Advice to novice members

by Lionel Theron

It is interesting to watch the evolution of Bonsai growers. How, when you first start it is a common tendency to commence with very young seedlings and then suddenly discover that one can use nursery plants or collected material which may be quite old when first adopted for bonsai purposes. Using this type of material, reasonable results can be attained very quickly and excitement mounts. Material collected from the ''wild'' is often the most promising. At this stage most members feel their hobby can be likened to eating peanuts - once you've started you can't stop!

Somewhere along the line you may suddenly, without reason, feel you have not achieved very much. This depression may have been brought about by looking at someone else's trees and seeing only the good ones. When your enthusiasm is dampened it is usually not justified, but fortunately the mood passes and you bounce back with added vigour.

Life's ups and downs apply even to bonsai!

Passing this stage, growers have possibly developed a collection of trees and a bit of patience. There is always something happening and interest, while waxing and waning, continues to grow and the grower starts making substantial contributions to the art.

One of the reasons for which we hold shows is to foster interest, and there is nothing quite like looking at beautiful trees to provide the stimulus. Some members and even non-members spend hours looking at a particular tree on show.

The slow parts of the season, mid-summer and mid-winter, tend to have the opposite effect, but if you watch a really experienced member do his thing, you're once more ready to go.

Try and have contact with other growers; they are all helpful and friendly. When one starts off in bonsai, one is sometimes afraid to approach very experienced growers, but do try it - the beginner will soon learn that they love giving advice.

Tutors have been provided to give assistance to new members - don't hesitate to take a problem tree to them - no-one likes to lose a tree, whether they be "old" or "new" members!