In the UK and want to exhibit Bonsai in the EU?

Now that the UK is no longer in the European Union, this is what you need to do if you are invited to exhibit your Bonsai at a European show. There is a cost to do this and it varies depending on your location in the UK. (how close you are to an agency that can issue the phytosanitary certificate as they have to come to you)

Below is a copy of the information I have received from Federaal Agentschap voor de Veiligheid van de Voedselketen (F.A.V.V.) today 8th February 2021. This is only to get your trees INTO the EU and into a single country, in this instance I enquired about Belgium. Returning with your trees is a totally different matter, I have been in contact with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the bottom line is that they are in disarray and they cannot give me a definitive answer directing me to this website: even this is constantly changing.

So if you want to exhibit this is what you need to do:

The first step is to obtain a phytosanitary certificate from the plant protection service in the country of origin. The contact details of the plant protection services of third countries (= England) are available on the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) website ( The original phytosanitary certificate must accompany the plants.

Subsequently, the plants must be notified to the border control post of entry into the European Union via Traces nt ( later than 24 hours before arrival. The list of border control posts can be found here (

The plants must be presented at the border control post for plant health check. 

The following points are checked:

  • Presence of a phytosanitary certificate that meets the requirements: regulation 2016/2031, annex V.
  • Compliance of the composition of the consignment with what is stated on the phytosanitary certificate.
  • Absence of plants for which import is prohibited: Regulation 2019/2072, Annex VI & Implementing Regulation 2018/2019 Annex I
  • Absence of EU quarantine organisms: Implementing Regulation 2019/2072, Annex II
  • Compliance with phytosanitary import requirements: implementing regulation 2019/2072, Annex VII

Fees have to be paid for plant health check (Royal Decree of 10/11/2005 on fees, Annex 1.I) (; consolidated version: 

After a favourable phytosanitary inspection, the plants can be declared to customs for release for free circulation.

I advise you to contact the British authorities for the return of the plants (Belgium to England).

There you have it.

Free long lasting aluminium Bonsai labels

If a new Idea starts with a can of beer you already know that you are on to a winner. I am not good at keeping good records of the work that I have done on my trees. I have used plant labels but they fade, get lost and are easily misplaced.
I have priced commercial aluminium tags but they are expensive when you need hundreds. Soft aluminium words well because using a biro on a soft surface makes an impression that cannot fade, washed away or deteriorate.

I have looked at lots of options but have come up with a solution that is FREE, recycled and easy to make.

I use abbreviations on my labels: RP= Repotted C= Collected

1 Open an aluminium can of beer

2 cut open the can with strong scissors

3 cut the labels to the size you want

4 use a hole punch

5 write with a biro on a soft surface

6 attach to the tree with wire

Book Review: ‘Cosmic Bonsai – Burton Style’

‘Cosmic Bonsai – Burton Style’ by Laurent Darrieux

This is not a book on how to create Bonsai, nor is it a book for anyone starting in the art-form. However, if you want to understand what goes on in the mind of the author, an artist that presents an image of the atomic bomb alongside a twisted Elm Bonsai, or a robot figurine squaring up to an equally twisted apple Bonsai then this is the read for you.

‘Cosmic Bonsai’ is like no other book on or about Bonsai that I have read, it is more concerned with an attitude, an approach and a realisation that there is something deeper to creating Bonsai than simply working with trees. We explore the conviction of the author to his craft, his influences beyond what one would expect from an artist working with a ‘traditional’ art form (if Bonsai can BE considered an art form)

I found the content to be fascinating, sometimes a little unsettling and surprisingly gentle in many ways. Where else would you expect to find in a book on Bonsai a coloration between, a Romanesco cabbage, Fractals and Ferns?

The Author champions other artists including potters, illustrators and Bonsai practitioners. The book charts the progress of some of the authors work, including the spectacular ‘Tanuki’ presented at the European Bonsai San Show, Saulieu, France.

One of my favourite comments in the book: “In the terms of Bonsai, the maturity of a tree, its moshikomi, its wabi-sabi is much more important than the external elements that you will add to your composition. This is the reason why we see so little progress in the world of contemporary Bonsai.”

I consider Laurent Darrieux to be a ‘Brother in Arms’ we share the same approach to our art, presenting Bonsai in such a way as to spark a conversation, to elicit controversy and to escape the confines of what is considered to be ‘Traditional’ display.

Should you buy this book?

If you wish to broaden your experience and explore new ideas and concepts in presentation, then this is the book for you. If you are a beginner, wait until you have worked with Bonsai for a few years before you delve into the mind of this amazing artist and his work. And as for ‘Burton Style’ You will have to buy the book to know why it’s called that.

You can purchase the book here: