March 10, 2009

Bonsai at large

Monasteries run all kinds of businesses to support themselves; manual labor was part of St. Benedict's formula for monastic life. The monks at Southern Monastery, in addition to running a guesthouse and a bookstore, do such things as make stained glass and bread. One of their coolest industries is raising bonsai trees. Even outside the bonsai conservatory, the grounds nearest the buildings had a zen-like feel to them. Along the brick wall near the entrance to the retreat house, I found a tree that looked like it had escaped from the bonsai garden and was holding branches up to the falling snow.

Bonsai at large


sheepish said...

Hey! That's BonsaiMonk! Really cool.

kathy a. said...

did the monks make the wonderful stained glass in the church?

i think that the style of bonsai trees is based on general japanese gardening techniques, but in miniature. the way this pine is pruned is very common in my neighborhood -- many japanese-american gardeners lived in this area both before and after WWII. most of the horticulture businesses have moved away, but quite a few of the sculpted yards and trees have survived.

my sister refers to trees pruned like this as "dr. suess trees."

jo(e) said...

Yes, the monks made the stained glass for the church windows. I think that's how they got into the stained glass business.