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Bonsai Survival Manual: An Essential Guide to Buying, Maintaining and Problem Solving The Bonsai Handbook Remarkable Trees of the World

I have created this site in hopes that it will educate anyone interested in the ancient art of Bonsai with the basic knowledge that I have acquired from keeping Bonsai myself.

I believe that raising Bonsai is a great way to relax and to learn patience, respect, balance, love and devotion.

In no way do I consider myself to be an expert, and I highly advise that you read at least one book on Bonsai before you start, as Bonsai are not cheap and more importantly, because I believe that raising Bonsai is an art, not just a hobby, so it should be taken seriously.

On this site I will deal with many issues concerning Bonsai, plus show you some of the projects that I am currently working on. Follow the links on the left to view the rest of the pages.

If you have any comments concerning this site, please contact me. I intend to update this site as often as possible, but because Bonsai is an artform that requires much patience and things do not happen overnight (even though some would love for them to) I will update it when necessary.

If you would like me to contact you whenever I update the site, please let me know.


I have updated this site again.

  • I have updated my progress with my trees. Check it out under projects.
  • I have also added a couple more galleries of some great looking trees from some recent shows held in Gauteng, South Africa. All the photos so far have been taken by myself. I have included the names of the trees and the growers. Where available I have also included the ages. More photos to follow. If you would like to have your photos included, then please e-mail them to me in gif or jpg format and I will review them for inclusion on this site.

I hope you continue to enjoy my site and return regularly to see how things are going. Here is an update on how my trees are doing.


December 2003: Since the last update, I have won yet another tree, an Olea europea sub. africana. I am going to take this tree to our club workshops next year and you will not recognise it once I am finished with it. Keep checking back to see how it goes.

Check out the Bauhinia natalensis. Based on info that I received from the original owner, plus the size of the leaves at the time, this tree was believed to be a Colophospermum mopane. Well, sorry to say, it is actually a Bauhinia natalensis, so check out the updated page. This tree is really doing well at the moment with lots of foliage and budding back. There is certainly lots of potential to this tree. Once the trunk has thickened out a bit more and the new shoots have formed strong branches, I may take this tree to our club workshops and decide on a more radical style for it.

Apart from that, not much else is happening with my trees. I am in the process of designing a proper display area, and I will include details of this in future updates. Until then, happy Bonsai.

October 2003: They say that Bonsais do not die, we kill them. If this is the case, then I am guilty as charged. I have killed the Bolusanthus speciosus, the Cotoneaster horizontalis, the three unidentified trees, and another project from a cutting.

Good news though, the Bauhinia natalensis, the Dovyalis caffra and the Crassula arborescens are all doing very well.

As you will see in the dedicated pages to these trees, all are looking very healthy. I think that a sudden Black Frost killed the others, but that is no excuse, I should have moved them indoors. Not to worry, at our clubs annual show I bought myself an Acer buergerianum (better known as a Trident Maple). It has an interesting structure and I am going to experiment on it with some jinning. I will keep you posted. In the meantime, check out the pages in the projects section.

April/May 2003:

  • Bolusanthus Speciosus: This poor tree was attacked by a Chafer Beetle and eaten up a little. The shock was a bit too much for the tree and it started to shrivel up. After pruning back some of the leaves and moving it to a sheltered area, the tree seems to be perking up.
  • Cotoneaster Horizontalis: Once repotted, this tree was left to grow out a bit, and then pruned back. It will be wired sometime during winter and I hope to enter this tree into my first show, possibly next year.
  • Bauhinia natalensis: I have left this tree to grow and will probably repot it towards the end of winter and only cut it back next year.
  • Crassula Arborescens: This tree will remain as is, until I repot it towards the end of winter.
  • Dovyalis Caffra: After repotting and wiring this tree at the beginners course, I left the tree in a protected area and it is now sprouting bright green foliage. This will also be a show tree within the next year or two.
  • Serissa Foetida: Unfortunately this tree did not take root at all, as I think the root hormone was too old.
  • Three unidentified trees: Within the Bauhinia natalensis pot there were three unknown trees, which I cut down to mere stumps. I am planning on planting them into a training pot and trying my hand at a small scene using Mame style trees.

January 2003: It all began with a tree planted from seed (Bolusanthus Speciosus). I was then encouraged to join a Bonsai Kai in order to learn more and won a tree in the lucky draw (Cotoneaster Horizontalis). I then had the opportunity to rescue a tree from someone who had inherited it (Bauhinia natalensis).

March 2003: At the Bonsai Kai I won yet another tree in the lucky draw (Crassula Arborescens). I attended a beginners course and, to my wifes dismay, I came home with another tree (Dovyalis Caffra) plus a cutting to grow (Serissa Foetida).

Do keep coming back and I will give you more news on what is happening in my Bonsai career.

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Last updated 2003.12.16