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Create A Saiki Scene for Decorative Purposes
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Create A Saiki Scene for Decorative Purposes

The 23rd Annual Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza presents a seminar about creating Saiki in your yard. The guest speaker, Al Nelson, a Bonsai Master, demonstrates different ways to decorate your yard with "a living landscape." He has over thirty years of experience as well as extensive knowledge about Bonsai. Traditional Bonsai is all about organizing a group of plants and rocks in a certain way that create a particular scene, and therefore, creates a Saiki.

First step is the foundation, whether a "slab of stone" or a huge pot, or container. Choose a particular foundation style that fits the overall look of your backyard.

The second step involves organizing your Saiki with rocks, trees, grass, moss, and some added props for decorative purposes. It is like a staging assignment, where you can stage your own personal scene of a particular style. It can make perfect decoration for holidays and events. If your Saiki is quite small, then it can be placed on a tray.

If you are using a slate of slab, then you can add a bay in front of it, which has a welcoming effect, as well as maybe add some trees, arranged in the area for a visual effect. Just remember to use an odd number of trees for good luck. Organize some Tufa rocks, which originated from China Lake, Western Mojave Desert area, to further decorate your scene. Muck, a brown color of clay from Japan, is used to create your sculpture, along with some yakadoma and peat moss. Yakadoma is baked clay from Japan. Cover your sculpture with fifty percent muck, fifty percent yakadoma, and peat moss on the ground area of the scene. Then, add little plants, each arranged in a decorative, but symbolic way, on the slate. It looks like a little architectural scene that an architect or other artists might create. Use ten percent humus, some yakadoma, and organic soil for planting.

The basic guidelines for creating Saiki appear similar to creating Feng Shui.

  • Make sure you use an odd number of trees in your scene.
  • The center area of your scene should be kept empty.
  • Place trees at random distances. They shouldn't be lined up with each other. In Japan, using four trees in your scene means death. Therefore, the Japanese avoid using four items on a slate of slab. But if you are not superstitious, then use any number of trees. If the branches of a bonsai tree slant down, then cut the bottom branch and trim the top branches. Soak the bottom in water for two weeks.
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