The definition of bonsai: To plant a tree in various types of shallow containers and to take great care to enhance the innate beauty of nature. In selecting the style, the tree must be arranged to enhance its basic beauty: to bring together the basic principles of Bonsai and the beauty inherent in the tree to create a living art form. Bonsai does not contradict nature. As a tree matures in the wild, so does a Bonsai tree. This element must be taken into consideration. When creating a Bonsai, one must also consider that the Bonsai will live fifty to one hundred years longer than the creator’s life span.
Selection of the materials and the style of a tree: The basic thought to remember: "Will this tree be appropriate as a Bonsai" Even if the species is suitable for Bonsai, consider whether it will look well in a container as a Bonsai or whether it would be best in the mountains or in the garden. Careful consideration must be given to the natural form, the basic character of the tree, before deciding on a particular tree for your Bonsai. Needless to say that it is important to have accumulated knowledge from careful and continuous observation of nature.
How to take care of Bonsai – How to judge the Bonsai: Be aware of, understand and consider the rate of growth of the tree which is to be the Bonsai. If this is understood, the success of your Bonsai can be assured. The two most important considerations to be made are:
1. The character of the tree.
2. The rate of growth. The ability to assess these two factors is in itself an education. The two factors above are nature’s power over human manipulation.
3. One must develop the power of the eye to judge and understand the above.
4. Judge the method of cultivation.
One must look, listen, and experiment with various methods of cultivation. Rather than trying to manipulate the plant, one must follow the dictates of the nature of the plant.
How to maintain the Bonsai How to improve the Bonsai: Observe and study the Bonsai at all times. Study its environment, always making sure to place it in the most desirable location (i.e., sunlight, temperature, etc.), yet, should the weather change slightly or the environmental conditions change, you should not be overly protective as you want to give the Bonsai the opportunity to adjust to its conditions naturally. The Bonsai becomes weak if the human element is overly protective. Excessive forced cultivation is harmful to the Bonsai, and a successful, satisfying Bonsai eludes attainment. However, overly simple satisfaction does not permit progress. Every time one looks at the Bonsai, one must always observe and consider how the Bonsai is developing and improving.
One must cultivate or create a Bonsai which is strikingly beautiful and impressive, just like the classical arts. The Bonsai must demand an appreciation and respect for age-old things, to the beginner and to the experienced Bonsai cultivator and grower.