EVERY BONSAI has its own personality, its own character. This character is revealed—and created—by the care it receives—the water and light, the nurturing, pruning, and shaping. Human beings, of course, are exactly the same. “As the twig is bent…”
This combination of nature and nurture, of freedom and intent, of extrinsic and intrinsic, is one of the fascinating things about growing bonsais. And about life in general.
This little juniper is a favorite. Standing over its white granite outcrop—a rock from Kabetogama Lake in Voyageurs National Park—it reminds me with its massive flat top of the great white pines that still populate the park and all the Canoe Country in general. They, too, often sport a horizontal top after they have surpassed and outgrown all the smaller trees around them. This little tree, only ten inches tall, is emblematic of not-so-distant cousins, two or three hundred years of age.