By: Ken Norman
Publisher: Lorenz Books
Publication Date: November 2009
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 27, 2010
This fully illustrated volume is ideal for everyone from the rank novice to those who already have a strong foothold in this art form. The layout of this book is extremely appealing, informational, and just begs to be browsed. I purchased this book along with 101 Essential Tips: Bonsai for a family member who is very interested in this hobby. This encyclopedic volume is much more involved, but is very complimentary to the other one. There are 800 photographs in this book and those alone are a real plus.
The introductory pages discuss bonsai and exactly what it is and isn't. The reader is urged to "not become too ambitious too soon in the process" and "move forward in logical steps, proceeding with caution." There is a brief, but enlightening section on the history of bonsai before the book launches full force into a magnificent treatise on varying aspects of this art form. This "encyclopedia" is not laid out in an A to Z manner, but rather unfolds in a leisurely one, one that the reader can feel comfortable with and enjoy. For example, when discussing how to create a cascade bonsai, you will read a bit about what the plant represents, its style, design, and how one goes about creating such a plant. Equipment you will need is listed followed by instructions and nine small, but detailed photographs.
This highly detailed book covers so much ground I would almost say this would be the only book one would ever need, but exploring other books can be just as exciting as searching though a greenhouse looking for the perfect starter plant. In this book you will learn about different types of plants, plants suitable for inside and/or outside bonsai, the sizes of plants, the aesthetics of your bonsai, the proportions of the plants, what to look for if you want to purchase bonsai, you will see photographs of numerous magnificent plants, you learn about tools and equipment, how to collect plants from the wild, how to propagate bonsai in several different manners - seed, cuttings, grafting, air layering, the types of soil you need, pruning techniques, shaping, creating jin, creating Sharimiki, re-potting, displaying, and much more!
This exquisitely well written and illustrated encyclopedic text on bonsai will thrill everyone from the novice to the master. If you are sick of spider plants overtaking your home you just might want to express yourself and learn about bonsai. There are many books to choose from, but I'd say this is one of the better ones, especially for the beginner to an intermediate level bonsai aficionado. This book will be not only a learning experience, but a book that is a pleasure to browse. In the back of the book there is an index, a glossary, a list of suppliers (worldwide), where you can find bonsai collections, a list of organizations (worldwide), and a U.S. and Canadian plant hardiness map and zone chart.
Quill says: This book is very impressive and well worth adding to your library or giving it as a gift!