Vol#8 The Bonsai Seasons
Vol #8 Written by Yusuke Ogawa
Like vegetables, fruits, and fishing, there is a proper season for each bonsai tree. The Plum, a celebration decoration for the new year, announces the early spring. The spring cherry blossom and the green maple fresh leaves announce summer. The awns, fruits, and red maple leaf shows up in Autumn. Juniperus chinensis and Pine tree native will keep their green leafage in Winter.
Over the centuries, the Japanese people have valued the sense of each season and incorporated them into their daily lives. The foundation of these values is based on the spring and autumn equinoxes cycle known as "twenty-four periods solar term”. These twenty-four periods can be then further divided into 72 micro seasons. One of the real pleasure of Bonsai is to select and set up your arrangement according to each one of these seasons.
Usually, the right season is "the time when the tree species shines the most". For instance, the right moment for a bonsai with flowers and fruits is easy to notice. The blooming flowers and colored fruits will indicate you it is the right time. A Leafy bonsai will have buds and red leaves. The Pine and Cypress trees are in season from late autumn to winter.
This seasonal cycle awareness is one of many enjoyable moments when you grow and care for your bonsai trees.
The garden where I received my instruction provided bonsai for lease. It gave me the opportunity to prepare bonsai for each season by caring and arranging them accordingly.
For example, we reduced the number of leaves to give a refreshing feeling when the gentle wind rustles them during the hot summer season.
We also reduced the number of buds on the conifer in winter to give it a sense of melancholy and sorrow. We will also improve its leaf arrangement.
After learning how to grow bonsai according to the general seasons, it will be interesting for you to try and shift them. For example, you can make a Pine tree looks fresh and cool in the summer, or you can use a coniferous tree with many small branches so that you arrange them like a bare tree in the winter.
I invite everyone of you to create a sense and an adaptation of each season while you enjoy caring and shaping your Bonsai.