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.



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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

— oOo —

  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.

— oOo —

 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.


Posted in Bonsai Care, Bonsai Techniques, Club Meeting, News Blog | Tagged ,

August Meeting-My Favourite Tree


More thoughts

“Now what you want to do next is……..”


Due to our usual venue being redecorated we met at Ruishton Village Hall and possibly due to holidays the attendance was not great but there were still enough Bonsai Brains around to offer advice and comments on all the trees that were brought along to be shown under the heading of ‘My Favourite Tree’

It was good to have two new members there to join us and the first to show his tree was Dave with a collected Hawthorn which he acquired from a garden about four years ago.

Dave has only recently moved the tree from a large collected tree container into this pot and has let it grow well to encourage a possible new leader but was a bit unhappy with a branch and was a little  unsure as to  it’s intended height. Club members were very impressed  with what Dave had achieved though and could appreciate the obvious potential of it being a really good treeDave and tree.
Dave’s business in landscape gardening  must present some good opportunities for collecting new trees and we are looking forward to what he brings in next. In fact Dave had also brought along a Trident Maple collected tree and it soon became the centre of attention for a number of advisors. See the top photo above.




The other new member was Ray who got up to promise us a little light entertainment  over his very favourite tree. Ray has had his Chinese Elm for about thirty years but only recently joined our group and taken a more serious interest in bonsai art and techniques.Ray's elm

Ray kept on apologizing for the undergrowth, the compost, the state of the tree and the fact that there were two rocks in the pot.
Two Welsh rocks evidently, that obviously meant something to Ray and the general opinion was that If Ray wants a rock why shouldn’t he have at least one there, after all it is his tree.
It is all very well following Bonsai styling rules and thoughts but we all have memories and sentiments attached to our treasured trees and unless one is entering a serious competition they may well be very important to the tree’s owner.
These Chinese Elms have been sold in vast quantities in garden centres over the years and have often started someone off down the road to more serious Bonsai. Many Elms though have died and most were kept as indoor trees, few have managed to keep a tree as long as Ray has kept this one and we could all see why it was his favourite and certainly not something to apologise for.

Brian acerBrian ,our host at our last meeting  which met at his farm, brought along a nice little Acer which he called his ‘play tree’. This had been his first serious total defoliation exercise inspired by our meeting two months ago and it looked as if it had worked pretty well. It was good to see Brian was wearing his Club members badge, Andy has allowed us a little forgetfulness us this month but the 50p fine steps in next month.

Jon our professional forester and the Club’s  scientific tree advisor brought in a nice little Jon 1Larch which he has had for about 12 years but said that it had only really come together as a nice bonsai in the last two years. He explained the various changes in direction of it’s growth and about  Lammas growth, the term for the second burst of foliage growth on certain trees.
Lammas Day, the 1st of August was a Harvest thanksgiving time in Britain and comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Hlafmaesse which means Loaf Mass.


Ade 3
Our Club competition judge Ade brought in two trees to show us a few points to look for in bonsai technique and styling. The first was a Crab Apple, bearing fruit, which Ade has had for about 25 years and is now a really handsome specimen.

Ade’s other tree was a Cornelian Cherry,  Cornus Mas, which he encouraged us to look outAde 2 for in garden centres as it is easily available and has curious yellow blossom in the spring  somewhat like Witch Hazel . This particular tree Ade purchased from Peter Chan’s Herons Bonsai about 20 years ago. In showing us these two trees we newer members must all have picked up some very useful tips.


Our last ‘Favourite Tree’ was my own Kashima Acer which my Wife Sue bought me for our Golden Wedding last spring.

I purchased it at the Swindon Winter Show, repotted it straight away and brought it into the garage at night for a month or so as it had been reared in a poly tunnel. At our June meeting it was the demonstration subject of a defoliation demonstration and every single leaf had been removed and the branch /twig structure within had been refined. Following a long few weeks it eventually burst into leaf again with much smaller leaves and a more open foliage allowing the structural character of the tree to show better.




My Favourite Tree
Advanced Class 

FIRST   M.C.’s  Acer Kashima  ( seen above)

SECOND   Jon’s Larch

Jons Larch




Daves Hawthorn

FIRST Dave’s Hawthorn

Here are the detailed judges critique notes for all the trees

ToTM Critique sheet Aug 2016

Don’t forget


We are having a display there, come along and support your club.

SD show


Posted in Club Meeting, News Blog, Tree of the Month | Tagged ,

July 2016 Meeting-Our Big Night Out


Our big night out at The Queens Arms, Pitminster

At every monthly meeting we have a small raffle with members bringing along items to contribute towards a table full of the most exciting prizes. Old CDs, DVDs, paperbacks, that bottle of aftershave that one was given for Christmas, kitchen gadgets that have never been out of their boxes and occasionally even a few bonsai pots or tools. The nail biting tension grows as Andy reads out the names of yet another lucky winner, all of us spell bound as the selection of prizes gradually reduces to a few lonely items, she has even been known to threaten dire punishments for anyone one not prepared to claim the last and least desired object left on the table that night  or she will keep us all in until they do.

The point of this exercise is that the proceeds go towards funding our annual meal out IMG_20160713_192748after and evening visit to a place of interest for us as bonsai enthusiasts. This year we journeyed through narrow leaf shaded lanes up the slopes of the Blackdown Hills to a beautiful verdant dell well hidden among the trees where bonsai club member Brian welcomed us to his delightful rural retreat.

There in the woods though no “piggy wig stood with a ring in the end of his nose” but there was an impressive collection of bonsai and Brian’s other loves his cacti and his rare breed poultry. The very fine fowl that produce the splendid selection of eggs that fill the boxes that one would be mad not to buy whenever Brian brings them along to club nights

Brians cacti


Not only did Brian have some trees that anyone would be proud  to own but he also has an ancient apple tree in his lawn which considering the girth of it’s trunk and size of canopy could well be entered for the Guinness Book of records.


We admired Brian’s vegetables and wandered his garden on what must have been one of the best evenings of weather for some time before driving off along the Blackdowns and down Blagdon Hill, with a view that would make any visit there worthwhile, to the  Queens Arms at Pitminster  for an excellent meal .

Club Chairman Howard spoke for us all in thanking Brian for his hospitality and thanking Andy both for running the raffle which paid for our meal and organising the food. Altogether a very successful evening all round.


Yes, I did get some eggs and just had to have one for breakfast


PLEASE NOTE- Next months meeting – Our usual meeting place will be closed for redecoration details of any new venue or date will be emailed to members and be on the Home Page of this site when available

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