Cape Bonsai Kai newsletters

Cape Bonsai Kai September 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

I have just returned from the Kgalagadi, where our group consisted of a flower and birdies enthusiast and me going wild pointing out trees, which made for a very interesting trip!

Well done to the committee and presenters for ensuring a very good meeting by all accounts. Hopefully you have all been inspired to do some grafting, amongst the repotting and pruning.

Our next meeting we will have the privilege of Carl Morrow an invitee to talk at the Bonsai Europa convention in October. He will be working on a Swamp Cypress which we will auction after he has worked on it. This will be donated to Carl to assist with his expenses to cover the trip. Carl has been a great contributor to the Kai and the experience at Bonsai Europe will enable him to give us new insights into all the new trends in Europe.

So please bring your credit cards! The new owner will have the opportunity to own a tree Carl has worked on and they will be able to call on him for continued advice on the swamp’s development. This will be great opportunity to enhance your collection.

We have two shows coming soon. The October Bonsai Festival in the Company Gardens taking place on the 29/30 October and the Cape Kai will be exhibiting Ficus trees on our display table. The trees must be “two man” trees that they can be locked down and will remain at the Gardens overnight. Security will be provided. We will also need members to be working on trees during
the weekend, so please keep the weekend open and let us know what you can help with. There are also the Competition trees, with considerable prizes, so get your trees ready.

The December Kai show also needs you attention, so having selected your trees, feed and work on them.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter September 2017 web.pdf326 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai August 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

At our last meeting we experimented with a new scoring system, the purpose being to give more feedback on specific aspects of the bonsai. Scoring of course is not new to the Kai; we do it at all our monthly meetings and at the December show, as an integral part of our culture.

The new system gives a mark for the various aspects of the bonsai, so if the bonsai scores poorly for the pot, the owner will know the pot is not suitable, but the rest of the bonsai may score highly. This really saves the judge from writing comments, which has always been time consuming.

After Terry did the judging at the last meeting, he gave some very helpful feedback on the system. Firstly it comes across as very harsh on a developing bonsai, so the "novices" took some strain.

However the Kai members are made of sterling stuff and will not be deterred. We will be looking at doing some tweaks, but your feedback will be very welcome. A crucial element of our meetings is bringing your bonsai, so please continue to do so.

Our new talent competition will take place at the September workshop at Bishopsford, so please give your names to Andre van Jaarsveld.

We have the Bonsai Festival coming up on the 28/29 October in the Company Gardens. Please keep the weekend open as it is a great bonsai festival. The clubs will all do a themed exhibition for the weekend, so we will be looking for trees for our exhibition. We will also be looking for volunteers to work on their own trees. More detail at the meeting

At the next meeting Emile will be showing you the grafting he has done on cedars, and demonstrating his techniques. This should be a fascinating demo.

I will not be at the next meeting as I will be traveling in the Kgalagadi, so please enjoy the meeting.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter August 2017 web.pdf391.35 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai June 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

The winter rains have still not arrived and my bonsai are certainly behaving or growing differently.

I have cork bark elms with no leaves/yellow leaves and green leaves. The watering is also quite tricky, because it looks wet but in fact in is quite dry below the surface.

One is also inclined to pay less attention to the bonsai with no leaves when watering-which can have dire consequences either from over/under watering. The weather at present is very unusual so watch your watering regime.

The meeting on the 15th June will be focussing on winter pruning which is a critical component of ensuring your bonsai attain good ramification. This pertains especially to deciduous trees but is not limited to deciduous but also to semi-deciduous trees.

In the deciduous group you have mainly elms, celtis, acacias, maples and swamp cypress.

In order for these trees to attain good ramification you need to focus on your primary and secondary branches ensuring that you have the right structure to build the finer branches so as to form an “open hand” structure.

The semi –deciduous bonsai like figs also need to be focussed on to attain the fine ramification and smaller leaves.

Fortunately you will have Carl Morrow guiding you through this process and you will benefit enormously by bringing trees so he can ascertain, whether the tree is ready for refinement (focussing on ramification) or whether you should be focussing on selecting primary and secondary branches.

Brett will be introducing the art of Kusamono. This is the art of potted wild grasses and flowers in unique pots.

Originally these plantings were used as accent plants, and still do, but have developed into an art form in its own right.
It often depicts a landscape or a season to enhance the display of bonsai. If you have a Kusamono bring it along to display amongst the other trees

The George Autumn Bonsai Festival coincides with our meeting, so for the members going to George to attend Harry Harrington lectures, we look forward to you imparting your knowledge to the members who must stay at home and work to keep our economy growing.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter June 2017.pdf644.41 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai July 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

The Autumn Bonsai Festival 3 held in George has come and gone. Harry Harrington the headliner withdrew literally at the last minute and the delegates and organisers were faced with a “what now” scenario. The organisers were not daunted and soon had a new programme printed and local presenters were roped in to fill the various slots in the programme. The presenters proceeded with such aplomb that it left me wandering if we even need headliners from overseas. It certainly made me realise that the calibre of our bonsai fraternity is not only of a very high standard, but that there is no challenge that they cannot overcome, well done to the Kat Rivier committee and the presenters. Yes, we do need overseas artists to ensure we stay on top of our hobby, but we are at least not dependent on them.

During the conference we had some very meaningful discussions and ideas to enhance the Cape Kai experience.

The idea that we get individual members to make a contribution to the newsletter with an in depth article on some aspect of bonsai. This can be in the form of taking a species from “background to bonsai pot” or a topic like Kusamono and giving it an in-depth analysis. This can preferably include personal experience. A start can be for presenters who do a topic at the club meeting to do it for publication. This does not exclude other members submitting an article for publication. The issue is how do we get volunteers? Do I nominate or can we rely on members to take up the challenge?

Our meeting in July will have a maple theme and Adam harrower will be doing a talk on maple grafting and a practical demonstration. We will also have Willem Pretorius doing a provocative talk on Bonsai as an art.

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter July 2017 MQ.pdf890.25 KB


Cape Bonsai Kai March 2017 Newsletter

From the President

Dear CBK Member,

The water crisis continues and hopefully everyone is keeping their bonsai flourishing while been mindful of the water shortage.

The Kai AGM takes place on the 16th March and I look forward to a good attendance.

Our annual prize giving will also take place, rewarding those that participated in our December show, and the opportunity to lay your hands on the trophy or rosette which you have been waiting for. Snacks will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.

The AGM is an opportunity for you as members to either stand for the committee or vote for committee members that you think will be able to enhance the Kai and allow the Kai to reflect what you as members want from the Kai.

If nothing else attend the AGM to show support for the existing committee

It is important that members pay their Kai fees before the AGM. It is not fun continuously sending reminders to members to pay fees!

We will be having our end of year function on Saturday 4th March and judging from the attendance it is going to be very festive.

Congratulations to Terry Erasmus who has “launched” his international demonstrating career in the Congo, where he is doing a pine workshop. Well done Terry.

Bonsai Focus has launched a Golden Concave Photo award, having selected the top 14 bonsai photos, we can now vote for a winner, who will win a trip to Japan. Tobie Kleynhans’s wisteria has been selected and it will be great if we can have a South African winner.

Vote at:

Kind Regards

Hennie Nel

pdfCBK Newsletter March 2017.pdf320.83 KB

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If you were silent

Flight of herons on dark sky ...

Oh! Autumn snowflakes! ~ Sokan

Random Bonsai Tip

If a tree lacks a branch in a specific place you could in arch or approach graft a branch in the required area or thread graft through the trunk using a long shoot of the same plant.