Ritta and Mark have visited the Noelanders Trophy exhibition in Belgium many times, but they have only exhibited there twice, this year and last.
There is a selection process for the exhibition; they had to complete a form and submit photos of their tree(s), and then at a later date they were informed if their tree had been selected for the exhibition, or not. If a tree has been exhibited in either of the previous two shows, it cannot be submitted again until next year. This helps keep the show “fresh”.
There are usually prizes for the Best Tree, Best Evergreen and Best Deciduous. Every year there is one special prize for either Shohin, Kifu or Chuhin bonsai. This year the special prize was for Kifu size trees (21–35cm).
British bonsai and British demonstrators have always been well represented there, and this year was no exception. The number of Brits attending the show seems to grow each year too with coaches and mini buses travelling from all over the UK.
The standard of the exhibits has steadily improved over the years, and the show attracts visitors from all over Europe and further afield too. The best trees there would not be out of place at the top Japanese shows.
Their Japanese friends Kenji san and Yasue san travelled from Japan with the specific aim of experiencing their first European Bonsai exhibition. Kenji san works at a well-known bonsai nursery in Angyo, Saitama. They were very impressed with what they experienced, and of course found the European species of particular interest.
There is a huge vendor’s area too, and this year there were about 40 quality traders from all over Europe.
For this year’s show, Ritta and Mark decided to submit their large Trident Maple. They bought this tree over 10 years ago via Lee Verhorevoort. It came from a well-known nursery near Nagoya in Japan, owned by Okumura san.
Over the years, they have been diligently developing the ramification to a point where they felt it was ready to be exhibited in winter image. They commissioned Gordon Duffet to make a pot for the tree a couple of years ago.
This tree was first exhibited at the 2012 10th Anniversary Swindon Winter Image Show, where it was awarded the “Best Tree in Show” prize.
They were pleased when the tree was accepted for exhibit at this year’s Noelanders Trophy XV.
Their tree was exhibited on a rosewood table that was made by Doug Mudd. The kusamono was a mixed planting of ferns and grasses on a piece of rock, and that was displayed on a suiban and a jiita.
Thank you Mark and Ritta for contributing this article on your experiences of the Noelanders Trophy XV 2014 and your photographs of your exhibit which was superb.