When bonsai is referred to being Japanese, it is correct. Bonsai is the literal Japanese translation of tree in a pot. Bonsai have been developing mostly in Japan at the beginning of its existence. It as now grown and mature into a complex art form, and like all art form, certain guidelines exist to conform yourself to the art and achieve the natural perfection of a miniature tree. With that being said, Bonsai art and the Japanese art form it represent, is not the only horticultural art involving tree and some form of container. Others tree art form exists, such as:
The penjing art is the Chinese bonsai counterpart of the Japanese bonsai. Rather then striving for natural perfection in your tree, Chinese penjing as been more develop to represent natural landscape involving trees. The name, much like bonsai, is representative of the art. Penjing will be translated to tray scenery. Penjing will classify itself into one of three categories depending on what their representation is. These categories are Tree Penjing, Landscape Penjing, and Water and Land Penjing. The use of rockeries is most common with penjing as it help portray the natural habitat of a tree. Chinese Penjing is the birth of bonsai as it was introduce in Japan in the 7-9th century. At least 12 common styles are used in the penjing artform.
Vietnamese Bonsai are different then the Japanese bonsai tree as they are often much bigger in size, the basic styles are to be compared to the Chinese penjing. The basic styles are also less rigourous then the Japanese traditional styles. The term to describe Vietnamese bonsai is "Cay canh" which in Vietnamese means "tree and landscape. The climate in Vietnam is mostly tropical, so the common tree species used as bonsai are also tropical bonsai trees. Ficus is a very popular subject, especially the ficus virens.
The Korean bonsai art form was also introduced by Chinese penjing appreciation. Once again, the Korean will excel in bonsai with their native species, such as the Korean Hornbeam. Old Korean literature was referring to the Korean landscape as a bonsai. The Korean forest and climate are ideal for bonsai growing and mature trees such as maple and korean hornbeam can be collected in nature.
The garden bonsai term is often used to designate tree in pot of big size compare to regular bonsai size. The term bonsai garden is often used to designate your bonsai display area. Bonsai enthusiast will often re arrange their backyard in a more Asiatic way which makes a beautiful garden with bonsai, ponds and decks.
A garden bonsai could be a large tree in a pot, large enough not to be considered a bonsai but small enough to be in a pot. These are a nice addition to a deck and people that do not perform the complete art of bonsai, will have a tree in a pot to accentuate the decoration of their backyard. Japanese maples are often used in such display as some cultivar will remain relatively small.