My name is Andy Barber, I am a professional chef by trade.
Back in 2006, I became not just interested in small trees in pots, but absolutely mesmerised.
Taken under Nobu Kajiwara’s wing, whilst introducing myself to bonsai as a beginner on a course via Mak’e bonsai Owned by Mark D’Cruz. Nobu and Mark introduced me to their translation of bonsai.
I used to attend as much as possible, to assist and help out wherever possible, getting a hands-on approach with anything I could, Being exposed to as many styles, techniques, and methods that master Nobu and Mark could demonstrate, during these sessions I was introduced to many amazing artists. Being curious I visited via website or location as many other bonsai artists. The main inspirations I found at this time were Graham Potter, Will Baddeley, Kevin Wilson, Peter Warren, and John Hanby.
All of these amazing artists had their own views and styles, that stood me in good stead for the next chapter in my bonsai interests.
Bonsai Shed has a home.
In 2012 I decided to look for a space to display this mad and very contagious obsession, I searched for a while locally in Surrey and fortunately fell upon an old Garden centre called Hill Park Rose Centre.
Approximately 30 acres of green land used for hybrid and original strains of English roses, a family run business run for nearly 50 years
ANYONE is welcome we do not charge but suggest donations are offered for our time & advice.
Loyal and very diverse collection of like-minded enthusiasts with a very wide range of skills, from a mere beginner to some very accomplished bonsai hobbyists.
Basic materials, equipment and some workshops are covered by your donations.
Open weekends during growing season, Sundays only for the rest of the year.
I initially settled in with approximately 60 assorted trees in a small polytunnel with a makeshift tent knocked together very roughly using local bits of wood and tarpaulin, my trees were then arranged on stages using wooden palettes, that achieve a very suitable viewing level and made better space and ease of watering. I then started to work there on my days off.
During this time here, some of the clients passed by and inquired, discussed, and started to visit regularly.
Before I knew it …those that came regularly, developed a relationship, then asked for help & advice.
This was the start of THE BONSAI SHED.