SUPPLY, NC (WECT) - Many of the community colleges in North Carolina offer classes on horticulture and landscaping. But this fall, Brunswick Community College is offering a course where students can learn about an ancient Chinese tradition of taking trees and turning them into unique works of art.
For Ed Meyer, military duty in Japan led him to a career of collecting and working with Bonsai. And because of a young lady, he was able to learn the ancient art of Bonsai from one of the country's leading Bonsai experts.
Bonsai, which means to grow a tree in a pot, is not only popular because of its unusual shapes and designs, but also because of its non-decreasing value as an investment. But he says, the Japanese have found working with Bonsai has health benefits as well.
"People now look at them and start working with them and what most students are telling me is it is the most therapeutic things they can do with their hands," said Meyer. "The women are saying my hands feel good, the men are saying my hands feel the best they have ever felt, therapy through Bonsai is actually something their culture has been doing for years, it is therapy, good therapy."
In our area, Meyer said all you have to do it look around and you will find plenty of local material that you can use to start your own Bonsai creation.
"Junipers are the number one tree, you can find an old juniper growing in a yard," said Meyer, when asked about best local trees to use in Bonsai. "I like going to a nursery and going to the back and finding the things they don't want to display in public because it got wind blown two years ago and they just found it, so when they stand the tree up, it looks crooked, well that is what I look for."
In his classes, Meyer instructs students on how to make normal looking plants take on the crooked or distorted appearance that is so popular in Bonsai, making the plant take shapes they normally would not do naturally and achieving that by using copper wire to direct the limbs into the right position.
Meyere reminds Bonsai beginners that it could take years for the plant to grow into the shape you like, so having patience is important.
"If you don't have a lot of patience, trust me, the tree will teach you patience," said Meyer.
For more information on the different courses on Bonsai the school is offering this fall, get in contact with the admissions office at Brunswick Community College.
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