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Any other bonsai enthusiasts out there??

East Sussex, United Kingdom Gb

And if so, what are you growing etc??



I have some sort of ficus - which is large for a bonsai and due to lack of light has done very badly. I have just put it outside today as it has been very mild recently and hoping it will bush out a little before I have to bring it in again before the colder weather. It lost masses of its leaves during last winter and if it is to survive I think I'll need to get some artificial lighting to help it recover.

My other bonsai is a bamboo which was being sold off with a discount as it was poorly. It was sold as an indoor plant but was not coping indoors. I put it outside and after a very long wait and consistent watering it is doing very well now.

What do you keep?

26 Aug, 2009


I have the large ficus, a nice pomegranite, cotoneaster, winter jasmine, conifer, 2 pines, chinese elm, rhododendrum, and a couple of others, about a doxen in total in various stages from 6-8 inches to 1 metre high fig...... My next purchases will be wisteria and bouganvillea, wanting some more flowering varieties. Your ficus will love the sunlight, mist it regularly as they thrive in humidity, hence why I keep mine with my pomegranite in the summerhouse, it gets so hot in there and they love it! the leaves have probably trebled since I got the ficus and it really needs some pruning, I have let it 'go for it' a little while it got established in it's new surroundings. Most bonsai do better outside in the summer, I think we forget they are trees, and pretty hardy in the main part. Do you feed them and water 2-3 times a day - seems to work for mine??

27 Aug, 2009


You have a great collection of bonsai!

I did feed mine earlier in the season, but the earth it is in must have some sort of gel in it as it retains water very well. The earth is generally damp for two weeks after watering, but I haven't had the heating on properly since December. The boiler is broken and imminently about to be replaced. - The house always feels cold even in summer ( that is Scotland for you) and the window is very slightly open permanently in a locked position beside the bonsai, so it probably gets more humidity than most houseplants. I probably should spray it as well though. The problem is I have a Kilmarnock willow directly outside the lounge window which is cutting out a lot of light. I had decided to either dig it up or cut it, but I'm swithering now as all the small children in the street congregate outside my house and play very noisy games that literally last hours, and it gives me some refuge from the noise and a lot more privacy. The result of the lack of light is the bonsai dropped two thirds of its leaves last winter and has only regained about a third over the summer. I was thinking along the lines of artificial lighting but it seems to be very expensive to set up.

27 Aug, 2009


I have put pictures up of my two bonsai - the bamboo is photo 45, and the ficus is photos 46 and 47.

27 Aug, 2009


The bonsai look very well in the pics tho! I love kilmarnock willows, I planted a kilmarnock, a salix and a twisted willow early this year in various places. I have a downhill garden which gets very wet in winter (bog like at the bottom over 200 feet from the house, so I have planted the willow in various suitable spots to suck the moisture from the ground! My ficus lives in the summerhouse but will move into the garage (purpose build worktops in full sunlight, added this year for the bonsai) and then eventually will move indoors for the most part of the coldest section. Luckily I am on the south coast so probably the warmest part of the country!!

27 Aug, 2009


I would love to live somewhere warm - I still need to find out how to make my fortune so I can live in a tropical climate, lol.

It sounds like you have a great set up for your bonsai.

I like the idea of using willow to suck up moisture. I have problems with drainage and have recently dug out a drain for the first time but I'm not sure it is working that well. The grass is sodden all the time and after a while starts to get yellow areas and then dies off. It has rained almost every day for the last month though which has not helped.

27 Aug, 2009


I planted 3 young willow trees and a living willow fence early this year and it is as dry as a bone dry down there now, but it is the Summer and we have had hardly any rain so it will be interesting to see how it goes during Autumn, Winter & Spring. I have a friend in a village half hour from Glasgow and she tells me that the rain is driving her mad as it seems to have gone on for weeks. We seem to have our own eco system down here near Hastings - often windy as just a couple of miles from the coast but it is frequently hot and I have a large palm tree that has more than doubled in size in 8 years - so much for them being slow growers! When I moved here I could touch the top, now I can not even touch the lowest part... I am even having to couple a hose together for the first time to reach further down the garden as we are not getting enough rain, my roses have had a poor year because of it I think, although the whole towns' hydrangeas (not for me!) have gone insane and seem to love the conditions, and there are palm trees in hundreds of gardens down here. Strange to be just a few hours apart with such different conditions. Today's forecast here is some rain this afternoon so the willow will be happy.....

28 Aug, 2009


It is difficult to imagine a warm dry summer - in Edinburgh it has seemed to have rained practically every day for the last five weeks at least! Quite often we have had part of a day that has been quite nice, then the heavens have opened again. On the positive side I haven't had to water the garden at all! The summer temperatures haven't been too cold on the whole ( for Scotland). I'd love to live somewhere warmer as I grew up in the subtropics as a child and have never acclimatised to this inhospitable climate :).

It sounds like you have great weather for plant growth. I have a couple of small palms but my garden is tiny and I have to keep everything small, so most plants that mature larger are in pots. In the back garden most of the pots are sunk into the ground and I am going to have quite a job trimming the roots this coming spring. It almost like having to partially bonsai everything that would otherwise outgrow its space.

It will be interesting to see if your willows help to remove the extra moisture. I'm convinced I'm going to have to re-do my drain. I kept it as a hollow tunnel so frogs could use it as cover to enter and exit the pond but I put slate on top and I don't think enough water is draining between the cracks. I have had to returf the grass twice this season due to it dying, and the ground is still too soggy...

29 Aug, 2009


Having lived in the South all my life (I've never even been further North than Blackpool pleasure beach (!) I couldn't stand the weather there.... it is blue sky and very warm today althouth it seems we are in for a bit more autumn this week too.... I am convinced the willow will remove the moisture, they love wet ground and it will be nice to not have a soggy slippery end of garden if it does work. I have slid around (and fallen with very little grace lol) many times. I too try to leave places for the frogs etc... I have a compost heap to try to encourage slow worms and so on, and also leave tree stumps and plant wild flowers down the 'wood' end of my garden - at the very end of my garden there is a stream in a wood (sound much nicer tha it really is as it is only small and the stream is 15 foot down a steep bank but the sound of water running is nice and the whole end of my garden turns into a sea of wild garlic each spring and the air smells of spring onions! I have just sown a load of wild flower seeds, poppies etc., to see what will come up next year......

31 Aug, 2009


Hi, I've been growing bonsai since 1990. I started with a Rockspray Cotoneaster (cotoneaster horizontalis) and a couple of silver Birch (Betula pendula) and have branched out from there. Three species of pine (Pinus) Scots, Lodgepole and Bristle Cone, Two species of Juniper (Juniperus)chinese and japanese, Common/European Larch (Larix), numerous species of Lawson Cyprus, Leyland Cyprus, two species of Hawthorn (Cratagus)Common and ?, Thuja, Common/European Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Ash (Fraxinus excelsior), Japanese Maples x 3 Two Oaks (Quercus) English and Red, Goat Willow (Salix), Rowan/Mountian Ash (Sorbus)Two - three other Cotoneaster species, Apple (Malus), Pear (Pyrus) and a fig (ficus bangladensis).
Ps your'e watering your trees far too frequently. Take a chopstick/bbq skewer insert into soil to roots, leave it there for 10 mins. Take it out, if it's wet/damp do NOT water, if it's dry/nearly dry, water from the top gently until water flows from the drainage holes.
I've looked at your photos and I think your pines look like junipers (maybe it's just the distance of the photo).
You do know your Acacias need to be overwintered indoors don't you?

I also suspect your soil mix is too water retentive. which means the tree roots are sitting in wet airless soil. Very bad for plants especially most trees. There are exceptions : Willow (Salix), Alder (Alnus), Swamp cyprus (Taxodium). But most trees slow or stop growing and eventually become sick or die.

PS check out http//
for a really helpful bonsai site.

I hope you find this useful or interesting. If you didn't, it gave you somehing to read ;-)

1 Sep, 2009


thats very interesting thank you, I water once each day, enough that the water runs through the drainage holes 3 times, i.e. 1 watering a day (obviously not in Winter) but so that it runs through with the result being that enough is retained for the tree so I think I worded it wrongly. I find that because most of mine are outside (the pomegranite and ficus are in the summerhouse) that they dry very quickly as I am on the South Coast and we tend to enjoy pretty good weather here on the whole, often windy as we are near the coast though. I have 2 large worktops set up in the garage (which we use as a shed/workshop and a small greenhouse heater so most of mine will come in this winter with the heater set to not drop below zero. Having lost my acacia last year I plan to get my little group through this winter! I haven't lost a tree other than the acacia for 2 years now and all of my soil is bought from the bonsai specialist and seems to be working so far.... I do really enjoy them though, I think because I have a large mature garden that takes so much 'big' work it is nice to sit with a coffee and tweak! The pines are junipers, not my favourites and I am not a fan of my little cotoneaster either but still if I am to learn I need plenty of variety. I am dreading sawing the large ficus next year but whoever had it before me seems to have done a nasty job on her, she has an 8 inch upright section and an 'umbrella' top which I really think must go.... I got her off a lady who said she was a 'bloody thing that needs too much looking after!' - how much eyes lit up when we did the deal!!!

1 Sep, 2009


I saw a large ficus in Homebase at Retail World, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead reduced from £100 to £50 in a sale but I had no where to put it. :-(
With regards to my greenhouse - it's kept at a minimum winter temp. of 50 degrees F For my chillies and Australian Black Walnut.

1 Sep, 2009


Jacks, I have difficulty in bearing the weather up here a lot of the time, lol. When the weather is good the scenery can be fantastic up in the hills though. Where I live I have all the benefits of the city but without too long a drive can reach the great outdoors which is a big advantage. I think I'd still settle for the tropical rainforest if I had the choice.

That is a lot of bonsai you have St John! It must be a lot of work keeping so many at the right moisture level in summer, though very rewarding to see them develop.

1 Sep, 2009


Oh St John, you must have been gutted!! Isn't it awful when you see them looking sickly in these places too, that poor chinese elm was 'dead' and being sold off for £1 and looks so healthy now. I always keep an eye out for 'rescue' cases. Going back to the temperature..... I need to look up the minumum for the acacia, think I may need to keep them at +5? I also have a huge roll of bubblewrap so may snuggle them up a bit too!! I am going to Tunbridge Wells today and there is a homebase there so I will be checking the sick bay lol....

Weedfingers, you should see the weather here today! It is proper Scottish weather lol, we have rain and gales forecast so think my little tender bonsai may spend the day in the workshop - there is a limit as to what we are used to down here in sunny Sussex hehe....

2 Sep, 2009


I saw the same type and size of Ficus at Dobbies today and they were asking £150 - ha ha ha ha ha.
The only way that they'd get that amount off me is by prising it out of my cold dead hand ;-)

4 Sep, 2009


hehe, I'm with you there! I paid less than £50 for mine from the lady who thought it was a 'bloody thing'!

4 Sep, 2009


Getting rid of a bother and getting £50, I'll bet she thought she was getting the bargain.
Two satisfied people, both happy with the results - that is the bargain! ;-)

5 Sep, 2009


job done!!

5 Sep, 2009

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