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Starting out wrong ends up badly!

So as the title of my blog suggests, I am only beginning my bonsai journey and therefore have a lot to learn. I had intended, as I do with most things, to learn as I go but after speaking to a few people on the internet and doing a little research, I am starting over with a different perspective.

If you look back at my previous posts, you will see that the tree’s I have and the way I was caring for them is riddled with mistakes. Luckily a few people pointed out my mistakes and misplaced enthusiasm and suggest I go back to the drawing board and get a little more information on the art.

I’ve always been a great proponent to the theory ‘Listen to people who are a lot smarter than you’ so I have taken their advice.

After a short time reading through a website suggested by one of the guys I was talking to, I soon realised there is a lot more to bonsai than I first realised. ┬áThe website I am talking about is I have also been watching a video series on YouTube called ‘The Bonsai Art of Japan.’ Whilst this is way ahead of anything I will be able to produce, it really gave me an insight into what can be achieved with years of dedication and it showed that patience and the right understanding of every little detail of your tree, climate and techniques is essential to creating authentic bonsai. Once you realise the level that these guys are working at, you will quickly realise the skill and knowledge it takes to even keep one of these tree’s alive.

So I have gone back to the drawing board. As we are mid-season, I will leave the trees that I have already made mistakes on and look at them again next spring. They are all showing good signs of growth so hopefully I have not caused too much damage.

So what to do between now and Spring?!?

Well there is one simple answer to that question…………………. Reading!!

As I have no tree’s to work on over the summer and autumn months, I intend to gather a few new tree’s together to start working with in spring. I can do some initial pruning on these to keep the growth heading in the right direction but the vast majority of my time will be spent reading, watching video’s and talking to people. I will continue to post to the blog with new finds and with some of the stuff I have learnt along the way.

Hopefully by Spring of next year, I will be a little more educated in the beginner techniques and I can start my tree’s the right way. If anyone has any advice or useful websites or books they would like to share, please feel free to get in touch via the comments section below. All information will be gratefully received.


So I suppose I should start with an introduction. I’m James, a garden centre manager from Northern Ireland. I have always had an interest in bonsai and the idea behind it however past attempts have generally led to small dead trees in pots. You see, patience is a virtue I do not have and therefore I found myself prodding and poking at the trees every other day leading to their eventual demise.

So I’ve decided to give it another go but this time I’m determined to do it right. There are two things that make me a little more likely to succeed this time:

1. I am a little more educated in the art. I understand more about the process and what it hopes to achieve and more importantly that it takes time.

2. Being a full time husband and father alongside working full time means I do not have the time to annoy the trees day and daily meaning I am less likely to run into the same problems I faced in my previous attempts.

Those time restrictions will also apply to this blog unfortunately. It will not be updated on a daily basis. The main aim for the blog is to catalogue the progress of my trees and also talk a little bit about what I am learning and the problems I am coming across on the way.

If you are a bonsai veteran then you may not find a lot in here that will inspire or interest you but you may have a chuckle at my amateurish mistakes. If you are also starting out in bonsai, then feel free to ask questions and if I know about it, I will help. If it is a little over my head, hopefully one of those veterans will take a break from laughing at me and help you out.

I have around 7 trees in the pre-bonsai stage and a couple of seedlings that are growing nicely in their nursery pots. My initial aim is to get everything into training pots and do some rough styling. I will post images and details of my trees shortly.

Good luck


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