Ki No Kaze Bonsai Club shares art

VIENNA – In an effort to grow interest in the ancient Japanese and Chinese art of bonsai, the Ki No Kaze Bonsai Club held its third annual Bonsai Days this weekend.

“We are trying to promote the art of bonsai,” said member Danny Weaver. “That is one thing people don’t think of, that bonsai is an art form that has the goal to give the appearance of age.”

Weaver said that while Western culture is obsessed with youth and having things look as new and young as possible, in China and Japan where bonsai began, age is revered.

“In Asia, they respect age and things that look like time has gone by,” he added.

Bonsai refers to miniature trees grown in containers with the Japanese art dating back thousands of years.

The local club’s two-day event included a display of about 50 privately owned trees in the greenhouse of Scots Landscape Nursery at 6303 Grand Central Ave., Vienna, on Saturday and Sunday.

“Most of the people who have come to Bonsai Days are fascinated by how bonsai can be made of any small-leafed shrub or tree,” Weaver said. “People are really drawn to the trees because they are unique and fascinating just to look at because they look like they would grow in someone’s yard but are tiny and growing in pots.”

Members of Ki No Kaze Bonsai Club gave attendees tips on bonsai care, including what types of trees make the best bonsai and how to keep them alive for decades.

“Some of these trees and shrubs are decades old,” Weaver said. “They just take a lot of time and care.”

A Scots Pine Bonsai tree on display was 25 years old while an Azalea Bonsai owned by club founder Steve Ritter is estimated to be 50 years old.

“These bonsai are amazing to have lived so long because these trees and shrubs can be difficult to keep alive because they take considerable work,” Weaver said.

That care includes an extensive amount of research and knowledge on the species of tree or shrub used as well as root and leaf pruning.

“The amount of work depends on the (species) of tree,” Weaver said.

He recommends the Japanese Garden Juniper for first-time bonsai growers because they are easy to work with.

“Working with bonsai is really enjoyable and relaxing,” Weaver said. “There is satisfaction in creating something unique.”