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Robert Hore has been working with bonsai since 1976 and, though a Cornishman by birth, was living in London at the time he decided to practice the art full-time. The idea of a specialist Bonsai Nursery struck me as slightly off the wall, however, such was my enthusiasm to move to Cornwall and to work with plants, that I gave the notion my full support. Little did I realise then how many other people shared our fascination with bonsai, a fact that has become apparent over the ensuing years!

So armed with a passion for bonsai, great enthusiasm and very little else we moved to Cornwall in the autumn of 1983, and began our search for the nursery. Two years later we discovered the perfect setting - a former small-holding in the picturesque village of St Mawgan, hidden away at the bottom of the lush Vale of Lanherne, 1.5 miles from the north coast of Cornwall. I say hidden because the land had not been cultivated for decades and was almost hidden, even in the midst of winter, by weeds and brambles of awesome proportions. The fertility of the soil, virtually pure peat to a depth of one metre, was evident in the abundance of vegetation, and the wild, diverse landscape that Nature had created inspired us. A number of old willows and one particular aged oak, shaped by the years in a manner we could only dream of creating, sprang out of this profusion, and the land was sprinkled with natural running water. Above all, the tranquility we experienced here [particularly strong in the area chosen for the Japanese Garden] was perfect for our purpose.

We began clearing ground to build the nursery, and strimmer/chainsaw quickly replaced hand tools! Our prime concern was to work with the landscape we had inherited, so we carefully removed existing plants [snowdrops, wild violets, primulas, grape-hyacinths etc] to a safe location, and with the aid of a digger managed to transplant a couple of trees that were badly situated. Robert gave the latter the bonsai treatment with a chainsaw before employing the digger, and we have been delighted to see them flourish in their new positions. Wherever possible we worked around existing trees and though this process took more time and effort we believe the rewards far outweighed the problems.

Our first greenhouse was acquired from a derelict nursery, and lay in pieces against the hedge for many months before we were ready to attempt reconstruction. Much of the original was beyond repair but we salvaged what we could, and were delighted with the 60ft greenhouse that was finally rebuilt. We opened the Bonsai Nursery on 1st May 1988 with this greenhouse, a pergola, and another building housing the pots etc., but these structures soon became inadequate as the stock grew, and were replaced in 1997 by a much larger purpose built house of our own design.

We have been cultivating trees in the open ground since 1986, and adding these to the stock of bonsai imported from Japan, China and Korea offers a diversity of choice that our customers welcome. The nursery holds some twenty thousand trees plus; including a wide selection of indoor and outdoor varieties, a substantial number of starter-trees [various sizes/ages] ready for styling, and a good selection of Specimens, some of which are placed amongst the general stock whilst others are housed apart in a special display. Of all the species, Robert has a particular passion for Acers and the nursery reflects this! New varieties are constantly appearing and are added to our stock as soon as they become available. Our pot selection is one of the most diverse in the U.K, including a comprehensive range of ceramics, mica, plastic and hand built dishes. A wide range of books, tools and accessories is also available. We provide a free booklet entitled "Introduction & General Care of Bonsai" with every tree purchased, and this together with our aftercare service ensures that our customers avoid many of the mistakes commonly experienced by first time bonsai growers.

 S.R.Hore 1999 The 'Creation of the Japanese Garden' continues on  Garden Page

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