Sunday, October 4, 2009

French to English: Bonsai, Part 3


bonsai part 3

A Bonsai tree is a WIP (work-in-progress).  Your Bonsai hobby starts somewhere but it never ends.  You start with a seedling or with a small tree.  From there, your personal journey begins.

One important aspect of Bonsai is to convert it from an ordinary looking shrub to one that has character so that it earns the admiration of fellow hobbyists - a work of art deserving praise.

To make that transition, Bonsai disciples believe that an essential accessory is wire.  Yes, wire!

Wire gives your Bonsai tree its shape, scope and direction.  This is why after you've mastered the basics of caring for your Bonsai tree, the next step is to learn good wiring techniques.

part 3 quotation bonsai

In Japan, Bonsai students devote two years to refine their wiring skills.  In the good old days, (circa 60s and 70s), there was no specialized wiring for Bonsai; hobbyists had to content themselves with whatever household wire they could get their hands on (like a clothes hanger).

Today's Bonsai hobbyists can now choose from a few specialized Bonsai wires.  We know of at least three types:

  1. Iron - iron wire is inexpensive, but it is also difficult to manipulate.  It rusts with time, so it's not the kind of wire you'd like to leave on your tree for a long time.
  2. Copper - this type of wire is used by hobbyists who want to leave it on the tree for several years.  Copper wire is used mostly for coniferous trees but cannot be used on deciduous species because it can scar their bark.
  3. Aluminum - this is the softest (and most flexible) wire for Bonsai trees.  Some people have the wire anodized to match the color of the trunk, but many use the clear wire as well.  Aluminum wire is used for deciduous trees - and on younger branches.

Wire can be used  on branches and on the trunk.  Fall and winter time are the best times to wire a tree.  When it's time to remove the wires, use wire cutters so you don't harm the bark when they get stuck.  If you're going to wire the trunk and the branch, wire the trunk first and then the branches.  Observe equal spacing and make sure you use the right thickness of wire.  If the coils are too close or too far apart, wiring won't do the work it's supposed to do.

Time for our French to English Bonsai terms:



substrat substrate
mousse de sphaigne moss (peat moss)
gravillion de granit granite gravel
terre végétale topsoil
empotage potting
rempotage re-potting
engrais fertilizer
motte root ball
semis seedlings
bouturage cuttings
arbres caducs deciduous trees
insecticides et fongicides insecticides and fungicides
ligaturage wiring
flétrissement de feuillage wilting of foliage
pincement pinching

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