Bonsai grows into passion

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Small is beautiful . . . Joy Morton shows off some of her 90 bonsai trees. PHOTO: ELLA STOKES

Nothing gives bonsai expert Joy Morton greater pleasure than seeing something she has created grow.

And she should know – she has been growing bonsai trees for 49 years.

Bonsai is the art of growing and sculpting miniaturised trees to look like old trees, a process that takes many years.

It is one of the oldest forms of art in the world and originated in Japan.

Mrs Morton (75) has 90 bonsai trees in her small backyard in Abbotsford – some almost 50 years old.

Mrs Morton said that if left untouched, some of her trees would have been about 4m tall. Instead, they are just over 30cm.

Mrs Morton said her interest in bonsai started when she was visiting her daughter in hospital and saw an article about bonsai in a magazine and was intrigued to see how it all worked.

Since then, a hobby has become a passion.

Mrs Morton has been president of the Otago Bonsai Society three times.

Her love for bonsai has taken her as far afield as China, after the New Zealand Bonsai Association selected her to represent New Zealand as a demonstrator at a World Bonsai Federation convention being held there.

She said she loved bonsai so much because it was “different” and involved creating an artwork from something that was living.

The Otago Bonsai Society is the second-largest bonsai club in New Zealand with 42 members.

This weekend the group is hosting the National Bonsai Show and Bonsai Exhibition.

World-renowned bonsai professional Bjorn Bjorholm, of the United States, will be among those attending.

The show will be held from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday, at Kaikorai Valley College.

For more information, phone Mrs Morton on (03) 488-4592.