Having started my Bonsai Revival Journey in July 2011 I’m glad to say that it continues today with modest success. It’s true to say that I have learnt more about the training and developing of bonsai in the last few years than I did in all the earlier years of futtering with trees. The main reasons for this are that I am perhaps more serious about the hobby and have learnt a little about simple tree horticulture through regular tuition and training under the auspices of Northern Ireland Bonsai Society. Another significant source of learning has been the massive and very rewarding information bank that is the internet.
I have also discovered the obvious. That is the fundamental reality that trees respond to feeding. That may seem to some to be so obvious a statement that it is foolish to make it. By this I mean that trees respond positively to a regular, careful and thoughtful feeding regime however basic it may be. For years I struggled with the Bonsai concept of miniaturising trees. To me that translated into keeping them in the smallest pots possible, minimal feeding and watering and pruning off every bit of branch extension growth as soon as it appeared. Needless to say my trees did not flourish with this treatment.
I have been constantly reminded over these last few years that most if not all of our trees are, by their very nature, still in training and unfinished. They need constant feeding to promote as much controlled growth as possible in as short a time possible. This is only achievable with adequate root space to promote good root development, a good free draining soil mix to help prevent root rot. Adhering to these basic principles have made such a difference to my trees and seeing them flourish brings its own satisfaction. I will probably never have prize winners or show stoppers but I can enjoy, with some satisfaction, Bonsai at my level.
Unlike many I attach no spiritual meaning whatsoever to Bonsai. I am not drawn to the philosophies of the oriental mystics. The art of Bonsai is nothing more than a horticultural pursuit. Although it is fashionable today I am not an Atheist but I am definitely not a Deist, Pantheist or Polytheist. I am Monotheistic by conviction and experience and look to the only true God, Jehovah and his Eternal yet Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ as the source of all the true Spiritual meaning and enrichment that every living soul needs and can obtain in a lifetime. Bonsai is then nothing more than a pass-time, sometimes a very time consuming pass-time, but ever and only that. That said I have been known to talk to some of my trees in frustration but they evidently never hear a word I say. A bit like my wife!