Creating bonsai trees is an ancient art that promotes patience and enhances the senses. Years of practice and training different species has shown us just how aesthetic and unique the effects. You will never see any bonsai tree that is exactly the same as another but that is the beauty of the work. Unique but well-balanced and proportionate, a bonsai can fit into any type of decor to provide a fabulous atmosphere. If you are contemplating a bonsai tree for your home or office, the selection can be difficult. Here are some of the coolest looking bonsai trees to consider in making any space an aura of beauty.
A Shakkan or slanted bonsai tree will have a trunk that protrudes from the soil at a slanted position. You can almost picture a young tree fighting for a glimpse of the sun or being windswept by a strong breeze. The tree then straightens out to have an upward position but the trunk is solidified in a 60-80 degree angle. It is not unusual to see a couple of branches shooting downward at odd angles but this only peppers the overall proportion with a unique beauty.
Just like a manicured bush, the broom-style bonsai has a straight trunk with a bell-shaped crown of delicately positioned limbs and leaves. Some people have trouble wrapping their thoughts around the gracefulness of a crooked trunk but prefer this simplicity of perfect balance. The full crest of leaves branch straight out and balloon over the trunk by about 1/3 of the entire tree’s height.
Catching a picture of a head of hair blowing straight back in a storm or cruising in a car with the top down is whimsical but to see a miniature tree in this permanent position is unnatural. However, this windswept bonsai style is more common than many realize. A tree is a very sustainable part of nature and will stop at nothing to survive. This includes being pulled continually in one direction. The Fukinagashi is definitely an attention-grabber but very difficult to recreate.
Shari Bonsai Style
When a tree has been exposed to extreme weather conditions and loses its bark, a bald spot will develop and branches cease to grow. This same process can be duplicated through shaving the bark from a bonsai tree to keep new life from taking shape. The result is intermittent branches that flourish only at certain points on the high part of the trunk. Some can have a stair step effect with limbs scattered randomly while others can form a unique series of branches that are long and short. Shaping the leaves to look like a flat platter full of greenery adds an aesthetic feel of balance.
Seki-joju or Rocky Terrain
Rocks bring a new dimension in presenting bonsai by having the tree grow around an obstacle like a large jagged or smooth rock. A rock that happens to be on a plot of ground with tree roots beneath will not lay dormant but stretch its roots around all sides of the rock in search of daylight. The result is bare roots crawling around the rock’s surface and beginning the trunk atop the surface. Once the truck has formed, the tree will continue its growth in a straight pattern.
The literati or Bunjin-gi style bonsai has a skinny trunk with multiple curves and very few leaves. This is a very artistic display of the struggle in nature to preserve even the tiniest life form that it has. There may be bald spots and what is perceived as dead branches that have tried to survive throughout the travel to small sprigs of life at the top. The scene is a favorite when placed in small round pots for emphasis.
The flowing downward slope of a bonsai is created by planting in a tall cylinder pot. While the truck makes its roots in the deep soil, it only grows a short way before tipping over the side of the container. The result is a dramatic flow of branches in a S-shaped pattern. In a natural setting, these formations are found along cliffs where higher rocks block the sun or falling rocks have continually pushed the tree in a downward spiral.
A han-kengai shaped bonsai is similar to the kengai but not as dramatic. One section of the truck may grow straight while a consequent branch may be allowed to grown outward and slightly downward. There is not much trunk before the thick, sturdy branches take off in different directions, keeping the greenery low-lying and filled with leaves. A wider deep pot is used for this type of formation.
Netsuranari in Horizontal Display
Imagine a fallen tree in the forest where all forms of plant life are crushed; or are they? If there is just a hint of sunlight that finds its way through the broken tree, you will soon see life begin to form. Netsuranari or raft trunk trees will take a log, squeeze through the cracks and grown in a row toward the sun. When first observing this type of bonsai, it looks as though several trees have been planted in succession but it is actually the result of one strong root system. A long low planter can present trunks and limbs that may be straight, curved or slanted.
Yose-ue/Forest of Bonsai
Having more than one bonsai that is formed into one delightful display is a unique way to use bonsai skills. By planting one tree in the middle of a large, round flat container, the roots spread horizontally and begin to grow. A separation takes place and the result is multiple trunks that protrude through the ground. Smaller trees on either side will contribute to a staggered look, resembling a forest.
Literally hundreds if not thousands of designs can be made to show off the beauty of bonsai and starting with one of these cool choices will never disappoint in a distinct and cool display.