We thought we'd bring you a gardening story tonight, to help chase away any winter blues. This is no garden variety of gardening, however.
They are practitioners of the art of Bonsai, the growing, pruning, bending, and shaping of dwarf trees. Some of these beauties, most no more than 18 inches tall, are four, six or eight hundred years old, cared for and handed down by many generations of Bonsai masters. There is a strong philosophy associated with Bonsai, rooted in Buddhism that seeks out balance and harmony between nature and man. The Bonsai tree is an expression of that harmony.
Bonsai Master Ed Hake said, “Back when I was young my grandmother would go over to the local greenhouse near where she lived and dig up flowers and things and I'd take 'em home and we'd work on 'em.” Ed says that made an impression on him.
Ed Hake is a local bonsai master who ignores most of the philosophy stuff, he just loves the trees. “I've got a Ginko, another Pine, some Maples, Hornbeam.” Ed said.
Ed starts his Bonsai's in the ground; the trunks grow faster there. When they're the right size he puts the trees in pots, and using wire and things called limb benders, he determines the shape the tree will grow into with breathtaking results.
“And it gives the appearance of more age to the trees. The idea is not having a real old tree but that the tree looks old. So if you can start with a young tree and then make it look old by pruning it and wiring it, making the branches come down.” Hake said.
Is any technique okay in Bonsai or are there very strict rules? “The Japanese stick to very strict rules but as Americans we do whatever we want.” replied Hake.
Ed has been growing Bonsai for forty years, most of these trees are about that old, but he has some real ancients. Bonsai is not for the impatient. That's part of Bonsai philosophy Ed Hake does take to heart. “There are a lot of people that get very emotional about these things but I just enjoy the plants. It'd be a shame if I lost it for whatever reason, I don't worry about it I just enjoy them.” Ed said.
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