Bonsai Bulletin
Oaks from Nottingham.

Corin Tomlinson made his third visit to our Society this season to demonstrate some examples of styling and design. He started by using field grown oaks which he intended to style into multi-tree plantings.

He began by talking generally about the use of oaks as bonsai. When growing in the field the roots can spread widely so it had been necessary to cut around each tree to maintain a compact root system. In order to reduce the normal size of oaks leaves it is necessary to develop lots of twiggy growth. The examples that had been brought to the meeting had been cut back hard each winter for five years and were not yet in bud. Oaks can suffer from die-back so growth should not be thinned out too drastically during styling. Mildew can be a problem and a good preventative is to spray with systemic fungicide before leaves open and again when the leaves have hardened. Oaks are not fussy about growing medium and Corin said he would be using their standard mix of 2 parts potting compost, 2 parts grit and 1 part John Innes No. 2.

Selecting oaks for a three tree planting Corin aimed for maintaining the natural craggy look which is the native habit of the tree. The top of each tree was trimmed for shape and heavy roots were removed. Corin believed that a free form primitive pot was the most suited to the appearance of an oak but on this occasion he chose to use a dull brown oval pot. After selecting the main tree and settling it in position in the compost, two others were selected and rotated until their final positions were decided. Where necessary, twigs were removed if they interfered with the positioning.

Having reached a satisfactory arrangement for a three tree planting, Corin proceeded to style a two tree planting, which from it's very satisfactory appearance, confounded the rule that one should avoid using only two trees in a multi-tree planting.

For his demonstration of styling a juniper, Corin had brought a Dutch grown imported Juniper 'Blaauws' which he estimated had been in the ground for 4-5 years. It was full of foliage and it was difficult to see how he would proceed. Junipers were good bonsai as they can be worked on at any time in the year. Corin explained that the roots and trunk should be the first features to examine as it was necessary to establish a good base and trunk line.

All dead foliage inside the growth should be removed and by looking at the position of the branches decisions made about which should be removed. Low heavy branches should be the first to be removed. Stubs could be left for creating potential jins if desired at a later stage. Further up the trunk line heavy branches with poor growth should be the next to be removed. Flexible branches should be retained to become features of the bonsai. As Corin talked us through these stages we began to see some order in the foliage and could see the potential bonsai emerging. The tree was potted at a slight angle to the horizontal at one end of a oval brown pot. Wiring of the flexible branches was started at the bottom of the trunk so that the structure and positions of the branches could be seen.
How easy it was made to seem. All we have to do now is have a go !


Eastern Style
From a press cutting supplied by Keith

Japanese landscape gardeners have constructed six special showcase gardens at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, as part of the UK wide festival of Japan 2001.
Kew boasts a long association with Japan and has many species of Japanese plants represented in its living plant collections. To celebrate the 2001 Festival, Kew's display opens on 25 May and will remain throughout the summer.
The Japanese Gateway or Chokushi-Mon, built at Kew in 1910, is the focal point for the celebrations. Other features include a Carp kite trail through the grounds, bamboo exhibitions and a lacquer display, as well as the six gardens which are inspired by water, stone and moss.
(The press statement also suggests that bonsai tips can be picked up at Kew.)


Bonsai Blues
By Anne

Competitions, raffles I see every day
Wonderful prizes, win 'six weeks away',
But what does my husband bring home to me ?
He wins the raffle and brings home a tree !

No nights of romance in Venice or Paxos
Just a straggly plant -he calls it a "Taxus"
He's off to Lightwater, smiling with glee
Please don't come back with another bonsai tree !

I don't mind compost, wire or a pot
They're out in the garage, no fear of rot.
But bonsai babies need much loving T.L.C.
Oh ! Please choose the book, let Jim have the tree

The Autumn leaves they turn red then fall
Filling my living room, kitchen and hall
Your flower and cacti, they're pretty stress free
But please don't bring home another bonsai tree. !

By The Editor

At one of our meetings I picked up a leaflet advertising a new bonsai website. Recently I logged on to it (as they say) and was impressed by the content. Although it is still developing it has a number of good features including links to other bonsai related sites, articles, events calendar, other Bonsai Clubs and Societies and dealers. There is a link to our Society site but when I tried it I could not connect to it.

Currently they are showing preview photos of the bonsai trees and displays entered for RHS Chelsea. No doubt they will be updating it with any awards but I see in the national press that Herons Bonsai won a Gold Medal. There was a Gold for the British Bonsai Society who I assume is FoBBs.
Anyway for those of you who have access to the internet then this site is worth spending some time surfing.


National Trust to abandon peat
From a press statement.

National Trust to abandon peat
The NT have stated that by 2003 all plants grown in or sold at trust properties will be raised in peat-free compost except in "exceptional circumstances", such as raised peat beds and ericaceous plantings integral to the history of the site.
The NT has revealed that their findings from a year of trials that most plants could be grown successfully in peat substitutes. In the trials, a range of popular garden plants was raised in alternative mixes including coir (coconut fibre), garden and kitchen waste and timber industry by-products with leaf mould and composted bracken.


Next Meeting. 10th July 2001

"Annual Summer Show"
Bring a tree and have a go

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Copyright & copy; 2001, Surrey Heath Bonsai Society.