April 2017 Meeting


An evening on Kusamono with Ritta Cooper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


Michael C’s Acer Kashima IMG_20170412_205713

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




GeoffIMG_20170412_205821‘s Blackthorn

and Tony’s Deshojo MapleIMG_20170412_205641








Sara’s ‘White Maple’

SECOND Richard M’s AzaleaIMG_20170412_210204







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


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

ToTM Critique sheet April 2017

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


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

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March 2017 meeting


Spring is in the air at last and activity in the world of bonsai steps up a few notches and after this club night I think many of us will be able to raise our game as well having followed our President John  Trott’s very instructive demonstration.

John demonstrated using a Japanese White Pine which he had acquired some while back and IMG_20170308_195416had been meaning to set about it some day so we were privileged to watch as he started to work on it in front of an audience of T & SBC members.

The tree  which John said was probably forty or so years old  had the remaining stubs of a lot of branches and a really  rough bark giving the tree a great  appearance of age


John’s first task was to remove any dead wood and quite a lot of foliage allowing the basic structure of the tree to show better. Those two handlebar branches soon went prior to starting on wiring what was left .We were told to work on the tree from the bottom up when doing this work leaving the top till last.
A member asked if he would use Lime Sulphur on the old stubs and the new stubs that he was creating and jining. John’s opinion was that the age of the tree looked better with the natural weathered grey stubs which were far more natural than brilliant Lime sulphured ones even if they had colouring added to tone them down a bit.

                         ” Lets let a bit of light in there.”       “That’s looking better now.”

Last one

Now it’s a wiring job.

(Sadly your web correspondent had to leave at this stage so I hope that John will supply us with a photo of this tree when it is finished)

Throughout the evening John was also assisted by Club member Dave G. who worked on a Sakhalin Spruce, a tree that comes from Japan and Southern Russia and is named after a famous Russian botanist and explorer. The branches had already been wired down where they joined the trunk but lifted considerably towards the ends and after a general tidy up Dave then lowered the ends of the branches using guys fixed to the training pot rim



Members voted for

Geoff’s mature Larch and Jon’s Fuji Cherry Kojo- no- mai ( Cloud of Butterflies)

Tony’s  Forsythia and Michael’s Pink Cherry ‘Paean’ Prunus Incisa.

Brian’s Cherry



FIRST  Jack’s Maple
SECOND Richard M’s Alder


Whilst watching Johns demonstration we had been  well aware of the mutterings and whispering coming from the direction of the Tree of The Month Competition tables so our thanks this month to our two judges, who took over the task in Ade’s absence, professional forester Jon and Roger, one of the Clubs longest serving members, for the due diligence and thought that went into this months critique.

Just when I thought I had a pot that suited my tree Ade, that master of pot correctness, was not there!

The detailed results of their deliberation can be accessed at this link 
ToTM Critique sheet


Wessex Bonsai Society Show at Bournemouth on May 7th

Details at   Wessex Bonsai Show

Blackmore Vale Bonsai Group Tenth Anniversary Exhibition at Shaftesbury on May 21st

Details  at Blackmore Vale Club Show


That’s all for now ,see you next month on the 12th April for a demonstration by
Rita and Mark Cooper on Kusonoma,  Accent Plants.  TOTM – Spring Colour.


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February 2017 meeting


Spring Re-potting Workshop


A really busy workshop evening, root hooks and rakes beavering away at all the tables .


The left hand side team seemed be taking it rather more seriously than the right hand crowd though.









Whilst others who had not brought trees along were able to pick up a few tips by watching Club President John at work on his tree._20170208_221354

And a number of hands were needed to help Sara with her lofty treasure. A Katsura, native of China and Japan ,one of the largest deciduous trees which can grow to more than 100 feet in the wild.
I hope that pot is big enough Sara.


Geoff raced ahead getting his lovely Stewartia nicely re-potted.  A tree not often come across in bonsai circles, it is a genus of 8 to 20 species of flowering  plants related to the Camellia geoffs-stewartia

Meanwhile Adrian and Roger were there to offer us all their words of wisdom.

_20170208_222006 ‘What do make of that pot then Ade?’







‘I don’t know, but it says Made in China on the bottom.’


The inspiration for us all that evening was the tree at the back of the hall ,our Club President John Trott’s Siberian Elm which he had just brought back from displaying it at the foremost bonsai event in Europe, The Noelanders Trophy Show at Gent in Belgium. Noelanders is one of the great bonsai event of the year world wide so the club can be proud to think that one of our members was represented there, well done John.johns-siberian-elmblog

Just look at that ramification and wonder at the work that has gone into this tree.

Tree of the Month Competition 

Now I could say, that I have reported so much of the evening activities that there is not room for the results. Or I could come clean and admit that somehow or other I must have had a senior moment again and did not take a photo of the tree that achieved the most marks in the Advanced Class from our competition judge.
A few hours later
But the situation has now been saved as Jon has kindly emailed me a splendid photo of his Hinoki Cypress which Adrian our judge placed first in his precise technical assessments of our trees.


I so glad that it happened this way  because feel sure that had Jon been able to display his tree as well as this on the night, then the trunk could have been  more visible and he would deservedly have won the members votes hands down. A beautiful tree Jon I love the delicateness of the foliage contrasting with the character of that root base.


FIRST The most members votes went to your absent minded web manager Michael C ‘s my-juniper-bestLittle Cascade Juniper which was worked up from a modest nursery stock years ago.

SECOND was Jon’s Hinoki Cypress,seen above as the judges favourite


THIRD Tony’s Atlas Cedar



FIRST The most votes in this class went to Sara’s Cryptomeria


SECOND was Richard P’s Podocarpus





THIRD was Richard M’s Western Hemlock







Thank you to Adrian for getting his critique report to me so promptly, which you can access here.  totm-critique-sheet-feb-2017

Don’t forget it is the Swindon Society Show on Sunday Feb Feb 26th –  full details via this link to their website   Swindon Bonsai Society Show

See you next month on March 8th  – Talk and  Demo by John Trott and TOM competition theme of Blossoms and Buds.


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January 2017 Meeting



A busy workshop evening- I wonder what Sara is up to with that nice little tree of hers?


The first meeting of the year was a hive of activity as members worked on their trees with the advice of some of the ‘old hands.’  Club President John, Ade  and Roger were there ready to lend assistance and words of bonsai wisdom to us less experienced members. Books are good, videos are a help but there is nothing like someone standing by ones shoulder telling you exactly what to do, why you should do it and what a difference it might make to ones tree in the future.

John had some time to spend on one of his own trees as well whilst Ade settled down to _20170111_225411judging the Tree of the Month entries, of which there were very few at this meeting sadly



Brian set about a young sapling Beech as Ade gave Tony some hints for his tree.







Tree of the Month Competition
Theme – Winter Image.

Very few entries this month which resulted in a walk over for Richard P in the Novices Class


FIRST Richard P’s  White Pine _20170111_224532











Geoff’s Trident Maple_20170111_225123fb



Roger W’s Acer Palmatum Triple Trunk

THIRD  Tony’s Lonicera

Sara’s Success

And if you were wondering what Sara managed to do to her tree (Photo at the top) before the meeting finished, well she set about it with her carving chisels and this is the result. We are looking forward to seeing it at a later date Sara and see how it has progressed.


This months website competition could be, who can tell me first what sort of tree it is? Seeing as this absent minded old codger had a senior moment or two that evening.

It just proves that someone reads this as Club President John phoned up within the hour of publication to tell me Sara’s tree was a Korean Hornbeam. Of course it was, I was only sitting next to Sara most of the evening and as I am with people’s names probably asked her more than once “what is it?”


The judges detailed critique notes for January are available via this link totm-critique-sheet-jan-2017

Don’t forget next months meeting Feb 8th. Workshop,re-potting

Tree of the month Competition- Evergreens

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December 2016 Meeting AGM


Members cluster around Club President JohnTrott as he shows them their new challenge.

The Chairman’s report
A year has gone by and it’s AGM time again. We started off with an address from our Chairman Howard who thanked all the members for their hard work during the last year. He mentioning in particular all those responsible for our annual show at Willowbrook, Brian and team  for the displays that were put on at Exmouth Show and at Lupton House in  Devon, Adrian for organising the very successful Tree of the Month Competition, Adrian and Roger for the new day long workshops and Jon for the tree collecting trip. Mention was also made of the website and Facebook and how it has raised the profile of the club.

Presidents Address
Club President John Trott remarked on what an active, friendly and  good natured club we are and attributed much of that to Howard our Chairman and Andy his Wife and our Club Secretary, their easy going manner and art of delegation having encouraged an active and enterprising club. John presented small gifts from the club to a number of members for services that they had done for the club during the past year.

Members on the floor complimented John  on winning yet another Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show

Life Membership Awards

Life Membership awards  were made to Ray Fick and his Wife Gillian for services to the club for many years, right from it’s inauguration I believe.
Two further awards were made to  Howard and his Wife Andy for fifteen years of work as Chairman and Secretary and who have played a most important part in the history of Taunton and Somerset Bonsai Club

Treasurers report.
Our treasurer Rob Paton reported that we are floating quite well, not sinking and that we are now in a position to consider booking a couple of professional speakers next year. This was Rob’s last report as he is retiring to Portugal and we wish Rob and Kathleen well in their new home. I believe Rob has already sussed out a bonsai club in Lisbon, keep in touch Rob, follow the website and thank you for taking care of our books and monies.

Club Business
The matter of electing committee members was speedily approved as they were re-elected en bloc.

Our President’s Challenge
Always wanting to push us that bit further and to explore new paths in the bonsai journey John suggested a new competition that he had seen prove popular with other clubs that he is associated with, The Shoebox Challenge.  Written rules to follow but basically it involves creating a bonsai or accent plant related display in a shoe box. An ordinary no nonsense shoe box not a carton for a pair of fisherman’s waders as someone suggested. So you will hear more of this next year meanwhile it’s off to the drawing board of ideas for me.




The winner in this class was Tony with his Chinese Juniper
Semi-Cascade in a very nice

SECOND  Richard P’s Pieris group                        THIRD Sara’s Chinese Elm  informal broom




FIRST  Michael C’s Japanese White Pine

    SECOND Jon’s Stewartia           THIRD Brian’s Hinoki Cypress 

Tree of the Month Competition The Years result

Each month the competition marks are added up, one list is the number of marks from the members on the night and the other the marks awarded in the critiques. Often on the night the places can differ due to the instant emotional appeal that evening to members. The judge’s critique marks are far more searching though and thanks to Ade’s discerning eye I think most of us have learnt a lot more about presenting and caring for our trees on reading his comments. Adrian who has been responsible for organising the competition and who is generally the judge explained this difference and asked which result did we want to use for the yearly award.
It so happens he then said that the first few places did coincide on both lists having varied at times during the year.

Mainly as an example of Aesop’s Hare and the Tortoise race Michael C came first by just img_3289consistently entering reasonable trees every month rather than members who might enter a fantastic tree but only on the odd occasion.







Tony won this and now by the rules must elevate into the Advanced Class for next year.


Surprise, surprise you have won Tony, don’t look so shocked.

SECOND was Sara    and  THIRD was Richard P

Thank you again Ade for running a really good competition, one which guarantees that there will always be a number of trees of all shapes, sizes and standards for any new visitor to our cub to see and that they may  understand that on the fascinating path that is Bonsai there is room for everyone from newest beginner to experienced old hand.

As usual the Critique marks sheet may be viewed via this link  December critique


And of course a

Merry Christmas

And a Happy and Peaceful New Year




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Day Workshop November 2016

Before and After


‘Gardenori rather than Yamadori ‘  –  could have been  the name of the game for some of the trees at our second day long workshop held at Howard and Andys’s this Autumn. For a full report from Ade please use this link. november-2016-workshop. Well worth reading to see the development that can be achieved in only one day. Thank you everyone concerned with making these workshops such a success

Looking forward to seeing every body at our AGM this month and the Christmas Nibbles and cakes.



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November 2016 Club Auction Night

Following the success of last years auction which we hoped might become an annual occasion we have indeed had our second one, an entertaining evening with plenty of  bargains to be had and  an opportunity to raise some money for our club funds at the
same time.

Tables full of all sorts of trees, books and pots from tiny seedling starters to much more mature table-1specimens were enough to make one wish one had brought a few more pounds along for the evening.


Our Club President John Trott was auctioneer for the evening once again, having proved his talents last year for extracting every last penny out of members for every lot that came under his hammer.

It was an excellent evening for new members to pick up some very useful items. From that fine book  of reference, Harry Tomlinson’s Complete Book of Bonsai to trees at all stages to get a collection going, they were all there for the bidding.


And the one that got away, I should have been a bit quicker on that one, eh Richard?

Trees that would have cost loads more elsewhere such as this very mature Ficus  Retusa and a very promising Azalea, which meant two jolly satisfied members went home with those.

The wooden stands that would be really useful come exhibition time and the Lonicera Natida that must have come from someone’s hedge and which had great potential for a smashing tree one day. These were just a few of the lots that made it such a good evening.


And even the Hornbeam that I managed to get myself .my-hornbeam

So all in all a great success, thanks to John and his team of helpers who kept him supplied with a steady selection of lots and all the members who gave lots, or the commission on other larger items, and we now  look forward to next years event.

I just hope certain members had enough room in their cars to get their
purchases home, eh Richard?

Handmade Bonsai Pot Project


For some time M.C.has been looking for a potter whose skills, glazes and  materials etc were suitable for making bonsai pots and having found one that might be just the person a few pots were commissioned for members to see and offer their thoughts on.
Obviously Auction night was not the best time to bring extra things along so they will be brought along again at future meeting and taking on board members comments a few plainer ones have also been commissioned to offer an alternative design. It is hoped that if we can encourage the potter to follow this up we might have a source of quality pots hand made in Somerset.

Tree of the Month Competition was postponed due to it being such a busy evening.

And our usual thanks to Bill Parr for his photographs as he has a much steadier hand than this old duffer who was so pleased to see Bill there this month, he does help keep things in focus.



Posted in Club Auction, Club Meeting, News Blog | Tagged ,

October 2016 Tree of the Month

As a sequel to the report on the meeting this month here are the results of the Tree of the Month Competition and Ade’s detailed critique.


FIRST in this class was Jon’s Cotoneaster (above) which had the most votes by members and highest points in Ade’s critique.

geoffs-groupSECOND was Geoff’s group of Hornbeams






Followed by Brian’s Acer Palmatum and Michael C’s Pyracantha





FIRST was Dave’s Chinese Juniper (above) which had by far the most votes

SECOND Equal were Sara’s Cryptomeria group, her Tesco special and Tony’s Cotoneaster


Followed by Richard M’s Norway Maple and Richard P’s Hornbeam group

Thank you everybody who brought trees along. I remember that at  the first meeting I came to there were only a couple of trees there at all, at least the competition means that any newcomers or visitors to our club can be sure to see a selection of trees of all standards, so the competition has been a very worthwhile activity, thanks Ade and thanks to Bill for the photos.

This next tree was  not in the competition but was bought along by Ade to show us the fruits of his Crab Apple in the autumn.


Tree of the month votes and Ade’s detail critique can be viewed via this link.


And don’t forget next month Nov 9th it is our AUCTION a good opportunity to sell some of your surplus stock of trees, pots, book or tools in fact anything bonsai related. A good chance too for some of our newer members to get some starter trees to get their collections going.




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October 2016 Meeting

  Words  of wisdom from Chris  Thomas  the Bonsai wizard from Wales




A really interesting evening for our members this month, a demonstration of group planting by our guest speaker Chris Thomas which was interspersed with his numerous tips of the trade as a distinguished bonsai artist.

Chris took us through a number of methods of what to do to img_0095convert  small potted Larches into bonsai. Bonsai, he said  being the stage when art and design factors are incorporated into the structure of a tree.

Using small trees that Chris had previously wired ready for the evening he took one tree and with a few twist of the hand at the speed of Windy Blow the chap that used to make creatures manipulating balloons he showed us the effect of  ‘Compression’ creating  the overall composition in the outline of a pyramid. The bends and turns taking advantage of the branch growth, where possible on the outer edge of the curve.

Tip: It pays to ‘over wire’ a tree to get the purpose of wiring to work best, that is to say , thicker wire rather than finer wire usually works best.

Chris then took a taller tree and within a few img_0096minutes had made the basis of a promising Literati.
Tip: bend the branches down to give the appearance of age but support them on the underside just where they leave the trunk so the bend is a small distance from the trunk to avoid any breakage.

Using a drawing pad Chris illustrated techniques of bonsai using the ‘ branch, line and taper’ . The ‘twig off, twig off, branch,’ developments of a tree to improve ramification and ways of getting movement into the design of a single tree or group.

Tip: to achieve the Branch line and taper effect to it’s best remember to bend the branch in two planes from side to side not just downwards alone. The inclination of each branch to be consistent.

The next demonstration was a bit more demanding, it involved planting two trees in a piece of bog wood which were then bedded in  with some flourishing Welsh moss .img_0101

Tip: Use the spaces between the branches consistently in the design and to reflect the shape of the large tree in the lesser one.  Also in this case Chris bent the existing leader down to add to the shape and took the next small branch up as a new leader which also helped to exaggerate the taper better.



Using a lot of what we had learnt by then Chris went on to create a large group on a handsome slab of Welsh Slate.img_0108
Tip: a sloping slab such as the one Chris  used would not need drainage holes as the water would naturally run off, it was however drilled to take a number of wires to  hold the trees in place.

Placing the largest tree to the front with the smaller ones to the back gave the group a natural perspective and when they were all in place he then snipped quite a bit more off all around the group to further that shape.
Tip: when fitting retaining wire to a slab mark each end of the same wire with a label ,a  kink, a double kink or at least some way of identifying which wire starts where and comes up where to save a lot of trouble later.

WE could all see that the group which was finished off with Moss and a very small fern was going to look super in a very short time. The advantage of group planting being that with something  like Larches a splendid display could be achieved in two or three seasons.

The only real trouble with this demonstration was that he made it all look so easy.

Members were then invited to submit their own groups for a critique.

Tony’s Group of Larches

Tony bravely consented to Chris chopping away at his treasured group but who wouldn’t take advantage of such sage assistance and the two photos show the before and after outline of the group.

Geoff’s Korean Hornbeamgeoffs-korean-hornbeam
Geoff welcomed words of advice on this handsome group and Chris made a few suggestions  which we look forward to seeing the result of one day as Geoff puts them into action.

Tip: Chris  illustrated a new way of promoting extra growth on something like a Beech. After that fresh young growth of leaves first hang down limp, as soon as they extend defoliate all but the leading leave which can be reduced by half, Chris and friends of his have been trying this method and it has usually resulted in more budding further back nearer the trunk.

Sara’s Cryptomeria
Sara is a very talented bonsai finder and picked up these lovely little trees complete with seasonal Christmas decorations at a Tesco supermarket img_0083for a very modest sum and apart from suggesting differing their heights and the placing a bit Chris was quite taken with them, noting the Celtic stone feature within.





 Thanks to Bill P for taking most of the photos again this month and welcome back to Club Chairman Howard after his tumble on Exmoor.

Tree of the Month Competition
Results, photos of members trees and Ade’s critique will follow later in a few days

Next Month Nov 9th don’t forget it is AUCTION NIGHT

Posted in News Blog

September 2016 Meeting – Critiques


Adrian criticising his own Hawthorn purchased in auction recently, a good tree with even greater potential. Adrian of course does not like the pot, that will have to go.




A good attendance this month and with a good selection of trees brought in to be the subject of ideas, help and assistance from Adrian who is the judge of our monthly competition and is usually full of ideas on how to improve ones trees.

At the start of the meeting we welcomed two new members Nigel and Fiona and also send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to Howard our Club Chairman who had taken  a nasty tumble on Exmoor at the week-end.
We then  all sat back and awaited the verdict on our own trees and learn a bit more about the art of bonsai.

Richard P’s Hornbeam.
Rescued from a hedge this was a very promising tree which had a rather large root protruding from the trunk about six or more inches above the ground which though not a greatly desired feature it’s removal however would have created and inverse taper to the trunk. I believe Hornbeam often have these higher roots to be dealt with. Some of the foliage needed pruning back at the top to give a better shape to the tree and a richard-p-hornbeamrepositioning of the trunk to an off centre position in a more suitable pot. .




Sara’s Birch
Sara is well know for rescuing trees from all sorts of sites and this was one of her bonsai refugeessara-downey-birch a Downey Birch which she had done some carving work on and it was agreed that Sara should keep her options open and let it grow on a bit before much further work, though there was an opportunity to hollow out her carving  a bit more  to add character to that area.


Jack’s Holly
Very few of us have seen an English Holly as bonsai but Jack has had this for about eight years he said and it was quite surprising that the leaves had reduced so well .This particular tree was obviously very precious to Jack as he regarded it’s previous state of ill health and it’s following recovery as his personal talisman.

Tony’s Ash
Another tree that most find awkward to bonsai as it grows so fast with long extensions between leaves. Ade made some suggestions    tony-ashfor it’s future development and  pointed out that it just showed what could be done with  such a common tree that most consider ill suited for bonsai .Tony has this tree for about seven years .
Ade was also most complimentary about the pot, which is a rare praise indeed from Ade re pots..


Michael W’s  Chinese Juniper
Michael brought along two Junipers which he purchased about ten years ago,both of which were looking very healthy but were in need of serious styling now and I think Michael may well be signing up for one of the michael-w-junipwer-2club’s day long workshops later to see what can be achieved .





Ray’s Japanese Holly
This little tree needs working on said Ade and he suggested a few options, bringing ray-jap-hollycertain branches down to make it bushier 

As with most of the trees  at the meeting Ade did suggest a different pot, he attaches, rightly so, great importance to the relationship between the tree shape and the type and size of the pot, in particular the depth of the pot in proportion to the width of the trunk.


Jack’s Hawthorn
Jack also brought along this windswept Hawthorn which he rescued from a hedge about forty years ago and I think we all liked this one, Ade suggested taking the highest level of twigs back a bit to improve it jack-hawthorn-widsweptjust that bit more.

Another rare occasion as we heard Ade say what a lovely pot it was.

 This tree was voted FIRST in the Advanced
Class on the evening for our Tree of the Month Competition


Michael C’s Hawthorn
One of my own offerings for judgement was this Hawthorn which I found as a four foot high sapling in my daughter’s garden. I had cut it back about 8 inches above ground and kept it in a 10 inch pot for a year or so before repotting it. It had been wired it a little but Ade did point out that I should reveal a bit more of the trunk shape and cut back some of the rather straight recent growth. It is only two years since I collected it so I am quite pleased with it particularly as the leaves have reduced so well. I wonder how long it will be before it flowers?


Black marks for choice of pot though but I was well aware that it did not suit, I will have to ask my offspring for bonsai pot vouchers this Christmas.

Sara’s Euonymus
Another of Sara’s recued from someone else’s rubbish trees,  this clump is coming on well,  aided and abetted by her father Brian slashing the top off it one day when he got a bit cavalier with his tractor and flail.
We had previously seen this tree back a year ago and you may be able to  see by the two photos how Sara has made it more a group planting looking like a number of trees rather less like  a shrub.   I believe Sara also bought a rather super pot at the South Devon Society Show last week so Adrian might have little to say about that.

This tree was voted as FIRST in the Novices Class on the evening

 By the way
Brian was sorely missed on the evening as he usually brings along some lovely free range eggs and I had promised my Wife that I would get some.

Simon’s Hornbeam
Purchased about 6/7 years ago from John Trott’s field grown stock this hefty tree’s principal feature was it’s root system. Ade’s main comment was that the upper layer of foliage, like Jacks Hawthorn, should be cut back a bit and to  allow the lower layer tosimon-hawthorn extend moving the centre of gravity a bit further across.
Also when wiring trees, to put some vertical movement up and down into growth as well as horizontal directions left and right. Something easily overlooked, I know I have to attend to that myself,  some of my earlier efforts  suffered from that fault.

This tree was voted SECOND in the Novices Class on the evening



 Geoff’s Larch
Geoff purchased this  handsome tree about four years ago and apart from general approval for a nice specimen Ade’s  suggestion was that when repotting it might be an idea to tilt it further forward in the pot as it leans away from the viewer at present.

This tree was voted SECOND in the Advanced Class on the evening


Tony’s Potentilla
A lovely little tree worked on for 3 or 4 years from garden stock, it was pointed out  that the best feature of these trees is the bark on the trunk so care must be taken not to obscure it. Sadly this old duffer taking the photos wastony-potentilla-2 not as focused as he might have been with the camera, sorry Tony.

This tree was voted as THIRD in the Novices
Class on the evening



Geoff’s other Larch
Now this was the one that we all got talking about. Should Geoff remove that upper branch which obscures the Jin and divides the viewers attention or should he just remove a bit at the top instead?  Whichever course is followed Ade said that the lower branch could then do with lowering a little  and to encourage a further layer or two of foliage below that. So here are a couple of photos for you to think about .One as it is and one without that higher branch. I think Ade was so busy contemplating the options he forgot to say that it was a lovely pot.

I know which I prefer myself and then it will be a really dramatic tree after a very dramatic cut.

Many thanks to Adrian for such an interesting evening
and for passing on some useful tips to us all

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  South Devon Bonsai Society Show


Last week the club put on a display at the South Devon Bonsai Society Show at Lupton House near Brixham. Well done you guys for putting in the work and flying the flag for T & Som B.C.
I think the world of bonsai must know now that something happens Somerset


NEXT month  Oct 12th -don’t forget a special speaker, Chris Thomas coming over from Wales to give us a demonstration of group planting. It should be a really good evening  , make sure to be there and bring any interested friends and visitors along they will be very welcome.  Tree of the Month Competition will be  Group Plantings & Autumn Colours.

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 Tree of the Month Competition Results for Sept have been included within this article and Ade’s more precise markings of each tree can be viewed via this link.


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