April 2019 Meeting

Alternative Bonsai

An evening withBoulevard3 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 davtrunk 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 Boulevard2of 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 and ivyCedar 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.



Beech6The 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.

Beech 3


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 Whackyinserted a pattern of polished haematite, I don’t know if the added iron helped it’s growth or not but weird certainly.

GiacomettiThis 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.

Root over pot

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.


Novices Class 

FIRST by members votesRichard M oak
Richard M. Oak


Roger E. White Pine

Roger E white pine




FIRST Dave GI Elm Raft
Dave GI 
Elm Raft


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 .

ToTM Critique sheet April 2019

Ades Blackthorn 2a

Next meeting  MAY 8th preparing trees for our annual show at Willowbrook Garden Centre.

Tree of the Month Competition. Spring Colour







Posted in Bonsai Techniques, NEWS, Tree of the Month

March 2019 Meeting

 Prior to the workshop evening Club President John Trott informed all members of the sad passing of Andy our recently retired Club Secretary and lead the members in a minute hand clap, rather than a silence, to honour a lovely lady who was always a most  cheerful presence at the Club and whose display of Accent plantings will be missed at or annual show.
Andy and Howard’s retirement tribute in December

Accents 6

A number of members will be attending the funeral to support her husband Howard, who also retired from his post as Club Chairman at the same time as Andy,  and family to whom we all send our condolences.

Andy RIP

Since writing this report I have just returned from Andy’s funeral at Taunton together with  other members of the Club. The chapel was packed to standing room as so many people turned out on a miserable damp afternoon to pay tribute to  our Andy who was held in such high esteem by so many for all that she had contributed to the Taunton area in so many ways. 
We heard how Andy had lived life to the full through her work for various Clubs, charities and associations. Our own Club President John Trott gave one of the three tributes telling of the way that the presence and participation of Andy and Howard in our Club had revitalised it when it was in the doldrums and how much the Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club owed to them both.


 March Workshop Evening


Spring is here, well it was glorious sunshine a few weeks ago, but now as March blows in like a roaring lion it’s time to be repotting and a good few members came along to our March meeting with their trees to set about the task.

davRichard P was busy working on the tree that he won in our annual raffle last year.


davWhilst Alistair, Tony,  and Brian were a study in concentration along side.


At the end of that table Geoff H.was working away hardGeoff at a Spindle Tree that he had evidently on acquired the day before, it’s going to be a real cracker that one.






Meanwhile up at the top table.

davClub President John taking a rest from polishing all those Gold Medals of his was being assisted by Dave from Shepton working on a trim little tree together, can’t think  it needs two of them for a Shohin.

Sara had set about the windswept root over rock Hornbeam that was mentioned in last months report on pot suitability and it is coming along nicely now.

davOur professional forester member Jon spent a good long time with Keith, a possible new member from Yeovil, who had brought along his first few trees for some expert advice and he certainly asked the right person there. Look forward to seeing you again Keith.

And one of the happiest faces in the room was Sue at workPam who was working away at a root over rock Trident Acer, Pam looks like someone who is really enjoying her bonsai.





Tree of the Month Competition

Among the emails to members since our last meeting there was mention that a little more interest in the TOM Competition would not go amiss, either in the number of trees or in the number of votes in relation to the attendances at meetings. 

As the saying goes ‘Be careful what you ask for’ it was the best show of entries for some time. We almost ran out of table room what with the workshop. Our competition judge Ade had no time to do anything other than work on his judging and critique and due to the building works at the hall a number of members had to cart their trees a lot further than they expected and got a great deal more exercise than they expected that night.

So instead of the usual report just showing the 1st.2nd.3rd placing I have included all the trees this month to show just how pleased we are that members put in the effort. A Tree of the Month display like this really makes it a much more interesting evening for all and especially for any new prospective member or visitor so keep it up guys

All places decided by members votes

FIRST    Dave Gr’ s LarchN1 Larch



N4 Azalea

Richard M

Matt’s            Scots Pine and Paul’s Horse Chestnut

Other entries
Roger E’s       Ko jo no Mai Fuji Cherry
N3 Ko Jo No Mai



Tony’sA1 Elm Group
Elm Group


Geoff   O’s      Beech

A3 beech


Richard P’s.      White Pine and Sara’s.    White Beech


Other entrants

Brian’s .      Katsura  and  Dave GI’s  . Cotoneaster

As you have probably noticed by now over the months the old codger taking the photos is not the David Bailey of the bonsai world and his mobile phone camera is not exactly top of the range in photographic equipment and he could not have taken even these modest images without the frequent help of Richard, Roger, Matt and any other bod press ganged into being studio assistant for a while and holding the screen and moving trees around, for which he is very grateful.. 

As usual Competition Judge Adrian’s piercingly perceptive perusal of our trees is available via this link

ToTM Critique sheet March 2019

APRIL 10th – Speaker, Simon Tremblett on alternative bonsai









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Topical Tips March 2019

Days or weeks of wet weather can make moss more than just an attractive feature on your trees and pots, this months tip from Ade suggests what might be done about it.

Moss on Fuji

Moss can look great on the surface of the soil but in most cases you don’t want it covering the trunk or nebari. These are key features of a tree and you don’t want them smothered in moss. Moss can be quite rampant in late winter/early and you may want to remove any growing on the trunk or roots. Brushing it off can be effective, but that will often damage mature bark. There are moss and algal treatments purpose -made for bonsai use, but they tend to be quite pricey. I use a fungicidal wash that I get at Wilko (£3.50 for 0.5l) which comes in a handy spray. Use it very sparingly, spraying any moss around the lower trunk and roots. Take care not to use so much that it penetrates the soil as it may then kill beneficial mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. Once the moss has died a light brushing will remove it without damage to the bark. If you spray in this way regularly you will stop unsightly moss establishing in the first place.

Ok where's the moss

Ok Where’s all the moss gone?

Posted in NEWS, Topical Tips | Tagged ,

Sad news of Andy


Andy accent making

It seems only a short while since I wrote the tribute to Andy when she and her husband Howard, after fourteen years service,  stood down from their positions as Secretary and Chairman of our Club, now only two months later I have to report that after a short illness Andy has sadly passed away.

Andy did so much to make everyone feel welcome on their first visit to our club and her presence and encouragement will be so missed.  We offer our sincere condolences to Howard and his family at this sorry time, our members thoughts are with you.

andy at dinner
  Andy Ridley R.I.P.

Details of funeral arrangements will be circulated to members when available


Posted in Announcements, NEWS | Tagged

February 2019 Meeting

An Evening about Pots



You know when you have got the bonsai bug very seriously, it’s when you find you have some money to spend on your passion for little trees and decide that you need to buy some pots instead.

Though at the end of the year though someone is going to get a new tree, as our new Chairman Roger showed us the Raffle treenew raffle tree, a fine Juniper which the Noelanders Trophy expedition had brought back as the clubs new raffle  prize for the year 2019.




At our February meeting then we discussed pots and their compatibility with trees,  Roger with Adrian and Jon lead the discussion starting off with Adrian explaining some of the traditional rules for choosing an appropriate pot.

Most of the members have learnt from Adrian’s monthly critiques that he has an aversion to pots that are too large for the tree. An accepted rule of thumb is that the depth of the pot should be about equal to the diameter of the trunk just above it’s base and that it’s width should be approx. 2/3rd of the height of the tree or width whichever the greatest.
Some fruiting and flowering trees such as Crab Apples do however require deeper pots.

It is generally accepted that coniferous trees look best in unglazed pots of various brownish hues and that deciduous trees may be glazed pots the more colourful pots usually being reserved for the flowering trees.

Members trees and pots were then considered for thoughts and suggestions

Tony   had brought along a couple of trees for advice, an Oak and a  Berberis  and Adrian explained that the colours for the berberis Pot could pick up the copper red colour of the leaves and that when potting it was important to remember when your tree is at it’s best and to choose your pot for that colour combination. The general opinion was that the oak would benefit from a shallower pot.

Sara brought in a small root over rock windswept Hornbeam which was still in a training pot. and at this stage that valuable piece of equipment the ‘Magic Cloth’ was brought out to make the task easier.

A magic cloth is used to drape over any part of a tree whether it be a branch or pot to make it easier to envisage what removing or changing that part may do to the overall appearance. In this case it was to hide the existing pot whilst considering an alternative, this time a shallow oval with the tree very much to one end was a great improvement.

NOTE – To do my monthly meeting reports I usually try to sit to one side of the front row, firstly so that this poor old codger can hear what is going on and secondly at a better angle to take photos of the demonstrations.
This particular evening I soon discovered that I should have sat in the middle of the row in order that the tree/ pot combination pictures where aligned in front of each other , so my apologies for rather one sided views of the suggested new pots.

Brian brought in a Western Hemlock which had  been residing for a long time in a large composition pot and he was now looking for some ideas.




Jon B has arranged our dig for a tree outing this year for Sunday 17th March at a site which is exclusively Hemlocks, so if you are looking for something else don’t come this time. The location will be notified later and Jon says that vehicles can get within a few hundred yards of the site. Having a professional forester member in the club really is jolly useful, thanks Jon. Final details at our next meeting.
Western Hemlocks, evergreen conifer Tsuga hetrophylla, originally from North America have been popular with the Forestry Commission since before the war as they thrive in our British climate and were also often planted as ornamental specimens.


The next tree for our perusal was another root over rock example, a Trident Maple from Alistair


The rock goes down well over an inch below the surface in this case and Alistair also intends to lower the level of the substrate over time exposing more rock and root which will make a shallower pot more suitable then for this tree. The present pot it is in has a horizontal ridge around the pot and Jon explained later in the evening that such line, raised or incised around a pot, is the potters way of making the pot appear optically shallower.  

digThough the  oatmeal colour looked good one pot had a very high gloss glaze, whereas the other even shallower one was a  bit lighter in colour and would look really good with both the rock, trunk colour and the foliage during the year of a Trident Maple 


Dave G  from Shepton had been one of our Noelanders Trophy Trippers and had purchased two beautiful pots with a very fine crackle glaze and was determined to use them for trees that I think he had purchased there the previous year.

A Maple which just would not suit  the larger pot as it  would be far to big for it and an Elm which did fit the other pot. It seems Dave would have been better off buying two of the smaller ones as it did fit the Maple as well.

Dave also brought along a Cotoneaster, very sturdy specimen with a really good trunk.dig

The magic cloth was used to hide one half of the existing pot to see what a smaller width pot of the same depth would be like but a shallower pot was met with more general approval.

 Jon  brought in another Western Hemlock and lead a quickfire session of questions and answers over what would suit it best.



During the discussion on this tree pot combination we learnt more about the effect of very dark colours making pots appear to be bigger and heavier to balance a tree with a dark heavy area of foliage. How things such a  lip around the top edge or a ridge above the base also alters the character or how a bowl shaped pot can mirror the inverted bowl of a tree’s foliage above.

We also learnt about deciding whether a tree was feminine or male in appearance and character. Craggy pines with rough bark and angular branches,  with sturdy trunks, dead wood  and heavy areas of foliage may be considered more masculine whilst a slender Acer with a graceful trunk is obviously feminine. But then you may find a Hawthorn has angular branches with a craggy bark and yet a relatively graceful trunk so the decision must be made as to which characteristic is the most important to draw attention to with a suitable masculine or feminine style of pot shape, colour and glaze.

Jon also offered an oak for our consideration, a slender tree with a lean, for which he obviously has a vision in his mind for in years to come.dig

With a leaning tree like this Jon intends to get it as hard as possible right up against the edge of the pot so the trunk leans over above the rest of pot taking centre of gravity of the foliage area over the middle of the pot . Jon also plans to make the lean more pronounced and opinion in the room differed over pots as the one it was in was a most appropriate colour match for the trunk and leaves.





The most masculine trees of the evening were a couple of large pines .  Geoff O’s large Scots Pine dig




And Adrian’s own hefty great pine (below) which certainly could not have been more masculine, Adrian seemed to have some doubts regarding the pot but we all agreed that it looked great, the shape and colour of the pot both suited the tree so well.

Note : Round pots with three  feet should be planted so that the front of the tree displays two feet to each side or one foot to the centre.




Advanced Class
FIRST by member’s votes
Geoff O’s PineGeoff Pine

SECOND: Brian’s Cotoneaster Brian cotoneaster




Sara Euonymous

THIRD: Sara’s Euonymus.


Novices Class
Only one entry this monthRichar M hemlock


Richard M’s Hemlock

Adrian’s detailed critique note for February via this link ToTM Critique sheet Feb 2019



I noticed that Howard put in a brief appearance at the club during  the evening and it was so good to see him there even for a short while. Our very best wishes to  his wife Andy who has just had a spell in hospital, both of them are in our thoughts at this trying time.


Next meeting  March 13th A workshop evening 

Tree of the Month- Tree and pot combinations to see how much members have learnt from this February meeting.

Swindon Winter Show Feb 24th 

Details via Swindon Winter Show



Bristol Bonsai Society Auction
25th March 7.30pm non members may bid.


I think that’s all for now folks.


Posted in Club Meeting, NEWS | Tagged , ,

January 2019 Meeting


We are very fortunate at the Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club to have that well know professional bonsai grower John Trott as our Club President, who even though he is nearing the grand total now of one hundred  RHS Gold Medals still has time to give us some very valuable practical demonstrations.

John’s demonstration evening started our new year off with a lesson on the initial work on a collection of Box trees. Jon our professional forester member had acquired a number of them from someone who was intending to start a topiary business but it never got of the ground evidently and he was lucky enough to purchase a number of sturdy pot grown trees examples some of which members have purchased and these which are to be worked on by John Trott and then offered later in the  club’s annual auction once they have settled down.

Tree No 1


John spent some time choosing the best angle and part of the trunk to concentrate on and soon reduced it then to something totally different with an obvious leader and now in a good state to settle down, put on some fresh growth and make the basis of a jolly nice tree.

Tree No.2


Box . 
Common Box: Boxus Sempervirens. native of south and west Europe, south west Asia and north Africa commonly used as a hedging plant especially in formal stately home gardens. The largest quantity of wild Box was to be found at Box Hill in Surrey , Box leaves have been used for a multitude of medicinal purposes.
Now threatened by Boxwood blight and Box tree moth causing the large gardens such as the National Trust to have to consider other plants for some of their historic gardens.


Tree No.3


Number 3 was to be a multiple trunk with the front view now marked on the pot

Tree No.4


It was an  easy choice to clean out and improve number 4

Re-potting John said that when these are re-potted in the spring that they should have the root growth cut back as much as the upper growth has been and put into training pots about half the size of their present pots for a couple of years or so , not straight into bonsai pots yet.

Tree No. 5


This way on that way, John knows it is in there somewhere


Choice made, number 5 on it’s way now.

 John was thanked by  Roger our new Club Chairman for a most interesting and informative  interesting evening .
I personally think that the great value of the evening was that it showed some of our newer members what can be achieved with trees that may well have been found in a garden centre or even more likely on some nice old off the beaten track nursery where one might come across some fine potential bonsai with ‘capabilities’ as that famous old landscaper Lancelot Brown used to say hundreds of years ago. 


Tree of the Month Competition – Winter Image

Advanced Class

FIRST by member’s votes.
Howard’s Windswept Hawthorn 


SECOND: M.C ‘s Silver Birch dav


THIRD:  Tony’s Crabb Apple









Ade’s detailed critique marks and comments can be found via the following link

totm critique sheet january 2019


Also on display during the evening were two more established trees for the members to study. A fine Beech from Jon, in a splendid pot.

jons beech

And a well established mature Larch from Adrian

These two trees were not in the competition but their presence was  most encouraging for newer members or for those like myself with more modest trees as an inspiration to see what bonsai can have in store for you given the time and dedication. 

Next Meeting February 13th 

POT NIGHT- When we will discuss pot and tree combinations, what works and what doesn’t. Bring along some pots and trees of your own for ideas .

Our Club year has started, subscriptions may be paid to Membership secretary Jon.


Posted in NEWS | Tagged , , ,

Topical Tips Dec 2018

Every Tree of the Month Competition is accompanied by the Critique notes which mark each tree very precisely under a variety of headings, foliage, roots trunk etc. Those notes are well worth following for their tips and  advice on tree care and presentation.
Now Adrian Taylor who has organised the competitions and generally judges them has kindly compiled these brief notes on bonsai care for this time of the year. Thanks Ade

Just because winter is with us and trees are going into dormancy doesn’t mean that we just twiddle ours thumbs until the mad rush of spring repotting begins! Once deciduous trees haWinter Beech 1ve dropped their leaves give them a makeover so that they look their very best in their winter image state.

Trim out any leggy growths or shoots with overlong internodes, pruning back to buds further down on branches. If buds are not visible, trim to an internode where dormant buds lie. Reduce clusters of buds and shoots down to 2 or 3. Sometimes a little light wiring may be needed to position twigs correctly. Heavy pruning is best done in the growing season if you want the scar to heal over, but otherwise it can be done in winter. Beech and some other deciduous trees retain dead leaves through the winter – enjoy the colour for a week or two and then remove them. This allows the structure of the tree to be seen, and any trimming and wiring needed, but also reduces the risk of pests and diseases that hide in the dead leaves waiting to emerge in spring.

For your calendar in 2019

Feb 24th
Swindon Bonsai Society Winter Image Show. 

Further details at Swindon Winter Show
A number of members will be making their way to this show for a good                                 display of trees and trade stands.
Journey sharing, check possibilities with other members at our January or                          February  meeting .

April 7th
Expo Bonsai UK 

Second year of a very successful show organised in association                                              with Heathrow Bonsai Show
Expo Bonsai

June 9th
Bonsai South West at Exmouth more news will follow as we will be displaying there

We will also be at        

June 30th
Blackmore Vale Bonsai Group Show 

  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Everyone

Snow cover

I wonder what the next few months have in store for us?


Posted in NEWS, Topical Tips | Tagged

December 2018 AGM


Howard and Andy

Club President John Trott paid tribute this evening to Howard and Andy on their joint retirement from their positions as Chairman and Secretary of our Club and presented them with a personal present from him of a delightful little bronze sculpture of a frog on a toadstool.

It is fourteen years I believe since Howard and Andy first took on the tasks  of keeping us all in order at Taunton. As John said, under their reign the club has thrived and maintained it’s reputation as a friendly  society where their advice and encouragement for new members  has made everyone welcome.Dave 1
Howard fortunately for the Club is blessed with the most practical skills with his hands at the workbench as the new display screen he has made  proves and their enthusiasm for the Club, it’s future plans and projects has helped solve many a problem or inspire new ideas.dav




Andy has had the harder task I should think of looking after all the correspondence, organising our programme, contacting speakers and dealing with all the problems that occur from time to time and keeping the club running so smoothly. That very smooth running being the evidence of what a good secretary can do for a club.


Andy has also organised our yearly night out event and the Club raffle whilst at the same time being the ‘Queen of the Accents’ putting on a lovely display of Accent plantings at our annual show.

Andy accent making


The hospitality at their home has been invaluable for the workshop days where Andy’s homemade soups accompanied by Howards as own artisan homemade breads have made that part of the day alone a treat for members and where our committee have held their meetings in such comfort.

The Club owes a great deal  to these two over the years and we trust that though having laid down the batons of office Howard and Andy will long continue to attend our meetings and keep us company at our outings and shows. In gratitude for all these years of service they were made  Life Members of The Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club last year.


Thank you Andy and Howard 


Andy in her last Secretary’s report dealt with the protocol of minutes of the previous AGM and  matter arising etc in her usual cheerful and efficient manner which we will all miss in future.

In his last AGM as Chairman Howard thanked the committee for all their hard work and congratulated Club President John Trott for yet another Gold Medal at Chelsea RHS which brings his total tally of gold medals to 88. Johnnec 3



Howard also thanked the members responsible for IMG_20180526_122131our annual show at Willowbrook and for putting on displays of our members trees at shows other than our own, he also drew special the Salisbury Cup

attention to the Silver Cup won by Ade and Adam for our club at the Salisbury Bonsai Society Show.


Adrian and Adam receiving the Salisbury Society Silver Bowl


Retiring Chairman Howard also asked members to remember Jack Wilkins who sadly passed away during the last year and whose trees had been auctioned by the club with the proceeds going to the club, from which a donation was made to a charity nominated by Jack’s wife.

Club Treasurer Roger reported on the healthy state of our balance sheet and ignored a suggestion  that the monies in hand be invested in the 3.30 at Cheltenham as a way of increasing our funds.

Club President John then gave his annual report remarking on the number of new members we have attracted, the success at shows, the popularity of the Tree of the Month Competition organised by Adrian and our professional forester member Jon’s  tree collecting digs, he also reminded us of the President’s Challenge of aBonsai in a Boot  for August 2019.

John  then presided whilst we elected our next Chairman Roger W., Adrian as Vice- Chairman and  Alistair as Secretary. The remaining committee were elected en bloc unopposed.

RogerOur New Chairman Roger then took his place at the table and his first announcement was to propose that the recently won silver cup be known as the Jack Wilkins Trophy in future and be presented to the annual winner of the Tree of the Month Competition Advanced Class.
We then discussed any further shows that we should be entering in future, one addition in 2019 being the Blackmore Vale Bonsai Group. Jon spoke up for his collecting trips next year and Adrian urged members to out their names forward if they wanted to be included in any of the day long workshops.


Jon B then presented a questionnaire for members to fill in on the evening and at the next meeting or so which was to get some feed back on what activities members appreciated most and what if any suggestions they might have for the future. 
If you were not at this meeting please take a few moments to fill one in next time as it will certainly help the committee making plans for the Club.

Coming shortlyBonsai Care Tips.
Between these regular reports on meetings Adrian has kindly offered to write some brief topical bonsai care notes these will be sent out to members in the usual way. They will also be posted to our Facebook Page where I am sure any members questions and comments will be dealt with.

Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club Facebook

All the committee and officers were thanked by the club for their work in making it a successful year



Novices Class. December voted for by Members


First Dave G. from Shepton, with his nice little Chinese Elm

Advanced Class

First: Jon B’s very impressive Stewartiadav







Second: Geoff O’s  Zelkova    and in  Third place Richard P’s Scots Pine 

The marks for the trees on the night were absolutely crucial in the placing of trees in the overall annual result as certain members were running neck and neck prior to the AGM evening  TotM marks 


Novices Class 

Dave G from Shepton was presented with the trophy for winning the Novices Classdav





Advanced Class


Jon B was the First recipient of the Jack Wilkins Silver Bowl for the Advance Class


Adrian reported how pleased he was with the number of entries and the improving quality of the trees  since the competition had started but chided some of us for not voting on the evenings events.

The following are links to Adrian’s Critique and summaries of the years marks

ToTM Critique sheet Dec 2018

Members Votes for the year
Bonsai ToM 2018     

Critique Marks for the Year

ToM Judges Chart 2018

Don’t forget to get in touch if you want to take part in one of the day long workshops, which are a really good way of learning more of the art of bonsai from two of our most experienced members Roger and Ade.
one of our tree collecting trips, a good day out with the opportunity of adding to your collection and learning from Jon B whose professional knowledge of forestry is a great asset to our club.


Calendar of next years meetings via this link  T & S BC programme for 2019

Until we meet again then 

Xmas snow

OK  Adrian it is now in a much smaller pot, thanks to your advice and assistance




Posted in NEWS | Tagged , ,

November 2018 Club Auction Night


This is the third year running now that we have held our auction in November and possibly as members have had the previous two  years to refine their tree collections, sort out their surplus pots and polish up their spare stands there were not so many entries as before.

Or it could be that as there was limited access to our hall this month due to extensive building work some of us older codgers couldn’t face the prospect of carrying their lots a greater distance from the car park, up some steps and along a path  to a more distant doorway than usual.


davHowever Club President and Auctioneer John Trott soon had his gavel in action, bought us to order and was working his way through the lots assisted by Club Treasurer Roger in charge of the bookkeeping and with Jon and Dave as runners doing the fetching and carrying.
One of the earlier lots was this unusual Japanese made pot in a sort of elongated crescent shape.

Among the evening’s lot there was a Cotoneaster Microphillia enhanced by some extra davaccent planting thrown in for free, or weeds as they are referred to by the well informed in the bonsai world. It did however have possibilities and one could see that in a few years would be a nice tree..





Cascade LarchMore possibilities, or capabilities as a certain historic gardener by the name of Brown would have said. could be seen in a cascade larch which attracted some keen bidding .






                      Other lots included a couple of Hawthorns and a Japanese Holly



                         A found Yew and quite an old specimen a variety of a Jade Plant.

And one of  the really very promising lots with both possibilities and great capabilities was this very nice little Juniper the variety of which escapes me for the moment .

Club Chairman Howard thanked John for his auctioneering services and as we finished earlier than previous year we had time to hear a few tips from John and to discuss the future of Bonsai.
Here in Taunton we are lucky enough to have attracted some new members of late but nationally the hobby could do with some fresh  blood, even in Japan there is a shortage of younger people taking to Bonsai. When it come to joining clubs is the internet killing such  activities? Some folk think they can get all they need from a website and YouTube but there is no better way to learn  than to watch someone at work on their trees or assisting you with your own.
But at the same time the internet has helped to publicise the shows throughout the country and is often beginners first introduction to a club via Google.

We discussed the role of FOBBS the Federation of British Bonsai Societies and the UK Bonsai Association. One of which caters for  groups only whilst the other also welcomes individuals, not a bad idea as there are part of the country where it is hard to find a club or society within reasonable travelling distance. Anything to spread the word of Bonsai must be a good thing and if every club could could just add a few more members it would all help.
So if you know of a friend, neighbour or relative  who has expressed an interest in your trees drag them along to one of our workshop or speaker evenings and you could introduce them to a very satisfying and enthralling hobby.

Andy reminded us that next month the 12th December  is our AGM and the last Tree of the Month Competition of the Year the theme being – Your personal favourite. Competition judge Adrian told us that it is running very close in both classes for the winner for the year and encouraged more members to enter their  trees, however much a beginner they may consider themselves to be everyone is always welcome.

See you there then




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October 2018 Meeting.

A Workshop Evening and Colleague Auction


T. & S. B. C  member Tony looks like a man whose passion for his trees brings him a lot of pleasure and contentment, showing that the therapeutic value of the art of Bonsai cannot be over stressed, perhaps courses on the NHS might be a good idea.

It was an evening of hard work, clipping, pruning and drastically restyling trees at our meeting this month as members set about their treasured specimens and their potential trees with the advantage of having a number of other members only too willing to lend hand or offer advice. We were also able to welcome Matthew another new member to our band of little tree enthusiasts.

Tony (above) was working on one of his many training trees whilst Alistair (below) brought along  a mature pine to work on. 

Geoff, who along with Tony travels miles for our meetings had a most circuitous drive from davthe Blackmore Vale due to roads being blocked by an accident, spent some time working on a beautiful little windswept  Juniper,  so like some ancient cliff top tree battered by the winds and elements.

I don’t know if Geoff really needed two cups of tea though to see him through this task.

The Club’s two Richards worked away at the Concentrated richardsend of the table next to one of our two Dave Gs, Across the room from Sara who was preening one of her Pines, it seems that  coniferous and evergreen enthusiasts were to the fore this evening.

Our other Dave G (Shepton Dave G I think I will have to call him), was  fiddling around with a pine when Andy suggested that he ask our Club President John Trott for his professional bonsai growers opinionDave 1

Dave 2

‘You think I should take it off here John?’

‘And a bit off here John?’Dave 4

Dave 5

Well’ they say less is more and if you are going for a Litterati it’s just a matter of nerve.

Meanwhile Geoff was  admiring  the good housekeeping at Tony’s workplace, my Wife would certainly love to see me work that tidily.

Good housekeeping


Sadly one of the Club’s long term members Jack Wilkins passed away recently and the last of his trees had to be disposed of whilst they were still reasonably healthy. Our condolences to Pat and the  family and Pat has asked that the proceeds from tonight’s sales should be split between a charity of her choice and the Club funds, many thanks for this kind gesture.

We are only guardians in the life of a bonsai and members will take pride and care in restoring the trees to the standard that Jack would have liked to have seen them.


A number of trees, though not recently tended re styling, were like this cascade in rather nice signed pots.


Well I don’t think it’s Wedgwood







Club Chairman Howard and John Trott soon dealt with  the few lots with some serious research regarding the pots .


Can Michael manage this back to the car park OK?


‘Ok, what are you lot laughing about?’











Autumn Colour

Very few entries this month, perhaps the recent winds had ruined some members autumn foliage.

Advanced Class, FIRST by members votes
M.C. Acer groupdav

Second: Geoff’s White Beech                                                                                                     dav

Third: Richard P’s  Pseudolarix  dav







Novices Class

FIRST Sara’s Maple

davSecond: Richard M’s Beech


Third: Shepton Dave G’s Berberis dav







Tree of the Month Critique

Our thanks to the Club’s professional forester Jon B. for his thoughtful critique this month.
I believe Ade is busy trying to catch  some poor fish in France , he really will have to sort out his priorities, his arboribus or his piscis.

ToTM October 2018


Club President John Trott has done it again and had now won his 88th RHS Gold Medal at The Malvern Autumn Show this time, well done John.
John’s Bonsai courses for next year are heavily booked should anyone want one, don’t delay they make great Christmas presents.

john malvern2

Next Month’s meeting is on Nov 14th is our Annual Auction when John will be wielding the gavel, he will be sending out details about entering lots shortly.


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