Most people think bonsai are just small trees in pots, but they can be any size. There seems to be so many different names, too which makes it all very confusing.
|Japanese classification||Required hands to move bonsai||Approximate size|
|Imperial||Eight-handed bonsai||60 to 80 inches|
|Hachi-uye||Six-handed bonsai||40 to 60 inches|
|Dai or Omono||Four-handed bonsai||30 to 48 inches|
|Chiu or Chumono||Two-handed bonsai||16 to 36 inches|
|Katade-mochi||One-handed bonsai||10 to 18 inches|
|Komono||One-handed bonsai||6 to 10 inches|
|Mame||One-handed bonsai||5 to 8 inches|
|Shito or Keshitsubo||Fingertip bonsai||Under 2 inches|
Traditionally, the size of bonsai was measured by the number of hands needed to carry the tree.
For some reason, I have never considered having a large bonsai. Probably because they are not too easy to handle or for the amount of space they would need. Wherever we have lived, and there have been a few moves, I must always steal space for my bonsai. I start with one, but soon acquire more, either from seed or gifts from the birds. Sadly, most of our moves have meant giving away my collection, and I have lost some good ones this way. But it never takes me long to start again!
Repotting even medium sized bonsai can be backbreaking, especially if you have several to cope with. When Anita brought home a 4-foot Christmas tree last year that had been abandoned in the Christmas rush, turning it into a bonsai never occurred to me. I was just so pleased that they hadn’t chopped off its roots and it has sat in its pot at the bottom of my garden ever since.
I was glad to adopt this tree, probably because of my despair at how many trees are killed every year in the name of Christmas. This one had been spared and that made it very precious to me. I have been meaning to plant it somewhere special, but finding the time do this and a suitable place in our jungle of a garden has not been easy. So, why has my mind, some 8 months later, come up with the idea that it could be my first large bonsai?
How the idea even found room in my head in the first place was amazing, for I haven’t been able to think of anything except my WIP for months.
My problem with ideas like these, is they tend to keep growing (a bit like the Christmas tree) So, just in case I haven’t enough to think about, I know I have a new project.
I spent a long time studying it yesterday and it wasn’t long before I realised this could well be an impossible task. There were such a lot of big branches and I don’t have a clue as to which ones to keep and which to prune.
I have a feeling that this project might take a lot longer than I thought…