Club Meeting February 2013

by Terry Erasmus

Jan-Jurie was the first speaker of the evening and he spoke on beetles. It was an interesting overview of the many different kinds of beetles which we as bonsai artists would typically find on our trees. Some suggestions were made regarding their control.

Johan had excused himself from the meeting, not feeling well. So Terry gave us the history of a Celtis which he had been working on for some time. He had kept a small photographic record of the trees development over the last few years which gave the audience an idea of the trees improvement over time. Terry gave some comments regarding his experience working with this species. Of the comments made he suggested that when the tree is young the growth is rather explosive and that if left unchecked will result in a lot of wasted growth due to excessively long internodal distances. He stressed the importance also of complete defoliation and aggressive feeding as a method to increase ramification. Another technique, thread grafting, had also been used on the tree to achieve a branch in a place where there was none previously. Many of the members were quite fascinated with this technique and were keen to learn more about it.

The judges for the evening were Rudi and Terry. The committee had decided to implement a new approach to judging ie a junior member being teamed up with a senior who could then begin to train the junior in judging. Terry selected a Crassula forest to comment on. He highlighted the aspects which were pleasing, such as the health of the trees and their flowers. He also commented on the pot as well as its preparation to display. On the negative side, comments were made about the inappropriate use of ground covers and the regular spacing of the trees. Rudi commented on a juniper which he really liked and discussed some of the positive aspects of the trees styling.

Being the subject of the evening; Junipers, Rudi then went on to deliver an interesting talk on growing junipers as bonsai. This species is clearly a favourite not only in South Africa but internationally also. The growth characteristics, basic care and styling aspects were discussed and illustrated using the many stunning examples which Rudi had brought with him. After Rudi's talk was completed, the membership broke away to work on the trees which they had brought to the evening.


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Overhanging Pine

Adding its mite of needles to the Waterfall

Random Bonsai Tip

So much time is spent on striving towards perfection in the foliage area of trees but little contemplation goes into the area around the nebari. Consider planting your tree at different heights in the pot which might enhance the existing taper and roots. If your tree lacks roots use moss mounded in such a way to suggest underlying roots, or you can even use sticks of similar appearance to the wood of the tree as 'fake' roots until you are able to coerce roots to fill the void. Use appropriate gravel to complete the scene.