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Branching out .. Timaru woman Jan Simmons has been growing bonsai trees for the past 40 years and is downsizing. PHOTO: RACHAEL COMER

by Rachael Comer

A Timaru woman’s growing hobby is taking on a slower pace.
Jan Simmons has been creating bonsai trees for the past 40 years but says age means she is having to downsize. This means selling hundreds of the Japanese art form-grown trees, which she has carefully tended to.
“I’m selling all my surplus,” Mrs Simmons said.
“It’s getting too much to cope with at the moment. I’m getting to the age now where I need to downsize. I won’t be selling my personal collection though.”
Mrs Simmons said her granddaughter had put a post on social media about the sale, and she had been “amazed” by the response.
“One was gone in five minutes.”
Mrs Simmons said she had a “passion” for bonsai trees.
“I have a lot of trees because I just can’t help myself.
“I’m a tree lover and if I see something – a feature in it – I have to bonsai it.”
Her love of bonsais has been going strong for 40 years in Timaru, something she puts down to having an eye for the hobby.
“You have to have the eye and the technique of seeing in a tree what you can create. It’s a living art.
“It’s just the same as people who do painting.”
She said a love of trees was also in her genes, growing up in the United Kingdom surrounded by forests and greenery.
“I’ve also always loved miniature gardens with small rocks and small plants. I started from there.”
Patience was also another virtue when it came to bonsais, she said.
“You might have a tree which takes 20 years before you fulfil what you want it to do.”
The South Canterbury Bonsai Society meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Gleniti Art Centre at 7.30pm. For more information contact Jan Simmons on (03) 688-2386.