Spring is in the air early this year, and it’s a great time to start thinking about your garden…be it a large garden outdoors, or a small one indoors! Miniature Japanese Gardens: Beautiful Bonsai Landscape Gardens For Your Home is perfect for the end of winter and wanting to get your green thumb twitching. The photos are inspiring, and the instructions are clear and simple, too!
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We recently received a copy of Miniature Japanese Gardens from Tuttle Publishing for review. We previously enjoyed Miniature Bonsai: The Complete Guide to Super-Mini Bonsai by Terutoshi Iwai, and dare I say, I’ve enjoyed this book even more! The two books are complimentary, however, so if you’re interested in the topic, I’m sure you’ll also appreciate them.
Miniature Japanese Garden Chapters
- Designing a Miniature Bonsai Landscape
- Mountain Landscapes
- River and Lake Landscapes
- Forest Landscapes
- Ocean View Landscapes
- Other Landscapes
- Bonsai Landscapes
- Using Everyday Containers
- Outdoor Bonsai Landscape Ideas
- Basic Information
This isn’t a book on how to care for bonsai (although there is some basic and helpful information included), but rather about how to plan your design for your bonsai, taking inspiration from the natural world around you, places you’ve been, or places you would like to visit. I like this angle, as how nice would it be to recreate a favourite escape and bring it into your home to admire and relax to each day? From forests to beaches, there are lots of options available.
I love the photos of various differing landscapes that inspired the featured bonsai. It’s really interesting to see how you can take a favourite location and create something so small that still evokes the memory and feeling of the original.
Don’t worry about the specialised tools that are mentioned in the book; if you’re a real enthusiast, you may want to invest in these over time, but I’m sure you already have items you can use in the meantime…just like you don’t have to go out and purchase expensive pots and containers, as this book shows you how to use containers you already have around and re-purposing them.
The miniature gardens in this book are short, sweet, and to the point. They are clear cut and simple. From explaining how to display your bonsai (and showing several pictures of bonsai in homes) to how to re-purpose everyday containers to how to blend the perfect potting soil and keep your bonsai happily watered, there’s just the right amount of information given to get you started without being overwhelmed.
My attempt at a miniature Japanese garden
As I mentioned earlier, spring seems to be arrived extremely early this year, and the same week a moss ball planter I ordered from Amazon when this book first arrived a few weeks ago, our sakura tree began to bloom. Yes, I’m starting small and easy by using a pre-made moss ball planter rather than constructing my own, but you have to start somewhere, right?! Anyway, Friday afternoon rolled around and I had a little time between sewing, washing dishes, and having to prepare dinner, so I took the opportunity to create my own miniature Japanese garden.
I filled the moss ball with some soil, then carefully lifted a small carpet of moss from the back garden (which is so water-logged it grows moss much better than grass) and placed it on top of the soil. Then Kallista helped me choose 3 sprigs of cherry blossoms from our tree to plant in the mini garden.
I think our efforts look beautiful! I know that the sakura won’t last long, just being sprigs direct from the tree, but now we will take a couple of fresh clippings from the sakura, as well as our Japanese maple, and attempt to sprout them on the window sill as my grandmother so often did with her house plants. I’m not sure how much luck I’ll have, but one’s never too old to keep trying!
If it works, we’ll have both a fun science class to learn about how plants grow and regenerate, but also have something beautiful in the end.
Not Just Bonsai
Surprisingly, one of the parts of this book I very much enjoyed was ‘Working with a Limited Space’ creating beautiful landscapes outdoors in small spaces using just a few plants, rocks or paving, and perhaps some lighting. I am thinking of doing some minor landscaping and switching up of our back garden and the photos in the book are getting my mind thinking about what we can do. It can’t all be done this year, but the ideas are beginning to brew!
A Book for All Ages
Indeed, Miniature Japanese Gardens: Beautiful Bonsai Landscape Gardens For Your Home is a book for all ages. Tristan is the one who was first interested and asked that we review it, while Kallista loved helping me design our mini garden, and I had fun, too, of course! I’m even thinking that we could turn our flower baskets that are attached to the fence into little Japanese landscapes for something a little different, how fun would that be?!
If you’re looking for a new hobby this year, why not try out mini gardens and bonsai? I’m sure you could find a group near for support and friendship, and you’ll soon be hooked in, too. As you can see from our first mini garden, they can be very easy and simple, to more ornate and exacting as you skill level increases.