Club Meeting July 2011

by Jurie van Heerden

Yvonne welcomed all members and visitors Sean, John and Justin to the meeting. Members were reminded of Arbor Day to contact Hennie if they have bigger trees to display. Members were also asked if they can volunteer to perform demo’s and speak to visitors on the day.

A discussion on the club’s logo followed and it was suggested that the Kai leave the logo discussion another month before voting.

Yvonne then discussed ground covers and how to make the base of a bonsai tree look more interesting by raising the soil level around the base of the tree. When using moss make sure that the moss looks uneven with bumps to create more interest. Also using plain sticks buried in the soil around the base of the tree can give the impression of thick roots growing there. Yvonne demonstrated and it was hilarious when the members found out that it was a dead stick and not real root growing at the base of the tree!

Trevor then spoke on Soils for Bonsai. He explained that Bonsai prefer a breathable soil; where water moves through easily without resistance with good drainage and good water retention. He said that soil PH of 6.5 suits most plants and that very few plants tolerate alkaline soils. If your soil ph is not correct it locks nutrients in the soil to the detriment of the plant. He then discussed: Inorganic soils which consist of: Sand (> 2mm), Silt (0.2mm), and Clay (very fine), (Loam is a mixture of these 3 soils) and Organic soils which consist of: Compost, Leaves and Humus. He said that the typical bonsai mix consist of: 2 parts gravel & sand, 2 parts composts, 1 part of garden loam. Indigenous trees require more drainage in Cape Town due to the wet winters.

Rudi Adam was the judge for the evening and he selected Hennie’s tree and Viky’s tree that he liked for its deadwood and character.

Graham La Foy then followed with the “Story of my tree” and he brought his first attempt at making a Phoenix graft using deadwood that he collected and growing a pine with it.

The main part of the evening was Carl Morrow on the topic of Phoenix graft. Carl explained that this in Japan is called TANUKI or wrap around and that there it has a very negative connotation as it was seen as cheating. Carl did a demo Phoenix graft using an old beautiful piece of olive deadwood and three young small pines trees. He mentioned that when using screws to attach the live trees to the deadwood, you must use brass screws as they don’t rust. The demo lasted about 90 minutes and was completed by adding the newly created cascade tree into a stunning pot.