Is there room for sentiment

I have just spent the weekend repotting some trees. As I was doing this I started to remember where I got them who was with me at the time . A couple of weeks ago I was at a one day workshop where we where encouraged to get rid of anything that did not have potential. As I was doing this work this weekend okay I did look a little harder. But I have a couple of trees that I had when I first started a long time ago. They have never been a show tree but I have kept them alive for over 30 years. I know as a communtiy we strive for the best looking tree as possible, but lets face it for atleast 85% of us we will not have the great masterpieces but will have the pleasure of this great hobby we all enjoy.


All living things have potential. The better question is are you willing to put in the time and effort to realize that potential. Many will look at a humble seedling and say “I do not have enough free time to dedicate to the building of a beautiful statement from that little twig”. One must realistically choose the trees you are willing to spend days, months and years with to fulfill their potential. Another will see a tray full of seedlings and dedicate the time and effort to give them a good nebari and start them off on the decades it will take to make a mature healthy tree.
Without people who are willing to propagate little seedlings the future of bonsai is limited.
The decision is yours. I have had to change my choices as the time I have is limited.
I thank the individuals at both end of the lives of trees. The individual who spends time to propagate the species, and the artist that ensures the health and beauty of the mature tree, realizing that they are only a temporary caretaker.
I achieve a little bit of serenity by seeing the slow but steady progress of my whips that are contorted into twisty little miniatures, and from the care and progress of the raft forest that I began 30 years ago.
You decide. It is after all your time to spend.


I like the way you think Bob.

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Bonsai is not a destination, it’s a journey (for me, anyway). And it’s about what we learn on that journey. Grow what you love, but sometimes there are lessons to be learned in letting go and letting others take our trees to places that we can’t take them to.


I have a few trees that may never be good enough for a show. They have a personal history and that means a lot to me. People I collected them with, what I’ve learnt from them, a number of stories that mean something. That means the world to me so they are staying. We have one professional in the UK who commonly tells people to get rid of something and concentrate on the others. It would make some sense except we soon all realised that the trees he condemned were always the ones not supplied by him…


I am so glad I am not the only one



I assume that none of my trees will ever be show worthy. I’m creating them for my viewing pleasure, so there’s nothing but sentiment involved. How can I fertilize with sentiment though? :thinking:


hopefully the trees I have let go of are going in a direction that I did not take them.


i’m struggling with the same problem - i have more
trees than i can adequately care for and a large majority are ‘sentimental’ (my first juniper, my first boxwood my first ficus, etc etc). It’s been easier
to let some go with time; I kind of decided
to keep my garden at a steady # that i can care for … i don’t buy a new tree unless i get rid of an old one. This helps me put a lot of thought into each new acquisition instead of just buying every new shiny object with a cool jin or nice roots or a species i don’t have yet.

At the end of the day i realized its not worth having a bunch of trees that you can’t advance and appropriately care for … all of a sudden the importance of their sentimental value dropped

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