If you are like me then you always thought that growing miniature trees in shallow trays of soil was something that demanded an artist with a delicate hand. This evening we were shown a very different aspect of Bonsai growing by an artist who was not afraid to attack with gusto the task of training a young tree to grow more slowly.
Almost 30 people from the Gardening Club were introduced to the world of Bonsai by local expert Corin Tomlinson who owns and runs the Greenwood Bonsai Studio on Ollerton Road in Arnold. He explained the background to Bonsai trees and described his busy life of collecting young specimens from around the world, meeting other experts, teaching students of Bonsai and also running his Bonsai business.
Naturally he had specimens of Bonsai trees but surprised us by how much regular attention the trees require: regular pruning, repotting, wiring, feeding and, most important, watering every day.
Following this gentle introduction to Bonsai we were taken by surprise when he plonked a big conifer onto this workbench—the kind you see in the reduced section of a Gardening Centre at the end of the season. What could this have to do with the gentle art of Bonsai?
Corin was no longer going to just talk about Bonsai, he was going to show us the art of Bonsai in just 45 minutes! He put on a great show, peppered with stories and jokes. He made the job of converting an ordinary conifer specimen into the beginnings of a Bonsai tree look easy.
Of course, all experts have the knack of making difficult things look easy but, even so, we were left with the urge to rush home and grab that pot-bound conifer in the back garden. By the end of tomorrow it would be the envy of every one of your garden visitors—even the Chinese ones, who knew a thing or two about this art.
If you doubt this was possible, take a look at the sequence of photos below (first the left-hand column, then the right-hand one). Those still lacking courage can always book into one of Corin Tomlinson's Training Sessions at Arnold.