Club Meeting January 2013

by Dorothy Franz

Terry welcomed the members and four guests and gave a quick overview of what was being planned for the coming year. He thanked Viky for her contribution in collating and sending the newsletter for many years and advised that Jan-jurie had volunteered to take this over from her.

After showing us a small forest planting he had put together, Ken Freeman gave us insight into what ants are about particularly as far as bonsai is concerned. He told us that they love aphids. If you notice ants around your tree, look for aphids. Also pick up your pots and make sure that the ants are not building themselves a nest in your pot. They love sweetness and tend to concentrate where there is water.

Trevor, the judge for the evening brought up a Milkwood belonging to Freddie. He congratulated him on succeeding in bringing the foliage down to such a small size and creating very good visible rootage that delivered just the correct amount of tension within the tree to make a superb example of a good bonsai.

Terry was up next, his subject Japanese and Chinese Bonsai. He felt that before one can truly understand Bonsai one needs to understand the underlying philosophy and culture. The main difference between the way these two countries approach it, is in the word for bonsai (Japanese) and Penjing (Chinese). Both "bon" and "Pen" mean pot but sai means tree or trees whereas "jing" means landscape. Therefore the Chinese often add elements e.g. rocks, figures, bridges, temples etc. which are not acceptable to the Japanese. He illustrated the differences of approach by means of photographs. Members were also given an exercise of using adjectives to describe the trees put up on the screen. Terry felt that merely taking different elements and putting them together without any sensitivity did not achieve the objectives of bonsai.

Freddie's subject slanting style created a great deal of discussion. He illustrated the different opinions regarding the angle of the trunk in slanting style and the general acceptance that this style required balance, he felt that often in nature, there was a great deal of imbalance and this added a new dimension to the style. This was also illustrated by photographs. The different ways of placing branches and unequal areas of negative spaces created additional interest. He felt bonsai growers needed to become more lateral thinkers and not just stick to so called rules. The discussion which followed was lively and could probably have gone on till midnight.

A wonderful start to the New Year and hopefully future meetings will have this type of participation.