Bonsai is more than just a hobby, it's a ‘sickness’

Getting lost in bonsai

Cindy White

Once you try it, it’s hard to stop.

That seems to be the message from long-time members of the Kelowna Bonsai Club, which is marking its 40th anniversary.

“Don’t do it! It becomes a sickness and like any hobby, it just grows and grows and grows,” jokes Martin Vincze, who has been a member of the club for 31 years. He has an estimated 400 Bonsai trees.

He’s not alone in his obsession.

“I saw a show in the mall and just started getting some books and started reading up on it, trying myself and experimenting,” said Dan Mueksch, who has been with the club for 35 years. He was in his 20s when he discovered the art.

Club president Don Tamaki says essentially, Bonsai is the art of growing miniature trees in pots.

“You’re trying to make it miniaturized,” he explains. “It’s very encouraging, very relaxing, you get lost in it.

“You’re staring at a tree and four hours will go by. You’ve done a few clippings here and there and styling. It gives you a little bit of satisfaction as well.”

The big challenge for the club is finding new, younger members. Tamaki pointed to one recent recruit, who is just 15 years old.

“He studied Bonsai on video. So YouTube videos from different people around the world. He’s really caught on. We only met him in October last year and he blew us away with what he knows about the art.”

The Kelowna Bonsai Club invites anyone interested in the art to attend its 40th anniversary celebration at Kasugai Garden on June 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will include Bonsai displays and demonstrations, entertainment and Japanese cultural performances.

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