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Gold at Gardeners World Live at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for John Trott of Mendip Bonsai with a stunning and very colourful display that looked magnificent. He has very kindly shared his thoughts in the post below and his photographs from his display, so congratulations John and thank you for sharing this with us.

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My display at this years Gardeners live evolved from my thoughts of my early shows I attended. After my first Chelsea, one thing that stood out in my mind was the lack of colour and variation within the bonsai displays. Back when I first entered my display there were 7 bonsai displays of which one I always remember as being in the bracket of ’50 shades of green’ together with the ‘same’ colour pots.

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So my ambition was to aim for a predominately flowering and fruiting display. This year I was lucky with my Satsuki Azalea’s being late flowering due to the late frosts, etc. I was able to display 5 Satsuki’s, a cotoneaster and a Mulberry. Together with a Trident Maple, Japanese White Pine, Siberian Elm, ginkgo and a Chinese Juniper (Itiogawa) to complete the display.

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I was pleased to receive a gold medal award, which now takes my overall tally to 71 RHS gold medal awards. What was also pleasing was to be told my display was also nominated for the overall best in show award loosing out to a fine display of Alliums.

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It is very hard work to try to keep the standard high with weather conditions, confines of staging and lighting within the various venues. The first element of putting a display together is to create the ‘wow’ factor to give impact to the general public. Unfortunately the traditional tokonoma display has not the high impact at these horticultural shows although this is the complete opposite at bonsai based events.

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Space is always at a premium. It is hard to instill the peace and tranquility that a tokonoma evokes within the busy horticultural shows with tens of thousands of people attending. My displays normally create ‘traffic jams’, I feel we have to adapt to the confines in which we work or display within. Masses or the few, all enjoy the art of bonsai.

In addition using stands that compliment the trees is always going to be difficult as the height is less with the backdrop so I use lower stands as opposed to high stands. To display cascade trees is also difficult on a display to get the right balance.

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The big difference I have found between exhibiting a bonsai at a bonsai show is that it is the bonsai tree only which is on display whereas at a horticultural based show like Chelsea it is a complete display of all the bonsai trees and structure plus yourself as the exhibitor at your stand.

This is where the hard work comes in as some shows we work from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm responding to questions and queries from the general public throughout this time. With all the talking though we enjoy liquid refreshments which go down well after the day has ended……..alongside a good hearty meal.

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I knew my life was beyond the point of no return when I did not renew my season ticket to my favorite football club after supporting them for some 25 years. Bonsai had taken over.

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For more details about John Trott and Mendip Bonsai Studio visit his website.