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.


Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,

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.






Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,

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.

Posted in Club Meeting, News Blog | Tagged | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in News Blog, Workshop | Tagged

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.




Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,

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.



Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,

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?


Posted in Bonsai news, News Blog | Tagged , , ,

2017 Our Annual Show

Corner group

Once again it is show time and on Friday evening before the Bank Holliday week-end a team of our members were busy erecting the marquee at Willowbrook Garden Centre.
( If during this report I fail to mention a particular member’s contribution to the event please forgive me. )
Brian, Sara, Roger & Son, Bill and the two Richards all tugged and pulled various ropes and canvas to raise the tent and prepare it for the display of trees which was completed under Adrian’s critical eye on the Saturday morning.

It is not just to see our trees displayed at their best in a show that we put on this show but it is also to spread the word about the art of Bonsai, to make it available to the general public as well as other enthusiasts. If we can get a few new faces to join our Club or one in their own area then the show has been a success . To that end our selection includes not only impressive specimen trees but also exhibits by new members who may have only recently taken up Bonsai and trees that have been created at the cost of only a few pounds and a few years.


Among the trees there were also a nmber of  Accent plantings by various members but I must make special mention of the work put in by Andy, our Club Chairman Howard’s lady wife, who in adition to being our Club Secretary with all that that task  involves also creates beautifull Accent displays.


Fowl play in any judgement of the trees would not of course be countenanced

Fowl Play







Jon our Club proffesional  forester  was one of a number of members who worked on trees during the week -end demonstrating to visitors what is involved in creating and maintaining Bonsai..

Show tree 17 Ades



Club Chairman Howard would like to thank everyone for working so hard to make the show a success and our very special thanks to The Willowbrook   Garden  Centre at West Buckland Near Wellington for making us so welcome.




Posted in Annual Show, News Blog | Tagged

May 2017 Meeting

Getting ready for our annual show is again is the main purpose of our May meeting. An evening when members bring in a selection of trees for  the Club to chose a selection from and to clean and preen them for the display.Bonsai show poster.jpg2017

Adrian was quite precise over the things to look out for when preparing our exhibits and made it quite clear that it is not to be just a show of fine specimen trees the Club is looking for but an across the board selection. To include mature specimen trees right through to beginners first time exhibits in order to show the visitors that there is a place for every one within our group not just those with either many years of experience behind them or a need for a  deep pockets to help  build a collection.

Jon as ever was on hand either giving a running commentary on what he was doing himself or giving newer members a help with their trees. We very lucky  to have Jon,  a professional forester as a member, as he comunicates the art of bonsai  so well he really should have a YouTube channel of his own I.

Jon the tutor

Tony was carefully titivating  his lovely scarlet
HawthornTony tittivating.





Whilst Roger was helping Dave with his traditional
white one.

dave and roger



It w
as a tie in the member’s ballot between Roger’s Trident Maple and  Tony’s Scarlet Hawthorn.

Again a tie, this time  between Geoff’s Larch and  Jon’s Stewartia

M.C’s  little Berberis which if to be displayed in the show would illustrate what could be done for a few pounds from nursery stock ,one which actually came from Willowbrook Garden Centre near Wellington where we hold our show.MC Berberis






FIRST   Equal again
Was Sara’s Euonymus Group and Richard M’s Larch

Dave’s Berberis, I believe this was a tree that had started it’s bonsai life at one of our Club’s day long workshop sessions run by Adrian and Roger. Days which a number of members have benefited from .Days where we must also thank our hosts Andy and Howard for the hospitality with their homemade soups and home baked bread, no wonder they are popular events.

Daves berberis

Dave’s Berberis


Our Critique Judge differed somewhat from the members votes in his precise report and was full of praise for Jon’s Stewartia, remarks which can be seen on this months Critique Sheet for May

ToTM Critique sheet May 2017

I must apologise for not taking a better photo, using the back screen, of  our judge Adrian’s magnificent Acer Deshojo, it is just as well Ade is not permitted to enter the monthly competition.


Sorry Adrian I meant to go back and take another photo but obviously had another senior moment. Nice tree pot combination I’d say  by the way if I was a judge. 🙂

New Faces– we also had two new visitors to our club, Sam and Michelle who look like becoming regular members, welcome to our  group of folk who are potty about small trees, see you at our show next.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival
May 11th/12th/13th and 14th

John Trott, our Club President is exhibiting again  at Malvern this year and it is his first ever display which consists  of only flowering bonsai. Looks pretty good John, your usual high standard and best wishes for another Gold at Chelsea this year to add to your collection.


Don’t forget to tell your friends and fellow bonsai enthusiasts about our show later this month.

Bonsai show poster.jpg2017





Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,

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

Posted in News Blog | Tagged , ,