“Bonsai is a living art. The craft never ends as the trees keep evolving and require constant reshaping and reworking,” asserts Dato’ Chua Kok Hwa.
Focus Time, a digital lifestyle channel under HCK Capital Group, is proud to feature Dato’ Chua in its latest life-story series, documenting his deep passion for the art of Bonsai.
As an ardent Bonsai artist with more than 10 years of experience, Dato’ Chua is acknowledged as one of the international consultants for World Bonsai Friendship Federations.
According to Dato’ Chua, the word ‘Bonsai’ is of Japanese origin and literally translates as ‘tree in a pot’. It is the art of dwarfing trees and sculpting them to yield to the design and purpose of the artist.
The main difference between Bonsai and caring for other potted plants is the considerably long time required to cultivate the Bonsai trees. The craft of Bonsai takes years of training and Bonsai trees are aged in pots for many years, sometimes centuries.
The first essential skill to master as a Bonsai artist is watering. The caretaker must learn the innate ability to recognise the ideal moisture level in the soil, ensuring optimum growing environment for the tree.
Having a knack for identifying pests and diseases of the tree is also crucial in order to remedy the situations quickly. And when the roots are too densely packed or when the water does not flow through the soil, it means it is high time for repotting.
The greatest joy for a Bonsai artist comes when a tree is near its completion and ready for repotting to be visually appreciated. This is the proudest moment for any Bonsai artist as it showcases his or her hard work throughout the years.
“For beginners, start small or with a ready Bonsai tree to learn how to care for the plant. I encourage all young enthusiasts to visit international or local Bonsai exhibitions to see how experts shape their Bonsai trees and learn more about the art of Bonsai,” concludes Dato’ Chua.