FoBBS Chair : David Cheshire: Bonsai Profile

David began his interest in bonsai when he was about 12 years old. His mother bought him a book on bonsai by Harry Tomlinson and his interest soon took over his life. He soon took on an allotment encouraged by his neighbour with the intention of growing on young trees, which he continued for about 17 years. David still has a number of these trees he started some 27 years ago.

At 13 David was introduced to Ambion Bonsai Club based in his home town of Nuneaton, where he became an active member participating in tree collecting trips to places like Cannock Chase. When David was 17 he joined the committee of Ambion and soon became their librarian.

David went to college to study horticulture where he expanded his interest in plants to include rare and unusual alpines and perennials. Through his study at Warwickshire College, he was awarded the International Plant Propagators Society Award for outstanding achievement.

On leaving college, David went on to set up Astley Nurseries where he specialised in the production of rare and unusual plants, supplying to both retail and trade customers. David had a brief period while at college when he was unable to attend Ambion Bonsai Club, but after a few years he returned and joined the committee again and became their show manager for a number of years, achieving numerous awards for the club including RHS Gold Medals at BBC Gardeners World.

David ran his own nursery for a number of years, always having a strong interest in Bonsai and developing his skills and knowledge. He also worked for Mike Statham Ltd as a horticultural and arboriculture advisor where he worked with numerous people to help and advise on setting up nurseries.

David worked closely with Warwickshire College and several private companies building gardens at many RHS shows including Chelsea, Tatton Park and Gardeners World, achieving Gold medals on numerous occasions.

In 2001 he worked with the BBC on several TV programmes including Charlies Gardening Neighbours and Home Front in The Garden, helping source and advise on plants for gardens while working on screen, planting and building gardens.

David joined the committee of FoBBS about 9 years ago, after attending the FoBBS AGM at the time FoBBS were recruiting to get new people to join the committee, so David put himself forward and he has worked hard over the years helping to organise events while promoting bonsai in the UK.

In 2014 David joined the FNBC Committee to help and support the work done with the national collection.

David continued with his own nursery until about 7 years ago when he joined forces with The Ingleby Foundation, a charity working with vulnerable adults and children with disabilities. Here they set up Ingleby Foundation Bonsai Nursery, where David worked with their students teaching the horticultural skills and bonsai.

Subsequently the charity closed and David set up his bonsai nursery as David Cheshire Bonsai where he has continued to grow his business and appears at many Bonsai shows across the UK each year. His business now works alongside Aim Educational, working with 8-25 year olds who suffer with Autism, ADHD and other difficulties using farming and horticulture as a training and teaching aid.

Over the past 7 years David has spent short periods in Japan studying bonsai, with periods of training with some of the top bonsai professionals.