So many of our bonsai are Japanese tree varieties that British native trees are sometimes overlooked. As an illustration of how British trees can be developed I have included some pictures of an oak tree grown from an acorn. Whilst walking my dog I found some acorns on the footpath below an oak tree planted outside a residential home. I planted a few of these acorns and, after a few years developing in my garden, I was able to pot this tree to make a presentable bonsai. It is now about fifteen years old. My experience is that oaks are hardy as bonsai; the tree stays outside on the bench in all weathers, and will ramify quite readily. The trunk is thickening nicely, but has yet to develop mature bark.
I have read that oaks resent root disturbance and I have therefore root pruned quite sparingly.
The tree is normally late into leaf each year. I can, however, always reassure myself by looking at the ‘mother’ tree which also seems to be late coming into leaf. Hopefully this will encourage more people to use our native trees for bonsai. Other suitable varieties include Hawthorn, Scots Pine, Beech, Field Maple and Hornbeam.