Making beautiful bonsai from humble beginnings

We can make very nice bonsai from very humble beginnings.  Sometimes we get frustrated and impatient with our own skills or development in this art.  We see fantastic trees that inspire us but also make us think we will never get to that level.  First, lets not get too critical with yourself.  We are not all meant to be professionals.  Bonsai can be a great hobby for anyone to express their creative love of nature.  One of my students in the Kaikou School of Bonsai has been a lifelong lover of plants and grows almost all his bonsai from cuttings and layerings.  He has patiently cultivated some exquisite little trees  from very humble beginnings.  This can give us all a bit of encouragement.  Here are two small chinese elms that were created from one tree over time.  the cascade one is from a root cutting from the original tree.

two chinese elm shohin bonsai created from the same tree!

So don’t get discouraged – you can grow beautiful, high quality bonsai from humble beginnings also.  Try to take cuttings from trees you are trimming – some trees, like Chinese elms, can be root trimmed for cuttings as well (called root cuttings).  Try air laying this upcoming season.  This is one way to get a mature shohin bonsai off of a larger tree.  Also, if you’re patient, try seeds as well.  I have a corner of my refrigerator full of a new crop of Black Pine, Japanese Beech, Privet, etc seeds stratifying.

Peace through bonsai.


About New England Bonsai Gardens

New England Bonsai Gardens is the largest bonsai nursery in New England. Our nursery in Bellingham, Massachusetts currently has eight greenhouses and more trees than we care to count. We have served the bonsai community for over 20 years, providing bonsai trees, pre-bonsai, pots, tools, soils, books, tree-sitting services, and more. We also teach bonsai workshops for all levels of students. Check out our workshop schedule for a complete listing.
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2 Responses to Making beautiful bonsai from humble beginnings

  1. Lew says:

    We all start with quite humble beginnings, as do our bonsai. But hopefully, like our bonsai, no matter how great we may become we will remain as humble as the bonsai.

  2. Lew says:

    I’m curious to know, are there any trees that just do not make good bonsai?

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