January 2018 Meeting


A Winter Workshop Evening


Tony contemplating his Crab Apple 

Tony is a dedicated member of our band of bonsai brothers who travels a fair  distance to attend our meetings and I think this photo illustrates the pleasure and satisfaction we derive from tending our little trees.

The January evening was a hive of activity as members started to prepare trees for the coming spring and  re-potting, indeed it as been so mild of late trees are showing signs of life already. Tony was just tidying up his Crab Apple and had marked out the trunk ready to hollow part of it out and was getting rid of some parallel, crowded growth and dead twigs. 

Adam a recently joined member had brought in a Japanese White Pine that he had invested in last year and was looking for some tips from the old hands at the club as to what to do next. _20180110_230046It will be interesting to see this tree in  a couple of years when Adam has put his stamp on it.




Meanwhile Richard P was busy cutting away with deep concentration.


_20180110_225826 Adam then took  time from his Pine  to watch some of the ‘Old Hands’ Howard and Roger offering their opinions on a handsome Hawthorn that Ade has brought in for us all to admire and pass judgement on  whilst Dave peeped over to see what they were all going on about.

A branch off here,  a branch off there, or should we tilt it the other way ? It was now getting really serious as Club President John Trott our proud winner of many Golds at Chelsea RHS, joined in the deliberations.

Is Adrian looking a little nervous?  I know last time he brought in a mature specimen that after John’s input it went home a very differently shaped tree from the one he brought in, after treatment that would have put many a member into deep shock. 
I think by now though we know that the combined knowledge of those two usually will result in something pretty impressive.

Stop Press added after publication 
Having spoken to Adrian to recall that evening he has supplied a recent photo of the tree mentioned, which was his Chantilly Pine, so here are the before and after photos that are the result of that evening’s work.


It was very encouraging to welcome Max, a young visitor to the Club, who seemed to be watching Tony very carefully as he explained what his plans were going to be for his next tree of the evening._20180110_225954

Just for the sake of keeping the Club archives up to date there was a presentation made on the night to the old codger who looks after the website and knocks it together every month. It was a splendid pot for a cascade tree  he has that has always been criticised by our judge as being in the wrong pot every time he sees it. No excuses now, thanks everyone, very touched..



Novices Class 

FIRST   Dave’s Hawthorn 

Second  Richard M’s Azalea


Advance Class

Jon’s Beech

This particular Yamadori was found in the wild by a member who is a professional  qualified forester and nurtured there for some years before being removed and trained more seriously.

Yamadori= Japanese for Tree collected from the wild.



Richard P’s Hornbeam


Third Equal

Tony’s Oak and M.C.’s Hawthorn

 Adrian’s usual highly detailed critique of the trees may be found via this link and even if one did not enter his comments are always full of tips and suggestions that most of us can benefit from     ToTM critique sheet January 2018



April Meeting   11th April
Dan Butler a talented  young potter from Wales is coming to talk to the members,  show us his wares and hopefully demonstrate some of the secrets of his craft, further details to follow. Dan specialises in some very  attractive slab pots so it’s time now to save up for the evening.

Swindon Winter Show  Sunday 25th February details at 
Swindon Winter Image Show

Our own Taunton & Somerset Bonsai Club Show 
May 26/27/28 at Willowbrook Garden Centre nr Wellington

Exmouth Bonsai Show 10th June

Bonsai in the Park Sept 9th at Lupton House Brixham
South Devon Bonsai Society

Should you be new to bonsai as some readers of this website are here is a warning of something to avoid.

On E  Bay and some other sites you may come across offers of seeds for  trees such as a ‘Blue Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree’ with leaves of the most extraordinary colour of blue.
NO SUCH TREES EXIST it is a scam achieved with Photoshop trickery 

Firstly  ‘Bonsai Seeds’ there is no such thing, we grow our bonsai with love and care from natural tree varieties, there is no Bonsai Tree as such.

Secondly You can see that the photos above are actually the same tree altered to different colours by computer photo software.  I  know who owned that tree in real life it was a reddish leaved tree but never pink or bright blue and all the time he owned it-and  it NEVER HAD SEEDS.

It seems cruel to me to market such a fraud, it has been reported by various enthusiasts to Ebay and trading Standards but little seems to have been done to prevent it continuing. What really annoys me is that these seeds, which are sold in great numbers, are probably purchased by people just starting out to discover bonsai and in many cases for young children as a starter and introduction to a hobby. The pathway to bonsai should be a straight and honest one not a crooked one.                       Editors opinion.


Next Meeting February 14th Re-potting Workshop 
Tree of the Month – Group Planting













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December 2017 Meeting AGM

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Our Annual General Meeting started with the Chairman’s report from Howard who thanked the Club Committee and Officers who had helped throughout the year. In particular his wife Andy who as Secretary  keeps us all in order, runs the raffle and organises our annual dinner. Thank you Howard and Andy.

Howard went on to thank all those who so enthusiastically entered our President’s Shoebox Challenge and the members who did so much hard work putting on our annual show at Willowbrook and the shows elsewhere such as Exmouth, much of that work being down to a few doing such a lot.

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Club Treasurer Roger then reported that we are financially sound, that the auction brought in some welcome funds and that we can consider spending perhaps on some speaker’s fees. Thank you Roger for looking after our books, the pennies and the pounds.

Club President’s AddressIMG_3895
Club President John Trott, has as Howard pointed out, added to his collection of Gold Medals at The RHS Chelsea and other shows this year. John thanked the team that helped run the club and congratulated us all on having such a friendly atmosphere at Taunton. John also urged us to continue taking part in shows elsewhere flying the flag for bonsai in Somerset and to consider showing at the larger Heathrow Show in 2018. John expressed his great pleasure in seeing how enthusiastically so many members had taken part in his Shoe Box challenge with  such imaginative entries as Ray M’s display capturing the links between the area and the long gone Somerset and Dorset Railway.
Rays John then threw down the gauntlet with the  Shopping Basket Challenge
Members will have to use a small replica shopping basket supplied, as their container or incorporate it into a planting as a feature. The member’s rose to this fresh challenge, they approved the purchase of the little baskets and  the  August meeting was set for the next tournament.

Election of Officers

All club officers and the committee were re-elected with the addition of Michael Cooper to the committee this year.

Programme of Meeting
We reviewed the forthcoming meetings for the next six months and considered further ideas. Details of which are always available on the website Link to 2018 programme

In addition to our own annual show Adrian said we had been invited to show at Exmouth again,  Bonsai in the Park nr Brixham and a new invitation from Sailsbury Club. Heathrow would also be considered if possible and enough helpers were available.

Collecting Trips
Jon is organising another tree collecting day on March 24th  either on the Blackdowns or nearer Honiton.

Roger and Adrian are running another whole day bonsai workshop on April 14th, there are only a couple of places left on it they are so popular. Much of the success of those days is also down to the hospitality of Andy and Howard who host them at their  place and provide such a tasty lunch. Homemade soup with Howard’s homemade bread.

Presidents Presentation
John made his Presentation this year to Jon B. for organising such successful tree collecting days.

The agenda for the AGM having been dealt with members then went to vote for the December tree of the Month Competition before tucking into the selection of plate, packets and platters of Christmas nibbles members had brought in.  I thought that Roger must have been on commission the number  of times he recommended his local butchers Scotch Eggs until I had one and realised how good they were.

At this point Andy ran the raffle and we had so many prizes brought in that she threatened dire punishments for anyone brave enough to return another  lucky number again into the draw rather than go home with too many prizes.

December Tree of the Month Competition
Result decided by members votes

Novices Class

FIRSTRichard P Scotts Pine


Richard P’s Scots Pine






Advanced Class

                                   Tony’s Mugo Pine.and Michael C’s White Pine
Tony always presents trees so well with a suitable stand or some other added attraction whilst Michael’s wife is still wondering where that ethnic table runner has disappeared to!

Jon’s fine Beech in a fine John Pitt pot 

Jon B Beech

Was it my imagination but I am sure that I heard no mention on the night that the pots were too big but then I am a little mutt and jeff.
Adrian’s detailed critique of this months entries may be accessed here
ToTM Critique sheet Dec 2017                          

Many thanks to Adrian for organising the competition which now ensures that there is always a number of trees on show at any one meeting for visitors to see and for his critiques which teach us all a thing or two about our trees. 
It does seem a shame though that a number of the long standing members don’t bring a few more trees along for these competitions I know they have some splendid specimens and we would all love to see them.

Tree of the Month   THE YEAR’S RESULT
Based on members votes

Both Classes were extremely close fought indeed in the Advance Class there was only one point in it after a year of competitions.

Novices Class
In THIRD Place : Sara,     In SECOND Place : Richard M.
and in FIRST PLACE : Richard P who was presented with his trophy by Adrian on the night.Ricard P Novices award

Advanced Class
Result for the year   THIRD place : Geoff. SECOND place  Michael C. and in

FIRST place
Jon B. who was also presented with is trophy


As I look back over this report to check that I have included everything I can only think what a good crowd we are and what a good evening it was.

If only I hadn’t inadvertently hit the wrong key
at the last moment and lost the whole bloomin’ lot.

So on this Mark 2 version all that remains is to wish all our members and visitors to our site a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year

Snow everywhere except Somerset when you want it!






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November 2017 Club Auction Night

Table of lots

Once again it is auction night, a Wednesday or so later than our usual meeting day as Club President and  auctioneer John Trott was away on our usual day. His excuse was that he was in Taiwan at the Bonsai Clubs International Convention

I suppose that is a pretty good reason, we must ask them to avoid clashing dates in future. 🙂

Considering this was our third year running of auctions there was a little concern as to whether members would bring along enough entries, well there was no disappointment on the night  as we saw the trees brought in and numbered ready to go under the hammer.

Ades lucky dipAuctioneer’s assistant Adrian drew the lot numbers at random from the bucket and aided by Dave they kept up a ready supply of items for Johns to deal with.Whats next John






And keeping a tight eye on the money matters was Club Treasurer Roger as this is an important fund raising evening for the ClubIMG_20171122_202549

A most varied selection of lots followed, a number of which I managed to focus on whilst bearing in mind what I might buy myself .


‘Now what have we got here?’



‘Is that a bid or are you just scratching you nose?’


‘Do I hear £25?









Every year John has charmed, or sometimes squeezed ,every last penny out of us and it is a good night to acquire some seedlings, starters or some well established trees like the windswept Hawthorn which came up next, a really nice tree. I only wished my bonsai pocket was a bit deeper when I saw this.


‘Now here’s a real beauty’



There were a number of lots of pots, these larger ones usually being particularly hard to find at a reasonable price. Tools, wire, books and display stands, the evening provided a useful selection for both beginners and the old hands alike.

Large pots

There were small trees and larger trees and with one of the country’s leading bonsai professionals as auctioneer there were also some handy tips on what to do with ones purchases if need be.

Nice lttle one

‘Any advance on £22?’


Nice larch

John looking serious over a seriously good Larch

just do this to it

‘Now what you should do with this is..’










‘Here’s an elegant looking little Juniper, start me at £30 then’


A good solid trunk and a sturdy tree as well.

Club Chairman Howard thanked members for bringing in their trees to sell and  John for his auctioneering skills which had made it  a most successful evening, the Club’s bank balance helped along a bit and many satisfied members taking their purchases home  to add to their collections.





Ade reminded members that the December meeting on the 13th which is the AGM is also the last Tree of the Month Competition of the year which as both classes are running neck and neck should decided the winners in each for the awards for the year.



December Tree of the Month Competition will be judged on ‘ A Pine’

On the auction evening Tree of the Month judge Adrian said that the December competition  would be on the theme of ‘Winter Image’ forgetting that it had been listed for six months in our programme as   ‘A Pine’ When reminded later of this Ade decided that it should stay  as advertised.  



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October 2017 meeting.

Planting by the Moon

A talk by Club Member Tony Moore

Lunar zodiac

I must admit that having lived for years in Glastonbury surrounded by magic crystal shops and tarot card readers etc. I wondered what Tony had in store for us for our October meeting. Well it seems that there is a lot more to this than I expected, thousands of years of knowledge and the practical experience of our forefathers combined to make a case for planting, pruning , seeding and all things relating to the culture of trees and plants according to the phases of the moon.

Tony himself is a great believer in an ecological way of life even to the extent of having a 7000 litre water holding tank under the garden so he speaks with the enthusiasm of someone who practices what he preaches…

The phases of the moon have for years influenced the work of many occupations, Surgeons and Vets, Horse Breeders, Tomato growers, Salmon and Trout breeders, Vineyards, Timber Growers, Fishermen and Sleep researchers to name but a few, as they say.
This is of course in addition to the things that we all know so well already such as the Tony lessonmoons pull on the oceans creating the tides. Tony illustrated the elliptical orbit of the moon with it’s Apogee and Perigee when then moon is further way and then  nearer to the earth and exerting a lesser and then greater power.

Tony explained that he was following the work of Nick Kollerstrom author of

Gardening and Planting by the Moon a yearly almanac for this system of horticulture. 

Without the book one can also refer to a Lunar Callendar or consult website such as
Ancient Moon Gardening

Thank you Tony  for a most enlightening evening.

I suppose that the proof of the the pudding is in the eating and if Tony’s own trees are any thing to go by then obviously the system works.


Theme Autumn Colour

FIRST by member’s votes 

M.C.’s  PyracanthaMC Pyracantha







Tony’s Larch Group Planting
If you looked very closely there was a fox
in the undergrowth.

Tonys larches


Brian’s  Arakawa Maple
I heard that Brian actually got this one as a freebie from a nursery, lucky B…rian

Brians acer


FIRST Richard P’s Pieris

Richard paires


SECOND Richard M’s Cotoneaster                                         THIRD Andy’s Trident Maple


A word then about Ade our critique judge and organiser of the Tree of the Month Competition. He just casually mentioned that he had done a 10Km run earlier in the day, I have a job just going to the village shop for my paper. The Judge
Of course I am not practicing for the The Great South Run as Adrian is, I believe he is aiming to do 10 miles in 1hour 25minutes all in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society on Oct 22nd. 

Sponsors for this very worthy cause can visit his webpage for the event and help Ade on his way to his target.


Adrian’s Critique for this months trees differs again from the member’s votes for the order in which he placed the trees , his eagle eye and concentration on our entries really spots the errors and flaws and helps members refine their trees in the future

October Tree of the Month Critique       ToTM Critique sheet Oct 2017

DON’T FORGET NOVEMBER MEETING our ANNUAL AUCTION is NOT ON OUR USUAL DAY – Make sure you have it correct on your calendar NOVEMBER 22nd.



A quick photo graphic P.S. just to show Ade that I did remember the name of the tree that he brought along to show us, which of course as judge could not enter himself into the T.O.T.Month. at least that gives the rest of us a chance.

Ades tree

Enkianthus a lime hating shrub or tree originally found in large areas of Asia growing in places similar to rhododendrons which has clusters of bell shaped flowers in the spring.


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September 2017 Meeting


‘ Now what can one do with this?’

Almost every month Adrian judges our Tree of the Month Competition and we all sit around and await  his verdict on our trees and his suggestions as to how we might improve our treasured bonsai.

So we were all rather pleased to hear that Adrian himself asks others to critique his own trees and in this case the subject is his Scots Pine, Chantilly Blue, and it was to Welsh Ades beforebonsai guru Chris Thomas that he turned to for an opinion.
We heard that at first Chris had said little but when pressed he uttered those drastic words. ‘Well I should cut that long lower branch on the left off (gulp) and while you are at it this one here on the right as well.

After some months pondering these words of advice Ade brought the tree along to our September meeting to share with us the drama of removing such a large part of the tree. 

(It helps to have some moral support when undertaking these large styling decisions)

Before the chop
Using the old dodge of covering the threatened branches with a sheet of plastic we were all able to envisage what the outcome might be, various nods and hmms  were seen and heard as we all considered this option .
(We didn’t have to do it.)

Then just as we all concurred with Ades decision to go ahead Club President Chelsea Medal winner John Trott stepped forward to say ‘And while you are at it Ade why don’t you cut off this branch here as well. ( Further gulps)

Further debate on this new suggestion followed and then Ade bit the bullet ,stepped up to the mark and took his saw in his hands and appeared to start work.
Little did Adrian  know that we all noticed that every time the sharp saw teeth rested on the bough ready to amputate the aged limb he managed to hesitate for a few more moments and have a quick few words with some of us. After a number of these false starts, enough  that would have ade and saweliminated him in an Olympic event he actually started to saw away at it.






So the deed was done and we all agreed it was a great improvement and I have heard that Adrian himself was very pleased with the result so counselling will not be required.


The workshop evening continued with members all around the room busying away at their trees. The two Richards just show what a friendly lot we are in our club as they titivated their trees.

Good evening for all

Jon spent some time on his Western Hemlock showing new members to the club a little of the art of bonsai.

But somehow after the emotional drain of his evening Adrian did manage to pop down to Jon’s end of the room to offer some suggestion or other.Jon 1

Brian, Michael W. and Simon were all hard at it. 

Geoff meanwhile was pondering over his Scots Pine seen here, front and back views in his own garden.

Perhaps inspired by Adrian’s bravery earlier Geoff thought for a while and  then set to restyling his own tree in a major way.

Tree of the Month Competition

This month’s competition was on the theme of the suitability of the tree and the pot combination. Sadly there were not many entries this month, members should remember that the competition comes to an end for this year next month and the runners are very close together at the moment.


M.C.s  pair of young Larches set on a homemade concrete and peat mixture pot with moss and Blue Lias stone featured.
MC Twin larches

                                 SECOND                                                                    THIRD
                     Geoff’s Trident Maple                                                Jon B’s Scots Pine



                            FIRST                                                                                 SECOND 
                  Richard P’s Larch                                                            Richard M’s Hawthorn  

These results are determined by members votes on the night but the trees are also subjected to a very thorough critique by Adrian which marks trees on a number of different criteria.  His critique  judgements often differ from the members votes and is well worth studying for his instructive comments which can be applied to most of our trees.     Accessed  via this link   ToTM Critique sheet Sept 2017.

The members send their best wishes to Andy our secretary who suffered a nasty mishap recently and hope she is soon feeling a lot better.

PLEASE NOTE the November meeting on 22nd is on a different day of the month from usual.






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August 2017 Meeting

AndysThe Shoebox Competition

A bit of a change for us this month as members responded to our Club President John Trott’s challenge to create a bonsai based display in a shoebox. I don’t know if this was inspired by John’s pre bonsai life at Clarks or having seen what two other clubs could do with this challenge, John wanted to see what we could do here in Somerset

A winning influence from the East

Eleven members entered and we each had to explain the reasoning behind our little efforts, then listen to John’s constructive criticism and tips.   The eventual winner definitely had an influence from the East. 

This is the order they were presented in. 

See if you can pick the same winner as the members did.



Michael C’s Oriental landscape using Blue Lias stone chippings from his garden ,a Cotoneaster and a soapstone figure with a hand painted mountain scene in the Japanese style behind. Is this the Eastern influenced one that won? Or was it the next one?

No. 2Geoffs

Geoff’s Japanese landscape with a watercolour of Mount Fuji in the background, assorted moss and stone in the foreground. Stones which Geoff assured us had come from Japan at great expense.

No. 3


Ade’s Rock Display. It  was a change  for us all to hear Adrian, our usual judge for our tree of the month competition, having to listen to his work being on the receiving end. I hope Ade did not bring this lump of volcanic rock home from abroad himself as hand luggage or it must have cost more than Geoff’s stones.
The rock has been the home for some years to a Cotoneaster and a Juniper and recently a small Acer has been added at the front


Is Andy’s, which can be seen at the head of this article where a little Cotoneaster is set beside a small bronze of leaping hares and in the background painting by a passed Andysfriend of Andy’s of the three hares chasing round the moon. Eastern legend associated with femininity, fertility and the cycles of the moon.
Has this the influence of the East that won?


Ever clever with his hands Club Chairman Howard had taken a knife to his shoebox and cut out the side and part of the roof. Most effectively letting in a lot more light to show up his Cotoneaster and a lovely little accent flower set on gravel (or was it cat litter?) with a tradition scroll behind. Very Eastern.


Ray claimed that he was desperate for inspiration for his display when suddenly he noticed the plants growing between the sleepers and the gravel at the East Somerset Railway, the railway being  object of this other leisure activities.  A small carriage on rusty lines set on granite chipping surrounded by local plant life makes this a very Somerset exhibit.


Richard’s display was in the first actual Clarks box of the evening. A heath or moorland scene with a Pine which he thinks he grew from seed. In the background a handsome piece of rock one of a number of fine specimens Richard acquired years ago when working in the quarries.



Tony’s display I am afraid was hard to photograph better with my inadequate equipment . It is a Kojo no Mai Cherry on some Bogwood with a traditional scroll and a Bronze Kingfisher. I don’t suppose working that bogwood was easy.



Jon exhibited a tradition Tokonoma alcove with a window on the left solving the way of lighting the inside if the box. Full marks for a different tree this one was a Western Hemlock in a nice pot accompanied by an accent display of a bowl of water and a scroll.



Sara entered a nice little Azalea, with pot on a stand and a colourful scroll in the background. I bet it would look good in bloom.



Brian’s display just shows that if you have the patience you can bonsai an Ash as he has proved with this entry of a potted Ash with an accent plant to complete the display.



Well an influence from the East certainly helped Ray win the evenings competition with his interpretation of a section of The EAST SOMERSET RAILWAY, an appealing display with a very appealing story from it’s maker of all that went into it ,well done RayRays



SECOND  was No. 5 Howard’s cleverly cut about entry  Harolds

THIRD   was No.9 Jon’s traditional tokonoma display.


The evening was then rounded off with a few anecdotes from John about the shows that he has entered and how he has accumulated 83 show medals including now his tenth successive Gold from Chelsea RHS .

Altogether a very successful evening with entries that John suggested were the best that he had seen from any club, so thanks for the idea John and thanks to the members who spent time creating their entries.

NOTES for your diary
The speaker for October will be Tony talking about  ‘Planting by the Moon’

November Auction night is not on our usual second Wednesday- it is on Wednesday 22nd instead.

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Day Workshop July 2017

Having proved so popular the Club held another day long workshop where members could benefit from some words of bonsai wisdom from Roger and Adrian two of the Club’s most experienced members. Our hosts for the day again were Club Chairman Howard and his Wife Andy whose lunch alone is worth going for.

Mikes pine 2It is days like this that can be really useful in for instance changing this Pine of Mike’s (above) into this. Mikes PIneWhat was a tree with a straight trunk and a very dominant handlebar pair of branches can now after some drastic work  be seen to have some movement  and an obvious potential for a very  interesting tree in a few years.

The report on the days work can be accessed via this link .

July 2017 Workshop (1)

Where you can see where a number of members brought their trees along for some help from the club’s ‘old hands’

As well as passing on their knowledge these workshops also raise some money for the club funds so many thanks to Adrian and Roger for giving up their time to help other along the bonsai pathway and thanks also to Howard and Andy for opening up their home to us and providing such hospitality.

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July 2017 – Our Annual Night out


Time to dip into our monthly raffle kitty again, when all those old paperbacks, Cds, unwanted presents and oddments of all sorts contribute to our annual evening out.

The evening started with a walk around Castle Neroche under the guidance of our professional forester member Jon, who explained some of the background and history of the site on the Blackdown Hills and how the forestry work had to be sympathetic to the site of an Ancient  Monument.017

Originally the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort the actual castle was built later probably by Robert,Count of Mortain in Noman times. The name possibly come from Old English Nierra and Rechich ,meaning Rache a type of hunting dog used in the middle ages and thus meaning the camp where the hunting dogs were kept.


Jon explained that in addition to the work of felling some carefully selected trees in order to improve the wonderful views across the Taunton Vale there was always the ongoing work of clearing trees such as this Beech which came down in the recent storms  and making sure that the footpaths were clear and safe.


Large parts of the old ramparts have also had to be cleared due to Larch diseases.


Fortunately after two days of persistent rain, which had been most welcome for our trees and gardens , the weather turned out really beautiful and the members who could not manage the walk missed out on a lovely evening before we all got together for our meal at The Queens Arms at Pitminster.


Altogether a very pleasant evening , a good meal, good company and a good walk for the more active members.

Our Club President John Trott fresh from another RHS Gold Medal success at Hampton Court proposed the thanks to Andy for organising the meal and Jon for leading the walk.

Bonsai South West

Exmouth 2017 2

Our  thanks also to Adrian,  Brian, Jon and Sara who travelled down to Exmouth last month to put on a display for our Club at The Bonsai South West Show in the Pavilion on the seafront . It must have been a good show looking at the photos and hearing how many bargains Sara brought back with her.

Exmouth 2017 3

Exmouth 2017 1

Note for your diaries -the date for our annual auction has been changed to Nov 22nd subject to confirmation.




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June 2017 Meeting

A Critique Evening with Roger and Adrian

Jons Beech3Jon’s Beech. This tree certainly started the evening off well with a lot of admiration for forester member Jon’s find of two years ago. Jon potted it up  last winter and achieved the big surprise of the evening when Ade, our Tree of the Month judge, who is noted for his views on using the correct pots, said what a very suitable pot this one was.

Roger was then  found lurking behind the foliage and the two of them went on to compliment Jon for his find and  the health of the tree and  showed where it may be thinned out a bit later to help balance the tree better .

Next up was Geoff’s Stewartia a native to Japan and closely related to the Camellias, these Geoffs stewartiaLime hating deciduous trees make great bonsai and Geoff’s certainly looks destined to be a beauty. A victim of late frosts coming as it does form the chilly heights of the Shaftesbury area his tree is just recovering now and the main topic of interest was deciding which was the front.


Tonys Mugo Pine

Another tree from neighbouring Dorset was
Tony’s Mugo Pine which he is evidently custodian of at the moment, with all the responsibilities that that entails. Roger suggested that  a re-positioning of it might be an idea worth considering.

Our canny bonsai collector Sara who really finds some bargains brought along two trees . Saras CrabA Crab Apple which she got as a bargain at the Exmouth Show last week and which our learned pair thought could do with the top taking down a bit. And a Japanese Elm ,Zelkova,which she has been nurturing ever since Glenbrook Bonsai closed down at Tickenham some years ago. Both Ade and Roger thought it would do best as a windswept tree and Roger pointed out where the trunk needed taking back and the foliage reducing. Saras Jap Em

Another of Tony’s trees a Metasequoia or Dawn Redwood had obviously made him think hard about the art of bonsai as he told us.
“It’s one of those trees that teaches you that Bonsai is a marathon not a sprint.”

These trees are deciduous conifers and come from Lichuan county in Hubei province, China where they can grow to about two hundred feet which makes them the shortest of the Redwoods but still pretty impressive in the wild or as Bonsai .Tonys M.. Tree
To make Tony’s more impressive A & M pointed out that the branches should be wired into a downward position . This tree grows very fast when stood in water and is an example of the  mother and child style of two trunk, (sÔkan) . Dan Barton at Bristol had a very famous specimen Metasequoia  which may possibly  be seen at the Bristol Club Show on Sunday if he still has it.

Dave brought along a very attractive group planting of Turkey Oaks which he had found as seedling in a compost heap, A & M pointed out how natural the group looked and we all agreed on that.Daves Oaks

Another good thing about the evening was that we welcomed a number of new members who had ventured along perhaps after seeing our recent show at Willow brook

New member Ann had purchased her tree in a garden centre as she was taken by the shape and potential but was unsure of what it actually was. Consensus on the nightAnns Sw declared it to be a Swamp Cypress, Taxodium Distichum , which come originally from the famous Everglade swamps of Florida and was introduced into this country by John Tradescant the famous plant collector in 1640. Ann was shown where it may be thinned out at a later date to improve the shape.

One of our other new members Michelle had brought along a little tree that was very typical of the first trees that many of us started off with on the journey that is Bonsai and that she was desperate to rescue.

This particular one was a Privet of sorts and was suffering from the usual combination of lack of shop or Garden Centre care for stock and Michelle Privetprobably the mud like compost that most of these imported small bonsai arrive in in this country. Ade and Roger gave Michelle some tips to revive it, pointed out that it was most likely intended as an indoor tree but that it would benefit from being outside in the summer months and suggested re-potting next spring in a much more breathable and better draining compost.



Richard P. brought along a group planting of Hornbeam which looked very healthy and the main improvement suggested was to trim the trees at each side to vary the levels of the group. Richar P Hornbeams


Apart from his lovely free range eggs Brian had also brought in an Orange Dream Acer which  he had let go on a bit and was wondering where to go with it next. Ade soon had the answer for that and gave us a quick description of the method of air layering which he thought would turn Brian’s one tree into  three trees

Air layering the trunk and the larger branch which he is pointing out, would result in two air layered trees and the remaining trunk should then carry on and become another tree, sounds like you had a good buy there Brian.


I know at times one may worry and fret about a tree but here is one tree that Club Chairman Howard said makes him smile. IMG_20170614_202537 It certainly made Roger smile as well.

With a little imagination is was easy to envisage this Juniper battered by the elements in the winter and then basking in the sun on some lonely beach or dunes on the shores of the Mediterranean and apart from a few suggestion for taking down that higher bit and perhaps lowering a branch or two we all liked it.

Club Chairman Howard rounded off this part of the evening thanking A & M for their most informative comments which all members can benefit from.

There were a few other trees submitted for the words of Bonsai wisdom from two of our most knowledgeable members, photos of which yours truly may not have been so focused on. After my recent cataract operation my specs are now out of kilter with my eyes for a few weeks yet, sorry.


Advanced Class

FIRST by member’s votes
Geoff’s  White Beech_20170615_001642

SECOND  by  Members votes
Jon’s Chinese Elm,  in a pot made  by well known pot maker John Pitt

Jons Tree

Tony’s Azalea


FIRST by both member’s votes and judge’s report

Richard P’s Azalea

Richard P Azalea

Sara’s Korean Hornbeam

Saras Hornbeam

Our TOTM judge has made the point that the standard of trees has improved enormously since the competition was introduced and that in the Advanced Class his marks are the highest he has ever given. Though we often jest about his comments on the pots we use he said that the message is getting through and that the tree/pot combination in the Advanced Class was about as good as it gets.

Follow this link to  the usual carefully detailed report by our judge ToTM Critique sheet June 2017 for critique remarks
that I am sure we can often  apply to our  own trees.

Many thanks to Roger and Adrian for their pearls of bonsai wisdom at an evening where I am sure we all learnt something about caring for our trees.



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T. & S. B. C. Bonsai News – June 2017

Exmouth bonsai


One show is just not good enough for some folk, so Adrian, Brian, Jon  and Sara are going to fly the flag for T & S B.C at the  Bonsai South West Show down in Exmouth on the 11th of this month. as they did last year.


Last Year it was the same day as Dan Barton’s Bonsai Day at Failand so perhaps more people will make their way to the sunny Devon sea front on the 11th to sample the bonsai of the South West instead. Try and get down there and support our team  chaps.


Yet another Gold Medal for our Club President John Trott as he was awarded his TENTH one for his display at Chelsea this year, well done John congratulations.

Two members have two Clubs

Geoff and Tony are both stalwart members of our club as well as being  very active committee members of the Blackmore Vale Bonsai Group who have also just held their Exhibition which Geoff has compiled this report about —– Blackmore Vale Show


After Exmouth the next Bonsai Event in this region is the Bristol Bonsai Society Show on the 18th June at it’s usual venue in Failand Village Hall.

Bristol BS

Isn’t it great to see so much Bonsai activity in our part of the world?


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