Tonight we had a joint talk given by Reg Bolton and Bob Bailey on how to set up a good bonsai display and the do’s and dont’s around how to display bonsai trees.

The main point is that less is more, there needs to be negative space around the trees and each tree or display needs to have sufficient space from that of another tree or display. So the above display shows one large bonsai tree which is a dominant tree in it’s own right set with a bronze and a rose cascade on a 6ft table space.

The image above shows the same dominant tree on display but the bronze has been supplemented with a small accent instead which would also work. At this stage this is only the planning element and is only one display potentially in a whole row of trees.

Scrolls are not always necessary and the scale, size and quality of the scrolls need to be correct for the tree in addition to the correct season. The bonsai pots should always be clean and intact, the surface of the soil or growing medium should be free from weeds and the like and moss if used should be fresh and applied appropriately. The above display is simplified further with the use only of a large accent, and it is important that the accent does not detract the eye from the tree though but is complementary.

When setting out large displays for bonsai, the order of trees should be considered to avoid runs of the same species, same styles and same types, so try to get a mix of styles, heights and species in addition to deciduous and evergreen as this makes for a more aesthetically pleasing display. The above display then had a smaller tree display set up adjacent, this then changes the dynamic of the whole display and softens the overall effect as it focuses the viewing closer due to the smaller scale of the make trees.

Here is a further display idea using a range of different quality trees on different height stands to again draw the viewer into the display from left to right and back again from right to left. It is a good range of species, styles and shapes and they compliment one another. The display should be considered as a whole and it is about the right combination of trees presented in their best possible light that is key.

Bob continued to expand upon the ideas around the creating the golden triangle and about the positioning of the trees on the tables, so that they are not all in a straight line but are set forward and back and out of alignment to again add depth and interest.

The above display again contrasts a broadleaf with that of a conifer, and this is particularly important for winter image shows, as the deciduous trees are without leaf, so the conifers add a colour that would otherwise be absent if only deciduous trees were displayed.

Reg then continued the discussion around the history behind the Swindon club and exhibiting their bonsai trees before focusing on the 2013 Swindon Show as preparations have begun in ernest to ensure that it continues to develop and promote high standards of bonsai trees being exhibited.