| A foreign correspondent of the
Boston Traveler relates with how much curiosity he witnessed some remarkably
successful specimens of dwarf trees in Japan.
I have seen in the gardens, more especially those about Owari [near Nagoya], a maple, a pine, a peach and a camphor tree, all more than fifteen years old, with their limbs, leaves and trunks as perfect as any in a forest, and all grew from a box not a foot square, and not one were [sic] over two feet high. The trunks looked like old trees, and the limbs were gnarled and rugged as the mountain tree of the same kind. The owner told me that these trees would grow no larger for fifty years. In one garden there was a complete fruit orchard in a box four feet long and two feet wide. Pears, peaches, plums, apples, oranges, lemons, olives, bananas and cherries, represented by perfect trees, the tallest of which was not over three feet. Whether these ever bear fruit I failed to ascertain; neither could I learn the process by which the tree is kept so small. But I am satisfied that it is done by killing a large tree and keeping a sprig, which starts from the old root for the dwarf. The climate and soil favors this torturing [sic] process, for a root will not die as long as it remains undisturbed in some localities... 1
1 The Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art And Rural Trade, Vol. 25, No. 290, August 1870, pg. 246 in the "Editor's Portfolio" section; also reprinted in Bonsai, BCI, Vol. XI, No. 8, October 1972, pg. 20.