Walsall Bonsai was born out of the frustration of knowing how many people show an interest in Bonsai, but through no fault of their own, often start on totally the wrong path - meaning their interest is short-lived as seeds or seedlings take so long to reach maturity, let alone look anything like a bonsai. Others will buy a 'bonsai' at a garden centre without really understanding their needs - or on how to best maintain them - only to see them wane in health and eventually die. If you buy them as a gift, are you really giving something that will give years of pleasure - or will the recipient be faced with telling you they no longer have it!? This is where the basic training lessons and advanced workshops we offer, can help you maximise your understanding and success - leading to an enjoyable hobby that can become highly addictive!
What is Bonsai? -
They are not, as often thought, a dwarf species of plant, but a range of everyday shrubs and trees that are trained with horticultural techniques to be a miniature representation of their larger cousins. Originating from religious ceremonies in China, the Japanese refined and popularised the art of bonsai by establishing set design styles and sizes that became an integral part of their culture from the 14th century onwards. As a closed and isolated society, it was not until the end of WWII that bonsai became popular in the west, eventually becoming the fascinating hobby we know of today, enjoyed by thousands of people all over the world.
Don't buy seed gift-boxes unless you are prepared to wait 10 years or more!
We've all seen them, those nice boxes with four or five nicely manicured bonsai shown on the front and often sold for under £20.
What do you get? - Some nice clay pots, compost, a chopstick, small gardening tools and bags of seeds!
Nothing wrong with them, but if you wish to get involved with bonsai and have an enjoyable pastime, then leaving them on a windowsill for years before you can even start training to any style, will give you no pleasure at all. This is not the art or pleasure of serious bonsai.
Indoor or Outdoor - houseplant or tree?
Bonsai displays in garden centres often focus on indoor trees, which are native tropical plants, styled en-mass in the Far East and sold for display in the home. Many people will have great success in looking after them as they are essentially 'bonsai styled' house plants.
Apart from trimming, there is little maintenance or styling needs if you buy a more finished design.
They remain popular and do make excellent gifts for family and friends. We stock a small range with prices ranging from £20 to £50.
Why we concentrate more on outdoor species of bonsai.
Native shrubs and trees can be trained into excellent bonsai styles relatively quickly, with nursery plants making a realistic 'mature' impression of age in only a few hours of styling. Given another season and the correct care, these already look far older than they actually are - and the ongoing maintenance and styling work gives a huge sense of achievement, so much so, that you will soon be working on other material and gaining a collection of different species and styles.
They make an excellent display on a patio or as a feature in part of the garden.
Outdoor trees offer greater scope for artistic design, with nursery material giving years of bonsai pleasure as you can appreciate their progress.
Because these trees go through the seasons, experience periods of growth and then rest during the winter whilst having their roots and branches trimmed at the appropriate times, they never reach their full-grown counterparts growth potential (which ultimately leads to a plant's demise), so are long-lived, giving years of development potential and enjoyment for the individual bonsai enthusiast. Bonsai in Japan are known to have lived for hundreds of years and have passed down families from one generation to another.
Learning how to look after them, discovering your preference on species and size, then developing your own style is all part of the exciting journey with bonsai.
We are here to help you every step of the way!