How It All Started

Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.

Chinese Proverb author unknown.

My passion for Bonsai started one Christmas back in the early 1980’s. Yes, you guessed, my wife gave me a ‘grow your own bonsai’ kit for a stocking filler. Needless to say my disappointment grew quicker than my present did.

I followed the instructions to the letter, but no…that little seed despite growing well did not look like the beautiful Bonsai as shown on the outer packet that contained the seed.

Yes, don’t laugh, I truly thought there was such a thing as a special variety of seed that automatically grew into a wonderful Bonsai…how sad can that be?

From the seedling to a book or four, a visit to a specialist Bonsai Nursery, enrolled on a one day foundation course with none other than Geoff Matthews. In my opinion, one of the greatest Bonsai talents around then…and today. Geoff has never looked for recognition, just satisfied customers. Many of which have become friends with the great man!

I purchased a few raw stock trees from Geoff and some from Garden Centres and Nurseries. Before long I had quite a pathetic collection going.

Clearly I was well and truly hooked…and still am today. I sort of had a break for a few years whilst employed (stress working with numpties that ran the organisation…sigh) I simply didn’t have time to spend with my trees and they suffered. No more though…since redundancy almost a year ago, much hard work and attention has given my collection a new lease of life.

Despite the coldest winter for over 30 years (2010) I was very lucky, no trees died. I did suffer plenty of die-back, but sometimes that works to your advantage; (more about that elsewhere).

I am NO expert, I want to make that absolutely clear from the onset. I don’t enter competitions for new talent, (cripes, I only just joined a club) but I am passionate, yes I get it wrong but at the end of the day, I will work a tree until it is pleasing to me. Sod the pot size or the position, or crossing branches, wagon wheels, I do what pleases me! After all they are my trees and they really are only for my wife Mum and I to enjoy.

Follow the case histories or other links above for more on this wonderful-wonderful interest.

Oh, if you’re wondering about the proverb we started with? Use the right tool for the job …seemples:-)

Mike Jones

10 thoughts on “How It All Started

  1. roxana

    Estoy empezando esta nueva relación con los bonsai compre unos arbolitos para empezar y o sorpresa no se murieron eso hizo que quisiera serguir ahora tengo 5 arbustos o plantitas que me han vendido como bonsais y que estoy tratando de mantener vivos y aprender con ellos este fascinante arte. Me a gustado su blog ojala nos podamos comunicar.

  2. Thorsten

    Wow, truely inspirational. My journey is only just beginning but seeing the beautiful trees you have will make me look long term. I started searching for ‘bonsai Oaks’ because our son was born in the Jubilee year last year and therefore received an Oak tree from the Sandrinham Estate (part of a wider scheme), however an Oak is not suitable in a town garden and as I always like to make use of all plants received I thought I may be able to bonasi it. I may not live to see it develop into the oak you have there but it will be a great project to work on as my Son grows up.

    1. Mike Jones

      Thank you for your kind words. Should you get the ‘bug’ for Bonsai, later on you may like to look out for an established Oak tree that has been well nibbled by animals over the years. This one originally came from North Wales. Apart from mildew which can and should be treated, they are pretty much bomb proof. You’ll need to keep cutting back to generate further growth.

      Good luck but above everything enjoy. Oh and hearty congratulations on the birth of your son!

      Be well and happy, two essentials for long life.


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