Monday, 4 May 2009

All it takes is time and a cutting

There are many people who have made a significant contribution to the development of British bonsai; some of them don't carry labels like bonsai master and their names are not necessarily by-words in bonsai books and mags (although photos of their trees are). Of these, there are a few bonsai people I really have time for; Terry is one of them, partly because we share similar views on what a decent fried breakfast should be like.

Terry has 3 (yes, you may commence weeping) Siberian Elms, 2 of which he started from seed and this one here which started life as a cutting from the guys he grew from seed. This was back in 1989.

In those days, Broadband & the Internet were nowhere in sight, books on bonsai were unavailable, bonsai pots had to be fashioned by drilling holes in trays, and so on. Think of the Wild West or something. Lack of available bonsai pots led Terry to take up pottery at evening classes, and to this day many of his trees are in his own pots.

The advent of the now-defunct 'Bonsai Today' magazine was the moment of enlightenment in Terry's bonsai life. Which pretty much sums up how we all feel when opening a book with Japanese trees, I guess. Most of Terry's foundational knowledge has been through trial-and-error, and he's had to revise a lot of his learning along the way. And he will admit that he has still room to grow ('scuse the pun/innuendo).

So, do not despair if all you have is a single stick with leaves. I remember Terry telling me the story of how he started and it's very much like that. But you will need time and patience. Terry once vowed to give it all up if he couldn't manage to keep his scrawny twigs alive. And we are so glad he persevered instead.

If you want to see more of Terry's trees, look here. There are histories of several trees, which makes for very informative reading. If you want to catch Terry in person and get to interview him like I did, you'll have to come down to one of the shows.


  1. Thank you for visiting, I will pass the compliment on to Terry. He certainly has wonderful trees.