Well, we have finally made it through to the end of 2020, possibly the longest year on record. Now only the December bonsai jobs remain before it all starts over again for 2021.

And as the countdown to the holiday season begins, the list of bonsai specific jobs starts to tail off. So this month, we’ve put together a list of general maintenance, contemplation and personal improvement tasks to keep you occupied.

Work first and pleasure later – let’s run you through this month’s jobs.

Give your tools an end of year clean

Having got through the year, you may now be thinking of putting your tools away for the winter. But before you do so, it is a good idea to give them a little maintenance first.

Maintaining your tools will help prolong their life, no matter what they cost. The process for maintaining your scissors, trimmers and secateurs is as follows:

  • Clean off any dirt from the tools using antibacterial spray or a cleaning block
  • Dry them thoroughly
  • Rub down the blades using wire wool or emery paper
  • Sharpen the blades if necessary using a whetstone
  • Apply a little camelia oil to protect the blades from rusting and keep things moving
  • Always store your tools with the blades closed and in a dry place

Clear snow from trees

While outdoor trees can take a little frost and snow, it’s advisable to clear snow from your trees. This will help evergreens to convert sunlight to energy, particularly non-coniferous evergreens. It also stops the snow from melting and adding more water into the pot.

Things have been quite mild so far this year. But if we do have any snow over the coming months, wait until it has stopped before popping out to give your trees a quick brush over to remove the bulk of the snow.

Alternatively, you could move your trees to a sheltered spot in advance if the weather forecast is looking snowy.

Learn new skills

The long winter evenings give us plenty of time to seek out new skills and knowledge online. Of course, this can be done all year round, but I’m sure you’d agree that we all have better things to do during the lighter evenings.

You can search the internet for all sorts of new skills, but here are a few ideas to get you going:

Online Bonsai Courses from Bonsai Empire

Getting Started – This 1 hour online course will show you how to create your own Bonsai tree in 5 well-explained steps. No theory, this is about doing it yourself!

Bonsai Beginners Course – This 1.5 hour online course will teach you the basics of Bonsai, and assist you in the growing and styling your own Bonsai trees.

Bonsai Fundamentals Course – During this 2 hour online course, you will learn about the principle concepts of Bonsai including plant physiology, Japanese aesthetics and design.

Bonsai Intermediate Course – In this 3.5 hour online course, you will learn about the mechanics of wiring, delve into the aesthetics of design, and expand your knowledge of Bonsai.

Advanced Bonsai Course – This extensive 6 hour online course will provide you unique access to the latest and most advanced Bonsai techniques.

Shohin Bonsai Course – Spread over 5 hours, this online practical course will cover the somewhat specialist subject of growing and displaying Shohin bonsai trees.

Complementary Online Courses

There are plenty of other skills that you can learn which will complement your bonsai skills.

Photography: Taking a photography course will help to improve the photographs you take of your bonsai collection. You can find courses from beginners to advanced level locally or online.

Drawing: Taking a drawing course will help if you would like to be able to to draw a sketch mock-up of a tree that you will be working on.

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop classes: These software packages are great if you’d like to be able to enhance your photographs.

Seek Inspiration

YouTube is a great place to find inspiration, and the dark winter nights are the perfect time to spend watching bonsai videos.

You’ll find all sorts of videos on YouTube, and the quality varies greatly. But you can definitely find some good material to inspire your bonsai as we move into 2021.

Here are some of our favourite YouTube channels to get you going:

Festive spirit

We’d like to wish you a very happy festive period. After all your hard work, it’s time to put your tools down and enjoy the break. Sure enough, it will all start again soon enough!

Best Wishes from Beechfield Bonsai!