* The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.
I have now been involved in this bonsai lark longer that not. My dad was retired four years when he was my age. Here I am working harder than ever. Whilst I have been around bonsai for the larger portion of my life now I am socially challenged, lubberly, stolid and particularly uncomfortable around other folk. Being a clod-hopper from the wetlands of deepest Norfolk I missed the social graces class at school, too busy pulling beet in the fields don’t you know. As a result I have tended to keep myself to myself. I have few friends (those I have are GOOD friends) and I rarely leave home. Beyond writing this drivel I prefer not exposing myself in public. There are enough big headed personages out there today without me adding to the melee. Nobody needs that. As a result I feel I have had little influence over the progression of bonsai in the world beyond supplying a lot of kit to people (several £ millions to date) and I am absolutely fine with that.
Being the way I am seems to discombobulate a lot of folk. I do do strange things at times, we Norfolk folk are a rum bunch. Sadly due to stereotypes perpetuated by the media and some very funny comedians being “country” has become synonymous with being dumber than a bag of hammers. You’ll have to make up your own mind about that, however one thing I do know and have quoted here often courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe is…
“Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”
I have been around the bonsai community long enough now that I rigidly adhere to this axiom. Rumours abound, bad information based on hearsay and conjecture, malicious gossip, one-upmanship, I could go on……. However it was fascinating recently to hear from a customer that Kaizen Bonsai was shutting up shop. NEWS indeed, especially seeing as it didn’t come from me and I own the whole shebang, lock stock and the whole barrel of monkeys. So, where did this game of Chinese whispers start? What’s going on?
Earlier this year I did put out there that Kaizen Bonsai would be selling less plants and carrying less bonsai tree stock. So, thanks to the rumour mill I now need to clarify. I am reducing our stock of bonsai trees and yamadori. We were carrying up to 3000 trees and for a single old fat bloke that was just too much to look after seeing as we are close to fulfilling 10,000 orders a year now and there are only three of us working here. My holding of trees has gone from just under a million pounds to about a quarter million mostly good quality and exceptional bonsai and yamadori. If that appears to be shutting up shop it’s time to get those bumps felt.
On another subject I have heard from multiple sources that the soil products we use in bonsai will be in short supply after Brexit. That’s also a crock! Whilst it may not be as easy or cheap to buy products from mainland European suppliers post exit as it is today there is no reason why aggregate products will not continue to move. For the many products we buy from non EU countries absolutely NOTHING will change.
The whole Covid situation has hampered the movement of goods from all corners. The primary reason being the unprecedented demand took us all by surprise, goods sold out so fast that many existing stocks were exhausted. That meant the root producers could not manufacture goods fast enough and waiting lists grew.
Inbound transport has been severely hampered by excess demand and reduced staffing levels at shippers, cargo handlers, delivery hubs, freight forwarders and the vast army of people that work to get stuff out there into the world. Also international air freight capacity pretty much disappeared overnight and costs trebled in days.
As much as I might look like a dumb country redneck one thing I do know is the bonsai business. Nobody has more interest in keeping it shiny side up than I do. To that end Kaizen Bonsai are currently carrying thirty odd tons of soil products in stock with the same amount again held ready for call off at our suppliers and producers across this country and abroad. I have over two tons of wire, ten tons of ceramic pots, half a ton of plastics and over a ton of bonsai tools. We have seven tons of fertilisers, five tons of cardboard boxes, ten thousand empty bottles and cartons and a hundred grand in carving tools. As long as I draw a gasping breath the British bonsai community will not have to go without.
So, to propagate the mis-quoted words of Mark Twain –
* ‘The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.’
Get a grip folks, we are here to stay, please don’t believe the rumours!
Graham, Catherine, Richard and the Kaizen Bonsai team.
The actual quote from Mark Twain in response to a newspaper article….
* “I can understand perfectly how the report of my illness got about, I have even heard on good authority that I was dead. James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London, but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness. The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
It’s good to know that a well established local company with great expertise is coping well during these extraordinary times.
That’s great to hear and I’m sure you have influenced British bonsai growing way way way more than you could ever know or realise ! Your an inspiration to many people Thank you
I think you do yourself a disservice saying you have had little impact on the bonsai world. I know of many people who have watched your YouTube videos and have taken up the hobby. That is a great achievement. Good to hear you’ll be sticking around a lot longer. Stay safe.
Dear Mr. Graham.
I just want compliment you.
Iam very happy customer of yours(bought few things) and seriously love, love all your you tube videos but especially your blog posts and website!!!
You are my personal Star of UK bonsai community.
And I love “Herons” as well.
Thank you for all you do, did and will do.
Wishing you all the Best and your family!!!
Jozef from Haywards heath
Great to hear Graham, I’ve been a customer of Kaizen for many years now and plan to be a customer for many years to come!
You and your team are fantastic!
Please excuse the familiarity but I have watched your YT videos for so many years I feel we are neighbors. I only wish I had recorded the original set of videos with the lovely music.
As millions have told you, rewatching your videos is just as satisfying the nineteenth time around.
As far as stress relievers go, your videos have helped keep me sane during lockdowns, lockouts, shortages, rancid politics, and boring gun demonstrations and rumors of the apocalypse. I know I can run but I can’t hide.
This all is to tell you “Thank you” for sharing your bonsai experiences, knowledge, wit, and most of all serenity. I confess the first time you took a torch to a tree I cringed. But all was beautiful in the end.
All the best to you and all those who you care about.
Linda. Some of our original videos not butchered by youtube are here <https://vimeo.com/user10207899>
Great to hear you are in fine fettle and your shebang, monkeys and barrel are also robust and rambunctious
Long may your amazing service to your loyal customer base continue…..
Graham, delighted to hear that kaizen is still going strong and that reports of an untimely demise are exaggerated. I too get totally fed up and confused with a lot of the so called ”advice” and articles that circulate on the tinternet (I don’t bother with social media) and always rely on your articles, videos and blog posts to bring me back to level ground with good old common sense horticultural advice directed at our trees.
All the kit, products, soil and fertilizers I have bought from you over the last few years has always been top notch – thank you.
To do what you do in these very difficult times is a testament to yours and the whole teams hard graft.it’s just a pity that you have not been able to run workshops this year -I learnt more in those days than I did in 10 years of bumbling along by myself. Here is hoping that perhaps you can run them next year.
Stay safe and well
No-one wants to talk about the displacement of expenditure from work centred activities towards home-based personal enrichment centred pursuits. That might partially explain your busiest year Graham. Either way, long may it continue.
I echo every sentence and sentiment expressed below ( except the ‘Herons’ bit)
In my experience the best business outlets are family owned and yours is by far the best.
Nice to see you enjoying a stogie in the photograph, but you have let yourself go a bit mate.
As always, best wishes to you, Cath and the rest of the team.
Best quote is Edgar Allen Poe. Maybe folk should read, re-read, read again and apply to the current situation.
Kaizen bonsai is head and shoulders the best bonsai shop. Maybe you could start a franchise in a few other locations Graham?
For a dead man you look and sound AWESOME Please stay as wonderful as you are because the American Bonsai people will truly miss you, I buy from you and plan on keeping up my purchases.
THANKS FOR ALL.