I am constantly bombarded by requests for help from people who want to create beautiful bonsai. Some are just starting out and some have been plodding away for years. The defining factor is a concern about doing it wrong and messing up their material. This comes from a lack of experience. A lack of experience and unwillingness to make a mistake create paralysis which ultimately leads to nothing happening. The defining characteristic of those who do nothing is that, they don’t do anything, and doing nothing creates nothing, which is in itself very dissatisfying, and that’s why most people give up bonsai after a few years. It’s got nothing to do with a lack of skill but everything to do with an unwillingness to pay the price to obtain that skill.

Someone has said it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a significant skill. Think about anyone you admire for their skill and prowess in a particular field. I love motorcycle racing and I can confidently say there is not a single great rider out there who hasn’t spent that kind of time riding the wheels off something. The same applies to any sportsman, businessman or great achiever. Many of you will be familiar with Valentino Rossi, arguably one of the greatest motorcycle riders of modern times. You can be sure he fell off his first bike and on occasions continues to do so. Over the years he has suffered some pretty horrifying injuries as a result of his willingness to ride right out onto the edge of his talent and often just beyond. This willingness to push to the extreme edge is what has made him great along with others like Giacomo Agostini, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton or Richard Petty. All of these guys failed along the way but they just kept coming back time after time and THAT’S what made them great. The winning is a secondary benefit.

If you get your bonsai wrong it won’t end up in a broken vertebrae or fractured skull. At worst you will have a dead tree and THAT my friends IS the price of an education. I intend to write a great deal more on this subject but for now I offer my No1 secret for success in bonsai.


I have been doing this for more than 20 years and having completed my 10,000 hours I have to concur with the wise old sage who came up with that quote.

Youth is wasted on the young, age and experience rule the world.

For now I will leave you with a little video clip……