Warning – Here Be Monsters!

I live out on a limb, nobody knows that better than me. I live exactly eighty nine miles from the nearest motorway. Personally I like that, ninety percent of traffic holdups I become entangled in are on motorways. However the way most folk talk you would think we were situated in the outer Hebrides. The upside is I don’t have to waste lots of my time dealing with knuckleheads or low-lifes who just come to scope the place before robbing us blind. What is sad is that driving a couple of hours remains such a massive hurdle for genuine folk to come and see us. As you get deeper into Norfolk there are signs variously declaring “Danger : Here Be Monsters“, seriously! Perhaps that’s got something to do with it?

Most of my bonsai career has been spent looking out the windscreen of various vans. Bonsai is never going to be a mainstream pass-time and if you want to learn what to do or see good trees you are going to have to travel, “simples“. I never get the reluctance of folk to travel in order to further a pursuit that we all love. There are bonsaiists within thirty minutes drive of where I live who have dedicated more than thirty years to bonsai who have never visited our nursery. I know I am an ornery, irascible old bastard but really? Here’s a surprising fact, over the last two years I have had more visitors from Australia (10500 miles) than I have had from my local bonsai club just fifteen miles away. Perhaps I AM an ornery old bastard after all?

If you do take the trouble to get here (appointment only), and assuming I actually let you in, I have been told we have about the best and most diverse range of trees in the UK. Me having a bonsai nursery is about like a big drinker owning a pub. I buy a lot of trees, I can, it’s my business. Trouble is I have a habit of hanging onto things. Sadly I don’t get the time I would like to actually get many of the trees worked up into something presentable but I just love having great yamadori around me, I am long past the stage of having to have every tree perfectly styled and manicured. Yamadori brings the wilderness and mountains right into my back yard without me having to travel, that suits me just fine.

This week I had a quiet walk around the nursery in the sunshine contemplating a nice cigar. I started to notice a few trees I had failed to list on our web site for sale. Later I pulled out a note pad and started a list, then I added up the cost before falling over. Looks like I have been a bit of a scallywag hoarder. Time to have a bit of a clear out, there are TOO many monsters here. All of these trees will be listed on the web site for sale next week including UK delivery.

I also have a lot of other trees that for various reasons I am not listing just yet and there is a LOT of great trees in the pipeline for later this year and early 2018. Starting to think I might need an intervention 😉




Scots pine.

Scots pine

Scots pine

Portuguese oak

Barbary oak

Barbary oak

Scots pine

Scots pine

Scots pine

Scots pine

Scots pine

Olive – oleaster

Trident maple

Scots pine by Kevin Willson

Scots pine

Scots pine

Wytch elm

Elm – Ulmus campestris

Scots pine

Japanese maple

Yew – Taxus

Hornbeam – Carpinus orientalis

17 thoughts on “Warning – Here Be Monsters!

  1. Lol whether I liked Grayam or not I’d still be VERY happy to buy his trees. Whether i liked a particular tree is a little more important in my book at least
    Would be silly to close the door on such a great sauce of trees !
    Have you even met him ?

  2. Andrew.
    Stop! i’m blushing 😉
    You are welcome to rant here all you like.
    You are also welcome to visit but sorry I can’t visit you in the ‘smoke’. I can’t afford Mr Khan’s admission fee and if I bought my old truck down there he would have me flogged bollock naked in Parliament square before throwing my dead body in the Thames. Norfolk is somewhat more civilised 😉

  3. Nigel! What a guy!
    HONESTLY i am so sick of the bullshit I get thrown at me every day I am desperate to get out of this business. It’s folk like your good self that keep me anchored down and involved.
    You have my respect for doing bonsai the right way and having the right attitude, you will get exactly what you want out of your pursuit.
    With the greatest of respect.

  4. Hi Robin.
    The day they lift restrictions on the movement of plants to the USA. Me, my family and all my stock will be on a boat (my sister is already there). The UK is dead, long live the US!

  5. Dreams, dreams. One of the downfalls of living in the US is that I can only dream of buying one of these. Damn customs restrictions. The only US person of whom I’m aware, that’s anywhere close to your level of product and expertise, is Ryan Neil. And he doesn’t sell stock. Perhaps one day things will change. Keep up the good work, Graham. I love it all.

  6. Good Day Graham,
    I felt I had to comment on the last post , it does anger me so much that so many small minded people, must part rubbish to the world.
    In the real bonsai world. 30 years owning and working on bonsai , is someone who understands bonsai and is only now just really learning the finer points of it. you have stolen a march on us common folk by dedicating your whole life to understanding the bonsai world for are benefit ! (THANKYOU)
    You part information freely and without cost at any opportunity with anyone who askes sensible question, some time even not so! but your open approach inspires and makes the bonsai world easer to understand . One thing I have learnt is, there are more ways to do it than trees .
    The only real constant on the world is change! nothing is fixed, so old ideas are workable and in their day! The best: But things change and times change too! we change or die as the dinosaur did in the dark!
    the best teachers teach easily and without being fixed . Graham and your team seem to be constantly in flux and change with the requirement’s of the time and the world. The new Ercol Air Pots are a good example.!
    Just listen to the dinosaur’s scoff. !!!
    Sorry have to stop ranting just I have met a lot of donators in my many years.
    Looked at your new trees and am as always impressed by the variety
    never tire looking and wanting.
    I live in the tanged mess that is London and I know that if I was to get to see the nursery I would be a kid in a candy store over your trees , and bankrupt my self .have to be happy with the web site. Its hard sometimes looking at your web sight I have lost out many times ,but that’s the way it is .

  7. Unless, as you’ve already read, you attend the Kaizen Bonsai Nursery without making an appointment you won’t get in. However if you are allowed admission into this amazing place as I was on Saturday to attend one of Graham’s workshops, you are treated like one of the family.
    Here’s the deal: You spend all day at this amazing nursery among one, if not the best collections of Bonsai trees in the U.K. You spend all day talking to Graham (along with three other enthusiasts) about Bonsai, the world in general, Bonsai, travelling abroad, Bonsai …. you get my drift?
    You spend all day listening to this guy imparting knowledge with his desire that we all take something from the day and understand what Bonsai is.
    You spend all day watching this man work on a whole range of different trees demonstrating a whole host of techniques – I have an old Olive which cost me £40 as someone was looking just to get rid of it. I chopped off the top after seeking advice and cleaned and cut some of the roots which were growing through the gauze at the bottom. Graham spent as much time on that tree trimming, lightly pruning, carving, wiring and tethering a couple of the branches as he spent on any of the other trees there which cost £100’s more.
    The workshop cost £65.
    O.K. you have to make a bit of an effort to get there, (my wife and I made our way up from Devon) but she could have a wander around Norwich while I spent the day playing with trees.
    I have taken today off work to rest from the tiring part of the weekend – all that driving! and just have a rest before I return to work tomorrow. I’ts also given me time to reflect on the workshop day and write down the advice Graham gave me about the care of my trees.
    This man and his family provide the best access to knowledge through video’s, blogs and articles which you can get.
    They also have Bonsai for sale to suit any level, and while some of us can only aspire to owning some of the more expensive trees, remember It’s not always about having what you want – It’s more about wanting what you have.
    Graham, your’e a great guy, blessed with a very special gift.
    Long may you continue to share it with others.
    Thank You.
    P.S. My wife found a handbag in a charity shop for £9.50 which is worth about £400. Both of us are very very happy.

  8. Lovely material. Very tempting!!! I disagree with the opinion that you’re a know it all. Very approachable fellow. Good to see you at Heathrow.

  9. Jerry Springer! I wonder why? , if you Have such a low opinion of Mr Potter,you follow his blogs ? Nasty comment not needed

  10. I’d not be casting stones if your chosen handle is Jerry Springer, Jerry! Of course, you are the soul of perfection, the messiah come again, had no ego from birth, and are too good for the world, Jerry!
    If you don’t like how people say things you can smile and nod, and go your way – yet here you are commenting about someone you profess to dislike. That’s an interesting psychological situation… better get that seen to, ‘That’s a nasty nick!’

  11. Graham,
    “There are bonsaiists within thirty minutes drive of where I live who have dedicated more than thirty years to bonsai who have never visited our nursery. I know I am an ornery, irascible old bastard but really?”

    You’ve said it better than anyone could have.
    I remember reading your first book, which I no longer have and saying “What a self centered, conceited, bloated, know it all”. I wouldn’t come to your nursery either.

  12. That wytch elm and the hornbeam, the olive! I’m in love. AND the barbary oaks, AND the scots pines, AND…
    I’m from Australia! The tyranny of distance. we deal with it.
    We think nothing of a two hour commute to work, or driving four hours there, and four hours back to go on a picnic, or visit a special nursery. I’ve noticed my Welsh in-laws are reluctant to travel more than twenty minutes for anything. Also reluctant to start the day early (more like one in the afternoon!)
    I’ll get up at 3am to go anywhere that I want to go, if it’s a long drive. I can’t understand the locals not wanting to go to you!
    Anyway, it’s only people worth knowing that are ornery, so if you think you are – own it! If anyone tries an intervention – I shall slay them. There’s no point doing stuff you hate to do – you love what you do, and the rest of us get to sniff up the beauty that you recognize and enhance. It’s a public service, and you need a medal.
    If I could get around the quarantine laws – alas, I’m in South Australia – it’s even stricter here because of the grape vine diseases and pests. You can do it, but for me it’s prohibitively expensive and the tree would suffer in the hands of fools for longer than I’d be willing to risk.
    Keep on truckin’ – I suspect you hang on to trees because at heart you’re as wild as they are. Like knows like!

  13. Who needs porn when there’s these beauties to ogle at?! I may clear out my collection for a couple of these pines!!!

  14. Great damn pics! But I wish I never looked at your blogs because I can only dream of having a G. Potter Tree…..maybe someday the USA and UK will find a way so we Yanks can have some! PS. Mt family arrived here in 1654 from the UK so technically we are country men so we should be able to buy a tree! 🙂

    Take care and have a great weekend G.!!

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