Aimed at beginning bonsai enthusiasts, Peter Warren’s book, Grow Bonsai provides a guide to successfully grow bonsai. The book covers all the essential knowledge, tools and skills needed to get started on a bonsai project and to foster the love of this art that combines technical, horticultural and artistic components. With a very readable text, myriad of photographs, and a vast amount of information the the book is a valuable introduction to bonsai.

After surveying the nature of bonsai, its origins, basic principles, and role as an art form, the author describes 19 styles of bonsai and discusses the importance of the pot and how to choose one. In subsequent sections of the book, the author considers such factors as selecting the species, starting or buying a plant, and providing it with a suitable environment. A chapter on shaping the specimen includes a survey of basic tools and details on pruning, wiring, and repotting, and is enhanced by many photographs. A chapter on maintaining the specimen covers watering, fertilizing, collecting and displaying, annual cleanup up and care, and management health issues especially those related to pests and diseases, with photographs to aid in the identification of causative agents.

A species directory towards the end of the book features plant profiles of 21 trees that are suitable for bonsai organized into 3 groups: deciduous trees, conifers, and flowering and indoor trees. Each entry includes common and botanic names, light, soil, water, and nutrient needs, potential pest and disease problems, propagation methods, description of the plant and its unique characteristics, pot and styling suggestions, directions for care, and several photographs of the tree as a bonsai. The beauty of the trees in these photographs is an inspiration to both beginning and experienced gardeners!

A final section present five simple bonsai projects to get the would-be bonsai creator going. The projects take readers through some procedures targeted to specific goals and include: styling the first bonsai (featuring Chinese elm), making two trees from one (the technique of air layering), making a root-over-rock bonsai (using Chinese elm), styling an upright maple, and making a twin-trunk bonsai (using European hornbeam). The numerous photographs illustrating the main steps in the procedures facilitate the processes and greatly enhance the chances of success. Well done!

To buy Grow Bonsai from Amazon, click here.


By Karen