If you would like to create your own bonsai you must first decide on a method. Growing from seed is rewarding but painfully slow with some species but naturally fast growing tree’s seed might give you a good looking bonsai in a shorter period of time. My own success rate with tree seeds was not good at first but I have learnt from my failures and now germinating seeds is much easier.
Another option is to create a bonsai from nursery stock. This can be a very quick transition from a bush to a bonsai and it is much quicker than waiting for a seedling to grow. Most of my own bonsai were created from nursery stock. Many garden centres have potensai (POTential+bonSAI = potensai) in abundance and only the trained eye can spot them. Things you should look for are thick trunks, a good root spread and thicker branches towards the base of the tree and general health and vigour. I will go into pruning and wiring of potensai in a latter article.
“The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in man.”-
J. Sterling Morton
The last option that I offer to you, although there are other ways is to collect a tree from the wild. This is called ‘Yamadori in Japan and the end result can be quite beautiful. The wild of coarse could be your garden, the face of a mountain or a nearby wood. You want to look for a tree that looks very old but has not grown vertically very much. Stunted trees are nature’s rejects but as bonsai they are top of the class. An old beech hedge can sometimes have many potensai to offer and if you know of someone that is clearing such a hedge it would be well worth a look.
Air-layering is another method but time consuming and sometimes not practical if you do not own the tree. You can buy ready made bonsai and there are many good quality trees’ out there but they can be expensive. There are many ways that you can grow bonsai and it is not as difficult as it may seem but you should always take your time and not rush into it if you are not ready. You should also have no fear as the worst thing you could do is kill a tree or two which you will be forgiven for.