Karate Kid inspiration leads to business in bonsais

BUSINESS GROWS: Bonsai Bliss owner Roberto Rangel has turned a love of bonsai into a business.
BUSINESS GROWS: Bonsai Bliss owner Roberto Rangel has turned a love of bonsai into a business. Cathy Adams

THE seedling for Roberto Rangel's bonsai business, Bonsai Bliss, was planted by watching the Karate Kid movie as a boy.

The business has grown to stock more than 3000 trees, shrubs and bonsai.

"I got interested by watching the Karate Kid movie and then I found one at a shop and bought a book and started making my own," he said.

In November last year, Mr Rangel and his partner Jess Hyett opened a bonsai store in Lismore, offering a wide range of plants and bonsai accessories.

Mr Rangel said it was an art form and decoration that has become popular with residents on the Northern Rivers.

"We had a really good response, particularly by people from Brunswick and Byron and Mullum and Evans Head," he said.

"A lot of people in the cities are attracted to bonsais because they can be kept in a small area, like on a balcony, and they can bring in that feeling of the wilderness.

"There's an energy that the trees bring in called chi energy, so that helps to create a nice atmosphere in the room as well.

"When I first started bonsais I lived on the Gold Coast in a really busy city so it really helped me get back to nature."

The self-taught bonsai guru offers free classes for budding bonsai beginners and $25 per hour classes for more experienced growers.

Mr Rangel said the secret to growing a good bonsai was pruning.

"It's a matter of cutting branches back and the roots," he said.

"That's the main task that's involved in the keeping of bonsai," he said.

Through his business, Mr Rangel also offers landscaping, garden design and maintenance.

History of bonsai trees

The first form of bonsai appeared in China more than 1000 years ago as pun-sai.

It made its way to Japan about 1195AD through the Zen Buddhism religion.

Bonsai trees appear in the first karate kid movie in 1984.

Topics:  bonsai business

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