April 2017 Meeting


An evening on Kusamono with Ritta Cooper

Fresh from their success as prize winners for their  Best Shohin at the international Bonsai Show the Noelanders Trophy,  Ritta Cooper aided and abetted by her husband Mark from time to time, give us a talk and demonstration on the art of Kusamono. Together they were one of only two UK prize winners at this prestigious event, flying the flag for British Bonsai..

Known to most of us as Accent plants –  Accents being a display that compliments as a companion to a bonsai tree. An Accent  may take the form of a bronze, some small carving, ornament or a plant in which case it’s correct name is a shitakusa meaning: shita =below or under and kusa = grass. From this within the last twenty years of so three art forms have developed

Kusamono – which literally means : kusa = grass and mono = thing.
Kokedama – which literally means : koke = moss and  dama = ball.
Nearai-          which literally means : ne = root and rai = washed.

IMG_20170412_195007Ritta went on to explain that the accent planting should be no higher than the stand of the tree and that it should if possible balance the movement of the tree, countering the direction of a windswept bonsai for example. That together with the tree, it’s stand and a scroll the Kusamona  makes up the display in a Tokonoma each item complimenting the overall composition.
Following the theory of the art, where to obtain the plants, how to bring them on, look after them and how  to arrange them and in what pots or compost Ritta then proceeded to the practical demonstration of her art.

Using plants Ritta had nurtured at her home or from a garden centre purchase Ritta showed us how to combine a number of  species in one item, how to assemble a moss ball Kokedama and how to take a few short cuts if need be.

In front of our eyes Ritta  created this delightful Kusamono above, sorry it’s my fault that it is a side view which does not do it justice. Altogether a fascinating talk and demonstration and I know that many members present will be going home and looking at some of the plants in their gardens with a new eye, ready to try their hand  at it themselves.

Many thanks to Ritta and Mark and I refer you to the following site which I used to check my notes                                                     © Ritta Cooper- Magical Bonsai Accents



Jon B’s Crab Apple came First in both the members votes and in the judges detailed critique a beautiful tree reflecting the spirit of Springtime.
Note: I heard a visitor ask about the long growth on the top right which Jon explained to her is a sacrificial growth used to thicken the branch from which it stems and which will be cut back once it has served it’s purpose


Michael C’s Acer Kashima IMG_20170412_205713

Pot by potter Anne Whittlesey a
member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen
who has been persuaded to turn her hand to bonsai pots.




GeoffIMG_20170412_205821‘s Blackthorn

and Tony’s Deshojo MapleIMG_20170412_205641








Sara’s ‘White Maple’

SECOND Richard M’s AzaleaIMG_20170412_210204







It’s just as well Adrian our critique judge was not able to enter himself when you see these two Acers he brought along to the meeting.


Tree of the Month detailed critique can be found at this link

ToTM Critique sheet April 2017

and don’t forget our neighbouring Bonsai Club-  Blackmore Vale, holding their Tenth Anniversary Show next month, further details on their website


See you next month on May 10th when we prepare for our own Annual Show at Willowbrook Garden Centre on May 27/28/29th

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