The Bonsai grower in Autumn
by Viky Peterman
It is virtually impossible to think of Autumn in terms other than colour. Yellows, oranges, reds and purples make this the most flamboyant of seasons. Provided that the weather behaves and that the trees have been fertilised throughout the year, Autumn should give deciduous trees the chance to show off extravagantly. Any Bonsai collection which does not have a selection of these trees is a sad sight at this time of the year.
Autumn is a good time to choose new trees from nurseries. Since the intensity of leaf colour is partly due to the genetic makeup of each individual tree, it is better to see what colour the tree can achieve before acquiring it. It is amazing how different two seedlings from the same parent tree can be.
Many species of trees show a colour change during Autumn, like the Azaleas or the Cryptomerias, but the more dramatic changes occur in deciduous trees. Elms, Gingkos and Celtises will turn a strong yellow. Zelkovas will turn a firey orange and the leaves of Chinese and Japanese Maples together with Liquidambars will become ablaze with reds and purples. If you find a tree that turns a particularly exciting colour, it is better to propagate it by cuttings or layerings.
Welcome to the website of Cape Bonsai Kai where you will find out all about our club, events we are hosting and other news. Here you will also find galleries containing images from exhibitions, workshops, club meetings and more. We often post valuable information like "What to do this month" and other tips as well as many articles which will help you keep your bonsai collection healthy and you enjoying your new art form. Be sure to visit often!
History tells us that bonsai were first displayed in South Africa at the British Empire Exhibition held in Johannesburg in 1933, where Asian exhibitors displayed their trees. Thereafter, mention is made of soldiers, returning home from the east after the Second World War, expressing interest in the beautiful trees they had seen in Japan.
Beginners Corner - Design
by Dorothy Franz
In the previous issue I dealt with the importance of roots and establishing a pleasing trunk. Initially, I had intended on focusing on branches and foliage next, which expands and completes a bonsai but in writing down various points I realised that everything depended on design.
Anyone who has been doing bonsai for a while has learnt the basic principles, but sometimes our creative side tells us different things. Any tree that adheres absolutely to the guidelines will become a bonsai, but will it have soul? Will it have character and exude a feeling of contentment and pleasure?
Beginners Corner - Pests
by Dorothy Franz
The biggest danger with pests is that they go undetected until there is a major infestation. Pests should receive as much attention as watering or any other bonsai consideration. Those of you that hand water have an opportunity everyday to inspect your trees while you water and one should make a conscious effort to do so.
With automatic sprinkler systems the dannger of not spotting trouble becomes greater. While you may walk around your bonsai-en checking the watering etc. one is not seriously looking for bugs. Perhaps it would be a good idea to do a pest check every few days.
Soil for Bonsai
by Lionel Theron
Many experienced bonsai growers have formulae for their soil mixes which work well for them under their particular climatic conditions, areas and circumstances.
If the mix works well it is unnecessary to change. Some growers use additives which they swear by and if proper controlled comparative experiments and studies have been conducted these additions may prove useful. Plants are extraordinarily adaptable and the soil they grow in is but one of the variables. Other variables include position, feeding, watering etc.