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Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way [Hardcover]

Jake Hobson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 43.50
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Book Description

May 15 2007
Over the years, Japanese gardeners have fine-tuned a distinctive set of pruning techniques that coax out the essential characters of their garden trees, or niwaki. In this highly practical book, Western gardeners are encouraged to draw upon the techniques and sculpt their own garden trees to unique effect. After first discussing the principles that underpin the techniques, the author offers in-depth guidelines for shaping pines, azaleas, conifers, broadleaved evergreens, bamboos and deciduous trees. Throughout the text, step-by-step illustrations accompany the instructions, while abundant photographs and anecdotes bring the ideas surrounding niwaki vividly to life.

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Product Description

From Booklist

Hobson illuminates the practice known as niwaki in a fascinating, long overdue guide to shaping trees in ways that reflect the aesthetics of Japanese gardens. Hobson's regard for elements of garden design inspired by nature, and at times, derived literally from iconic features in Japan, shapes his writing. Possessing a sculptor's eye, Hobson ably opens the eyes of readers to the nuanced tree and shrub forms achieved by clipping or heavy pruning. Offering sound advice--do not imitate, but rather incorporate, a Japanese approach--Hobson elucidates principles and techniques with step-by-step line drawings accompanied by clearly defined descriptions of naturalistic and formal shapes. Instructions cover approaches to dealing with side branching, how to alter the line of the trunk, and how to sculpt pine trees, azaleas, conifers, broad-leaved evergreens, and deciduous trees. More than a pruning manual, Hobson's guide encompasses the cultural implications of niwaki, an artistic custom integral to the gardening legacy of Japan. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"While Niwaki definitely has what it takes to impress serious garden nerds, there’s also plenty here for the rest of us … Niwaki is [Hobson’s] first book; let’s hope it’s not his last." (Asian Reporter)

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Japanese pruning technique Aug. 8 2011
By Joanne
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read lots of books on pruning, but none inspired me as much as Jake Hobson's book.
Being able to 'sculp' a tree to match your natural environment appeals to my organic ways.
The photos and drawings make it easy for a novice to understand.
Learning the Niwaki technique will make my much-loved garden even better.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I purchased this book as I always had a facination with the Japanese 'look'. This is not written by a Japanese gardener. It's written by a 'westerner' and it's a good effort. As I read through the book, at first facinated, then horrified at the incredible interventions the gardener inflicts upon the tree. It's my first introduction to this form and I will have to find another work by a Japanese author to balance what I have learned.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Niwaki Aug. 31 2007
By Paul Paquin - Published on Amazon.com
I have a very nice Japanese maple and a few other ornamentals and have been looking for a book that describes ways to prune to achieve alternative desirable effects. I have some excellent books on pruning of trees and shrubs, but this one is clearly different from the pack, and very good as well. If you are looking for guidance on how to achieve the look and feel of Japanese ornamentals, this book is the one you need.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book On Japanese Pruning Dec 16 2007
By SKooLBoY jiM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is a lot of information out there on bonsai but I have always been more interested in the Japanese garden trees and until this book there has been very little information out there on how to care for and prune Japanese garden trees and shrubs. As far as I know the author even translated/invented the English name for them, "Niwaki" for which there previously was none. The best part of the book though is how the author urges the reader to apply the techniques he presents in the book to his or her own style of gardening transcending the idea of Japanese Gardens in the traditional sense. Get this book and "Get Stuck In".
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! June 10 2007
By M. Chilton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very good book for those of us who love our Japanese gardens and want to incoporate Niwaki techniques. Highly recommended book to add to your collection of books on Japanese gardens and their care. There's not another one like it on the market today.

I love that the author is a sculptor and realized that his art could be translated into a living form of trees.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Niwaki: Pruning, Training & Shaping Japanese Garden Trees Aug. 26 2010
By Wanita - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It gives some basic information about shaping which is critical to the process, but I was hoping for a much more in-depth discussion on such matters as tools to use, approach to accomplish the end result, step by step processes of different examples of the same tree and different types of trees, how to approach mature bushes that you want to change to Japanese influenced, etc.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I've been searching for. Dec 19 2008
By C. Yelle - Published on Amazon.com
I love this book! This book gives all the information a hands-on home gardener needs to try this at home. For years, I've visited and admired Japanese gardens such as the wonderful gardens in San Francisco and at the Chicago Botanic gardens. I could not find any information on how it was done, what type of tree is best, when do you start pruning and all the details. The combination of sketches and photos is particularly helpful. I love the photos of trees in Japan in ordinary streets and homes, not just in famous gardens. The photos of the trees in training or wrapped for winter are fascinating - it's like being back stage. It's a great book.
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