Tang Dynasty. Bonsai culture also reached a new height during this period. This was the first time when the entire bonsai landscapes were grown just on a tray.

During the Tang Dynasty, people witnessed a combination of planting and nurturing of miniature landscapes with grand imagination, which were envisioned by gardeners from their observations of nature as well as architecture. Precisely speaking, Chinese bonsai landscape creation, which was more or less playful in design, has never followed any formal guidelines. Even today it does not. Chinese bonsai landscape included small, imaginative figurines made from clay and also clay houses, temples as well as water bodies.

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Therefore, it was very natural that the Chinese bonsai landscape would lead to classical, ascetic group as well as rock plantings. In Japan, this development took place much later. In fact, it is possible to create several variations of this theme. Nevertheless, it is important that they should only consist of three elements - plants, earth and stones.

Rock planting

There are two fundamental forms of bonsai rock planting - clinging to a rock and root over rock. Both these rock planting forms are discussed briefly below.

Clinging to a rock

Sometimes you may come across plants that emerge directly from a rock, practically without being exposed to the ground ever. If you wish to replicate this in your bonsai garden, you should search for rocks having a coarse surface along with ridges, cracks and crevices. Any stone with a good form will serve this purpose. While you may collect such stones from the nature, where they are present in abundance, they can also be acquired from any store specializing in bonsai items. In case the fissures originally present in the rock are not sufficient to hold the needed roots as well as soil, you should use a chisel and hammer to make the crevices bigger. In fact, the shapes of the selected rocks will determine the arrangement of the plants. You can begin by inserting three wire loops into all the ridges or indentations on the rock where you plan to set a plant. It is a good idea to use epoxy resin stone glue to keep them attached.

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Ensure that the wire loops form large enough triangles that will be able to make room for the plant's root ball. Having done this, cover the cavities with 2 cm (3/4 inch) layer of a mixture containing equal parts of peat moss and loam and place the plant along with its root ball into the hollow space. It is possible that few roots will be protruding from the cavity, but you are advised not to cut them. Instead, spread the roots on top of the rock and again use the loam-peat moss mixture to cover them.

When the bonsai plants have been set in their appropriate places, you need to make some secondary plantings. The secondary planting should comprise plants that are low-growing, but rapidly growing green creepers. Growing such plants will avoid soil loss when you water the other plants. In fact, mosses are the most suitable plants used for this purpose when you are creating a bonsai-rock landscape outdoors.

While making the secondary plantings, it is important to only include plants that are low-growing and will not overshadow the bonsai tree. Every time they grow very tall, cut them back in the same way as you mow your lawn. The rock along with the plant should be placed on a tray that is filled with either sand or water. As rocks have a propensity to become dry very quickly, you need to flood them very often. You should be very careful while water with a view to avoid soil loss. You should only feed the bonsai rock landscape created by you roughly after 8 weeks. Always use liquid fertilizers to nourish such bonsai trees. From time to time, you also need to replenish the soil that is lost due to watering.

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Root over rock

It is likely that you may come across an exceptionally attractive rock and, often, that may be the foundation of an exciting, maybe a fanciful, bonsai landscape. Having discovered the rock, examine it minutely to decide on the side of the rock that should be facing the room. Next, take out the plant selected by you from its container, rinse its roots carefully and decide on the most attractive side of the plant. This side will be the one that will be facing the room. Now, position the plant over the rock, and stretch its roots all over the rock in a manner that they go further than the rock. Having done this, use a soft material to cover the rock, but ensure that you wrap the rock firmly so that the roots of the plant are held in the right place. For instance, you can cut a plastic bag into strips for use as the covering material. In fact, this serves the purpose excellently. At the same time, ensure that the roots placed on the rock cover it completely.

It is essential to wrap the rock, as this helps to keep the roots of the plant in place over the rock. At the same time, wrapping the rock with a soft material also puts of the roots from growing little new roots on the rock rather than in the soil. Having completed this process, you can place the rock along with the plant's exposed roots that protrude underneath in a flower pot or bonsai container that is packed with bonsai soil.

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While selecting the container, ensure that its height is equal to that of the rock. Now cover the protruding outside the rock with soil. Press the soil firmly on the roots and then water them liberally. Subject to the type of plant you have chosen, it will develop a root ball beneath the rock in roughly 18 months' time. Be extra careful while removing the rock along with the plant from the container or flower pot, get rid of the plastic covering around the rock and the small, dried out roots. Subsequently, clean the roots on the rock gently. All this needs to be done very carefully.

Prune the roots system of the plant carefully and transfer the rock along with the plant to a suitable bonsai container. At the same time, put in a secondary planting of low-growing plants. You can start giving regular care after about 6 weeks to 8 weeks when the secondary plants have developed new roots that are well established.

There may be occasions when a bonsai gardener may wish to grow a specific plant on top of a precise rock even though the roots of the plant are not sufficiently long to get to the soil and will not be able to receive the nutrients essential for its growth and development. However, it is possible to overcome this problem. For this you need to place the selected rock along with the preferred plant inside a heavy plastic bag having some drainage holes. Next, pack the plastic bag with ready-to-use bonsai soil or equal amounts of sand and peat moss.

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Turn down the plastic bag by about 5 cm (2 inches) once in every 8 weeks to 12 weeks, by getting rid of the surplus soil in the region of the roots at the top. When you do this, you allow the plant as well as the rock to gradually grow outside the plastic bag. As a result, more and more segments of the roots will be exposed, while the roots that continue to be covered by the soil grow more rapidly. When you find that the plastic bag is just 5 cm (2 inches) tall and nearly all the roots have been exposed, it is an indication that the little tree is all set for being transplanted.

Picturesque indoor bonsai for an indoor environment

The fundamental concept of a picturesque indoor bonsai for improving the environment indoors is rather simple. You will find that during the warm seasons, the environment inside your home is often arid and unhealthy. While humidifiers do help to change the indoor environment to a great extent, most of them are basically power hungry technical monsters. At the same time they are not very appealing aesthetically and, in terms of health benefits they offer, their contribution is extremely contentious. While keeping containers filled with water indoors during the heating season do not result in any negative effects, generally they too are unappealing aesthetically. On the other hand, indoor garden enthusiasts have a very undemanding plant "humidifier", which helps to enhance the indoor environment, in addition to contributing to the attraction of the indoor bonsai that you have been growing from before.

If you happen to be among those people who have a loathing for appliances and, at the same time, are imaginative in nature, may grow plants that develop quite easily as well as those that are somewhat demanding in an ordinary container or pot filled with water as a substitute for an electric humidifier. When this container or pot is positioned between or close to your bonsai plants, it imparts a feeling of tranquility and also attracts one's attention to the bonsai trees growing near them. In fact, indoor water gardens possess the aptitude to add to the natural look of any indoor collection, imparting an additional attraction and quietness to it.

Your water garden may comprise several dissimilar plants as well as attractive rocks, which provide an ideal ground wherein you can be playful as well as imaginative. There are a large number of plants that grow well and are also at ease in this humidifier that is natural and without any negative impacts. Some of these plants include water lilies, water grasses and several others. In case, these aquatic plants grow too long hindering the beauty, you should simply cut them back to a reasonable shape and size.

In order to maintain the plants in your indoor water garden, you need to provide them with the nutrients essential for them. All such nutrients should only be supplied to the plants through the water. This is the main reason why the level of water in the container should always be reasonably high. You can employ a water filter with a view to soften the water as well as supply the necessary nutrients to the plants.

The water fountain garden

This is a very interesting as well as beautiful means to enhance the environment in your home. While the water fountain garden is somewhat complicated compared to the water garden, it is certainly worth the effort. Precisely speaking, the fountain comprises a rock, which forms the base for the growth of plants. In addition, the plants also take shape on this rock, while water flows over it.

To create a water fountain garden in your home, you should start by searching for a well-formed large rock. At the same time, select a container having a base two times more compared to the base of the rock. The container should be roughly 5 cm (2 inches) deep.

Next, you need to bore a hole in the rock. The size of the hole should be enough to have room for a small electrical pump. You need to drill a channel connecting the place of the groove that holds the pump in place to the place from where the water exits. This connecting channel should be sufficiently wide to hold a water hose. Precisely speaking, the channel ought to be anything between 5/8 inch and 3/4 inch (1.5 cm to 2 cm) across.

If you wish to complete the advantage of this water-fountain method, you should first ensure that the electrical pump you are using is not only energy-efficient, but also does not require much maintenance. Having drilled the connecting channel, you need to place in the water hose along with a filter from the bottom of the rock.

Following this, you will require placing the rock somewhat unevenly, like in the case of all bonsai plantings, in a bowl filled with water and attach the plants. Set low-growing plants in the small grooves present in the rock. Preferably you should use plants that appear especially beautiful while they appear to "play" in the water.

You need to ensure that the water filter is placed in such a manner that it is not visible. The filter is useful as it not only softens the water, but at the same time provides the plants with nutrients. However, it is important to replace most water filters twice every year. When the whole thing is set, you need to pump the water over the rock's edges, thereby producing a delightful and playful view. This has one more benefit - it adds humidity to the atmosphere.

The water fountain will continue to serve you well and, at the same time, all your plants will remain robust, provided you reload the water whenever required and replace the water filter that provides nutrients. Before we end, here is another tip. Ensure that you cleanse the water filter at regular intervals.

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