Bernard Coetzee

Bernard had his first contact with Bonsai in 1960 after reading a book on the subject from the Claremont Library. On one of his collecting trips along Boyes Drive he came across the Bonsai Society and promptly joined them. He was later one of the founder members of the Cape Bonsai Kai and later became Oyama Bonsai Kai's Vice President.

bernard-coetzeeHe prefered Shohin/Mame bonsai to any other size and had about 150 in his collection. They had always proved to be a far greater challenge than the larger sizes of bonsai for Bernard. Bernard would often get the urge to sell most of his trees and start again so his collection was forever changing in size.

Bernard was originally self taught along very strict technical methods and these tended to show in his way of teaching but since the advent of John Naka, he found that not only have his methods proved correct, but he started a new learning process and adopted a much more artistic method in teaching the techniques of Bonsai. Over many years Bernard watched Bonsai grow in leaps and bounds in our Country. He felt the greatest attribute that one can aspire to in the Art of Bonsai is to develop the ability to see the finished trunk in an ordinary nursery-grown or collected specimen.

Bernard found that one of his greatest moments in Bonsai was his trip to the 25th Anniversary Convention of the Californian Bonsai Societies in 1982, and of course seeing John Naka here. He lectured/demonstrated for most of the Bonsai clubs in South Africa, and was always well received.

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Last leaf has fallen

Tree will sleep and I will dream

Spring is tomorrow

Random Bonsai Tip

Sacrifice branches can be used to thicken up the branches or the trunk by taking advantage of the auxins in the terminal bud. A low branch could thus be used to thicken the base of the trunk and so improve the taper.