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Niwaki: Pruning, Training and Shaping Trees the Japanese Way

By Jake Hobson

Easily the best book in English on this pristine type of pruning.

West Hawaii Today

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 discussing the principles that underpin the techniques, the author offers in-depth guidelines for shaping pines, azaleas, conifers, broadleaved evergreens, bamboos, and deciduous trees. Complete with abundant photographs, personal anecdotes and a wealth of advice, this unprecedented resource will inspire gardeners everywhere to transform their own trees into niwaki.

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Media reviews

"Of as much interest as the practical cutting points are the bits of history and lore woven into the chapters that stress the spiritual underpinnings of this ancient art."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Easily the best book in English on this pristine type of pruning. ... Anyone who appreciates plants and Japanese culture will find more than they could have imagined in this unique book."

—Clear Englebert, West Hawaii Today

"Has wonderful illustrations and very specific directions that should prove useful to anyone who has garden subjects that need pruning."

—Linda Brazill, Capital Times (Madison)

"Any gardener would be fascinated, not only by the pruning and training techniques, but the background information about Japanese culture which the author weaves throughout the book."

—Karen Helfert, Washington Gardener

"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, Booklist

"Definitely has what it takes to impress serious garden nerds, [but] there's also plenty here for the rest of us. ... Niwaki is [Hobson's] first book; let's hope it's not his last."

—Josephine Bridges, Asian Reporter

"Detailed drawings of the pruning methods, as well as numerous photos of Japanese examples, make this an eminently practical guide."

SciTech Book News

"More marriages have gotten in trouble over the 'correct' way to prune shrubs than probably any other gardening task. We can't save your relationship, but we [can] suggest Niwaki — Pruning, Training, and Shaping Trees in the Japanese Way."

—Jill Sell, Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the author

Jake Hobson

Jake Hobson draws upon experience with Japanese gardens and landscaping having spent two years working at a traditional nursery in the countryside outside of Osaka, Japan. He delivers lectures on Japanese pruning techniques throughout the U.K.

Read more about Jake Hobson

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