Customer Reviews: Bonsai (RD Home Handbooks)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars45
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on August 10, 2001
This is a good book. I have had it for a number of years. This is a good book for the beginner and the intermediate Bonsai enthusiast or if you are just going to buy and maintain a Bonsai. It is broken down into chapters including: The Art of Bonsai, A-Z of Bonsai Species, Creating a Bonsai, Propagating Bonsai, Maintaining Bonsai, Dictionary of Trees and Shrubs, Glossary and Index.
The Art of Bonsai is the overview. It give the basics, some background, and ideas and information. Most people will want to start in the A-Z of Bonsai Species. This has at least one color picture of the different plants (in some case 3 or 4 picture of different shapes, styles and arrangements) and is VERY handy. It has a detailed, close up view of the leaves and flowers so if your bonsai has a different shape or form, you can still identify your plant. Each of the 75 different species include the following information: Identification (Botanical name and common name), General description, Bonsai suggestions, Leaf detail, Container, Special interest, Seasonal features, Main Caption (which includes height, age, style and particular features of the Bonsai pictured), and Cultivation box. For those of us who have purchased our Bonsai this Cultivation Box has all the information in it we need to keep our Bonsai healthy and happy.
The Maintaining Bonsai section has all the information you will need to keep your Bonsai looking good. How to prune, repot, water and more are covered in this section. It also includes information on pests. Creating a Bonsai take you through all the steps from taking a raw plant to turning it into a masterpiece. The Dictionary give you all the information you need on the plant including cultivation (sun needs, watering, repotting, pruning and propagation), identification, cross reference and general description. It is a very handy reference once you know what kind of plant you have.
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on March 10, 2000
This book provides the beginner with all of the basic knowledge of the art needed to get started. If I had the option, I would have rated it 4 1/2 stars.
What I like best about the book is the many photos it has of the different plants and bonsai styles. This book will help you develop your bonsai taste because of the variety that it presents to the reader.
It is also an excellent quick reference, it provides the reader the basic needs of each of the trees presented as well as suitable styles and propagation methods. The information is presented in a quick and concise manner for each of the different trees.
About 76 pages of the book is used in presenting the A-Z of bonsai species, the rest of the book is used to present the basic skills and knowledge that you will need to maintain your plant.
The only thing that this book lacks is a "how to" styling guide. That said, I would strongly recommend that anyone who may think that they would be interested in bonsai should buy this book. The pictures are beautiful and even if you go no further in the craft it has a lot of good information about the various plants presented. For the more advanced bonsai artist, this book is a valuable quick reference.
This is a great first book to have!
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on September 17, 1999
The book "BONSAI" by Harry Tomlinson is a very informative bonsai manual. It provides my illustrations and tips for different styles of bonsai with easy to follow text. I find that if I have a question I can grab the book and it's there! I looked at many books before I picked this one and have not had any regrets. This book deserves 6 stars.
-Ryan Natschke Phoenix,AZ
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on January 21, 2000
A wonderful book for all levels of Bonsai enthusiast. Clear concise text make this book a wonderful reference and teaching tool while the beautiful pictures make it a pleasure to read. The book contains a very good tree reference section with complete hints and tips on styling, care and maintenance for each type of plant. The information covers Australian, American and European growing conditions. Overall I would rate this as the best bonsai book available. If you only buy one book it should be "Bonsai" by Harry Tomlinson.
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on June 21, 2001
This book is essentially the compacted version of Tomlinson's "The Complete Bonsai". The wealth of full color images is just as descrptive (though much smaller), and the text much abridged, but if you are looking for a quick yet comprehensive reference, this book will fulfill your needs. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering taking up the art of bonsai. It covers various species and techniques in enough deatil to get anyone going, as well as keep a novice well-informed. It also would make a handy quick refence for any bonsai artist, though it does not go into extreme detail about any techniques. Overall I would call it a very complete overview and chock full of value for the price.
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on January 6, 2006
I had wanted to learn bonsai for years, but I kept putting it off because I couldn't find a reference that covered everything. Some books are great on types of plants but don't cover maintenance in much depth, some are great on maintenance but aren't well illustrated, and so on. Then I picked up this book, largely on the strength of the reviews I found here. I was not disappointed.

This 216 page book has an 'A-Z of Bonsai Species' that covers 75+ species with a pagefull of information and at least one (often two or three) full color photo of each. A dictionary of trees and shrubs at the back of the book covers the requirements and care of 250+ species. All of the major methods of starting bonzai are covered, as well as the major forms, and every aspect of care and maintenance, all with clearly written instructions and step-by-step photos. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with full color photos. These are supplemented with very clear one-color pen-and-ink drawings in the section on wiring, which is quite detailed. There are lots of before, during, and after photos showing how bushy nurshery shrubs, seedlings, and cuttings can be turned into attractive bonsai. Every "but what about X" question I had was answered. It is simply the most comprehensive, best written, best illustrated, and most reassuring book on bonsai I've ever seen.
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VINE VOICEon March 20, 2006
By no means would I ever be considered an expert on the art of Bonsai, but about 5 years, I took up the hobby. As an avid reader, when my interest blossomed, I bought several books on the subject. Of those, by far, I found BONSAI by Harry Tomlinson to be the best "beginners" book, but it is also one I have turn to time and again since I first took up the hobby.

This book is in six chapters, following the logical progression; The Art of Bonsai, A-Z of Bonsai Species, Creating a Bonsai, Propagating Bonsai, Maintaining Bonsai, and a Dictionary of Trees and Shrubs for Bonsai.

The photography is exceptional an, for the beginner, will heighten your interest and give you goals to strive for as you are sure to see some examples you simply cannot live without. The writing, though rather brief, is equally compelling and easy to understand, even for the beginner. There might be better books for beginning bonsai, but I never found them.
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on July 11, 2002
Awesome! With this book alone, I have kept 5 trees alive for almost a year now (I lost one tree due to my sister's neglect while I was away).
Easy to read with great information.
Great photos and easy reference for most popular species. The species section is thoughtfully laid out with a block of easy to access pertinent information regarding watering, pruning, climate conditions, etc. for each tree.
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on June 29, 2000
This is a terrific book for the money. I currently own five books devoted to bonsai, all ranging in price. For the money, this is an excellent book with great pictures. If you are just beginning to create and care for bonsai, this is one of the first books you should own.
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on July 18, 2013
No book on Bonsai is going to fulfill all your needs and I would not try to add much to others who have rated this five stars. that being said, one of the things I really like about this books is when it discusses each type of tree , in the upper right hand corner, it gives some specifics that anyone who wants to pursue Bonsai should consider such as, site location( sun or shade); Water requirements, fertilizer requirements, when to repot, when to do any trimming in relation to season and how to take the seeds to create new trees. These above items are summarized in a little 2inch by 2 inch box in the upper right corner--excellent!
I used to thin when I first began, who needs and this genus and species stuff--wrong! each tree has its own requirements and this book "nudges" you to start to keep a file on each tree you buy to make sure, first of all, that it does not DIE on you. Yes, I raise my hand and say for me, I agree with all those who gave this five stars. I do not necessarily disagree with those who gave it four stars. Remember, you need a lot of books, videos, classes, etc.
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