Large Bonsai at RHS Wisley

Herons Bonsai are proud sponsors of the Bonsai collection at the Royal Horticultural Society garden in Wisely. Peter and His wife first began sponsoring the Wisley Garden in 1997.

The Wisley garden is one of four RHS gardens across the UK. The garden is home to a collection of twenty-four specimen bonsai, over half of which have been created by Peter himself. The Bonsai trees are currently on display at the garden’s ‘garden of the senses’ display. The display is attended to and changed regularly. Here Peter takes us through the specimens which are currently on display.
Herons Bonsai Sign RHS Wisley
Entrance RHS Wisley
This is a very old, rough bark Chinese Elm Bonsai.
Chinese Elm Bonsai
As you can see we’ve just let the trunk get hollow. All the hollowing is in fact completely natural, it has never been carved.
hollow trunk bonsai
It will spend the next 6 months to a year on show at Wisley, I’m just giving it a final trim before we leave it in its new temporary home.
trimming chinese elm bonsai
Over Half of the bonsai on display at the Wisley collection have been created by myself at our Herons nursery.

This is a red Deshojo maple, created from field grown material.
red deshojo maple bonsai
This Bonsai was an imported juniper. The tree is currently its winter colour (a brownish green), normally this tree is a very bright green.
imported juniper bonsai
This next Bonsai is a field grown maple. It has been developed over the last 20 to 30 years.
field grown maple bonsai
Our next specimen is an eye catcher that always wows those who visit our Wiley display. To create this bonsai forest I used ordinary Cedrus libani. It was made around 10 years ago on the nursery and has been on show here since 2012. If you look closely, you can see that one of the background trees has unfortunately died. I won’t remove this tree however as it may upset the balance of the overall composition. You can see that even with the dead tree it is still a magnificent group.
bonsai forest
We have several large trident maples such as this at Wisley. The trident maples were all imported from Japan as stumps back in 1993. The superstructure of each tree was then developed by myself at our nursery
trident maple bonsai
Just take a look at the trees beautiful nebari!
bonsai nebari
This large group was made by me back in 1975! When I first made the forest the trees were no thicker than a pencil. I used a combination of short and very tall trees, which caused quite a sensation at the time! It was unheard of to use tall and short trees in the same group. It’s still a very effective technique and this forest looks just as splendid over 40 years later.
bonsai forest 2
This next bonsai is a large mountain maple (acer palmatum), made from some of the field grown trees that we develop at Herons.
mountain maple bonsai
This is an ordinary scots pine which has been cultivated to make a beautiful bonsai. Its look has been achieved simply using wiring techniques.
scots pine bonsai
scots pine bonsai nebari
This is a large Mulberry Stump bonsai. The stump comes without branches. All the branches on this bonsai have been developed at our Herons nursery. This tree fruits every year.
mulberry bonsai
This European Beech was made when I wrote my second book ‘Bonsai Masterclass’. It has been around 30 years in the making and once sat at the front of my own house. It has been on display at Wiley for the last 10 years. Beech Bonsais are generally easy to create, however I’m particularly proud of this bonsai as it was once nothing but a stump. All the superstructure of the tree has been created over the last 20 - 30 years.
beech bonsai
This tree is an ordinary conker tree. We love conker trees at our nursery! When in bloom, it produces lovely red flowers.
conker bonsai
This is another trident maple, again created from a stump.
trident maple bonsai
This is of course the famous blaauw juniper. You can see how I created this bonsai from scratch in my second ever book ‘bonsai masterclass’
blauuw juniper bonsai
This is a very large dwarf scots pine bonsai created using pinus sylvestris and another variety called beuvronensis. I started creating this bonsai in 1980 but the tree itself must be around 60 years old. This bonsai has immense character thanks to its lovely thick branches which have developed after many years of training.
scots pine bonsai tree

scots pine bonsaiThis is another ‘homemade’ beuvronensis bonsai created at our nursery.
This was one of the trident maple stumps that we imported from Japan in 1993. Since that time we have developed the trunk, branches and nebari to create the superstructure.
trident maple bonsai tree
trident maple bonsai trunk
This is an Austrian black pine bonsai that I made about 10 years ago from ordinary nursery stock. I think this is a very handsome tree and a great example of what can be made from ordinary stock.
austrian black pine bonsai
Here we have a japanese larch bonsai. I love Japanese larches, we have hundreds of them at our nursery. This one has been at Wisley for quite a few years.
Japanese larch bonsai
This is another Acer Palmatum Japanese maple bonsai developed from nursery stock.
acer palmatum bonsai
RHS wisley bonsai display
RHS wisley bonsai display 2
RHS wisley bonsai display 3
RHS wisley bonsai display 5