Bonsai Books 2021

IIppon

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Hello everyone!

I know that this topic about bonsai books is already a common ask everywhere, but I would like to do it a bit differently for the purpose of sharing your thoughts and giving update in 2021 about valuable and available Bonsai Books.
I am looking for this topic since few days now a bit everywhere but most of the time they are quite old topics and many recommendations are not available anymore and very hard to find at a normal retail price.

Main Purpose of it: Giving favortie book's updates and maybe alternatives to books that are not or hardly available today ( like Naka's books for example), maybe new treasures that you have found recently, suggested books for all/any type of growers ( beginners, intermediate and advanced growers ) and typically if you had to keep only 3 books, which ones would you choose.

It will be also very preferable if under the name of the books you give few details and your thoughts in 2 or 3 lines. ( if you have only 2 books to suggest give your top 2 !)

You can follow this guideline:

Top 1:

Top 2:

Top 3:


One More: ( if you have any other book to suggest not especially about bonsai but maybe about trees in general that can help bonsai growers)


Ps: if you think that this topic is useless or seen too much time let me know and I might delete it.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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These are my 3 recent books. Mostly, I will only buy reference books or photo books for bonsai now. I really like the Kokufu albums.

The Modern Bonsai is about shohin, and contains hundreds of great photos of excellent shohin, grouped by type (evergreen, deciduous, fruit/flower), then in proper display settings. It also has a small section of pots. Really great book for shohin lovers, but hard to find.
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The azalea book is a reference book identifying hundreds of Satsuki azalea cultivars. Cultivars are named in English, but it’s otherwise al Japanese.
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Bonsai Heresy is a good book by Michael Haggedorn, who has a good sense of humor, great botanical knowledge, and is illustrated by my friend @MACH5
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TinyArt

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I'm a beginner -- have checked out library books, and then followed some recommendations from earlier threads here (thanks, folks!) -- and bought used copies of these at good prices on Abe:

Top 1: Bonsai Basics, Colin Lewis 2008 edition
-- paperback, crammed with information in small but legible type. I particularly like the "How a tree works" chapter; the section on fertilizers' three major nutrients, with charts of 'what to use when' year 'round; and the tree directory.

Top 2: Growing Bonsai Indoors, Brooklyn Botanic Garden 2013 edition
-- paperback, gets right to business. The "Encyclopedia of Bonsai for Indoors" takes up at least 1/3 of the book, with two-page profiles of species-specific tips on growing & styling.

Top 3: Miniature Bonsai, by Herb L. Gustafson 1995
-- a large book, well illustrated with photos, art, and drawings; his style is both thorough and engaging (I'm reading & enjoying it now), so I'm confident that I'll get a good deal out of the practical instructions.

One More: Saikei: Living Landscapes in Miniature, Toshio Kawamoto 1967
-- a vintage book, possibly outdated in some ways, but inspiring! I'm especially interested in what he has to say about preparing & working with young material, because I see it as a how-to for selecting & raising pre-bonsai.
 
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Ultimate Bonsai Handbook - great species overviews

Merrigiolgi's book on maples - I think this is going to be a really sought after book, or should be

and the third would probably be Bonsai Survival Manual by Colin Lewis, and this is where I'd recommend starting based on what I've read thus far.

Truth be told, and I was told this too and had to learn for myself, is that the books are entertaining, but I think that most of the real learning happens through videos and really through hands on application of what you're looking at. I feel like when you can see someone doing something, and see what they're using as they're doing it, and how they physically do it, has probably been the more important piece as I have learned. There's always a bit more confidence that comes from "I just saw this guy I know has a strong bonsai collection do a thing" vs. "this book talked me through how to do a thing but I have never done it so I'm kind of making it up and filling in the blanks".

Ultimate Bonsai Book and Bonsai Survival Manual give you the quick hit horticultural info to get you started as well as some info about design and styling, Merrigioldi's book I would say is more in depth and for people looking to move up / try new projects, though it is absolutely accessible to the average reader as well if you go through it.
 

NaoTK

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1. The Four Seasons of Bonsai by Murata. An inspirational and relaxing picture book that reminds us the point of bonsai is to create natural beauty. I pull it out every few months to base myself in natural Japanese aesthetic.

2. Principles of Bonsai design by David Degroot. An excellent reference book for proportion and display topics.

3. Bonsai Maples by Meriggioli. The best technical book on Japanese maples which may be applied to most deciduous.
 

Apex37

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Not sure top 3 as I still have so many to read. A few already listed. I'm currently reading Bonsai: It's Art, Science, History, and Philosophy by Deborah Koreshoff and it has been one of the most complete and useful books on bonsai I've read yet.
 

River's Edge

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Ones I pick up most often looking for nuggets I might have missed. Not listing Photo books that I also consider essential!
1. Francois Jeker Bonsai Aesthetics Volume 1
( a more careful read with valuable insight that takes some time to put into practise )
2. David DeGroot Principles of Bonsai Design
( well organized and carefully written, broad scope for application of all levels )
3. Andrea Merrigiolli Bonsai Maples
( excellent reference material, illustrated concepts and techniques, fundamental focus for deciduous development)
 

Cadillactaste

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Great minds think alike.

Maples would be more for the deciduous focused, so I guess I am biased 😊
I'm still trying to decide on my 3rd selection. I like Koredoffs book it is useful and a lovely coffee table book...but someone who wants just point blank facts...then Jonas' book would be ideal.

BUT...one I find inspiration with would be Robert Steven 's second book...Mission of Transformation. That...is a rarer book...but it truly is one of my favorites.

FOR AN AVID READER:

Bonsai: Its Art, Science, History, and Philosophy​

by Deborah R. Koreshoff


ONE WHO WANTS THE STEAK WITHOUT FILLER.

The Little Book of Bonsai: An Easy Guide to Caring for Your Bonsai Tree Hardcover​

by Jonas Dupuich


So I guess...I actually have five books...I would suggest.
 

IIppon

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Very glad to see that you are all into sharing your favorites books, I was worry that it would be a bored topic especially for advanced growers. It I very interesting to see some same books coming in different top 3.
I know that books are just are just a base for having more knowledge and experience is the most important.
I hope this topic will be updated over time.
The top 3 is just a quick guideline but don't hesitate to share even 1 book that you recently found and enjoyed 😁
 

Cadillactaste

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Very glad to see that you are all into sharing your favorites books, I was worry that it would be a bored topic especially for advanced growers. It I very interesting to see some same books coming in different top 3.
I know that books are just are just a base for having more knowledge and experience is the most important.
I hope this topic will be updated over time.
The top 3 is just a quick guideline but don't hesitate to share even 1 book that you recently found and enjoyed 😁
I'm a book nerd. So it was especially difficult. Top 3... there are some good books not mentioned. That I also like. They have species...and care. Helped me see what selections are out there. I've a few of those. Some books I draw inspiration from... but assuming you wanted helpful books for the hobby that would be a good foundation. The late Jim Lewis ...a member once here. Also a book lover. Discussed with me. Every bonsai enthusiast should have DeGroot's book on Principles. The hardcover is the newest version. He had me wait for it to be released for print. Because the content was more than the original book published. Though a seasoned bonsai guy. Pulled it out from time to time to refresh his mind he told me.

Bonsai Heresy...is an amazing myth buster. Some things people repeat...because they heard them...or read it somewhere. But factually...has no weight. Really good book.
 

IIppon

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I'm a book nerd. So it was especially difficult. Top 3... there are some good books not mentioned. That I also like. They have species...and care. Helped me see what selections are out there. I've a few of those. Some books I draw inspiration from... but assuming you wanted helpful books for the hobby that would be a good foundation. The late Jim Lewis ...a member once here. Also a book lover. Discussed with me. Every bonsai enthusiast should have DeGroot's book on Principles. The hardcover is the newest version. He had me wait for it to be released for print. Because the content was more than the original book published. Though a seasoned bonsai guy. Pulled it out from time to time to refresh his mind he told me.

Bonsai Heresy...is an amazing myth buster. Some things people repeat...because they heard them...or read it somewhere. But factually...has no weight. Really good book.
Unfortunately after trying to find Degroot and Meriggioli's books are very hard to find... if not impossible.
I tried Amazon first cause easy to get it as i am living in Thailand and I didn't found it. And I found some shops selling them ( quite expensive tho especially Meriggioli) but they do not ship overseas 😔
 

Cadillactaste

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Unfortunately after trying to find Degroot and Meriggioli's books are very hard to find... if not impossible.
I tried Amazon first cause easy to get it as i am living in Thailand and I didn't found it. And I found some shops selling them ( quite expensive tho especially Meriggioli) but they do not ship overseas 😔
American Bonsai Society still has DeGroot. Get the hardcover version. They gave the first edition as well. Not as much info.
 

IIppon

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American Bonsai Society still has DeGroot. Get the hardcover version. They gave the first edition as well. Not as much info.
Yeah I've seen their shop but they say in the main page than they do domestic shipping only no international.
 

TinyArt

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Ahhh... I know two contacted DeGroot and he sent them overseas. @Clorgan was you one of them?

edit -- I missed, so you'll need to scroll up for the intended post
 
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IIppon

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If it can help someone I worked on a pdf of john Naka Yoshio Volume in French edition and well printed. The English edition is quite easy to find but the prints are not that good.
Edit: the file is too large but just hit me up by message and we'll see a way to send it to you ^^
 

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