Following the first blast of some real winter temperatures and rain, BSV Members met to work on their trees and get them ready for winter. Heaters, hot drinks and a warm afternoon tea helped keep the cold at bay.
A selection of trees being worked on by members is included below.
Evidence of a styling plan being applied.
The strong growth on this Kunzea is being trimmed. Thought to be ericoides species but there is some doubt and further research is in hand.
Expert advice is that this small elm is now ready for fine tuning and re-potting in a bonsai pot.
At the April BSV Monday meeting, John and Dave talked about collecting Yamadori in Australia and the issues you face when collecting.
John had several recent Yamadori on display to illustrate the types of trees that could be collected.
They covered a very wide range of issues that you will need to address if you are to be successful at collecting Yamadori. Some of their comments are included below.
Make sure your planned activities are legal. There are Federal, State and Local Government laws that apply in various circumstances and permits may be required. Urban Yamadori on private property may be an easier option.
Risk management plans are necessary to ensure diggers and the public are kept safe.
Yamadori can range from small to very large.
Digging and caring for Yamadori are time intensive activities so choose carefully before you start to dig.
Dave suggests you select your tree based on nebari, movement, taper and bark. Branches can be grown later.
Some species such as Hawthorn can be temperamental so timing and aftercare are critical.
Different techniques such as the “Sweating Technique” and open soil mixes are being experimented with to improve success rates. The roots need to be kept moist until the tree can be potted. Some species such as Jade need special treatment to avoid wood rot.
Equipment needed depends on many things but could include hand saws, secateurs and a sharp shovel. A chain saw may also be an option. Pre-dig preparation can assist.
Photos of trees on display at the Meeting are included below.
With strong winds and rain threatening, preparation for the 2018 BSV Sales Day started early with a frenzy of activity to unload plants and arrange displays. Meanwhile, eager buyers were queueing at the door eager to get inside. Luckily, the rain held off until after the doors opened at 9-30pm as buyers rushed in to check out the extensive range of plants and bonsai for sale. Great bargains for everyone concerned. The crowd had subsided quite a bit by the time this photo was taken.
By all reports, both buyers and sellers had a great day. Many thanks to all who helped setup and clean up afterwards.
After the rush of the Sale Day, the organisers had a brief break for lunch before joining the Saturday Program to work on trees. Examples are included below.
At the March meeting of the BSV, Michael Simonetto shared his extensive knowledge of carving bonsai with members. His demonstration included both hand and power tools.
First of all, he emphasised the importance of safety and using the appropriate safety protection for the task at hand. This could cover eye protection, ear protection and hand protection. Secondly, tool techniques are vital and it is essential your hands are always behind the tool that is making the cut. It was also noted that some tools are made for dragging rather than pushing which changes the safety requirements.
A range of power tools can be used depending on the magnitude of the task at hand and of course the choice of cutting bit. More powerful tools will require more stringent safety measures to avoid harm if unexpected events occur. Look for ways to more safely support the power tool and make sure you are cutting with the grain.
When carving bonsai, the intention is to create very natural looking deadwood and this can take a very long time as you move from the initial rough cuts to finishing off. Some of Michael’s comments are included below.
Make sure the tree is firm in the pot before starting.
Observe what happens in nature to help guide how to shape and finish off the deadwood.
The edge of a thick piece of glass can be good for finishing off.
It is easier to tear young wood with moisture.
When tackling a large jin, a cut around the base to avoid stripping down the trunk.
With shari, mark it first and follow the trunk line.
Examples of activity on the night are included below.
Our Banksia evening in February was a very informative and engaging session with Craig Wilson. BSV members watched eagerly as Craig pruned several large banksias and demonstrated the fact that they can be seriously chopped with very successful back budding in due course.
We learnt that they need to be regularly fertilized.
He suggested it is better to start with a young banksia sapling rather than old nursery stock. Begin your banksia bonsai by cutting off the sapling roots and then plant on a sloping angle in the pot to commence the intended curvature right at the base of the tree.
Craig advocated defoliating banksia in early Spring and usually cuts leaves in half rather than totally stripping the tree, to facilitate ongoing photosynthesis. Defoliation will help to develop lots of new twig growth which will result in lots of fine growth and smaller leaves. Pinching out new tips will help with ramification.
It was warm and humid at the start of the session but rain showers during the afternoon brought some relief. Members worked on a wide range of trees and azalea experts were on hand to assist as required. Examples of the trees are included below. Lots of chatting over a great afternoon tea. A very productive afternoon.
In the first meeting for 2018, Tien from Bonsai Sensation conducted a brief demonstration on growing figs for bonsai followed by a workshop for members to work on their figs and seek guidance if necessary. Over 40 BSV Members were very engaged in the demo and the workshop and there was a real buzz in the air as they got down to work. Below are a few photos of Tien demonstrating with figs. It was interesting to see how quickly Tien trimmed his trees.
Tien focussed his demonstration of developing fig bonsai with good nebari and taper. He covered repotting, trimming of roots and branches and defoliation. He reminded all those present that the tree doesn’t want to be a bonsai so we need to regularly trim the longer shoots.
The first Saturday Workshop for 2018 was very productive with much activity focussed on trimming, defoliating and revitalising developing and existing bonsai. We also had two visitors from Europe who are spending time in Melbourne and took the opportunity to join us. It was great to hear about their experiences in the European climate and we are sure they learnt a lot about the Melbourne climate and the tree species that do well here.
Photos of a selection of trees and the results of some of the days activities are included below.
Best Wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year. We look forward to seeing you in 2018; maybe with a new tree or two.
The December Workshop was the last one for 2017 and all tables were full as Members worked on a wide variety of trees. Restyling, trimming, defoliating and chin wagging about trees, life in general and plans for Christmas. Despite all the talk, great progress was made on many of the trees and examples are shown below. In some cases showing changes made during the day.
It was close to a full house as BSV members met for the final meeting of 2017. First on the Agenda was the Annual General Meeting of the Society followed by Trevor talking about azaleas. The evening finished with a great supper provided by members.
Brief reports were provided covering the years activities. These included the continuing healthy membership, extensive communications with members via Newsletter, Web site and Facebook, an extensive program of demonstrations and workshops, Masterclass and Novice sessions, a very successful Annual Bonsai Exhibition, Welcome packs for new members, a successful Sales Day and several community events. Finances remain sound with further investments in member benefits and a small surplus recorded for the year. Membership fees will remain unchanged for 2018.
The Frank Hocking Award for 2017 was awarded to Robert R. for his many valuable and ongoing contributions to the Society.
Following a recommendation from the Committee, the meeting agreed to award Life Membership to Gerard S. in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Society over many years. Gerard also won the tree display raffle with his Lemon Scented Gum displayed earlier in the year.
Many thanks were extended to the Committee and members for their hard work during the year to create opportunities for members to develop and extend their bonsai art capabilities.
Following the annual reports, elections for next years office bearers were conducted by Howard W.. Victor, Chris and Neil continue as President, Treasurer and Committee member. The Society welcomes new Committee members Melissa as Secretary together with John H., Victor L., Andre N., Kim B. and Colin B..
Special thanks were extended to the retiring Committee members Kevin, Rob and Lyn for their contributions during this and past years.
The Committee looks forward to your continuing involvement in the Society during 2018.
Following the AGM, Trevor from Bonsai Art Nursery talked about azaleas; some of which are displayed above. Trevor focussed on the Satsuki variety in his talk.
The correct pronunciation of Satsuki can be challenging with the “u” being silent in Japanese. Trevor has a long habit of using the phonetic pronunciation for many years and finds it difficult to change.
Azaleas are part of the Rhododendron genus and the common indica, kurume and satsuki cultivars have been intensely cultivated over hundreds of years.
Satsuki azaleas are good for bonsai. They have small leaves, they flower in late spring/early summer and have new growth before flowering. They have been bred in Japan over hundreds of years to be used in bonsai. There are thousands of species with an extensive range of flower colours and shapes. Different colours and shapes can be found on the same plant and they can change over time.
Indica and kurume varieties can be used for bonsai but are generally not preferred. Indica have large leaves and flowers and kurume require more work than satsuki.
Satsuki enjoy being a bit pot bound and are suitable for many bonsai styles.
Soil needs to be well draining and watering is best applied after the surface layer dries out. Pots may need to be a bit deeper to help the plants cope with the drier conditions in Australia.
Satsuki in bloom are great indoors for short periods but avoid watering the flowers to extend their life. Soak the pot.
Satsuki are not apical dominant so be very careful when trimming the apex.
Time in the ground can help develop nebari.
The lace bug is the most common pest and will need a systemic insecticide to control.
And many other helpful hints which I am sure Trevor will be happy to share when you visit his nursery.
Display trees including azaleas are included below.