Wednesday, September 30, 2009

French to English: Bonsai, Part 2

Thinking of adopting a Bonsai tree and caring for it?  A Bonsai tree hobby is one of the most rewarding experiences; the emotional satisfaction is immeasurable.  It's like owning a dog.  You buy a pup, nurture it, watch it grow to a healthy living thing.  You spend years with your dog, a special bond is formed and the two of you become inseparable.

Owning and caring for a Bonsai tree is the same.  You have this miniature tree - a replica of a much bigger tree - and it's growing and branching out, showing off a rich foliage right under your eyes.  We're not waxing sentimental, but some Bonsai writers have written pages and pages on the link between a Bonsai tree and spirituality.  Even if you're a self-declared atheist, when a Bonsai tree evokes certain sentiments in you, then in a way you have turned into a spiritual being.  If a Bonsai tree gives you moments of joy and a special sense of accomplishment, then yes, there's definitely something spiritual about a Bonsai tree.  I won't get carried away with this idea, so let's leave it at that.

But if you are keen in starting a Bonsai tree hobby, you'll need tools.  Some hobbyists tend to go overboard when they start a hobby and spend needlessly.  For Bonsai tools, you'll need to separate the "must-have" from the "nice to have."   As a beginner, focus on the must-have tools; then when you're firmly entrenched and raring to learn more and develop new techniques, go ahead and make that investment enthusiastically!

Basic Bonsai tools -



gros ciseaux large scissors
ciseaux à feuilles leaf scissors (leaf trimmers)
ciseaux à brindilles twig scissors
ciseaux à racines root scissors
pince coupant pliers for cutting
pince de force clamps
pince à bec flat nose pliers
plateau tournant lazy susan
crochet à racine root hook
truelle trowel
balai brush (small broom)
sécateur pruning shears
gouge gouge
pelle shovel (scoop)

Standard advice from Bonsai experts:  clean your tools after each use and keep them in a bag or box exclusively for your Bonsai activities.  Don't let humidity get to them.

For beginners, I'm happy to share some Web resources that will further your Bonsai education.  Visit your city library as well; they'll have an armful of good books that you can pore over!

Here are those web sites of interest: (this is the National Bonsai Foundation) (this is the American Bonsai Society) (this is the BC Bonsai Society in British Columbia) (this is the Australian Bonsai Society).

PS:  Before you buy a Bonsai tree, find out if it's an indoor or outdoor species, and ask the nursery if it will survive inside your home.  You'll need to get as much information as to the kinds of living conditions your particular tree will thrive in.

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