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Bonsai Afternoon

Willowbog Bonsai Nurseries Logo

799754 is the map reference for one of the wettest but most fascinating places in Northumberland. To get there, turn left off the B6320 just before Simonburn. Travel along the road until you think you have gone far enough and then travel some more until you see the sign to Willow Bog.

Willow Bog is a nationally renowned centre for Bonsai enthusiasts. Surrounded by dense forestry, wet moor land and ever changing skies, this is indeed a magical place. The Northumbria Smallholders arrived in the rain, stood spellbound in the rain and left, impressed by the skill and art of Bonsai, in the rain.

The warm welcome (and umbrellas) we received from Jean was taken up by Len and Cassie. They guided us through the different areas of the nursery. Showing us a wide range of trees at varying stages of growth and described in detail the work going on. Local as well as imported trees and roots are used to create, after years of incredible patience and imaginative foresight, wonderful displays. Maples, Beech, Cedars and Chinese Elm, were just a few of the trees being sculptured and displayed. Those of us who thought this was a cruel art, stunting and restricting natural growth, could only be impressed by the care and attention lavished upon the trees by the enthusiasts. This is not an art for those looking for quick results. It is, however, one that is open to everyone at very little cost. The simplest start can be made in your own garden, carefully selecting that interesting cutting or root and then by applying imagination, secateurs and wire.

If you missed this trip it is well worth making time to visit Willow Bog. Don’t forget, travel along the road until you think you have gone far enough……..

The memorable afternoon culminated in a delicious tea at Alder Hall. Ina and George provide generous hospitality and George fascinated us with recollections of his working life in and around West Woodburn.

Bob Morgan

The Willowbog website is linked from our links page, why not check it out.