Club Meeting May 2013

by Pieter Loots

The meeting was opened by club president Terry Erasmus. He welcomed two new members and also made apologies for those not being able to attend. And if you are interested in helping with the organizing of the upcoming SABA bonsai convention held in October please get in contact with the appropriate people.

He also raised a strong voice to all club members to get more active in club meetings, bringing more trees, give talks even if just a short one.

Next we had Jan-Jurie Loots who gave an informative talk on caterpillars.

Carl Morrow then gave a talk on bending branches, or trees. He brought a large black pine to work on and showed us how he goes about bending the trunk of a tree. He drilled two holes in the trunk, and then attached a thin wire; you can also use cable ties. Then he connected turn buckles to the wire and turned them until he achieved the desired bend. You can also use the turn buckle to push branches away from each other. If you still need to bend the trunk more you could cut out a wedge from the trunk or branch, and use the wedge to bend it more, just make sure the specie is suited for this. Instead of drilling holes you can also use brass screws to anchor wire and then attach it to the turn buckle. Carl used aluminum wire but noted galvanized wire would work best.

We had another lucky draw this week, with one root over rock fig, one olive group planting and one pot, congratulations to the winners.

The last speaker of the evening was Dorothy Franz talking about Penjing. The term penjing refers to a single tree or more in a landscape; it could also be a rock in water with plants. It usually has small figurines like boats, bridges or people. Most penjing convey a feeling. They portray nature or a struggle for survival. They depict rivers, landscapes or even stone forests. Penjing originates in China.

To start a penjing you need to decide which scene you would like to portray. Most penjing pots are shallow and contain water. Trees need to be small with a flat root system. If you are using rocks they should be natural in appearance, and you could cement or wire them onto the pot. Normal bonsai soil is used. And some moss or small rocks and figurines to add the finishing touch.

The following combos can be chosen from,

  • a rock in water, two rocks,
  • more than two rocks or
  • a mountain style, also
  • a rock with a tree and water,
  • a creek where trees and rocks flank the water or
  • a coastal scene.

On the note of penjing I would like to quote master Masahiko Kimura,

"Every country should see bonsai differently, since bonsai is something that can be easily linked to one's own culture. So, I would like to see each country develop its own style and people express their own feelings about nature. It would be exciting to me if I saw something new to look at."

In the spirit of this master I urge all growers to come up with a uniquely South African penjing.

Thank you to all, see you next month.

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