Melba Tucker

by Lionel Theron

On the 10th of September, 1999 we received an email from Mariana Haug, the daughter of Melba Tucker, informing us of the death of our wonderful friend.

As long as I can remember Melba was active in bonsai and gave unselfishly to our hobby; she taught, wrote and contributed with energy and generosity.

In 1986 Melba visited South Africa on a teaching tour from which many bonsai growers gained tremendously. She took so much trouble to help local bonsai growers and when she returned to the USA she sent us cuttings of several different elms amongst which were the Catlin and miniature varieties which may well be the parents of all Catlin and miniature elms in this country.

In our collection we have two saikei which Melba created on her visit and which are much admired by the many visitors we have to our nursery.

Melba wrote one of the first English language Suiseki books to be produced and that book has pride of place with us. It is a really good down to earth book and should be in every Suiseki enthusiasts bookcase.

Melba gave a wonderful, generous financial gift to the Cape Bonsai Kai, which has been invested pending a good suggestion as to how it should best be spent. In the meantime it is gaining interest.

We have such good memories of Melba as a friend whom we spent time with in the USA and here. Her selfless generosity to bonsai and suiseki will live on and she is an example to us all.

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On the weathered shelf

A self-cleaned cat in autumn

Curls around itself.

Random Bonsai Tip

When creating a cascade the root-ground level must be on a horizontal plane. This imparts the stability to the whole style. Do not tilt the tree, bend the trunk.