Growing Small in Different Ways with Indoor Bonsai
The new hobby of miniature gardening overlaps many different types of gardening and brings them together into one very special package. One of those forms is the art of bonsai, what we call the godfather of miniature gardening, an ancient art form of gardening small started centuries ago in China.
We insist on calling bonsai “art” because of the strict rules applied, as well as the commitment and focus needed to sustain it. Bonsai literally means ‘tray-plant’ and it’s the shallow tray in proportion to the tree that defines a true bonsai. You’ll find some call a small tree in any pot bonsai, but if you return to the literal translation, there is no question about the definition of true bonsai.
But with miniature gardening, we can have our bonsai and go on vacation too. We plant our young trees in deeper pots and let the trunks thicken while it lifts the tree canopy off the ground, the branches develop gradually, and you get the look of bonsai without the unyielding maintenance schedule. So, when I was sent this interesting book to review, I knew it was right up my alley. I’ll never pass a fruit tree at the garden center again without considering the potential.
Bountiful Bonsai: Create Instant Indoor Container Gardens with Edible Fruits, Herbs and Flowers by Richard W. Bender (Tuttle Publishing, 2014) is a fun way to enjoy the art of bonsai – and you can eat it too.
The focus of the book is edible trees that can be grown indoors, a very fun idea made achievable, thanks to the author, Richard Bender. Richard takes you through the true art of bonsai, and then explains how you can achieve the look of bonsai quickly, with a few compromises.
The book then lists a number of different kinds of plants that can be grown this way: cherries, oranges, guava, coffee, lemon, lime, figs, basil, thyme, mint bushes, the list goes on. Hungry yet? This may be the book to keep in the car just in case you come across a potential candidate at your local independent garden center. The number of different possibilities alone is inspiring in itself.
Richard doesn’t leave you there either. There is a chapter on long-term care that includes some easy indoor light ideas, planting, pruning and fertilizing, then followed by a chapter full of cooking ideas and more.
It’s a cute and inspiring book. If you are a foodie and a gardener, this book is for you. If you want to step into the world of bonsai, this is a great introduction to the art. Or, if you are like me and like growing different ways, this is for you. I can’t wait to see if I can build one into a miniature garden too.
Find it through our affiliate link on Amazon here.