Club Meeting June 2014

by Dorothy Franz

Jurie opened the meeting by welcoming the members and thanking them for the wonderful display of trees brought to the meeting. He thanked Francois Voges for organising a display of about 20 trees at the Waterstone Village Centre in Somerset West. Francois had used all his powers of persuasion to get the Centre to allow an exhibition. They were so impressed that he has been asked to organise another for arbor week. He also thanked Terry for his demonstration during the day and the participants in the New Talent Competition, won by Andries Havenga.

Jurie started with the library slot. He had just read the latest edition of Bonsai Focus (no. 151) to which the club subscribes. He drew our attention to the article on Pines as well as the one on refining Satsuki Azaleas and another article entitled "starting over". In the same edition there was a discussion on whether photographs should be banned at exhibitions.

Jan-Jurie brought a Chinese juniper for his conversion from bush to bonsai which at the end of the meeting he brought back beautifully wired into a semi-cascade.

Cindy gave us a photographic overview of the club dig. She had thoroughly enjoyed the day. She said one didn't have to dig very hard because the ground was soft. It is a beautiful site and she hoped that another dig can be arranged for next year.

Tony gave a very informative power point presentation on African Styles based primarily on Charles Ceronio's book. He pointed out how the styles differed from one another. He considered the tree main styles to be Baobab, Pierneef and Flat Top. Baobab - has girth and branches curving downwards. One can use Commiphora, or coral tree to achieve this. The Pierneef style is more like an open umbrella – Acacia being the main example in nature but One can achieve this style with elms, olives and buddleja. The flat top has a layer of dense foliage at the top forming the flat top. A wonderful example can be seen at the entrance of the Pretoria Botanical gardens. The other African styles are the wonderboom, wild fig and natural style.

Trevor was the judge for the evening. He brought up two trees belonging to Gail, two from Kevin and one from Viky. There was discussion whether Gail's tree was a natural style or Pierneef. Kevin had a very pleasant spekboom (three trunks) that could develop into a good baobab style. Viky's tree was a beautifully carved shohin olive.

The main talk was by Viky pointing out all the winter tasks that we should be tackling contrary to the belief that there is nothing to do in winter. She said that deciduous trees must be attended to now to reduce apical dominance, develop ramification and sort out design. Working on deadwood could be done now and in stages as this allows for wood to dry out slowly which avoids cracking.

This is a time for planning, reading and developing new ideas also for sharpening tools, cleaning bed and preparing for the potting season. As this is the rainy season one needed to check that trees were not getting waterlogged in which case tipping the pot would allow water to run off. Trees that were under canopies of larger trees also needed to be checked that they were getting sufficient water.