Winter Show 2001
Winter is an honest time. A time when all pretence and fripperies are stripped away, a time when we can see true beauty exposed and on display.
This is true not only of trees but of people too. People who, through their actions, are shown to be honest and true to themselves.
Our judge on the occasion of our 2001 Winter show was one such person. Considered by some the first lady of British Bonsai, Ruth Stafford Jones saw through to the underlying potential of our trees, offering good honest advice and comment.
Unlike some of our previous judges, Ruth did not pass down the line of trees as if inspecting a parade, but sat like the dignified lady she is and held court as selected trees were brought before her for comment and advice.
George's Mugo was first, nicely grown, as are all of his trees. Ruth felt that maybe the trunk could have been more in harmony with the branches, either flowing with the wind, or fighting against it defiantly. We then moved on to Robert's Olive group. It was felt that the whole group would benefit from being taller, raising the crown and so creating a more pleasing whole.
George's Elm root over rock was brought forward next. I for one have always liked this tree, but sometimes someone will notice something that you have missed - the tree is too perfect. A lovely tree, perfect in every detail, would not be sat on top of a mountain. It should have shown signs of its battle with nature.
Gary's group was next. A strong image, but as was pointed out, too evenly spaced, with the trunks spreading fan like from the centre. John stepped forward next, his first tree, a literati Scots pine. Ruth showed how, by the removal or thinning of a major branch, the whole image could be improved. Next John brought forward his large Elm. During the evening I had heard a lot of admiring comments about this tree, and Ruth indeed agreed, with it's near-perfect branches and delicate twigs it is a lovely image. Then, she did it again, showing something that I, for one, had not noticed - the trunk had a waist, a point towards the base where, instead of tapering towards the apex, it was nipped in. Nice on humans, but not desirable on bonsai.
From our novice entries (a few more next time please!) was brought forward a windswept juniper. The tree needed a bit more variety, with some of the branches being brought downwards, therefore giving it more character.
Out of the 23 entries brought along for show, Trevor's Japanese white pine was awarded Best in Show. A fine, nicely tapering specimen with well formed foliage pads and a near invisible graft, Ruth did comment on the fact that it still had some wire on but, as she said, when the wiring was as nicely done as this, there was no problem in leaving it on.
Well done Trevor.
Unlike previous shows, there were no certificates given in specific classes. There were, however, some given in recognition of trees that shone out , these included:-
Loss of Member
Four days after the November meeting, one of our most popular members, Mick, died.
He was one of our long service members who contributed to the success of our society as a speaker, as a member of the committee, and from the audience.
At demonstration meetings he was to be found sitting in the middle of the front row with his clipboard and pencil noting all the gems of wisdom dropping from the speakers lips.
He could be relied upon to pose questions to speakers to increase his knowledge of bonsai techniques but he always gave freely of his own knowledge and experience to other less experienced members. Yet he was always modest about what he had achieved.
His enthusiasm, after attending pottery classes, caused him to prepare a comprehensive talk about the manufacture of bonsai pots chuckling his way through his descriptions of his early mistakes. Not content to sit back and listen, he started his own pottery classes and later gave the second of his pottery presentations to the society. On this occasion he had no shortage of volunteers to join him at the front to try their hands at kneading Micks clay.
When we wanted a practical talk on photographing bonsai, Mick joined forces with Peter to show us what sort of camera would meet our needs, how to use them with tips on depth of focus and lighting not to mention diy equipment which would save pounds.
It was Mick who reduced the audience to laughter when presenting a root over rock tree at the "your tree, my tree" evening . Mick described how he had been trying to boost the tree by feeding. He then proceeded to lift out half of the rock and told us that the only result was that the rock broke. When he realised what he had said he joined in the laughter.
As the previous Editor of Bonsai Bulletin, I found Mick a willing contributor of articles. They were always well written and required little editing. When I was going to miss a meeting, I only had to mention this to Mick for him to say that I could leave it with him. In due course the notes would arrive followed by a telephone call to check their receipt and that I could read his handwriting (never a problem). He was beginning to grapple with the technology of a new computer and the internet thinking he might resurrect his family records. My last conversation with Mick was to the effect that he was interested in visiting Pat and I to learn about family history research and photo-editing using a computer. Sadly that rendezvous will not take place.
must be pleased that our condolences have been passed on to Mrs Carter
and that Peter and George represented us at Mick's funeral. It was probably
typical of Mick's sense of humour that he was carried into the church
to the strains of "when the saints go marching in". The society
membership will be poorer for the loss of Mick.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Roy for all the hard work he has put into the bulletin over the years.
will try and uphold the high standards he has set, but I doubt it somehow!
Thanks to everyone who has wished me well in my new venture, please, (plea from the heart here), if you have anything that you think other members would enjoy, let me know and I'll try and put it in, after all, this is the society's bulletin.
If anyone does have anything for me , please Email me on: email@example.com or give it to me at the meeting.
Meeting. 12th February 2002
Copyright & copy; 2002, Surrey Heath Bonsai Society.