It was on Christmas Day in the Chinese calendar 1,200 years ago that the first bonsai was presented to the glorious Emperor of the Middle Kingdom, complete with a tiny star affixed the top of the perfectly tapered black pine from the mountains of Manchuria . . .
Not really, but happy Bonsai Christmas anyway! This season of giving is actually the perfect time to get into the bonsai game for yourself or for a friend or loved one ― or if you’re already an enthusiast, to grow your hobby during the holidays (pun fully intended, of course).
In fact, in this season of the year when lovely pines and firs have been chopped down by the millions to decorate our houses, this may be the best time of all to brighten the lives of those who love green and growing things.
That said, and list in hand and checked twice, where to start? If you’re a beginner yourself or thinking of turning someone into one this season, just picking up a “mallsai” (the stiff & dying junipers you see complete with glued-in pebbles at checkout counters nationwide) isn’t the answer. Neither is gifting somebody a grapevine stump-in-a-pot from a mail order fruit vendor the solution.
Been there, done that personally, came here instead.
It pays, you know, both in living greenery and folding green to get the good stuff. Which, modestly, you’ll see loads of from poking around ― from an intimate little snow rose to the rare medium well done of miniature Japanese pines on hand.
Knowing that the bonsais you’re buying are from bonsai experts in the field and not grapefruit growers in the valley should just be the starting point for you this Christmastime (or any other). The next step should be indulging your giftees with the proper pots, tools and all things soil-related, which you’ll find here a’plenty. After all, this has been a passion of ours for half a century, decades before the internet invited us into your warm home & busy office.
And speaking of you, what about your own wish list and the other enthusiasts on your list? For the tyro to the all-pro, you’ll find a sled-load of rare and useful items (like the delicious dragon pots from Tokaname) to upgrade an existing specimen collection or set out for the job ahead, come spring.
That said, if you’re already an expert in the art & science of bonsai, be sure to treat yourself (or have someone give you) the brilliant Bonsai: Beginner to Advanced – Conversations with a Master in digital or print versions (or both!) and/or the landmark Bonsai Techniques I by John Naka ―autographed, if you please, a true collector’s item. And for something really special, consider the breathtaking The Imperial Bonsai of Japan with very special Christmas pricing. You’ll never part with it ― ever.
Beyond that, whether you’re just finding your way along the bonsai path or brushing up on the half-remembered bits, there are dozens of other resources right here, 24-hours a day to help, including our unique, free Bonsai Channel streaming video series of tips and techniques.
We’re all part of one big, beautiful bonsai family, you see, and we believe that right down to every grain of river sand we sell. So happy bonsai Christmas to all, and to all, a good-night!