An evening with Simon Tremblett
We really did not know what to expect from our evening with Simon but we certainly weren’t disappointed as he showed us examples of this work which encompassed bonsai from natural to whacky and arty.
The first tree he showed us was an amazing Chamaecyparis, variety Boulevard, a tree that was very popular in the bonsai world some years ago. This particular one Simon had nurtured from a garden centre specimen about 35 years ago and had stylized in the Japanese manner as most enthusiasts did then. Evidently Simon has never purchased a tree as a Bonsai tree all his are carefully cared for from the wild or nursery/garden centre stock.
One of the outstanding features was the way the branches descended directly from the trunk which is almost impossible to achieve without breaking them when wiring. Simon explained that it happened over a period of time as the trunk bark had thickened and swelled out obscuring the initial bend of the branch. This being induced by his technique of cutting the bark and directing downward vigour where he wanted to thicken the trunk.
This variety frequently dies off, hence it’s decline in popularity I suppose and this tree had lost a number of branches over the years which Simon had turned to his advantage making a display of the descending deadwood. Evidently some dying off was due to his watering regime missing out at times.
Once very concerned that his trees should have only rainwater Simon has since come to the conclusion that plenty of the wrong water is better than not enough of the right water.
Not only was the tree amazing, a word that is so over used nowadays but most apt on this occasion but Simon had made the pots as well.
After the Boulevard, a la Hobbits school of art and design, Simon showed us an Atlantic Cedar which he had cultivated from an air layering.
The surprise this time was the Ivy creeping all the way up which had received as much attention as the tree, new growth being directed with the aid of drawing pins and leaf pruning to achieve it’s present state but as bonsai is never finished neither is Simon’s Ivy as he has plans to replace the large left hand branch entirely with Ivy.
Those of us in the front row could also see the buddleia keeping it company in the pot as well.
The evening just got better and better as Simon then brought a splendid Beech to the table and on closer inspection one could see that it was in fact two intertwining trees which he had discovered near a railway sidings.
He explained how he had worked on the trunk and roots adding a spiral to the hefty roots, hollowing the trunk and just turning it into another amazing specimen.
Part of the essential knowledge needed to create such specimens was knowing the difference between shrubs and trees and their structure. Cutting thee root of a shrub causes the loss of the part above that relies on that root to survive whereas when a tree root is cut the rest of the trunk kicks in so to speak and takes over the nourishment support of the limbs above.
The next tree was a Privet which he had also gone to town on, reduced from a twenty foot high one and the hollowed out. The top taper being achieved by bolting the sides of top together as one might squeeze an empty cardboard tube .
Two sacrificial branches can be seen at the top which will go within this year. (Sacrificial branches are grown specifically to strengthen and thicken part of a tree or the trunk, quite often lower down the trunk and are discarded when they have served their purpose.)
A Euonymus illustrated how Simon had started work on it by removing bark in a large spiral up the trunk and where it was now thickening up
We had now reached the really whacky samples the first a Privet into which he had inserted a pattern of polished haematite, I don’t know if the added iron helped it’s growth or not but weird certainly.
This next one was what I called his Giacometti, two Norway Maples worked I thought in the style of Alberto Giacometti the famous Swiss Sculptor and artist, it would be nice if Simon received the same financial reward for his work .
The last of Simon’s Avant Garde works was his root over vase creation where he had created a pot specifically to take the entwined acer which crawled in and out of various orifices.
Simon had during his bonsai career at one time decamped to the Welsh mountains and done is own thing for years before returning to what some might call civilization his mantra being. A few successes, I don’t care, that’s what it’s all about.
Thank you Simon for a truly fascinating evening full of useful tips and inspiration to take home.
TREE of the MONTH COMPETITION
FIRST by members votes
Richard M. Oak
Roger E. White Pine
SECOND Tony M. Juniper THIRD Michael C. Chinese Quince, Japonica
Our usual detailed critique can be viewed via this link and below is one by our judge Adrian’s own trees. A blackthorn in a pot made especially to replace the one smashed by a neighbours flying garden brolly .
Next meeting MAY 8th preparing trees for our annual show at Willowbrook Garden Centre.
Tree of the Month Competition. Spring Colour