Bonsai trees are art, they’re created by strategically trimming trees in such a way that they mimic the appearance of most trees but at a smaller size.
Keeping bonsai trees is a relaxing hobby, you can spend a fair amount of time trimming your bonsai tree and shaping it. It is however a hobby that demands attention as the bonsai tree you grow will require regular cutting to maintain the small size. Bonsai trees are popular, you see a fair few on the shelves of garden centres, often commanding a high price (especially high considering they’re just strategically cut trees), through this high demand for bonsai, I fear there may be some unsustainability, it wouldn’t much surprise me if many bonsai trees grow to their natural size and are discarded. Speak to a group of people and you may find that some aren’t aware what bonsai trees are, not in the sense that they don’t know that they’re small trees, but they don’t know what they are in the sense of them being regular trees that are just well maintained to remain at their petite size.
This confusion around what bonsai trees are and how we grow them to size can be seen when you search “are bonsai trees…” on Google.
This isn’t a topic where the googlers are to blame, when I see bonsai trees mentioned in media, they make it seem like they’re rare mini trees that appear in only mystical environments as opposed to what they actually are, creatively manipulated trees.
You can see however in these search suggestions, there are a few hints that some people may see bonsai trees as a separate species of tree to regular trees. The suggestion “are bonsai trees real” shows some of this prevailing mythology around bonsai trees. Additionally you can see the “are bonsai trees safe for cats”, of course pet safety is important and technically, bonsai trees could be unsafe for cats if they’re a certain species of tree that is dangerous to cats, but inherently a Privet bonsai is the same as a Privet hedge and for the most part wouldn’t harm your cat. I would however avoid having a Sandbox tree – bonsai or not, because they would be a little dangerous.
I have rambled off topic slightly here but my point is that many people may not trim their bonsai trees, and this plays into my covert plan on how to reforest Britain.
If you have a look at our invasive species list in the UK, it is quite lengthy and many of these species are also descendants of pets and garden plants. It seems that if someone’s terrapin outgrows its tank, they will just “free” it for lack of a better phrase. This is the wrong attitude and is threatening to the already fragile ecology of our island, people shouldn’t get pets that will outgrow their highest home capacity, and people shouldn’t buy plants that they will change their minds on when they’re a bit too tall. My hope would be that people rehome any non-native pet in a new home and control the growth of any non-native plant.
This is hope in vain though, so my suggestion is that as a country, we buy native plants and bonsai trees are the example I want to use, get a Scots Pine bonsai or an English Oak bonsai, or a Common Yew bonsai, because when people inevitably forget to trim it, at least they can plant it in their garden or appropriate habitat (landowner and habitat permitting of course). This way, through the useful method of applied idleness for the best case, we can maybe grow some more woodland to make our lack of tree cover a bit less abysmal.
For inspiration, I have pictured my English Oak bonsai tree in front of the Grey Willow tree (both native) in my garden.
Not bad is it? Not the best of course, this is an English Oak tree that I have grown from an acorn and as of yesterday, seems to have bloomed.
Growing this was a test of patience though, It has taken three years to get to this life stage and most bonsai trees could take some time to mature to a good age to shape and trim to your hearts desire.
If you dont want to be waiting for the tree to get to a good size then I would reccomend that you buy a young tree from the Woodland Trust.
I'd like to specify that I am not advertising for them, but I would reccomend them due to the fact that they're trustworthy and the money they make goes towards conservation.
Created by Jack Phillpotts