National Arboretum Canberra


World Bonsai Day 9 May 2015

Below is an excerpt from a speech Mr. Saburo Kato delivered at the International Bonsai Convention in 1980. * Mr Saburo Kato was an internationally respected Japanese bonsai master, now deceased,

“...Everyone here has gathered together from distant places. In each of your countries you have mountains, rivers, woods and forests. These are beautiful scenes to inspire you. Choose the most beautiful examples for your bonsai. Do not just copy anything. Rather, make your bonsai like the best parts of nature.

To raise bonsai it is very important to learn the strong and weak points of each plant. Raising bonsai is like raising children. Be a teacher and a guide but with patience and loving care. Treat your plants as you do your family. I'm sure that each of you will also be able to create and grow beautiful bonsai.

Bonsai is a living thing in the roots and even in the leaves. Every day that you are attending your bonsai, although the plant cannot speak to you, you'll sense that the plant is trying to tell you something. You'll one day know a plant is asking for water or fertilizer. When you come to that stage, you'll have developed a close bond. Bonsai responds to your love and becomes like honest friends with no human falsehood or betrayals.

Bonsai are loyal if you water and fertilize regularly with loving care. Life is more meaningful when we attend these little plants. We learn the essence and dignity of life! Even the life of a bonsai is older than us. So bonsai must be passed on to the next generation to preserve the life in the tray. This is important.

Bonsai is a god-given gift to man. This form of nature is closest to man and portrays the drama of life. Bonsai is nature without an end. So those who grow bonsai have a responsibility to be diligent and a duty to continue to carry on. In conclusion, I hope that the art of bonsai will never die and will keep the torch of peace burning throughout the world. I hope closer and deeper friendships will tie us together...”

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