BONSAI

Course CodeBHT320
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Nurture Your Creativity

If you have ever marvelled at bonsai and thought to yourself that you would like to be able to create something like that, this course could be that opportunity you were looking for.

  • Learn to grow bonsai
  • Develop your ability to select, train and maintain appropriate varieties of plants in different situations to make bonsai
  • Indulge a passion, extend your horticultural skills or start a business

This course covers the many aspects of Bonsai preparation and maintenance including:

  • species selection
  • soil preparation
  • propagation techniques
  • Bonsai styles
  • creating Bonsai
  • maintaining Bonsai and
  • landscaping with Bonsai 

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Plant Taxonomy Botanical/Horticultural Nomenclature, The Binomial System, Botanical Classification, Plant Families and Species, Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
    • Pronunciation of Plant Names
    • Groups of Plants
    • Resources reference books, organisations, magazines and journals, nurseries, bonsai shops, seed suppliers and the internet.
  2. Propagation
    • Introduction
    • Methods of Propagating Plants sexual propagation, asexual propagation
    • Seed Propagation collecting seed, storing seed and sowing seed
    • Cutting Propagation stem cuttings, hardwood cuttings, semi-hardwood cuttings, leaf cuttings, leaf bud cuttings, root cuttings, factors affecting rooting of cuttings, striking cuttings, after care.
    • Propagating Mixes and potting mixes
    • Other Propagation Methods layering, air layering and grafting.
  3. Plants for Bonsai
    • Introduction
    • History of Bonsai
    • Types of plants suited for use as Bonsai sourcing Bonsai material
    • Some plant choices
  4. Bonsai Styles and Techniques
    • Classification of styles of Bonsai eg. formal upright, informal upright, slanting or leaning, semi cascade, cascade
    • Other styles of classification eg. sakei
    • Japanese classification
    • Bonsai Techniques
    • Bonsai Containers preparing the container
    • Wire wiring a bonsai
    • Pruning/
    • Tools needed for Bonsai work pruning tools, potting tools and wiring tools
  5. Creating Bonsai
    • Principles of Design roots, trunk and branches.
    • Evaluating the Bonsai and assessing additional features
    • Pruning and shaping the bonsai plant prune and grow techniques
    • Wiring wiring techniques and grooming
    • Branch Patterns in Bonsai jins, shari and driftwood
    • Root Evaluation in the Initial Stages of Bonsai potting the Bonsai, rock planting, clasped to rock design and root over rock.
  6. Bonsai Culture and Maintenance
    • Soils Soil composition, colloids, structure, texture, chemical properties, improving soils, improving texture, improving structure, improving fertility.
    • Soil for potted bonsai principle components
    • Particle characteristics particle size, sorting, particle shape, particle surface texture
    • Growing Medium Mixture functions of a growing medium, properties of a growing medium, drainage, water retention and colour and appearance.
    • The Nutrient Elements macronutrients and micronutrients
    • Common Pest Problems on Bonsai eg. aphids, borers, caterpillars, scale and thrips.
    • Common Fungal Diseases of Plants eg. Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew and Rust
    • Watering and Fertilising Bonsai symptoms of water deficiency, symptoms of excess water and fertilising.
    • Repotting and Root Pruning the Bonsai
    • Maintenance Pruning for Bonsai removing dead/diseased wood, controlling the type of growth, controlling shape and size, rejuvenating, leaf cutting, basic rules of pruning, points to consider when pruning.
    • Placing the Bonsai
  7. Landscaping Principles for Bonsai: Learn the Principals of Landscape Design with Bonsai and the applications they can have in creating your garden.
    • Principles of Landscape Design Unity, Balance, Proportion, Harmony, Contrast and Rhythm
    • Qualities of Landscape Components line, form, mass, space, texture, colour and tone
    • Creating Landscape Effects
    • Landscape Applications for Using Bonsai group plantings, ssaikei, bonseki, bonkei, miniature gardens, rock gardens, water gardens.
    • Bonsai in Tubs and Landscape Features
  8. Special Assignment
    • Research a particular aspect of bonsai of interest.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the plant kingdom, an understanding of the taxonomic hierarchy, and an appreciation of the types of plants suitable for bonsai.
  • Understand methods of propagation used in bonsai.
  • Learn the species of plants most suited to bonsai.
  • Learn a range of bonsai styles and techniques used to achieve them.
  • Understand the process of creating bonsai.
  • Understand the basics of successful bonsai culture.
  • Understand landscape design principles to better create bonsai landscapes.
  • Carry out research into a particular aspect of bonsai of interest to the student.

What You Will Do

  • Develop plant review sheets for 24 plants suitable for bonsai.
  • Make up a list of resources/contacts useful to a bonsai grower.
  • Research what constitutes a good propagating mix.
  • Visit a nursery and observe the nursery stock present to assess suitability for bonsai production.
  • Propagate two different species of plant that have the potential to be used as Bonsai.
  • Obtain three plants and determine the style of bonsai each plant lends itself to.
  • Make a list of the most commonly grown varieties of plants you consider as being used for bonsai today.
  • Visit a bonsai house, bonsai farm, bonsai nursery or other facility where bonsai are available for viewing and classify the style of at least 10 different bonsai plants.
  • Evaluate, prune, wire, shape and pot three different plants as bonsai
  • Obtain soil from two different types of soils; test the soils for drainage, and name the soils.
  • Obtain (or make up) a potting mix which you consider appropriate for growing bonsai in.
  • Conduct tests to name the potting mix you have obtained. Test the drainage of the potting mix.
  • Visit a nursery or garden growing bonsai plants to assess the plants for pests, diseases and environmental anomalies.
  • Design a miniature garden pot incorporating a bonsai plant
  • Using your knowledge of landscaping principles, decide on the best outdoor locations three different bonsai, and the optimum indoor locations for short term display.
  • Take photographs or sketch the locations in which you would place the bonsai.
  • Submit these photographs with your assignment.
  • Obtain plants of different varieties which can be used in the topic you are studying for your special assignment.
  • Using what you have learned in the course, turn your chosen plants into bonsai and either photograph or draw what you have created. Write a significant essay on the topic you have selected. Supplement this with drawings and/or photos of the two bonsai plants you have created.

Origins of Bonsai

Bonsai is often used to describe dwarfed plants.  However, in a historical context, bonsai was the name given to potted, styled trees created by Chinese and Japanese artists.  In fact, it is widely acknowledged that it was the Chinese who first began collecting and transplanting dwarfed trees which they discovered growing naturally on mountain tops and hillsides, but the Japanese perfected the art of Bonsai. Although bonsai trees are indeed dwarfed, they are also trained and cultivated to look like an aged miniature tree. Everything from the leaves to the stem resembles a scaled down tree. The actual bonsai includes both the pot and landscape created by the artist. The term 'bonsai' is formed from two words: 'bon' which means container or pot, and 'sai' which means plant or plants. Nevertheless, when combined the two words mean much more than merely a tree planted in a pot. It is the craftsmanship and artistic creativity that goes into bonsai which separates it from a simple potted tree.

The art of bonsai is not intended to simply re-create nature, but it strives to capture the essence of the wild and stimulate the observer's imagination into thinking about how the tree might be growing in a natural landscape. Whilst the beauty of bud burst and the emergence of flowers might be seen in a natural landscape, the intricate detail of these things can be more fully observed and appreciated in a bonsai or collection of bonsai. 

Where This Course Could Lead You

This course could not only indulge a passion for bonsai and help you to explore your creativity. It could also be taken as part of a certificate or other qualification. It might also help you to explore other study or work opportunities. It suited to:

Horticulturists

Gardeners

Artists

People with an interest in bonsai or setting up a bonsai business

Meet some of our academics

Gavin Cole Gavin started his career studying building and construction in the early 80's. Those experiences have provided a very solid foundation for his later work in landscaping. In 1988 he completed a B.Sc. and a few years later a Certificate in Garden Design. In the mid 90's he worked as a manager and garden designer with the well respected UK company -The Chelsea Gardener. A few years later he formed his own garden design business, at first in the UK, and later operating in Queensland Australia. He has since moved to, and works from Adelaide. Apart from his work in landscaping, Gavin has been a prolific garden writer and a tutor with ACS Distance Education since 2001. He is currently part of the team of garden experts that produce Home Grown magazine.
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Marie BeermanMarie has over 10 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants". Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Ldscp. PDC
Rosemary Davies Rosemary trained in Horticulture at Melbourne Universities Burnley campus; studying all aspects of horticulture -vegetable and fruit production, landscaping, amenity, turf, aboriculture and the horticultural sciences. Initially she worked with the Department of Agriculture in Victoria providing advice to the public. Over the years she has taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing


Check out our eBooks

Growing ConifersThe great thing about conifers is they look good all year round. Most of them are grown for foliage, and in general, foliage remains the same pretty well all year. Unlike other trees and shrubs, you do not have a month of attractive flowers, followed by an obscure plant the remainder of the year. A brilliant blue of gold foliage conifer will be blue or gold month in, month out.
Scented PlantsScented plants can be either a delight or a curse. For many people, there is nothing more pleasing than a garden filled with fragrance, but for others who suffer allergies, certain plants can make them physically ill; sometimes very seriously.
Trees & Shrubs for Small GardensTurn even the smallest space into a great place. This e-book is an essential guide for any gardener who wants to make the most of a small garden, balcony, verandah or courtyard.
What to Plant WhereA great guide for choosing the right plant for a particular position in the garden. Thirteen chapters cover: plant selection, establishment, problems, and plants for wet areas. Shade, hedges and screens, dry gardens, coastal areas, small gardens, trees and shrubs, lawns and garden art.

 

 

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