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  HOME AND GARDEN Far East Bonsai  

Bonsai-History and Origin

A professor from the Society of Bonsai and of Penjing of Montreal provided me with the following history on the origin of Bonsai trees. This information was revealed to him by an old Chinese citizen on one of his trips to China

As you may have noticed, the climate on mountain tops is a lot more violent then at the base (intense cold, brisk winds, snow,...) . Therefore, the period ofgrowth for vegetation is considerably reduced. That is the reason why trees on mountain tops are smaller than the average even ifthey are quite old. Only the strongest trees survive in such a cold climate. They become stronger exposed to the cold, the snow and violent winds. 

One day, while walking on a mountain, a Chinese had a brilliant idea. He thought: 

"If these trees can survive in such a climate,
they must possess magical powers ...".

He brought back with him a small tree. He planted it in a pot and placed it inside his home. For him the tree was a symbol of endurance and long life. 

He believed that perhaps exposed to the magical power of this tree he also could live a healthy and long life. 

History does not reveal just up to what age this Chinese lived, but it is possible that Bonsai devotees live longer than the average! 


Bonsai cultivation appeared in China around 200 BC. But it is only in the 10'' century that it spread to Japan. It is believed that a Chinese Buddhist brought the first bonsai to Japan and offered it as a gift to a localresident. 

The Japanese quickly developed a fascination for this hobby and they improved the growing techniques. There is no doubt that Bonsai cuitivation is very popular in Japan.

In 1878, bonsai trees finally made their first appearance in Europe during a universal exposition in Paris. But it is not till the early 19' century that it finally gained global popularity.



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