It was a 1984 teen movie that inspired Dr Sarah Rose of Eumundi Dental on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to embrace the art of bonsai.
“I first became interested in bonsai after watching The Karate Kid as a child. During the movie, Mr Miyagi prunes and styles a number of bonsai trees in order to teach the Karate Kid about life. I thought the bonsais looked very cool and spent years trying to grow some. I managed to kill them all.
“When I moved to Eumundi about four years ago, I met Michael Eberle from Simply Japanese Bonsai at the Eumundi markets. He’s an expert at growing and maintaining bonsai and reignited my interest in the art form.
“I’ve been growing bonsai for about three and a half years now and have 10 trees at home. In order to keep them healthy, it’s important to water them every day. As you’re actively stunting the plant’s growth, the roots are very fine and delicate. The entire pot must be saturated with water to ensure every single root gets moistened. Most people kill their bonsai due to lack of water.
“It’s also very important to have good airflow so the foliage keeps growing. The leaves and roots need to be constantly trimmed in order to give the bonsai a balanced shape.
“Among my collection I have two junipers, two Chinese elms, three fig trees, a Japanese star, and two bougainvilleas. The bougainvilleas are an unusual choice for bonsai but they look amazing.
“I keep all my bonsai outside and each one has its own designated stand. I would like to expand my collection but we don’t have room at the moment. We’ll just have to move to a house with a big backyard so I can fully indulge my bonsai passion!
“I love the story about the bonsai that survived the Hiroshima bombing. Years after the war, the Japanese gave it to the USA as a peace offering. It’s still alive today and you can see it in Washington DC.
“Growing bonsai is very relaxing but you need a great deal of patience. I love trimming and maintaining the trees and I’ll often spend 90 minutes slowly working my way through my collection.
“As soon as I come home from work, I attend to the bonsai. Then I sit down with the dog and relax. A bit of bonsai bliss is a great way to unwind after a hard day at work. Who would have thought that Mr Miyagi would have such an impact on my life.”