The irony of my life just now is the fact that my bonsai business prevents me from actually doing bonsai. The less bonsai I do the more ya’ll can do because you have the stuff you need. That is unless you buy it of somebody else in which case stop reading at once!
Bonsai as a hobby is in for a major shaking very soon as global forces and political bullshit conspire to drown us in their effluent. I doubt anyone really understands the extent to which we are dependant upon imports. Virtually NOTHING we use is made here in Blighty, even the bark we use in our soil mixes comes from abroad now.
A little point that has not been reported on by the media is the fact that a container, shipped from China to the UK has gone up from about £1600 last summer to about £6000 today, some have been quoted up to £10,000. Also on the spot market yesterday shippers were charging £1000 extra to drop a container in Felixstowe as opposed to Rotterdam, just the other side of the channel. Somebody needs to ask Boris what the hell he thinks he is doing.
That is just one of a dozen simply incredible circumstances that is about to change life in the UK forever. Take Akadama, there is simply not enough to satisfy the world and lead times can be literally months on end, the price is rising and the shipping has increased by up to 500%. For the first time in history our price is over £20 and when new stocks arrive it could reach £30 or more.
Here’s another example. One of our European tree suppliers was charging us under £200 for a massive pallet up to 8 feet high. Pointless customs documentation and delays has now added exactly £250 to that price and by the time I get it cleared through an agent I expect another £125 this side of the water. Assuming 50 little trees that increases the price per item from £4 to £11.50 which is £13.80 including the VAT you have to pay. That’s actually more than the cost of a lot of little starter trees. Add UK shipping and you are up to £21.45. Add a decent cardboard box at £1, a glue slug at 75p and you reach £23.20. I then have to photograph and list the tree, we have to pack it and label the box and at a paltry £10 an hour that adds another £10.80 which brings us to £34 and so far there is not a single penny in there for the plant, it’s all just processing costs and with overheads running at around 40% of sales value………………… F**k i’d give an Asprin a headache.
So gird your loins folks and pucker up there are fun times coming. It’s time to be appreciative of just how much we have and just how lucky we are. It’s time to stop constantly looking for more, more, more. It’s time to look hard at our ‘consumtion’ and it’s time to be very grateful for what we have. Our great grandparents were very happy just to have a roof over their heads and food on the table. May God grant us all the grace to do the same.
Having less plants on the nursery (we dropped our stock by over 1200 plants in the last quarter) has given me chance to spend time on those special little bits and bobs I have been holding back over the last few years. Seeing as it’s spring it’s time for the obligatory flower pictures. So, here are a couple of recently potted trees.
First up is a crab apple, we sold a massive number of these but this one had to stay. It’s only three years out of the ground and will take at least another ten years to turn into bonsai but if you squint at it through a drunken haze it looks pretty good.
Secondly is my mahaleb. Collected in southern Italy just 3/4 years ago I offered this for sale at around £500 before thinking better of it. Work has been focused on creating substantial primary branching in keeping with the trunk proportions. I didn’t do the carving, that needs work. This is it’s first pot, it’s vital NOT to put trees into bonsai pots too early in their development but now IS the time for this one and it’s a nice Tokoname signature pot I had cluttering the place up.