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New Forres Bonsai Club at Transition Town Forres is welcoming more members

By Garry McCartney

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A selection of trees at the club's first meeting at Bogton.
A selection of trees at the club's first meeting at Bogton.

A HORTICULTURALIST has started a new tree growing group in Bogton.

Career plant specialist Daniel Johnson was joined by six new members during the first meeting of the Forres Bonsai Club at Transition Town Forres (TTF) and hope to welcome more members in the coming months.

Anyone with an interest can attend on the first Friday of the month from 7-9pm at the Environmental Education and Healthy Living Centre.

Daniel said: “At the inaugural meeting, I taught air layering - creating a new root system high on a branch or trunk to later be removed and grown on. If you’re interested in bonsai or just have any of the trees then please come along.”

Daniel (33) and his family moved to Elgin from Ipswich last year. He works for Christies of Fochabers Garden Centre and runs his own bonsai nursery. Daniel has been growing the trees for 10 years after initially buying an Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) at a garden show.

He explained: “I was looking for information on how to care for it when I came across bonsai. My first choice of bonsai was a terrible tree species that quickly died but after spending months obsessing on the internet I picked the right one and now have over 1000 in various stages of development. As time passed and my skills grew, my eyes opened to how trees look and develop. I also gained a new appreciation of nature.”

Daniel now has trees aged over 50-years-old, one from a bonsai club he was in before grown from a cutting, and another from a council house hedge he removed during a job. He spends anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours-a-session wiring branches. Many of his trees were re-potted during springtime. This involves removing the soil and pruning the roots to form a “nabari” - where the roots from the trunk enter the soil.

Daniel said: “This time of year is about placing wire around the branches to form the desired shape, watering every day and trimming branches. Bonsai need to be fed once-a-week too as they are in tiny pots.”

Daniel Johnson (centre) and the Bonsai Club at Transition Town Forres.
Daniel Johnson (centre) and the Bonsai Club at Transition Town Forres.

The new club invites enthusiasts to share tips. Members offer styling advice, horticulture knowledge and the opportunity to show off their trees.

Daniel said: “The aim is to have a miniature tree that looks and has the feel of an old tree in the wild. Your first club meeting is free and there are trees to buy if you don’t have one. I’ll be teaching things each session.”

Email Daniel via moribonsaiuk@gmail.com for more information.

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