Bonsai professionals should read this post

As the by-line below the title of my blog indicates, a major part of my work is with the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens’ bonsai collection. Over the past four years, what I’ve found is that we bonsai people are a unique phenomenon. We routinely perform procedures that are considered among the most complex and advanced in the botanical and horticultural world; we have intimate knowledge and unique hands-on experience of working with trees that is rarely found elsewhere; we are masterful technicians of applied botany.

This knowledge and experience are worth a lot of money. The bonsai professional would be well advised to establish himself as a trusted, respected, and often-consulted expert not only inside the bonsai community, but among the botanical and horticultural communities as well. This is not only a potential revenue channel – the connections and professional relations that can be developed from consulting to these latter circles offer myriad advantages and opportunities.

For example, a lot of time, money, and effort are being invested world-wide in tree conservation and in forestry management. Consulting to these operations not only helps serve an important cause, but also puts the bonsai professional in a position to receive top-quality material that otherwise might have become firewood. Bonsai professionals working with botanical gardens can generate valuable ties and income for their organizations.

Leveraging our unique knowledge and skills outside the bonsai world, and establishing mutually beneficial connections with forest management authorities, horticultural organizations, and botanical projects will build bonsai’s positive reputation, bridge some of the traditional distrust that these organizations have towards the bonsai community, and provide fascinating and lucrative opportunities for collaboration.

8 comments on “Bonsai professionals should read this post

    • Thanks Luis!!
      From our experience over here – infrastructure projects are able to lower costs, more trees are saved, and the bonsai community gets killer material. It’s the perfect win-win situation.

  1. Hi Ofer,

    thanks for your article.
    I think you are completely right about that and that there could be much more coordination and co-work between those different fields around trees in Israel.
    I myself am an architect working in one of the biggest landscape architect offices in Israel and know first hand how many trees and acres are ‘rolled’ over each year.
    I spoke to a leading agronomist some weeks ago about the possibility to let ‘bonsai people’ go into the field before the bulldozer come and save some of the small trees that usually fall through the ‘net’ of tree conservation. – The standard in Israel talks about marking a tree in surveys only above 2m and if there is at least a stem of around 10cm. Everything beneath is not noticed and often not even seen by agronomists. – The agronomist was very supportive and for a certain project he agreed to try to contact the construction firm the moment the contract was final in order to try to get an ok for taking out possible bonsai trees.
    I see a future in this, sinceL
    1) It’s not hurting anyone
    2) The trees are going to be destroyed anyway
    3) They are not protected (even not noticed) by Israeli law
    4) It could even be some good public relations for the construction company (‘See, we are even saving small trees…’)

    In a far vision there could be an official procedure, where after the conservation of the mature trees, bonsai people are allowed in to see what they can need and save from what is left before the bulldozers are coming…

    • Yes, it’s an olive. It’s a shame about all the material that is being destroyed due to development around the world. But there is a special satisfaction working on an old tree that was rescued from destruction 🙂

    • What I’ve found is that so long as you let them take the lead and don’t threaten their territory, so to speak, they’re up for it. Of course, it takes time to build a reputation, but if your experience can shave a few hundred thousand dollars off an engineering project, or help propagate a one-of-a-kind tree, people tend to listen 🙂

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