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Bonsai for Beginners Paperback – May 28, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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About the Author

((Revised author bio for the new in paper edition of Bonsai with Beginners))
About the Author
Craig Coussins travels around the world teaching about bonsai. He has worked in the United States, South Africa, Ireland, Russia, England, and Italy, studying the indigenous species and working toward developing them. He is also a writer for many bonsai magazines.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 1st ptg edition (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806974400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806974408
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Bonsai for Beginners is a superb book written by someone that obviously knows their subject. Unlike many other Bonsai books, this book shows you through many examples methods of achieving excellent results from this `art'. The photographs are simply amazing and I have never seen so many in a Bonsai book before. There are close on approaching 450 in this volume and while there is a lot of text, the text is easy to read and follow. In fact, I found myself sitting down and reading what I thought was a reference book. The quality of the writing is almost novel in its structure and very riveting. If you want to know how to make Bonsai then this is, without any doubt, the book for you. As you develop your Bonsai skills, you go to some of the slightly more advanced sections such as taking a cascade style, where the Bonsai foliage is cascading down over the pot and below the table and turning it upside down to make a wonderful informal upright tree shape. You really have to see this to appreciate it. The core of this book is its excellent series of step-by-step photographs covering all the techniques such as potting, pruning and root pruning, subjects that usually scare the pants of many a beginner. Scattered throughout the book are many wonderful examples of Bonsai from Craig Coussins own collection and prize specimens from a number of other Bonsai collections.
Craig Coussins shows you in a clear and concise way all the techniques that fill you with confidence to try these techniques for yourselves. Not only a `best buy' but also a truly necessary purchase if you are interested in Bonsai.
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Format: Hardcover
"Now and again in Bonsai, or indeed any other art form, comes along someone who not only knows how to do this art but also, and more importantly, knows how to teach this art."
Bonsai for Beginners is much more that a simple beginners book. It takes you form the beginners points of reference up to intermediate standard in Bonsai. I am a beginner to intermediate grower and I was astonished at the breadth of information in this truly wonderful book. It is the most lavishly illustrated book on the subject that I have seen and I was riveted to the pages as it is a very easy to follow text. The step by step is practical in every sense and the subject matter made me want to go out and try them immediately.
Now and again in Bonsai, or indeed any other art form, comes along someone who not only knows how to do this art but also, and more importantly, knows how to teach this art. Craig Coussins is such a person and I would heartily recommend his writing to anyone that truly wishes to understand the subject.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book a wonderful read. Excellent information, not too lengthy in detail but concise and intelligent. No information overload. Just the very thing to get a beginner interested in starting Bonsai. Sound techniques and a very friendly read throughout.The sections are well laid out and in my opinion, the book acts like a teacher of Bonsai was just behind me when I am working on my Bonsai. I have been keeping Bonsai for two years now and this was exactly the kind of book I was looking for-a book to take me from the elements to intermediate. I have seen this excellent teacher twice now and I have been inmpressed with his teaching abilities. This is clear in his writing. Succinct, to the point and no faffle! This beautifully illustrated book must obviously make one or two other Bonsai writers very jealous.
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Format: Hardcover
Update 7/20/2014

A dozen years of bonsai lovin' later I re-read my original review (below),changed the review title, and upped the rating from 2 to 3 stars. (And shook my head at 22 year old me's shoddy writing).

First of all, let me say that Craig Coussins is an amazing bonsai artist and he wrote a good book! It is well written and is packed full of great photographs and knowledge from a world class artist with decades of experience.

However, I still believe that the "for beginners" part of the title is not really accurate. The majority of the book is focused on intermediate to advanced techniques.

Don't get me wrong - if you are a beginner to bonsai and you purchase this book you will get a lot out of it. But a good portion of the book is like if Steven Hawking taught an "Intro to Physics" class. It's just way above the head of your average beginner. He is too brilliant to properly bring it down to a beginner's level.

If you are a beginner and are purchasing several books to get you started, or if you have been practicing the art of bonsai for a few years and think you are approaching an intermediate/journeyman level, I DO recommend this book. It's a good book. But it's not really for beginners.

Finally, I should say that my original review contains at least one stupid, or at least questionable, statement. Mostly I'm looking at what I wrote about the immersion method of watering. Be careful with immersion folks - there are some legitimate criticisms regarding that technique (although I used it ALMOST exclusively for a couple years without any problems), and once you leave the novice level you will never use that technique again.

Happy bonsai-ing!
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