The Yorkshire Bonsai Association 

Last night we had our first meeting of the reborn Yorkshire bonsai association.

It ceased to be about 12 years ago when I was preparing to go to Japan to spend time studying under the Urushibatas at Taishoen. No one wanted to take over the chair so the association folded up. Apart from a couple of half hearted attempts by myself to do something meaningful in the Leeds area, the district has been without a Bonsai society ever since.

I gave up waiting for someone else to start one and decided to at least get people together and see if there is a desire and a need for such a group. 

Last night saw a small group of us, some ex members including a previous chairperson and some from other clubs join together and discuss the viability whilst doing what we all set out to do in the first place, enjoy bonsai.

What was quite clear with the amount of experience in the room is that we all wanted to avoid the administration and politics  at all cost. We want to spend our time pruning, wiring (well some of us), displaying, chatting etc etc. All the fun bits! 

We welcome everyone that loves bonsai and just wants to improve and enjoy their trees. There is no membership fee, just a nominal fee to cover the room rent and that’s it. 

Everyone is welcome

Hope to see you soon

Boot sale and the Yorkshire Bonsai Association 

Despite the terrible weather of the last week the Doncaster Boot Sale at Markham Grange was a resounding success. With more visitors and traders than previous events, although the weather caused a few traders to pull out. Hopefully they will there for the autumn one.

The other reason for my attendance as I didn’t have too much to sell was to test the water for the autumn event as running along side the sale will be an exhibition of shohin Bonsai. Between me and friends we staged some displays to see any pitfalls we might have. The melting snow on the roof showed us that despite the lovely natural light, any rain could give the trees an unexpected watering. You live and learn. I hope the displays were enjoyed by the visitors none the less. The roof problem will be solved by September. 

As well as the exhibition will be demonstrations throughout the day and an auction. Put it in your diary – 23rd of September.

Next post. The Yorkshire Bonsai Association rebirth….. 

The Yorkshire Bonsai Association 

As mentioned in my previous post, Leeds has been missing a Bonsai group since the closure of the Yorkshire bonsai association at the end of 2006.

Finally I have gotten around to doing something about it. I had hoped that someone else might do it but as the saying goes, if you want something doing…. 

So I am very pleased to announce that the inaugural meeting of the newly formed YBA will take place on Monday the 5th of March at 19.30.

The venue is the same as it was in the old days. St Columbas United Reform Church, Headingley, Leeds. Also as before it will meet on the first Monday of the month, moving to the second when it falls on a bank holiday. 

In the first meeting I hope to press gang a steering group to take us forwards through 2018 and beyond. 

Please share to anyone that might be interested. I hope to attract members from the neighbouring clubs where I regularly appear with the intention to build a camaraderie that will be to everyone’s benefit. 

Please get in touch if you want any further info. 

Best wishes to all. 


Life is what happens whilst you are busy making other plans. 

A lot of the plans and promises in respect to regular blog posts that I made for 2017 didn’t quite make it to fruition. It’s not that I have been lazy (maybe) but a combination of work, relocating my trees (thank goodness they are shohin) , writing for Esprit Bonsai, club visits, Monaco, workshops and all the other day to day life stuff. 

I hope 2018 will be more organised and less frantic. Although I am already filling every spare minute. Apart from my usual bonsai activities,  I am now the proud occupier of an allotment. So far the bind weed is the only thing thriving at the site.

In the last few days I have started making arrangements to restart the Yorkshire Bonsai Association. 

Some might remember the YBA. In its heyday it had over 100 members, as did many clubs. I resigned as the chair prior to my first trip to Taishoen. Sadly there wasn’t anyone to take over so the group ceased. 

Leeds has been devoid of a Bonsai group ever since. Until now I hope. 

Anyway, it’s early days. All being well it will be at the original venue of St Columbas United Reform Church in Headingly and on the original day of the first Monday of the month. PM/email me for more info. That goes for club visits too. 

Belated happy new year wishes to all. 


York Bonsai Society evening talk and demo

I was delighted to return to the York Bonsai Society last night in my quest to further shohin bonsai in the UK, and was pleased (relieved) to see so many attend. I brought some of my shohin with me, a two and a five tree display and gave a talk/demo and finished with a critique/chat about some of the trees members had brought along. Some really nice shohin are being developed here and I was more than happy to give any tips and advice I could to help keep them going in the right direction.

One problem with shohin demonstrations is the diminutive nature of the subject. It’s hard to see much from the back of the room. Plus it took about ten wires to wire the complete tree so to make it a bit more interesting and show a few other techniques it was planted on a rock. A good final image resulted and the evening was most enjoyable. That’s the thing, it should be fun. It is  our hobby after all!!

It’s great to be back doing demonstrations and to be passing on some of my enthusiasm for shohin. If anybody else would like me to visit your club, please do drop me an email.  Plus, as people are showing some interest, I will be arranging some informal workshops at my studio in Leeds very soon. Shohin-drop-in so to speak.  I’ll advertise here and on my Facebook page when a date is confirmed.

Spring is in the air…

Spring must have arrived as we have finally bitten the bullet and gotten around to finally clearing what was once my studio. Once, I ran regular workshops from here although it’s hard to believe looking at it now.

The half way point……

Just a selection of the shohin bonsai stands I have. I have more stands than trees!

Final result. Next job is to throw a bit of paint around and try to make it a bit brighter. Then it will be open for business.

Markham Grange Garden Centre Spring Bonsai Boot Sale 

The Spring bonsai boot sale at Markham grange was certainly the busiest yet. A few professional traders but mostly hobbiests hoping to pass on their tree excesses that we all have. Trees are always priced to sell and an ideal opportunity to pick up a tree or two to play with. 

Not knowing what the footfall would be like, I took a little juniper and a few feet of wire to play with. Bought the weekend before from Ken Leaver of Windybank Bonsai I had always envisaged it becoming a mame size tree.

The tree has a great little trunk but dead straight branches. These will become Jin and have a bit of shape put in them too.

Literally half an hour’s work. Still needs a pot and a bend putting in the Jin. A good, productive morning. 

Next……spring cleaning my studio!!

Looking towards the future.

One of the major influences that caused my swing to smaller bonsai, whilst in Japan, was the accessibility of good, affordable material. Material that, with a bit of effort, can give you results to be proud of. 

I am firm believer that shohin should be for everyone, but rarely is this sort of material is available in the UK. When it is, the hoops that importers have to jump through make these once affordable trees now a seriously considered purchase. Garden centres that were once our hunting grounds for raw material have little in the way of worthwhile stock anymore. 

Anyway, at Swindon I picked up a few bundles of larch and some other bits with an eye for the future. Aiming to develop these as quality material for shohin. 

No straight sticks in pots here. These along with tridents, itoigawa junipers and other self propagated stock should keep me and others entertained in the years to come.

Bonsai Car Boot Sale

Doncaster Spring Bonsai Car Boot Sale is this Sunday (March 5th) at Markham Grange Garden Centre, Brodsworth near Doncaster. I’m going along with a good selection of trees in varying price ranges and in various stages of development for sale.  This boot sale is open 9am-12pm.  I’m also planning on sorting out my accent plants as well. So hoping that I’ll be able to pick up some materials for those at this event.  Hopefully see a few familiar faces there.

Swindon Winter Image Show 2017

Well, it was a good start to the bonsai year at Swindon today! And a good start for me back in to the world of little trees in  pots!

The Swindon Show has always had a reputation of being a high class show within the UK and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. Fantastic organisation and brilliant displays by the many and varied exhibitors.


Being at Swindon has usefully stimulated the old grey matter and given me plenty of ideas for the coming 18 months.  Speaking to the organisers of other shows and club members has given me something to aim for with my trees.


I’ve picked up some interesting material for demonstrations and some for developing. I intend to post regular updates here of both new and old material I am developing, hints and tips and updates on when and where you can find me around the country.


A portion of my shohin display.