More about the Bonsai Mentor

Bonsai Mentor - Mark Givensel

I love working with Bonsai trees.  It has truly given me respect for the way nature works as well a great escape from the everyday stresses of life. 

When I was a kid, growing up in Cleveland Ohio, my farther encouraged me to start a lawn care business.  Being a dad myself now, I'm pretty sure he did this as a way to keep me out of trouble as well as learn the value of hard work and handling money.

Anyways, I started out at nine years old by mowing my next door neighbor's lawn.  By the time I was 16, I had a trailer full of lawn equipment and took care of about 30 different lawns, employing a couple of  friends with part time jobs.

I was always reading books as a kid and to keep up with my yard care skills, I purchased a book on how to take care of trees and shrubs. 

On one of the last pages of this book there was an illustration of a Bonsai tree.  The story below the illustration described it almost as a magical tree in a pot.  At least this is how I viewed it being a kid in Cleveland and having never traveled anywhere.

Mark Givensel with his childhood yard care service

I told myself as a little boy that if I could ever learn how to take care of a Bonsai tree, it would be the ultimate yard care person.

Mark Givensel 2009 Valley Isle Bonsai Club group photo

When I moved to  Hawaii and started taking trips to Japan, I saw real, living Bonsai trees.  This instantly brought back my childhood memory of the illustration of the magical Bonsai in the back of the tree and shrub book. 


For the next couple of years, I tried to create my own Bonsai trees.  However without knowing the very basics all my attempts ended in failure; a very brown, dead tree. 

My first successful Bonsai tree

One year at the County Fair, I came across the Bonsai display.  I was instantly hooked and signed up for their Introduction to Bonsai class.  It was a four evening class stretched out over a month long period.  It was in this class I learned the basics of soil, shaping, pruning and all the other basics on Bonsai.  I also met some really great people at the Bonsai Club.

 Bonsai Mentor, Mark Givensel, Japanese Black Pine

Since then, I have truly made Bonsai a part of my life.  I wake up every morning at 5AM and water each of my 30+ Bonsai trees.  I also try to spend as much time caring for them, however many times life just eats up this time with family and work responsibilities. 

What I like most of all is sharing what I've learned with others.  The most important thing I've learned is the best way to learn something yourself is to teach someone what you all ready know.  I'm not sure why this works, but it works very well for me.

So I invite you to share my journey of learning and appreciating the wonderful art of Bonsai.  It truly brings me peace, patience and a wonderful way to share my love of nature.

Join me.