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Ian first became interested in bonsai in the mid-eighties, but in building and running his own branding and marketing business, spare time was short. It was not until 1990 before he eventually found the time to set up a small collection. In those early years, he avidly absorbed as much information on the subject as he could find from the few English language books available. This, after all, was before the era of the internet!

This situation changed within the UK with the publication of books by early exponents of the art, like, Dan Barton, Peter Chan and Craig Cousins. Even then, it was clear the western understanding of the various Japanese bonsai techniques were sketchy; basic soil mixes were still being experimented on with a 'trial and error' basis to see what best suited our much wetter climate. By 1992, Ian had acquired Harry Tomlinson's 'The Complete Book of Bonsai' and this was to seriously spark greater interest and increase the time spent in pursuit of his new-found passion. 

By 2000, Ian's private collection numbered over 150 trees after completing various workshops with renowned professionals, including Harry, at his studio on the edge of Sherwood Forest, near Nottingham. 

Living close to Walsall in the West Midlands, Ian became aware of Walsall Studio Ceramics and its owner, David Jones, a well-respected potter who had concentrated on studio-quality stoneware for the bonsai market. Ian volunteered at Walsall, being their 'Saturday boy', learning the craft of slab and coil building while also learning how to make slip-cast pots. This led to a formal pottery qualification from nearby Walsall College. Ian also helped Walsall establish their initial online presence and pot web store in 2004.

Sadly, working life got in the way again, and a new contract in the aviation sector was to take over much of Ian's life from 2009-2018, after which, with newly found semi-retirement, he decided to concentrate on building his horticultural knowledge, working with the highly respected bonsai professional, David Cheshire.

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Ian helped David move from an existing bonsai nursery site to larger premises in Coventry and established a new website and e-commerce system to compliment the move. As well as a retail nursery, this site has over 3 acres of growing beds and poly-tunnels that specialise in cultivating material, especially for bonsai, with styling work carried out right from seedling stages.

 

At the same time, Ian began to trade and retail in bonsai himself.

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Back at the Coventry nursery, using his marketing experience, Ian was able to help develop the website, an updated web store and other online sales outlets, whilst also collaborating with David on a crowdfunding campaign that would establish an import business for bonsai sourced directly from his contacts in Japan.

Ian has spent many days over the last two years refining his styling techniques by working under David's expert supervision, whilst also helping with everyday maintenance tasks within the nursery that specialises in propagating and raising stock specifically for bonsai

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Today, this association continues allowing for quality trees that compliment the home-grown plant material available at Walsall Bonsai.

 

With such past connections, it makes sense that Walsall Bonsai is a MAJOR STOCKIST of Walsall Studio Ceramics pots, together with a range of accessories and tools needed to to make the best of the hobby.

 

David Cheshire Bonsai has since taken over an adjacent specialist plant nursery in Coventry, meaning the available plant material for bonsai cultivation is wider than ever before - Ian still visits and stocks up regularly, working with David on stock preparation and refinement. 

From nursery stock for self-styling by beginners - to development material and more mature specimens - ideal for experienced enthusiasts - there is something for everyone.


"The important thing is to start on the material you are comfortable with and I will do everything to help you grow in knowledge

as you progress on your own bonsai journey." 

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2020 arrives and the Coronavirus pandemic changes the world we live in. 

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