About Me



Hi, my name is Robert Nocher and I live in a small village in the south west of Scotland, UK. I started this blog in March 2014

I have been into bonsai for 13 years but only began to take it seriously about 3 years ago when I retired from my  job in the fire service. For my first 11 years in the hobby I struggled on my own, learning what I could from the numerous books that are available on the subject but my trees, although healthy, never seemed to look any better than when I started. About 3 years ago I discovered the world of the online bonsai forum and in particular The Internet Bonsai Club. This opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities and introduced me for the first time to the pleasures of shohin bonsai. I attended the 6th exhibition of the British Shohin Association at Willowbog Bonsai Nursery in 2012 and saw for the first time, the world class trees of John Armitage and Mark and Rita Cooper. I have been hooked ever since, not only with small trees but also the world of Japanese shohin pots and display items.

I decided it was time to take some classes to improve my skills and develop a better understanding of bonsai design. In the past 2 years I have attended workshops by Peter Warren, Steve Tolley and Mark Noelanders and I have also joined a local club. I say local but there is no club in south west Scotland. I face a 150 mile round trip on the first Sunday of every month to attend The Lanarkshire Bonsai Club’s regular meeting at Watston Bonsai. The Lanarkshire Club is very active, with a good number of members keen to improve their trees and skills, including a fair number that specialize in shohin. The club also benefits from the knowledge and direction of Dougie  Smith proprietor of Watston Bonsai, who imports some of the finest bonsai you’ll ever see, including Kimura’s, and Robert Porch, a Scottish bonsai legend. Joining the club and attending the workshops has benefitted me greatly and given me a direction in bonsai that I didn’t have before.

I have started this blog to share my bonsai journey with other like minded individuals and to make new friends across the world. Not all of my trees are shohin size, I have about a dozen or so larger ones which I will be posting about as time goes by. Please feel free to leave a comment or say hello at any time


46 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Pingback: Another Blog to Follow | Bonsai Eejit

  2. I started making and buying bonsai a yr ago, I follow many blogs and websites, thank you for sharing yours, learning this art never ends.

  3. Hi Robert
    I’m in the same situation, small village, few like minded players in bonsai. For your short time in the game you have some very nice trees, and your pots look very clean. Am planning a trip to Scotland in 2015, so with any luck and if your in the way of the bus we should meet and I can have a look.
    Until then keep up the blog and good luck in retirement .
    Qualicum Brian

  4. Brilliant blog Robert and some very impressive bonsai. I am from Glasgow and am just beginning my bonsai journey. I have been to Dougies place a few times and hope to make it along soon to one of the club meets so will hopefully see you there. Thanks.

  5. I am just looking at this first…and saw a procumbens juniper which I liked a lot. Bonsai makes fantastic friends and knows no borders. Good luck and hope you enjoy it for a long time.

  6. Hi Robert,

    Really Loving the progression and standard of your work, as you are the go to guy on shohin I was wondering what your thoughts are on a shohin raft?? I have 25 yr old Chinese elm thats 15inch from top of pot to the apex with a classic Chinese style twist in the trunk that refuses to back bud so I’m left with 1 low main branch and the rest are far up at the apex, there is little or no growth on one side of the tree and as I am a beginner the only possible style I can see is turning it on its side and making it into a raft. In your experience can this be done or even would it look right as its such a small tree.

    Any advise will be more that welcome.


    • Hi Owen
      Thanks for your encouraging comments and your ongoing support for my blog it’s appreciated.
      With regard to your Chinese Elm, it would be much easier to advise you if I could see a picture of it.
      I see no reason why it couldn’t be done or shouldn’t be attempted.
      There may also be other options you could consider, like air layering the top off, which would force it to bud below the layer.
      You should post some pics on your blog and put the question to a wider audience to stimulate debate on the subject
      All the best
      Robert Nocher

      • Il stick them on the site right now man and you can tell me what you think. I hope this doesnt inconvience ye in any way. Anyway pics will follow in a few mins 🙂

  7. Hi Robert

    So much has been written about your wonderful Blog which I agree and I am glad you allowed me to be a follower as I feel I can get inspiration from your to help me with the trees I have

    Keep up your great work and many thanks for all your post

    Wish I had start following all your post a while back

    where about’s are you situated or near which town !!!

    I was born in Bellshill, many years ago my parents moved to Denny in Stirlingshire around late 40’sr early 50’s where Oor Wullie was a Miner, I left Denny in 1966 BAD Year for a Scottish Football Supporter and been south of the border since then and ended up in the Wirral

    Take care


  8. Hey,
    I love your blog content! Such inspiring trees and pot selections.
    Your picture of the 10 arranged shohin is a constant referral point to me of what can be achieved with shohin.

    The wife loves your colourful pot selection too.

    Keep doing your thing!

  9. I look forward to conversing with you. You have done what I just started this year with Japanese Maples. Just this Spring I potted a 4 year old maple that was started by nature. I plan to train it as a shohin bonsai. Your blog is what I have been looking for, pictures and descriptions of a trees progress.

    Doug Bereczki

  10. Hi Robert, I love the neatness of the design of this blog, can you tell me what the template is called please? They used to put it in the footnote but they all seem to be just blog at wordpress now! Thanks. I want it for a personal page, not bonsai.

  11. Great site. I am just back into Bonsai again giving up in 2014. Wonderful to read of your enthusiasm for Bonsai and indeed the distances you seem to travel in pursuit of ‘joining in.’

  12. Hello Robert,

    I saw a post of yours recently about a Japanese purple berry you had been working on, really beautiful tree.
    Have you any idea where I might find one of these?

    Best regards


    • Callicarpa bonsai can be difficult to find in the UK and are usually expensive. Wattston Bonsai occasionally have them in stock. If it’s just a plant you require to grow on yourself, they can be purchased from many garden centres now. I’ve even seen them on Amazon

  13. Hi there,
    I’m a newbie to actually growing/training Bonsai but have been interested for several years. I also live in a small town SW Scotland, where are you based exactly? I was thinking of going to the place near Hexham sometime as they do monthly workshops, do you know much about them? I’m just back from a wonderful trip to Kyoto and saw some amazing examples there. Keep safe, Mary

      • Hi, I live in Lochmaben and have several friends in and around Moniave, I used to sing with Cairn Chorus actually before I needed to visit family more. I’m going to the show in Troon next month, am staying with a school friend either side of it, are you going?

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