I was speaking to one of the countries largest manufacturers of commercial compost products just last week who told me they were busy, busy, busy, he had never known anything like it. “It’s like the whole world has gone gardening!”. I would concur, since January 1st we have processed nearly 2500 orders and unusually they are big orders too, especially considering we are coming to the end of selling trees.
Saying that, I sound like a broken record I know but the logistics of shipping a hundred parcels and three quarters of a ton of product daily with only two folk packing boxes, hauling goods, mixing soils and the million other frustrating little jobs involved is no laughing matter. My staff don’t take lunch breaks and work late most days and we even work Saturdays too. Catherine and I do 6am to 8pm every day and have resorted to asking her brother to come and cook for us just to get a decent meal once a week, he is a chef though 😉
I doubt anyone will really appreciate what it takes to do this unless they are running a small business just now. Just finding enough cardboard boxes is exhausting (and expensive). No washing gets done, no cleaning, no gardening, no house maintenance (i live in an old house). Cars don’t get washed, bikes don’t get ridden, dogs don’t get walked and I sleep 5 hours a night. There is CERTAINLY no time to do bonsai.
With the government busting their hump to destroy commerce in the UK and with the EU determined to try and make an example out of us for leaving their club not to mention Covid and the VERY serious situation regarding global shipping and looming oil price increases this time next year is going to look very different indeed both for the bonsai community and the country as a whole. There are some very dark storm clouds on the horizon for us all, life is NOT going back to ‘normal’, trust me. I can’t believe the ‘media’ are not covering these stories…..but then perhaps I can. I’ll explain more later.
Still, lucky for me we are on the back nine and nearly done. Of late I have managed to largely clear my garden of stock leaving, by and large, just my own collection of trees and I feel good about that, the stress has lifted off me and it feels wonderful. I have not done any bonsai since Christmas and my last video so Sunday night I got to pot up something nice.
This hornbeam came in about 18 months ago. The variety grows incredibly slowly and unusually a big pot does not speed that up so a bonsai pot at this stage is entirely appropriate. I found the unusual pot lurking under a bench covered in years of crap and spiders web, I kind of like it but at this stage it maters little what it looks like.
This hornbeam has had no styling work, just a few unnecessary branches removed. I would guess it’s been 2/3 years since collecting. In my book that makes it good yamadori and once I put ten years on top it will be a great and unique bonsai tree.
Now, off to pack boxes……
Same here in Australia mate. Busy beyond belief, which is great because it drowns out the absolute nonsense we are surrounded with. Please keep plugging away Graham. People like us need to stay positive and driven to give the fear laden souls hope and direction in the trying times ahead.
I’ve used you for sundries and raw material for several years since getting into trees in pots in my 50’s to relieve stress from my job in Social Care (I was always a gardener before but stumbled on your web site and that was it, I was hooked)….
There is no other ‘shop’ that comes near you when it comes to quality/quantity/cost (and no nonsense advice)…. I’m glad for you and family that you are winding down, but sad that the trees for sale will be no more (sorry if I’ve read the blog incorrectly)… Thank you for all you have done for my personal understanding of the hobby and the raw material of good quality that I’ve managed to learn from and keep alive….
“We’re coming to the end of selling trees” sounds a bit ominous, but I’m amazed that you and Cath have survived so long.
It would be a sad irony if the reason for Kaizen changing direction was a result of too much business causing all the physical and mental trauma you have described.
Nobody can give as much as you have done and not expect some pretty serious consequences.
Whatever direction you choose to take in future I hope you both keep healthy and at least keep writing the blogs – they keep many of us grounded.
The world will never be the same again, but we really need to take care of ourselves and those around us.
If any two people I know who can cope in this messed up world of ours it’s you and your family especially Catherine. You deserve full credit for all your hard work. I hope soon we can get together for the day to work on trees. Thanks for keeping bonsai moving during these trying months.
Why are you stopping selling trees? I have a number of your lovely trees from over the years. Its a shame to hear that along with now not being able to purchase from other eu countries.
It could be worse Graham – Scottish independence would shut a piece of the UK market behind European Union type controls ! Shoot me now !!
Just want to say thanks for all the hard work you’ve been doing appreciate everything that gets done looking forward to next year how my little trees are starting to put on swollen buds can’t wait till spring so keep up the good work and keep the faith in the good Lord will get us through this.