The Beginner’s Guide to Bonsai : by Ken Norman

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How to create and maintain beautiful miniature trees and shrubs, shown in more than 230 step-by-step photograghs.

For the backyard bonsai novice, like myself, this 96 page book provides detailed guidance for a new and rewarding hobby. Anyone who enjoys watching things grow may be intrigued by this introduction to practicing the art and culture of bonsai.

Ken Norman is a highly respected bonsai artist. He is a former Chairman of both the Federation of British Bonsai Societies and the Friends of the National Bonsai Collection. In addition, he has been involved in organizing national and international bonsai conventions and exhibitions. With all of his knowledge and experience, Norman has created a detailed step-by-step introduction to nurture the beginner in a quest to nurture trees.

Bonsai is thought to have originated in China some 1,500 to 2,000 years ago. There are now many local, national and international bonsai societies that work together for the advancement of the bonsai culture worldwide. Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has an extensive bonsai collection.


The photographs in this book are stunning and help the reader appreciate the years of dedication that go into growing a “miniature giant”. Included is a photographic gallery of the author’s award winning trees.

Bonsai styling and growing can be therapeutic and educational. Immediate success is not the reward. As with anything that “grows”, time and attention are required.

My own initial experimentation is with maple seedlings from my backyard and a pot purchased at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store (perhaps someone’s hobby did not take off). I just completed my first root pruning and replanting. Now, I wait and see what happens in the new pot.

Root pruning and repotting. Now it’s time for patience and observation.

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Thank you, Ken Norman, for your very enjoyable way to get started toward growing a “giant miniature”. In my opinion, this book would be enjoyable even if you never got your hands dirty and just perused the pages.

Published by Audrey Newhall

I am an avid reader and contributor to Penna Book Reviews

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