"The 'Little Trees' of Japan" from The Wonder Book of Wonders

      "The Little Trees of Japan" (1908):

      IN striking contrast to the giant Redwoods, or "Big Trees," described on another page, are the miniature trees of Japan.  These are not "baby trees," but grown ones which have been dwarfed by special treatment through a great number of years.  Thus an oak, a maple, or a pine which, if left to Nature, would have been an ordinary tree has become in the hands of Japanese gardeners a pot plant, perfect in all its proportions, but only a foot or two high, even though it may be several hundred years old.  The exact process is a secret [sic], but we know, roughly, that when a seed or cutting is planted it is starved in poor shallow earth, and the tips of its growing roots and branches are continually cut off.  This treatment is continued by generations of gardeners until we get the fascinating, if rather mournful, little trees of to-day, a forest of which would grow in a drawing-room.  Often, too, the gardeners train the trees so that their form expresses some idea — a dragon ascending to heaven is, for instance, a favourite one. 1

(Photographs by Clarke & Hyde and Special Press)


1. A tree shaped as a junk.   2. A century-old tree which is only two feet high.   3. Sixty years old and only eighteen inches high.


1    The Wonder Book of Wonders, 1908, c. pp. 243-244.  Brought to RJB's attention by Craig Cowing on 01/02/04: "This just appeared on the IBC gallery."  The subject message was authored by an individual named Tony and posted to the IBC Interactive Gallery on 01/01/04.  The poster doesn't give the bibliographic info.  http://www.internetbonsaiclub.org/galleries/viewtopic.php?t=86 "  Figure 1. above is a new Japanese style not seen or read about before in our studies.

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