The Bonsai grower in Autumn

by Viky Peterman

It is virtually impossible to think of Autumn in terms other than colour. Yellows, oranges, reds and purples make this the most flamboyant of seasons. Provided that the weather behaves and that the trees have been fertilised throughout the year, Autumn should give deciduous trees the chance to show off extravagantly. Any Bonsai collection which does not have a selection of these trees is a sad sight at this time of the year.

Autumn is a good time to choose new trees from nurseries. Since the intensity of leaf colour is partly due to the genetic makeup of each individual tree, it is better to see what colour the tree can achieve before acquiring it. It is amazing how different two seedlings from the same parent tree can be.

Many species of trees show a colour change during Autumn, like the Azaleas or the Cryptomerias, but the more dramatic changes occur in deciduous trees. Elms, Gingkos and Celtises will turn a strong yellow. Zelkovas will turn a firey orange and the leaves of Chinese and Japanese Maples together with Liquidambars will become ablaze with reds and purples. If you find a tree that turns a particularly exciting colour, it is better to propagate it by cuttings or layerings.



Welcome to the website of Cape Bonsai Kai where you will find out all about our club, events we are hosting and other news. Here you will also find galleries containing images from exhibitions, workshops, club meetings and more. We often post valuable information like "What to do this month" and other tips as well as many articles which will help you keep your bonsai collection healthy and you enjoying your new art form. Be sure to visit often!


About CBK

History tells us that bonsai were first displayed in South Africa at the British Empire Exhibition held in Johannesburg in 1933, where Asian exhibitors displayed their trees. Thereafter, mention is made of soldiers, returning home from the east after the Second World War, expressing interest in the beautiful trees they had seen in Japan.


Autumn Colours

by Siggy Franz

When I was asked to write a few words about Autumn colours my thoughts went automatically back to my childhood. I grew up in a small, unattractive industrial town in Germany, but it had a lovely park with deciduous trees which had been planted during the last century. In autumn it changed into glorious colour.


Autumn and Winter Tasks

by Gail Theron

Bonsai growers tend to think that as their trees slow down towards the end of summer they can take a well earned rest, however, there is still much to do and think about.



by Rudi Adam

It is always with some relief, some anticipation and at the same time with some sadness that I look forward to "autumn". The relief is that the amount of work decreases at this time of the year and the weather is at its most pleasant (the Cape at its best) with balmy warm days and cool nights. The anticipation comes from the changing of the colours in the maples and some of the other trees as well as the rich greens displayed by the conifers and junipers. The sadness is that we look forward to the rainy season, with little outdoor activity, and "El Ninja" may again put a spanner in the works this year.

Next Workshop

1st July 2017, Kevin Kelly at 13h30.

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We would be happy to hear from you should you like to find out more about the club, meetings or bonsai in general.

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Year Programme

We have an exciting calendar of club meetings, events and public exhibitions planned for 2017/8.

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Overhanging Pine

Adding its mite of needles to the Waterfall

Random Bonsai Tip

When a tree has reversed taper or a narrowed 'waistline' above the nebari, you could do an airlayering just above the narrow section; or you could damage the cambium layer by either hammering gently with a mallet or by piercing the bark right into the cambium with a sharp object eg. scissors or an awl. You could also make deep incisions along the grain of the bark, where the healing process will cause scarring which would then thicken the trunk.