Better Late Than Never.

Firstly let me take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018. I know it’s a bit late but I have good reason. If you stop by here regularly you will know that our only holiday throughout the year is the Christmas week. I generally treat myself to a skip and spend the week grafting my ass off. This year though Christmas holidays came early and with some rather unexpected and unwelcome consequences.

The last couple of days before the holiday were quiet as we stopped shipping parcels and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get ahead of the game. I moved here ten years ago and we constructed a bench out of waste pallets as a temporary measure which has been falling apart ever since. Now was the time and so with two absolutely awful dark drizzly days in prospect I decided to jump in.

Time for new benches (about 10 years ago). That pole weighs over 200Kg! Trust me I know 🙂

Once we cleared all the rotten crap away we had to dismantle an overhead cover frame work we no longer used. This I built from telegraph poles and 6×2″s. It all came down nicely and the crap was cleared away but then we had to get those poles out of the ground. I figured out a way to pull them up but not to the full 3′ that was buried so I just man-handled them the rest of the way, should have done this in summer when they were not full of water! Still with everything laying on the lawn it looked like we had Eddie Hall over training at Fingal’s Fingers.

Fingal’s Fingers anyone?

Ramon busted his hump over the two days leaving me to finish off on the Saturday which I did, that rescued all of the Christmas week for me or, so I thought. Simple, a little expensive but should last longer than I will. We are on a slope so levelling up benches is important.

Sunday morning I felt a little worse for wear but carried on regardless. Christmas day the whole family turned up and Sarah cooked a meal fit for a king. Trouble is I was in a bad way and barely managed to stay upright long enough to eat anything. Then, come Boxing day morning it became evident that something had gone very seriously wrong. I know pain, the list of examples I could share would leave you wide mouthed and in hysterics if you share my cruel outlook. One time I broke both arms at once, the right one folded up and snapped completely. What made it worse was the face plant I completed on the road after I got back on my bike to ride home (as my right arm concertinaed up). The police found me in a bus shelter passed out. However this time the pain was worse. For all the world i thought I had ripped my own buttock off, the pain in my right side and leg was simply inconceivable and I was ABSOLUTELY unable to to move even a single inch. All the pain killers in the local Tesco store did nothing and so mid morning Catherine was forced to call out an ambulance since I could not move, there were no doctors available and 111 left us hanging. In a few minutes a couple of wonderful young fellas arrived and eventually (another shocking story) got me something very strong to take the edge off.

I spent 9 days unable to move and screaming the house down every time I tried to move. New years eve I passed out four times trying to get up. Now I am up and about a bit, no thanks to my doctor, and the NHS physio’ I have still not been able to see (nothing until February). The tales I can tell leave me heartbroken regards the state of my once proud nation. I really do not want to go into the details of all this further, it’s a supremely painful memory in every respect. However my absolute life saver has been a local osteopath who has been an angel. The laymans explanation was that I crushed the right side of my body (carrying telegraph poles on my shoulder). That resulted in everything going into spasm and squished all the nerves in my arse, leg and lower back. Time to loose some weight and get back to pumping iron again, unless I am broken in half i’m not giving in yet, FUCK PAIN!

I’m up and about a bit now and started lifting, which I have been threatening to get back to all year, just a shame i was a bit too late. Sorry if you have been trying to get a hold of me but I was occupied. I have to offer a sincere and tearful thanks to Catherine who has been more than an angel through all this and has been carrying the business these last couple of weeks (and 500 parcels). I have been doing my best, here is an oak I did in the midst of my suffering.

Happy new year 🙂

G.

A Quickie Up the Tunnel

It’s officially the shortest day today. I HATE this time of year with a passion, the cold, the wet and above all the dark, I really struggle to keep myself going at this time of year. The idea of drinking a whole jar of ‘shine’ and laying out on the freezing grass in my kecks until it’s all over often crosses my mind. However at 4.27pm today the year clicks over and the days begin getting longer. Maudlin aside there are folk that depend upon me so as my parents say ‘must get on‘.

Being as it is Christmas and all I thought I would share a secret I learned many years ago. It’s served me well and put money in my pocket. In some circles bonsai is something of a competitive sport. The drive to own a perfect tree and a better one than our peers is strong in many people, bonsai is a game of one-upmanship to those folk. Go to any bonsai selling event or nursery sale and as the doors open see what I mean. My opinion of that is to wonder why folk are so keen to own somebody else’s bonsai work. In the motorcycle world there is a t-shirt around that states “It’s not about what you can buy, it’s about what you can build”. In reality just splashing some cash isn’t that hard. With the right motivation anyone can get off the sofa and earn money. However if you are going to make something truly worthwhile and valuable to both yourself and others, building it is the way to go. A quality, and unique, build brings satisfaction of a job well done, demonstrates hard learned skills and dedication as well as respect and possibly even a little envy from our peers. Any skill mastered has the ability to open up a path for us in life that just could leave the world at our feet.

Take this message to heart, it could change your life.

That’s exactly how I ended up here. Nearly thirty years ago I started to keep bonsai. I had no money but just worked as hard as i could with crap, stumps and skip rats and after ten years as my skills got better so did my trees, strange that. A family friend who had done well in life imparted a simple gem of wisdom too me as a teenager that I hold as invaluable today and has been a guiding principle of my life. – “Use what you’ve got to get what you want”. I had a couple of broken down electric drills, a flexible drive shaft and some home made cutting bits and some absolutely crappy stumps i nicked off a demolition site. Not much of a start but a start none the less.

It didn’t take me long to realise my first “bonsai” material had it’s limitations. These were my very first bonsai and worthy of a photo!

Finding bonsai material is really easy, it’s literally everywhere even in horrible overcrowded Blighty. If you live in an urban area you have at your feet a massive variety of material in the gardens and parks around you and the scruffy sort of thing we need is easy to procure as the owners are usually keen to see the back of such things. I have been paid by property owners to remove some superb material. If however you are too old, infirm or bone idle to go out and find what you need there are plenty of folk happy to sell you such things including us. Whenever I put something a bit special on our web site it creates an almost instant response and will often sell in minutes. However our web site, and nursery are full to the rafters of what some might consider ‘crap’. That only serves to show how little some folk know. Because of how I started all this malarkey I still love a nice big stump more than just about any material I have, they are often a blank slate for our creativity. Remember, this is about what YOU can build and the process of creating bonsai is a building project just like a house, a car, a bike or any other complex entity.

Most folk go out of their way to avoid procuring trees with big pruning scars. As a general rule I go out to find those trees on purpose, the price is always better. All that’s required is to hollow out those big cuts and folk will fight to own the results. A scar is just that, a big shady hollow is an attractive feature that draws the eye and can be developed as a focal point of an otherwise sub standard bonsai. Trees where I live are very big, fat and the oldest ones are ALWAYS hollow and who doesn’t love the mystery of a deep dark hole?

Who doesn’t love a deep dark hole?

Last week this thumping great hornbeam turned up. I love hornbeam, a much underrated British native. It was a bit sad that that massive cut had been shaved down flush. Did someone really think it would heal over? This did limit my options somewhat but you have to make the most of what you have at hand. Carving took an hour as did the wiring and as hornbeam bend like they were make of French cheese some gnarly branch lines a easily achieved. Give the work a couple of years to mature and this tree will have doubled in merit and value. SIMPLES!

G.

Hornbeam as delivered.

Elephant in the room? Who thought this was a good idea? Nice red wound sealant.

A good stump here would have helped a lot.

Bark removed prior to hollowing. Always keep in mind how future callous tissue will develop. This can really add some magic.

Big holes look good if they are connected by small ‘windows’ from other areas.

A bit of wire.

Two hours work and showing promise.

Christmas Came Early

Years ago I started keeping bonsai as a nice quiet distraction from a hectic lifestyle. For years I struggled with how slow everything moved, plants are indolent in relation to dragsters and big motorcycles. In time I came to terms with the pace of bonsai life and nowadays some might say I have slowed my work down too much, like I could care less.

The trouble is that my bonsai hobby spiralled into something of a tornado that sucked me into what i do today, I had no intention of that happening. Ironically my bonsai business now causes me all the stress I hoped it would ease over twenty five years ago. Whilst everyone is running around here dealing with the Christmas madness, 2017 is ancient history for me. I’m mucking about booking flights and cutting deals for stock for next year and the year after. It’s not even the shortest day but I have been busy making plans, juggling finances and getting ready for the new years exertions including plans for my Christmas holiday which will see me building new benches this year.

If I say so myself i am getting quite good at all this juggling and even though the fat bloke with the red coat and white beard hasn’t been by yet I have had my Christmas box, the first delivery of stock for 2018. A big truck rolled in last week in the pouring rain and this lot fell off the back. There are a few gems and some good low priced stock. Much of this will be progressed before the spring, some will be on the web site soon and just maybe a couple I will keep for a while.

G.

Quercus faginea

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Quercus suber

Quercus faginea

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Pistacia_lentiscus

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Prunus dulcis

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Olea sylvestris

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Pistacia lentisus

Juniperus sabina

Junierus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Juniperus sabina

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Carpinus betulus

Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna

Olea sylvestris

Tamarix spp.

Ulmus minor

Prunus Cerasifera

Prunus Cerasifera

Quercus ilex Subsp: Ballota, commonly called Barbary oak

Prunus mahaleb

A Busy Week at Kaizen Bonsai

As you might expect with the Big C on the horizon this week has been a busy one at KB. Everyone is doing a good job and pulling their weight so I had a chance to pull my, not inconsiderable, weight out to the workshop and passed the time digging some holes.

Anyone who stops by here regularly will have heard me banging on about how tough it is to sell raw material. Still, that means more for me 🙂 This week I made a start with a trident maple that had some seriously ugly pruning scars. A few minutes spent hollowing and the tree now looks a lot more interesting. It may not be pretty but that’s a matter of personal preference and besides it’s early days.

Next up was a tree I bought in the spring, a beautiful craggy old prunus mume. I love these but in all the years I have had bonsai never got a hold of a decent one. This ball of rot came in from Japan over last winter and has been growing like a weed all summer. All I had to do was clean out all the soft material and the beautiful natural (and very hard) wood simply appeared. By the looks of the buds this is going to be in flower in just a few weeks time.

My next project was always going to take a bit longer. A couple of years ago I bought a number of these massive oaks. I guess they were a little intimidating to folk because we didn’t sell a single one. This particular lump intrigued me because there were some holes in the bark with no wood beneath. Turns out the trunk was hollow top to bottom. Once I poked a hole with my Terrier & Dremel all i had to do was link it all together and rough up the outside a bit. An hour and a half of ugly wiring (first work on oaks needs some heavy metal work) and the tree was all good. Not a bad start if I do say so. Given another couple of years this just might be a star.

Lastly I thought you might like to see an unsung hero of the Kaizen Bonsai payroll. This is Harley who works security doing a bit of quality control…….

G.

A Fun Couple of Days.

If you stop by here from time to time and listen to my dribblings you will be familiar with the fact we are always busy. It has been said that I have the best job in the world, mucking about with bonsai all day and getting paid. ANYONE who runs a business in the UK will know that ain’t the case. In summer I spend a lot of time watering and pruning in a topiary kind of way and in spring I typically re-pot around four hundred and fifty trees. However finding the time to actually create bonsai from our hundreds of yamadori trees or properly prune and refine mature bonsai almost never happens any more. Being successful is always a double edged sword and as much as I love edged weapons of all kinds, ending up on the sharp side of one was never in my dreams as a young boy and yes, I was a boy once, a long long time ago.

Last week was the first quiet week we have had in 2017. Orders were all simple and quickly despatched which freed us up to go do some bonsai “which was nice”. I buy a lot of what I believe is nice material. Sadly often times folk can’t see the bonsai tree for the wood and so, in order to keep stock moving, I have to get the ball rolling. Even after all these years it never ceases to amaze me how an hour spent carving and wiring will transform a grizzly stump into something half presentable. Here are a few of our projects……..

G.

Hornbeam, carpinus betulus, a beautiful British native but a tough challenge.

Early days but everyone is always banging on about getting smaller trees. Small enough?

5 years on the nursery and not a sniff. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Again early days and scope for refinement but it got dark 😉

Another of those hornbeam stumps.

British native trees work up well.

Siberian maple that was about twice the size before I clipped it out.

Massive evergreen oak with tiny leaf. Two years from collecting in Spain.

Garden sabina juniper. I did the deadwood on behalf of the previous owner.

Ramon did the wiring and most of the styling. A little sand blasting and a tweak here and there. Who said garden junipers are no good?

A Brilliant Little Carving Tool

I am forever on the lookout for useful new products to add to our not inconsiderable range. Trouble is there’s a lot of old tat out there. I have no interest in selling junk, the juice ain’t worth the squeeze. Carving tools are a prime example, there are a lot of products out there that might politely be called ‘function of profitability’. In other words great looking worthless junk just designed to take your money. Anyone ever bought a Dremel with a 120 piece accessory kit? How did that work out?

I have been using power tools since I was nine years old. I doubt there is anything I have not used at one time or another. There are few things I have not done with power tools including cutting bits off myself. In that time I have learnt to recognise a good useful tool. I have also figured out that what might look pretty useless can often be mis-appropriated to do a different job from which it was designed. I have a box full of failed products, things that just didn’t cut the mustard. I also endlessly tinker with tools. Sometimes they become scrap but just occasionally I make them better, more efficient or more useful.

These days I find it increasingly hard to find significant new items that do a job that just can’t be done with something else. I mean, who in bonsai doesn’t cut wire with pruning scissors? Just last week I was busy on my lathe making some bike parts and needed to do a milling cut. I don’t have a mill but figured out a Terrier mounted in the chuck with the work bolted to the tool post turned my lathe into a milling machine. I recently had need to turn a chainsaw into a saw mill, job done and fingers intact so that’s Ok. I think it’s what the Australians call ‘bush mechanics’.

A couple of weeks ago a new little tool came across my desk and straight away it had ‘winner’ stamped all over it. In bonsai the process largely involves making big trees smaller and sometimes we need to resort to wood carving to get rid of ugly cuts and chops. Being a ‘dumpster diver’ I have always had need of such techniques and tools. The idea is to incorporate cuts and chops in a natural looking way to represent deadwood we might see in natural trees. This takes SOME time and practice to master and also a lot of time and work in order to complete. A full range of tools is important but it’s also important to know all the little tricks those tools can perform, this can take a very long time to master. Good tools are important but less so than the skill, experience and imagination behind them. The best carvers I have seen at work normally have a laughable tool kit, to the untrained eye. For example a brickie turns up on site with a bucket of scruffy tools in one hand and builds a house.

Part of creating natural looking deadwood in bonsai is in creating the initial shapes and hollows, what I call block carving. The next bit is the subject of infinite wrangle everywhere. Detailing deadwood is something that everyone does differently and with different tools. Ultimately, in my opinion, the goal is to make our work look so natural there is no hint that we were ever there. That’s a lofty goal I have yet to attain. This little tool, now available from our web site just might make a very tedious part of carving a bit easier and more enjoyable.

G.

A Bonsai Master at Work

Brit’s, by and large, are an angry bunch. If you live here you will largely understand why. If you don’t live here you will know us by reputation. If you were thinking about moving here I would certainly think again. There is a reason why, as soon as we are abroad, freed from Blighty’s oppressive climate of weather and political rule we drink a lot and go nuts. Most of us are so fed up and repressed we take every opportunity to have a go. Email is a great vent for such frustrations, one day I will post some of the horrors and abuse we get almost daily.

A Brit’ at home will do most anything to avoid face to face confrontation. We are, again by and large, thoroughly pissed off, frustrated and angry. The list of reasons why would, if written down, double the size of the internet. Getting hammered and having a good fight is all we need to restore order and a sense of well being it seems. Trouble is, kicking seven bells out of some similarly pissed up locals in some far flung sunny clime tends to come with consequences.

NOBODY get’s it more than me. I am a horror to work for. In modern Britain it’s almost impossible to do anything. Running a business is so bogged down with bullshit I think it makes ‘The Office‘ look like workplace utopia. Getting anything done here in the United Kingdom (a clanging misnomer if ever there was one) is almost impossible simply because so many people are doing the bare minimum they can to get paid and avoid getting the sack. Our entirely misplaced sense of entitlement means we all feel under appreciated, under paid and in modern parlance ‘abused’. All I want to do is provide a good service, have happy customers, pay my taxes and live my little life. Sadly that does mean I am entirely reliant on others who do not share my modest ambitions. For instance look at this pallet of Akadama that was supposed to have been delivered yesterday. This cost me almost the whole day to sort out including a 60 mile round trip and about 6 hours wages for two people. Just because folk are too bone idle to do their job properly, there is ABSOLUTELY no profit on this product now. The supplier offers to help out but there is no way of making up for this sort of crap and the transport guys just laugh and walk away. I have a story like this to tell at LEAST twice a week. There really is nobody out there who gives a shit so long as they get paid.

Quality British workmanship if ever I saw it. Whatever happened to the pride in a job well done?

As a business it’s tough to meet peoples expectation when we rely on a (fu**ing stupid expression) ‘broken’ system of business. All I can do is bust my hump every day to try and do what we say we will do. That does not mean we will fulfil a customers expectation because we all have very high standards we expect from others and also folk tend to make their own interpretations of what we say. For instance, if I say I will ‘try’ to get something done folk take that to mean it’s a cast iron guarantee so and so will happen. Trouble is if I am relying on someone else, a delivery company for example, I have absolutely no way to be sure they will actually do what they say. An example…… a couple of weeks ago we had a very busy day and the house was packed with parcels we worked hard all day to prepare. Our carrier is supposed to turn up at 3-5pm and take away our orders. Anyhow the dip-shit turns up at 6.45pm with a van full, sees our almighty heap and says he can’t get them on. I have to get in HIS van, re-stack all HIS randomly scattered crap and low and behold all of our packages fit in with room to spare. Sorted! Only trouble is the numbskull gets back to the depot too late, misses the overnight trunker and our stuff is stranded for twenty four hours. That was after their ‘system’ sent all of our customers an email or text saying their parcel was on it’s way and would be there the following day. Needless to say we had thirty customers on the blower wanting to know why WE were such a bloody shambles. The carrier company charged us the normal rate (next day delivery) even though they took two days to do their job. No recourse or recompense for KB unless I want to fill in all the forms and make a claim, however doing that will cost MORE than we lost so the fraud continues and all of the carrier companies, with the possible exception of the very expensive DHL, are as bad as each other. It’s like a coalition of crap, welcome to modern Britain.

When I sat down here an hour ago I actually had some good news, seriously! I don’t get involved in punch ups any more I just write long. It strikes me that we waste a lot of energy being frustrated, annoyed and uppity. Just the hot air alone could power the lights. Better to use that energy for something creative. If you know me this next statement will cause much tutting and rolling of the eyes. Bitching and moaning about the injustices and annoyances we suffer will never make those things better. Better to just accept that the pigs (politicians) have their noses in the trough, the only certainties in life are change, taxes and death and the only thing to which you are ‘entitled’ is a hole in the ground when it’s all over. If along the way we can learn some fulfilling skills and make a few friends we should be grateful.

This ideal is entirely personified in my long term mentor, inspiration and friend from down south. Mr Willson who is ENTIRELY responsible for me being in bonsai at all. I had one foot out the door back in 1998 when we met. Now I am very pleased to have my mentor living close to hand and honoured that he visits us once in a while. Sadly I am largely too busy to do the bonsai work I once did and Kevin as been a sterling help in our getting some trees worked.

As someone who sells trees daily I spend a LOT of time taking pictures and preparing write ups to go online to present our stock to the world. Sadly but entirely understandably folk seem to think that I am a liar because I am trying to sell something. I get that, in the light of where I started this diatribe. Every day we are bombarded with a deluge of bullshit trying to sell us worthless crap that mostly does NOT do what it says on the tin, does not work, is not fast, easy, cheap or the panacea for whatever ill it was sold in order to cure. Coke is not the real thing! It’s a sugary acidic drink that will rot your teeth and turn you into a tub of lard. Even when they have taken all of the sugar and calories out it still costs the same and to describe the taste as “great” is a travesty of English language. I could go on but won’t. What heartens my soul is how our customers are, 99.9% of the time thrilled to receive the trees they buy from us. When they arrive safely (never had a single loss in 15 years) they always look MUCH better in the flesh than in pictures. No doubt someone will post a comment to the contrary but after fifteen years I am supremely confident in the use of my percentage above and have the emails to back it up.

Because we are largely cynical about any form of sales presentation it’s hard for KB to sell some trees. I often write that this or that tree will make a fine bonsai when worked. I do not say that lightly and hope folk have enough respect for my thirty years of experience to believe me. Evidently that’s not the case because some very special trees just don’t sell. When that happens we have to put our money where our mouths are and get to work. That brings me back to the eminent Mr Willson.

A few months ago Kevin took a couple of scots pines away. This week he returned with them all nicely worked up and reminded me just WHY I believe he is THE most creative mind in bonsai today. Even after all these years and endless discourse I have absolutely no idea how this mans head works but work it does. Absolutely NOBODY even looked at these two scots pines we had for sale on the nursery, even though I knew they were going to be good and presented them to the best of my ability I think it must have looked like BS. You be the judge and next time please give me the benefit of the doubt i’m doing the best I can 😉

Kevin Willson can (and should) be found at kevinwillsonbonsai.com.

G.

Little scotty from Sweden left homeless and ignored by everyone.

Wood and trees spring to mind. This is what happens when you apply a little effort and creativity.

Scotty from France. A few hundred quid and everyone laughed at me.

I am sitting here scratching my arse wondering how he did this. Classic Kevin Willson! Master of Scottys.

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 😉

G.

Olive

Ginkgo

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

Heathrow Bonsai Show 2017

4am Sunday saw me up and out the door for our annual autumn trip to Heathrow. Now, I have a rule by which I live my life which involves me not entering the inner circle of the M25 (London ring road/long stay car park). I was 13 the last time I purposely visited my nations capital, i didn’t like it then and I imagine I will like it even less now. However seeing as the show is only a couple of miles inside the M25 and then only a step off the M4 (another impromptu car park) I make an exception to my rule. As a country boy any road without grass growing down the middle makes me as nervous as a cat in a dogs home.

Mark Moreland and his dedicated team have done a simply REMARKABLE  job developing this show from a dark damp tent affair into one of the best club type shows I have seen. Every year the palpable sense of excitement and friendly banter that pervades the event seems to increase along with the attendance and quality. Well worth the early start and late finish alongside running the gauntlet of our capitals embarrassingly pathetic road system.

I was so busy, mostly talking my head off, I really didn’t have time to peruse the club displays to the extent I would have liked. Trees on display were the usual mix and a broad level of skill was on display as well as a huge range of species. One or two trees were a cut above the rest but for me nobody really bought the big guns. One thing that did impress the socks of me was the quality of accent plants. I have nothing but admiration for folk who put these together and manage to keep them looking so good.  Around here they just get lost and torn to shreds by birds.

Here are a few snaps I did manage to take. A few trees that caught my eye or I just happen to like. There were others but sadly due to the press of admirers I was unable to cut in a take pictures.

Make sure you pencil this one in for next year!

G.

Thieving Bastards

This year we have been the target of an unusually high number of attempts to nick our stuff by thieving bastards using stolen cards and the like. Sadly one of these low life scum bags got away with it. In August we sold a juniper to Mr Darren Deschauer of Clyde Vale, Old Perry St, DA11 8BT (Actually in Gravesend, Kent) – 07484871120. Only now does our payment provider demand their money back and so the little guy loses, that being me. Not to worry because I am big enough to get over it. However I am hoping nobody has been offered this stolen tree for sale. If you do, let us know. You could call the police but based on previous experience they won’t be interested. If you know who has our juniper let me know so I can feed my dogs 😉

G.

Update:

Turns out that Mr Darren Deschauer is the owner of the card in question and not the perpetrator of the fraud so please don’t find him and bash him over the head on my behalf. On the other hand if you feel inclined to pop down the the address in Gravesend and peek over the fence, in the unlikely event you spot my bonsai I have a posse that would like to know 😉