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.

Maybe I should drive a greenhouse, not a car.

Every year has one month or maybe more that gives me a misguided hope that I could make a living out of bonsai. I am currently in the middle of such a time.  Although many of my bonsai activities are for fun as opposed for business it’s a busy time. The day job does tend to distract from the fun stuff and drain energy that would be better spent on small trees. However the busy spell will be fleeting and the job does help me buy little trees.

One concern is always the amount of time my trees spend in my car and the damage that tis can cause being packed and unpacked all the time. So far there has not been any casualties.

Starting with the excellent show at capel manor. I managed to sell a few trees, do a demo and pick up the award for best display.IMGP0380

Thas one of the fun parts of shohin bonsai in that you can actually build a display. Larger trees with limited display space tend to be plonked down on a stand with an accent and we are done. It’s much harder to include space, direction, seasonality etc.

Following capel, my display continued the journey without me to the Bonsai San exhibition in Saulieu courtesy of John Pitt and Peter Warren.  A larger display and one that I have been playing with in preparation for Noelanders.


I was extremely fortunate that the display picked up an award. I am also fortunate to have friends that helped make it possible. Mr Pitt and Mr Warren for transporting and setting up the display and John Brocklehurst and Doug Mudd without whom, I would not have stands for my trees to be displayed upon.


This weekend I will be at Tony Tickles BURRS workshop. I hope some small trees turn up!

Capel Manor Autumn Show

Capel Manor

I have enjoyed supporting this show for a few years now. Despite the long drive south (musn’t forget my passport) the show is always a pleasure and should not be missed. The gardens are a good distraction for the non-bonsai spouse and the cafe’s good too. What more could you ask?

This year I will be exhibitiing as normal and for the first time I will be giving a demo too.

I hope to see you there!


Workshop announced

Date announced for the next workshop at my place in Leeds.

21st September 10 – 4pm. Bring tools and wire and as many shohin as you like. Refreshments provided and I put on some nice displays too!

Sorry its short notice. Please email me as numbers limited to 8 participants.

Wirral Bonsai club

The Wirral groupn has for a long time been one of the most pro-active groups in the country and I am pleased to have had a long association with them. Due to the car problems previously blogged I missed their show but now that I am back on the road I will be there tomorrow giving a talk/demo.

Not being strictly proffesional (in many ways) and having a day job, I stuggle to do all that I would like in the bonsai world and not having a nursery, I stuggle for suitable material. I often spend more than my fee on the piece of material to do the actual demo on! Being a shohin specialist hinders this further. If you do a demo on a shohin tree, no one can see what you are doing!

However tomorrow nights talk/demo will be on a number of trees that have gone over. Ones that have been exhibited in the past but have gotten a little too large and out of proportion.

shimpakuThis is the original “offering” picture of one of them from quite a few years ago. For many years it was never away from exhibitions, winning many awards. It was a little over shohin size back then. Now it has inflated so much in size, much like its owner and now needs a sort out.


Probably the best the tree looked. At the first Bonsai World event. The display is pretty poor though!

So if you are free tomorrow night, come along to the Wirral group. It will be a good night.