Throughout my life, I have found myself drawn to woodlands and forests. Maybe this has something to do with all the books I read as child that made me think of them as magical places, and home to fascinating creatures. Or maybe it is the tranquility and peace that being so close to nature brings. I am not really sure what it is but I do love them.
When I realized that I could recreate my own forest through Bonsai I was hooked.
A bonsai forest is a beautiful thing site to behold. Just like a normal forest, it is made up of a group of trees and usually consists of 3 or more trees. There is one main tree surrounded by others that compliment it. This main tree is usually larger than the ones that surround it. Through proper planning and arrangement it is possible to re-create different forest types including tropical forests.
Various techniques like use of negative space and varying the heights of the trees helps to make them exist in harmony with each other.
One of the most famous Bonsai forests would have to be the Goshin, a marvelous forest consisting of eleven Junipers. Created by John Y Naka, he started training the first tree in this group in 1948.
Creating your Bonsai forest
Traditionally a bonsai forest has an odd number of trees. Although they usually belong to the same botanical family forests with different species do exist. This might mean more maintenance work since different species might require different care during the different seasons of the year. They might also have varying light and water requirements.Just like a natural forest where trees would vary in height and size, in a bonsai grouping the trees would be of different sizes with the main tree which is also the tallest in the middle. This main tree which is the main focal tree is usually the oldest in the group.
Although the forest consists of different trees of various size each one is important in its own right and should be chosen carefully with the usual care that one would take when choosing an individual tree. The group of trees should also the trees should exist in harmony with each other. Therefore in addition to the individual look attention should be paid to how the trees interact with each other.
What trees should you use for forest?
Species that have naturally straight trunks look good in a forest although other species can be used in a forest too. Below are some species that would look great in a forest, larch (Larix), beech (Fagus), elms (Ulmus or Zelkova) and juniper (Juniperus),
Many Bonsai lovers will grow their trees from seed with very good results. In fact growing Bonsai from seed is probably one of the cheapest ways to achieve what you want.the other advantage of course is that you can have a lot of influence from the very beginning about what your tree looks like.the down side is that it will take a long time for the tree to start looking like a bonsai.
For someone new to the craft I would suggest buying trees that have already been trained so that it would be easier to maintain.
In fact you could even buy a bonsai forest which consisting of various trained trees.
Below are some of my favorite Bonsai forests
Ficus Bonsai Tree – Variegated
This forest consists of 3 trees (I still smile every time I think about the fact that in the world of Bonsai a group 3 trees are considered a forest)What I like about this.This species is an excellent choice for beginners since they are easier to care for. They can also tolerate low light conditions and would therefore make good indoor plants. Although in most cases if they are not placed near a window that gets good sunlight them you will need to supplement light requirements by using grow lights.
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Flowering Brush Cherry Bonsai Tree
This tree has small evergreen leaves and white flowers and beautiful magenta colored berries. Since they are tropical plants, they require a lot of light and thrive more if left outside in the summer months but should be kept indoors in the colder months.
Caring for your plant
- It’s should be fertilized regularly
- Watering: The plant should be watered regularly and not be left too dry between waterings
Redwood Bonsai Tree – 5 Tree Forest Group
Redwood has got to be one of my favorite trees.This might have to do with the fact that I never knew they exited at all(having spent most of my childhood in Africa)
Dawn redwood is a native of Manchuria China that was thought to be extinct but have become popular since seeds where introduced in the united states in 1948.There is no doubt that their popularity has to do with how beautiful they are. Although they are related to the redwoods found in California, they are deciduous and will lose their leaves.
This deciduous tree should be kept outdoors.
This forest consists of 5 beautiful tree of various ages and sizes.Each of them is between 5-8 years old.The forest is planted in a black oval shaped container
While there are so many different species and styles to choose from,I hope that the above will inspire you to continue with your search.If you want to look at lots of different options;
I also came across this small pdf document online which you might find interesting.
Here is an interesting video about Bonsai Forests.