The Japanese Maple Bonsai can be found in many Japanese garden designs there are several reasons that this occurs. This is an introduction to the main components and ideas behind the structure of a Japanese style garden. One thing to remember is that Japanese gardening is a cultural form of gardening that is meant to produce a scene that mimics nature as much as possible. The gardens are not natural and unstructured, they are very styalised and formal but this does not make them at all boring, because it is important that they connect with the viewer. This is done by using trees, shrubs, rocks, sand and water, in various combinations to produce an artists impression of nature.
The Zen rock gardens consisting of large rocks and racked gravel to represent the water and islands are supposed to promote a contemplative and reflective state of mind. The Zen and Shinto traditions are both a large part of Japanese gardening. This is where the Japanese Maple Bonsai comes into its own. Because one method used to create a Japanese garden is reduced scale, where a scene from nature containing mountains, rivers and trees etc. is reproduced. The Maple Bonsai is suited to the upright styles of bonsai and in the garden this represents man looking up towards enlightenment. As stated earlier it is supposed to draw in the viewer not just visually but spiritually and thus connects them with nature and the spirit.
The development and adoption of bonsai techniques from China obviously played a part in enabling this reduced scale style to be developed. Another couple of methods used are symbolization i.e. sand can be used to represent water, as well as borrowing views from nature, here a forest or other view will be used as a backdrop for the garden.
The two main types of Japanese garden are Tsukiyami, which is a hilly garden and hiraniwa which is flat. Both will have careful attention focused on the planting. There are several forms and types of plants that are signature of Japanese gardening, the main one being Bonsai. Bonsai is the art of training everyday, average plants, such as Pine, Cherry and Maple to look like large, old trees just in miniature form. The best known of these is the Japanese Maple Bonsai. These trees can range between several inches or several feet in height and are kept small by pruning (roots and branches), pinching of new growth, and can be shaped by wiring the branches.
A Japanese garden is a work of art and sure to bring about many different feelings and is definitely a transforming experience. Once created the Japanese garden should bring peace and serenity but there will still be work to be done, they are usually a lifelong project.