My first real contact with bonsai over twenty five years ago was at a little nursery in the backwoods of Norfolk. It was one of those little places where time had stood still for decades and whilst it was actually a rose growing nursery the owner, Andrew, had been growing bonsai all his life, as had his farther and his father before him. Grandfather had come across bonsai when he was in the army stationed somewhere in the far east around the time of the first world war. By todays standard there wasn’t much to see but to a wide eyed beginner this was a mystical place with it’s pitch painted sheds and dirt floors, the place didn’t even have electricity and was five miles away from a decent road. However for me this was a little bit of heaven on earth.
Of course I was as poor as a church mouse without a church back then and so most of the trees on display were out of my reach. For the endless hours I spend bothering Andrew he certainly didn’t get paid, I guess I cost him more in tasty beverages. Looking back today it’s safe to say I would not be here today were it not for this wonderful little place and it’s proprietor. The best of times indeed. However one thing bothered me…. Andrew lived around back in a caravan and next to that was a little courtyard affair and nobody was allowed in there. To this day it bothers me, what was stashed away behind those six foot fence panels? I had visions of ancient and magnificent bonsai specimens marking the passing of eons……
I am constantly badgered by folk trying to find out exactly what I have got squirreled away here. I am sure everybody feels we only sell the junk we don’t want and that I keep all the good stuff for myself which of course I do. However I find too much good stuff to keep it all and have actually sold more magical trees that I currently own, some people can be very persuasive as can a fist full of notes. Be that as it may folk are adamant I am being cagey, I guess that’s just human nature and the fact I don’t let many people visit probably does not help. Trust me there is no mystery here 😉
Kaizen Bonsai is a working business and as will all production based activities we do have a lot of stock in process (progress?). Firstly there is no sense in us buying special raw material and selling it right out the door if we can get double the price in a couple of years time with the addition of a little work and a pot. That accounts for a lot of plants we do not offer for sale. Another issue is that I often pay over the odds for something and those tend to hang around here for ever. I recently sold a very special Japanese pine that I bought about eight years ago at a hefty loss even despite improving the tree a great deal, adding a very nice pot and taking plants in PX which I still have to sell and ship. That accounts for a lot of plants here too.
We buy in a lot of bonsai collections and PX a lot of trees too and many of those arrive here in less than perfect condition. Often it takes years on end to restore old bonsai to significant health and that amounts to a LOT of trees here on the nursery since I won’t simply dump those problems on other folk. I have been caught out by some crooks too, selling dodgy yamadori, most of that is in my log pile but a few sorry specimens are taking up space along with hundreds of skip rats and other nonsense.
So for those with feelings of being left out I had a walk around this morning and took a few snaps of some of the more significant plants not currently on the web site. Of course that may not be everything 😉
P.S Next week we have close to four hundred new plants arriving, some keepers too.
P.P.S I later found out what was in Andrew’s little hidey hole because I bought the entire remaining stock when he left the nursery. Some things are better left a mystery, keep romance alive!