Trees pervade Japan's physical landscape and are vital to the country's history and culture. Over thousands of years, the sculpting of Japanese garden trees, or niwaki, has become a finely honed art with a distinctive set of pruning techniques meant to coax out the trees' essential characteristics. The methods yield dramatic and beguiling effects; mounds of pruned shrubs resemble interlocking hills, flowering apricot trees are trained out over archways, and elgonated branches of Pinus parviflora cast otherworldly silhouettes.
Jake Hobson, who learned the techniques in an Osaka nursery, encourages Western gardeners to apply the Japanese methods to their own trees. Impressive results are achieved when gardeners accentuate the natural spread of branches, transform overgrown shurbs into bold, architectural outlines, make their trees look mature, craggy, windblown or even lightning-struck, and much more. Uniquely beautiful and highly versatile, niwaki excel as additions to borders, doorway sentinels, and stand-alone focal points. The techniques are surprisingly easy to learn, and gardeners at all levels are urged to experiment.
With illustrated step-by-step instructions, this book is a comprehensive guide to sculpting pines, azaleas, conifers, broadleaved evergreens, bamboos and deciduous trees the Japanese way. Moreover, because Japan's garden trees are deeply rooted in the country's cultural landscape, the author supplements the practical tips with insight into niwaki's historical and spiritual underpinnings, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Japan's nurseries. Complete with abundant photographs, personal anecdotes and a wealth of advice, this unprecedented resource will inspire gardeners everywhere to transform their own trees into niwaki.show more