Bank Holiday Bonsai Project

I’ve always liked bonsai trees. I did have one for several years until one of our cats decided to eat it! Since then I’ve wanted to get more but have never quite got around to it. I’ve been looking at them more and more recently though so decided to take the plunge at the weekend. Time therefore for a garden project – it wouldn’t be a bank holiday weekend without one.

Finding Bonsai Trees

The trouble with bonsai trees is that they take forever (many, many years) to grow from seed. I have a few that I’ve started but getting them to maturity is quite a challenge. You can of course buy them, but the bigger, better and older they are, the more expensive they become, sometimes they can be many thousands of pounds!

I couldn’t afford to invest too much in them as we don’t really live in the best environment for bonsai trees. Where we live is renowned for it’s windy conditions. It’s almost always windy, and if it’s not windy then it is VERY windy. That’s basically the choice we have! Bonsai trees don’t really like the wind, and nor do they like salty air, something else that we have plenty of! As you can see, it would be silly of me to spend too much on an ancient bonsai tree only for the conditions here to kill it.

The other option is to make bonsai trees from nursery stock or by digging up and sculpting existing trees and shrubs. This takes a bit of skill, but is something I’m planning on doing. I’ve already cut back some shrubs in the garden. They are just stumps for now but I’m now waiting for them to regain some growth before trying to dig them up and put them into a pot. This still takes time, but growing the plants in the ground first allows them to develop decent trunks that can then be used to give the impression of an older bonsai tree. I’ve got a Juniper in the raised bed that I might try sculpting into a bonsai as well.

I’ve also found a few oak and maple seedlings in the garden that I’ve put into pots. If these survive it’ll be quite a few years before they make it to being proper bonsai trees.

Cheap Bonsai Trees

I had planned on visiting a bonsai nursery and buying one or two semi-decent trees along within some stock to try sclupting myself. I hadn’t quite got around to doing that when I spotted online that Morissons had what looked like some decent small bonsai trees for sale at a good price. They were much cheaper than anything I’d get from a bonsai nursery and didn’t look too bad.

First part of the project this Bank Holiday weekend therefore was a trip into town with Anna and a visit to Morissons. To my surprise the Morissons in Aberystwyth did indeed have some in stock. Not many, but I hadn’t expected them to have any at all. So, I bought three of them.

A Bonsai Stand

Once back at home I roped Morgan into helping me build a little stand to display them on. We didn’t have much in the way of wood offcuts but we still managed to cobbled something together and I soon had a nice little display of bonsai trees in the garden. All for the grand cost of £36.

Obviously they will need looking after. They need watering, feeding, trimming and protecting from the wind, weather and pests. As a relative beginner to bonsai trees, it’s better to learn the basics with these than it is to buy a tree for several hundred pounds. Maybe if these are successful I’ll add to my collection, but for now this is a good start.

I do of course have a few other trees that are still in development that might one day become bonsai trees. If they do then I’ll have to build some more stands to display them on. If I can get these to survive here then I probably will get some more impressive specimens at some point. For now, these might not be that impressive but they are at least bonsai trees and actually look pretty good in the garden.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.