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The Complete Book of Bonsai Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press (March 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558591184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558591189
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The book is great for education as well as inspiration.
M. G. Laplante
If you are just getting started in Bonsai and could only buy one book this book will give you everything you need to know for a long time.
Ralph Busch
"The Complete Book of Bonsai" by Harry Tomlinson is absolutely the very best on the subject I have ever come across.
A. Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 180 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Beirão on June 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is my fourth Bonsai book and the best one I have found so far. I had never ordered it online, because it seemed to be one more of those books with fancy pictures and poor information.
Then one day I found it in a local bookstore and what a surprise! This book is perfect because it has plenty of quality pictures AND detailed information.
If you have an interest for tree seeds, this book is very useful because it has lots of pictures of the most common trees as Bonsai. It will certainly make your life a lot easier the next time you have to choose seeds online or through a catalog.
Also, it has detailed information and pictures about how to germinate your seeds and "species" by "species" tips for growing, manteinance and reproduction. There is also rich information about all the aspects of bonsai: the seasons, cuttings, reproduction, styles, vases, etc...
The most common Bonsai trees are covered and I liked especially the small chapters about Maples and Cedars. There are excellent pictures of those trees and I couldn't believe when I finally found a full-page picture of a Sequoia as Bonsai, with some rare information about it.
As someone said before, if you are interested in Bonsai and can buy only one book, this is the book to buy. I know I may sound a bit too excited, but after being at the bookstore and browsing through more than ten books, I must say this book really deserves all this praising.
It has all the basic information you need to get started and the 150 or more color pictures are simply stunning. Just take my word and choose this book. I am almost totally sure that you won't regret it!
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86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A. Moore on June 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I became intersted in bonsai several years ago and have read and purchased numerous books on the subject. "The Complete Book of Bonsai" by Harry Tomlinson is absolutely the very best on the subject I have ever come across.
What makes this book so outstanding is the lavish photographs of every imaginable bonsai species. The photography is so impressive, I had this book displayed on my coffee table for a number of years! When guests came over and looked through my book, they were always amazed at the beauty that well trained bonsai possess. Included in the section on bonsai species are impressive examples of English Elm, English Oak, European White Birch and many others. Many of the specimen pictured are 30 or more years old and beautiful examples of what bonsai can be.
Also included are numerous pictures of bonsai "forests" containing multiple plantings and plantings using the root-over-rock style. Detailed instruction for creating such plantings are included, as well as instructions for creating jins (which are carved or torn branches) to give the appearance of age.
More importantly though is the detailed, illustrated instructions on creating a basic bonsai, which I followed to the letter to create a charming wired juniper from a purchased garden center plant in just a few hours time. Instruction is so detailed and well presented that even a beginner, which I was at the time, could have really awesome results on their first attempt.
Also included in the book are chapters entitled "The Art of Bonsai", "Routine Maintenance" and "Propogation Techniques". This book is really extensive and covers everything you need to know. Once you see it, read it, and follow the simple instructions to create your very own bonsai... you'll be hooked for life!
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in bonsai, trees or gardening... it is well worth every dime!!!
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68 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Oscar Leeper on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If I had this book when I first started my bonsai hobby five years ago, I would have saved myself years of frustration and would have been able to enjoy bonsai almost immediately following the straightforward instructions Harry Tomlinson presents to the reader. I can definitely recommend "The Complete Book of Bonsai" to the beginner not only for this reason but also for its eye-catching beauty, wealth of ideas, and very reasonable price considering the sheer volume of high quality photography included in its hardcover binding.

As other reviewers here wrote, the high number of photographs far from reduce this book's usefulness as a practical guide. Rather, since bonsai is in its essence a visual art, the photographs effectively and elegantly convey many important concepts that words simply can't.

One of my favorite features in "The Complete Book of Bonsai" is its quick start approach. Tomlinson minces no words while introducing the art of bonsai, getting straight to its essence. Immediately after introducing the basic tools and concepts, he shows the reader how to create his or her very first bonsai in only minutes from common garden center stock.

This is important for the beginner because Tomlinson reassures the reader that one needn't start with seeds to be creating real bonsai. It is much more important, in my opinion, that beginners discover how enjoyable creating these works of art can be without being discouraged by the years required to start from seed. I can say this with confidence because trying to start from seed was the very mistake I made when first getting into it.

In conclusion, if you're interested in starting a bonsai hobby, this book is a must-have. Don't hesitate or read more reviews. Just mark this one as helpful, add the book to your basket, and profit from a well written work.

Good luck!
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