Cape Bonsai Kai newsletters

Cape Bonsai Kai January 2018 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

It has been a very rude awakening returning from a very cold, snowy Italy to a very hot dry and waterless Cape Town. This was compounded when I decided to go collect water at the Newlands Spring, only to find I now shared it with a thousand other desperate Capetonians. I hope your bonsai are surviving and you are implementing all the “watering” tips that have been shared. I have found the articles Terry has posted on Bonsai Tree very helpful. ( I have particularly used the humidity tray for the Shohin and smaller trees successfully, and the double potting for other trees that have a very shallow pot.

I would like to thank Freddie and his“team” for dismantling the root over rock planting, which by all accounts was awesome. I think it is really indicative of bonsai and a great lesson for aspiring bonsai artist, to realize that patience is of the essence and 2/3years is not long to wait for you to see the fruits of your labour. Thanks also to Terry, stepping in for the
photographic slot and the tree judging.

I would like to thank all the members who have paid their subs and remind those who have not paid, that the subs were due in January. Please do not let us have to phone you before you pay, it is not comfortable for both parties.

The February meeting should be exciting as we are dealing with some very old favourites namely Olives and Buddleja. Viky and Phil are going to deal with carving in particular.
In March we have our AGM and I would appreciate it if we can have all the prize winners in attendance and other members. We need to elect some new members onto the committee, so please do not stay away because you’re afraid you will be nominated onto the committee.

Think what you can do for your club and not what your club can do for you!

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter January 2018.pdf725.33 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai December 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

The Kai show is over indicating another end of the year!

The show was characterised by many first time trees and excellent trees on show. Well done to all those that made the effort to display trees and to those that brought suiseki, which added great novelty to the display.

Thanks to the enthusiastic workers who helped set up the display on the Thursday, enabling the show to be ready at around 18h00. The dismantling also went smoothly with virtually the same people setting it up doing duty.

We have had a professional photographer photograph all the winning trees-which we will soon see on the Kai website.

I think it would be remiss of me not to comment on the lack of attendance of Kai members to the show. There were never enough members to adequately cover the show area and the sales area, some members who displayed trees dropped their trees Thursday and fetched them Sunday without even offering help. This meant that there was a very small core trying to cover all bases all the time. It was very disappointing as many request were sent out for Helpers-maybe those not attending can let me know what can be done to get them there.

I will be sending out the Kai subs for the 2018 and remind members that the subs are due in January 2018. I appeal to you to help us by paying your subs timeously and not waiting for reminder after reminder.

The January meeting should be very exciting as Terry has invited a professional photographer-who also has bonsai-to give us some tips photographing our bonsai. We will also have Freddie dismantling a magnificent Ficus rock planting, which will be fascinating and educational. I urge you to attend.

Finally, on behalf of the committee, I would like to wish all a merry Christmas and happy New Year and for those not celebrating Christmas – Happy Holidays.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter December 2017.pdf951.34 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai August 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

At our last meeting we experimented with a new scoring system, the purpose being to give more feedback on specific aspects of the bonsai. Scoring of course is not new to the Kai; we do it at all our monthly meetings and at the December show, as an integral part of our culture.

The new system gives a mark for the various aspects of the bonsai, so if the bonsai scores poorly for the pot, the owner will know the pot is not suitable, but the rest of the bonsai may score highly. This really saves the judge from writing comments, which has always been time consuming.

After Terry did the judging at the last meeting, he gave some very helpful feedback on the system. Firstly it comes across as very harsh on a developing bonsai, so the "novices" took some strain.

However the Kai members are made of sterling stuff and will not be deterred. We will be looking at doing some tweaks, but your feedback will be very welcome. A crucial element of our meetings is bringing your bonsai, so please continue to do so.

Our new talent competition will take place at the September workshop at Bishopsford, so please give your names to Andre van Jaarsveld.

We have the Bonsai Festival coming up on the 28/29 October in the Company Gardens. Please keep the weekend open as it is a great bonsai festival. The clubs will all do a themed exhibition for the weekend, so we will be looking for trees for our exhibition. We will also be looking for volunteers to work on their own trees. More detail at the meeting

At the next meeting Emile will be showing you the grafting he has done on cedars, and demonstrating his techniques. This should be a fascinating demo.

I will not be at the next meeting as I will be traveling in the Kgalagadi, so please enjoy the meeting.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter August 2017 web.pdf391.35 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai September 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

I have just returned from the Kgalagadi, where our group consisted of a flower and birdies enthusiast and me going wild pointing out trees, which made for a very interesting trip!

Well done to the committee and presenters for ensuring a very good meeting by all accounts. Hopefully you have all been inspired to do some grafting, amongst the repotting and pruning.

Our next meeting we will have the privilege of Carl Morrow an invitee to talk at the Bonsai Europa convention in October. He will be working on a Swamp Cypress which we will auction after he has worked on it. This will be donated to Carl to assist with his expenses to cover the trip. Carl has been a great contributor to the Kai and the experience at Bonsai Europe will enable him to give us new insights into all the new trends in Europe.

So please bring your credit cards! The new owner will have the opportunity to own a tree Carl has worked on and they will be able to call on him for continued advice on the swamp’s development. This will be great opportunity to enhance your collection.

We have two shows coming soon. The October Bonsai Festival in the Company Gardens taking place on the 29/30 October and the Cape Kai will be exhibiting Ficus trees on our display table. The trees must be “two man” trees that they can be locked down and will remain at the Gardens overnight. Security will be provided. We will also need members to be working on trees during
the weekend, so please keep the weekend open and let us know what you can help with. There are also the Competition trees, with considerable prizes, so get your trees ready.

The December Kai show also needs you attention, so having selected your trees, feed and work on them.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter September 2017 web.pdf326 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai July 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

The Autumn Bonsai Festival 3 held in George has come and gone. Harry Harrington the headliner withdrew literally at the last minute and the delegates and organisers were faced with a “what now” scenario. The organisers were not daunted and soon had a new programme printed and local presenters were roped in to fill the various slots in the programme. The presenters proceeded with such aplomb that it left me wandering if we even need headliners from overseas. It certainly made me realise that the calibre of our bonsai fraternity is not only of a very high standard, but that there is no challenge that they cannot overcome, well done to the Kat Rivier committee and the presenters. Yes, we do need overseas artists to ensure we stay on top of our hobby, but we are at least not dependent on them.

During the conference we had some very meaningful discussions and ideas to enhance the Cape Kai experience.

The idea that we get individual members to make a contribution to the newsletter with an in depth article on some aspect of bonsai. This can be in the form of taking a species from “background to bonsai pot” or a topic like Kusamono and giving it an in-depth analysis. This can preferably include personal experience. A start can be for presenters who do a topic at the club meeting to do it for publication. This does not exclude other members submitting an article for publication. The issue is how do we get volunteers? Do I nominate or can we rely on members to take up the challenge?

Our meeting in July will have a maple theme and Adam harrower will be doing a talk on maple grafting and a practical demonstration. We will also have Willem Pretorius doing a provocative talk on Bonsai as an art.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter July 2017 MQ.pdf890.25 KB

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On the weathered shelf

A self-cleaned cat in autumn

Curls around itself.

Random Bonsai Tip

When you have too thin trunks, you could twist two or three saplings together, fasten them together with wire and allow them time to fuse; or graft two trunks together.