The ultimate challenge for the Bonsai designer is to expose the essence of the tree. The art of Bonsai is telling a story through living illusion. The artist strives to find avenues for personal expression within the confines of good horticultural practice. Bonsai is a pleasant mix of form, thought, and suggestion, in a miniature world; and like all good art, it endures. Beginners and students often share the same concern: having the ability to maintain a healthy plant. The key is in being able to control the degree of stress that a plant will take and still remain healthy. "Stress" here is not psychological stress, but referring to the horticultural practice of being able to know how much is too much, and how much is too little. This principal applies to all aspects to Bonsai culture, including air, water, soil, sun, nutrients, temperature, altitude, pruning, etc. The challenge is to have the willingness to learn, experiment and accept the results of these efforts. Another aspect central to Bonsai is time. The growth process takes time, and there are no shortcuts. A growing year is the usual yardstick by which success is measured. Caring for you Bonsai over time creates a deep sense of satisfaction. There is no replacement for time; it is always constant and moving forward. It is said that through the study of Bonsai, one will learn more than Bonsai.
Bonsai is about trees, trees grown in miniature. It is also about time and space and about life and attitudes. Historically, Bonsai was a part of the culture, an important part of family heritage. Equally, Bonsai can be simply a horticultural past time requiring no more than a measure of common garden sense, some artistic ability and plenty of patience.