Once you get to my age there are too many days gone by to remember even a small fraction of them. Even the years tend to get lost. However there are always going to be a few that are particularly significant. I suppose they are what we call ‘red letter days’. I don’t much like red letters….

I remember the day I got my first motorcycle, the day I left home, the day I got sacked and so on. One of the most significant days was in spring 1999 when I walked into the garden of Kevin Willson. That day changed my life beyond all recognition. Were it not for Kevin I would have dropped bonsai within a year and gone back to my motors. I have never made any secret about the fact that Kevin inspired me to press on and that experience still drives me forward every day.

When you have as many plants as we do (currently over 3000) and see as many coming and going as we do every day it’s a little difficult to get excited by the arrival of new trees. However I recently took in THE most influential trees in my entire bonsai career when Kevin asked me to babysit three of his best known bonsai. Now three more plants does not exactly make a difference to anything around here but these are the trees that inspired me way back then. Kevin has had a tough time with moving around and doing a lot of travelling recently and the trees are a little worse for wear, however there’s nothing that cannot be improved. I was all of a dither when I got the call because I love these trees with a passion. By todays standards I suppose they are not so impressive, bonsai needs to be twisted and contorted and awesome, like everything bonsai moves on. However to me they are as significant as a football fan being given the FA cup to keep on their windowsill. These trees are a superb example of skill and creativity using what is, by todays standards, very basic material. These are the trees that did it for me and they still do. I guess in time they will go back but for now I have a good reason to walk up the garden. 🙂