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Bated by Bonsai. Now we’re hooked!

As gardeners we’re always looking to challenge ourselves with something new and unusual. For many years I’ve been fascinated with Bonsai but have never owned my own. I’m always drawn to the Bonsai displays at flower shows, and have marvelled at the skill, knowledge and patience that obviously go into producing these incredible trees.

For the last few years we’ve been making our own version of bonsai called Kokedama. This translates (allegedly) as ‘Poor man’s bonsai’. Hundreds of years ago, Japanese peasants, so as not to feel left out, and despite being unable to afford a fancy-pants pot, would try their hand at Bonsai by collecting a sapling and wrapping in a ball of moss, scavenged from the forest floor. Ours dangle from the trees in our woodland garden and they make the journey to the composting loo that little bit more interesting. On windy days even more so – ducking and weaving between swinging moss balls.

To make the Kokedama we buy Japanese clay compost called Keto from a Bonsai supplier. It usually arrives by courier, but one of their staff, an extremely pleasant and knowledgeable chap called Darren dropped it over in his car. The car also contained a few specimens of top quality Bonsai. Even I, who know nothing about bonsai, could tell the difference in quality between those mass-produced twisted sticks that I’ve seen in garden centres and these lovingly grown, petite pots of arboreal perfection. The bait was cast and we were hooked.

We bought a few. We even sold a few, so we bought a few more.

Our collection is beginning to grow. Only a dozen or so but each plant
has been carefully pondered and its finer points have been deliberated,
with Darren painstakingly guiding us towards the very best trees.
Perhaps one day I’ll even have enough skill to create a
Korabuki-Fukinagashi with great Sharimiki (multi-trunked, windswept
style with exposed bark). If you’re a beginner like me, or an
experienced collector come and see what we have to offer. We’ll learn
together or perhaps you’ll be generous to share your knowledge with us.
After all that’s what gardening is all about.