Somerset West Critique & Workshop April 2012

by Terry Erasmus

On the 14th of April some of the members of Cape Bonsai Kai drove through to Somerset West for a tree critique followed by a workshop.

The tree critique was to be held at Francois Voges' house and members were encouraged to bring their trees with them, to put out on display and then for those there to evaluate them and give comment. Most of the critique was on Francois' trees. He pointed out several trees which had returned to good health after suffering from one or other infection, with the help of Koinor and other treatments. A juniper forest which he had purchased and nursed back to health attracted quite a lot of attention as some of the trees had died and the position and planting angles of the replacements needed to be considered. His award winning maple forest was also on view and he gave us some insights on the challenges associated with keeping a forest in good health. Despite Francois pleas we explored further into his garden to see other bonsai and an incredible, mature Japanese maple lifesized forest. Francois effort with drinks and eats for everyone was much appreciated. Thank you Francois.

It was then on to Terry and Christelle's house for the workshop. First, everyone had to walk through the forest of field (actually raised garden beds) growing trees, through the bonsai-en and then down the pathway lined with seedlings, young trees and old. Christelle had baked some lovely apple pie and other desserts which everyone enjoyed with a cup of freshly brewed coffee while viewing a slideshow of the recent Benbel Bonsai Exhibition. It was then on to the serious task of the workshop. Although Dorothy had brought along her own trees to work on, it seemed that her skills were demanded elsewhere and I doubt that she was able to spend 5 minutes on her trees.

We all enjoyed the day and the energy which is so typical of Cape Bonsai Kai workshops was again present. Have you been to a workshop yet? If not, why not come to the next one. You will learn a lot about your trees and other members whom you perhaps never get the chance to talk to at meetings.

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Maple leaves turning

red-gold in the Autumn sun

falling..... falling..... gone

Random Bonsai Tip

You can bend thick, hardened branches by undercutting. A wedge is cut underneath where the bend is needed and then the branch is eased down anw wired into place. Thick, coarse branches could also be removed completely and replaced with new branches by thread grafting or approach grafting