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The art of Saikei (sigh-kay) - tree or living landscape, is young. Throughout World War 2 in Japan, many collections and nurseries were destroyed, and suitable material for Bonsai was scarce and very expensive.

Mr. Toshio Kawamoto, a very important bonsai grower had the foresight to grasp that the young material obtainable would cause a loss of interest in Bonsai thus he created the Saikei art form where young plants and rocks could be blended along, using bonsai principles. A pleasing result was achieved. As the trees matured, they could be break up and also the m~st promising of them turned into Bonsai.

Saikei is less formal than Bonsai and so there's more freedom of composition; the components of Saikei are abundant and easily obtainable. The principles of bonsai, particularly design, balance, pruning, wiring, and planting, apply to Saikei.


Parts of Saikei:

  1. Container
  2. Rocks
  3. Trees, grasses, ferns, Moss etc
  4. Atmosphere


Must be shallow and might be round, oval or rectangular, depending on your alternative constituents and the effect that you're trying to form. The color must not be bold.

If Japanese containers are not on the market, cheap asbestos drip trays can be painted and will build smart alternatives. If you are industrious you may make your own tray out of marine - don't forget drainage holes.


Almost the most necessary part of a Saikei. They set the atmosphere of the scene that you are making an attempt to create, eg. a swish rock with touches of white could be used to depict a mountain coated in snow. You will find it a nice facility to place names to rocks - Cliff rock, mountain rock, Shoreline rock, Island rock - and once you have got analyzed the 'spirit' of the rock you'll be able to opt for the fabric to mix.

All the rocks in a very planting should be of the identical kind, and so the trees ought to match their characteristics, ego rugged rocks, rugged trees. The color of tree and rock should harmonize, but to not the extent that they blend into every different. The direction in which rocks are placed is vital, the direction being determined by such things as veins, grooves strata. Every rock also contains a back and front, bottom and prime.


Should mirror the character of the rocks. A variety of sizes will give you a more realistic effect. They will be young and untrained or trained by wiring and pruning. It is permissible to combine some varieties for effect.

In planting and positioning trees, the identical rules apply as for group planting no 2 trees should be equidistant when viewed from the aspect no two trees ought to be in a very straight line.

Perspective is very important and should be kept in mind throughout the full creation.

Varieties appropriate for Saikei are the Juniper, varied cypress, Chamaecyparis pines, cotoneaster, pyracantha, serissa foetida, lonicera nitida, myrtus and several a lot of. Auxiliary plants are most precious. Ferns, moss, selaginella, sedum, pilea grasses can all be used with due thought given to color texture and size. Bonsai soil might be used for the planting, but you will find a most useful aid in "muck", a mixture of clay and compost or peat. This can be used for stabilizing rocks and building retaining walls to meet different soil levels.


This is very necessary when creating Saikei. It must have the facility to move you into a world of illusion. If you'll be able to look at a Saikei and feel that you're on a high mountain facet, or beside a stream, then the artist of the Saikei has achieved his goal.