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

  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.

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

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