Club Meeting August 2015

by Jan-Jurie Loots

Trevor opened the meeting thanking everyone for attending and welcomed the visitors. He also thanked Peter Bruyns for his preparation for his talk. The dates for workshops were highlighted.

Frik de Jager explained that to save oneself a whole offset of problems with wire bite and forgetting wire on potential bonsai it could be beneficial to use rubber or plastic tubing with your wire inside and the plastic tube then works as a buffer.

He also mentioned maybe having a record of wiring and the time the wire has been on the tree and set oneself a possible reminder on an Ipad.

A discussion then followed about what would be the appropriate time to wire and influencing factors like fertilizing and the time in the growing season were mentioned.

François Voges showed us a cascade Juniper and a cascade Japanese Red Pine he wanted to redefine the apex as an extreme makeover.

Trevor then introduced Willem Pretorius, SABA President. Willem thanked CBK for their support in all endeavours and highlighted the importance of ABC4 and WBF visiting for the 1st time in Africa. He congratulated the recent winners of the photo competition; Gail Theron’s wild coffee forest was one of the winners. Willem then thanked Rudi Adam and Tobie Kleynhans for their donations of two spectacular bonsai to the Stellenbosch arboretum Collection.

Trevor thanked Willem and SABA for their work.

For the bonsai basics talk, Trevor chose soils and said in brief that essentially normal garden soil is inappropriate.

What is essential is drainage and water retention. Trevor went further and said that soils basic make-up is part inorganic and part organic. Size of soil particles decrease from sand ranging from 4 mm to 1 mm and followed by silt and clay particles ranging as the smallest.

He mentioned he did a home science experiment between 5 different soil mixes and tried to determine the amount of moisture on particles over time. He concluded gravel to be the worst in the retention of moisture on the particles.

Hennie Nel discussed the Judges Choice and highlighted a Celtis forest and recommended a larger pot to create further movement in the planting. The small elm group planting he acknowledged had lovely movement.

The main talk of the evening was done by Peter Bruyns. Peter explained a group planting can start at two, three or five trees. And normally three trees are chosen for a group base.

Peter said he enjoys saikei and its practical applications. He continued mentioning different pots and containers that could be used. Examples of what to look for in good group plantings are the alignment of the trees and the continued movement it inspires.

  1. Placement of trees can create the illusion of depth and change your perspective.
  2. The impression of small trees used to create depth.
  3. The flaring out of flow lines toward the light. 
  4. Peter mentioned the group planting silhouette and that it might even differ with groups within plantings.
  5. He spoke about contrast and different uses of materials to create contrast. 

After showing us how to chip slate to make it look natural, he told us of his idea of creating 3 separate plantings, each viable on their own but that could be put together to make one large saikei. The slate would be shaped in such a way that the plantings could be pushed together. This would facilitate transportation and make it easier to handle. He also showed us how he kept trees apart and in place by splicing bamboo into thin strips and cable tying them to the trees. For the edges he mixed compost into the clay. He put the wet clay into a plastic bag, cut a small hole and piped an edge. The moss that was lumpy or thick he flattened with a mallet and then applied it to the edge. Some very new and innovative ideas were thus introduced to members.