Visitors to the gardens were in for two additional surprises. Firstly the ‘Ice Age’ exhibits, including a giant, animatronic Woolly Mammoth in front of the band stand. Secondly, a very well curated bonsai display in the main hall. So two very different crowds to entertain. The bonsai display did seem well appreciated by the unsuspecting public. It was good to see the look of awe on some of their faces, I remember having that same feeling when I first saw bonsai on display- which by coincidence was at the same venue. 

As a bonsai potter- exhibitions are an opportunity to show my latest work. This time featuring new accent pots more prominently. Recently I’ve been developing a metallic bronze glaze. 

Matt finish, breaking through to dark brown, suitable for larger pot surfaces
Brighter bronze, perhaps better for accents

Of course everyone has their personal favourites at any show. However I was impressed by an ingenious shohin display by a member of South Staffs. Grey ‘fence’ backgrounds, incorporating height adjustable shelves allowed the trees to be repositioned. It liked the versatility of this idea and how it could be used in a target setting.

Also an entire row of just one species-junipers. The variety in the five trees displayed really conveyed to me why these trees are so popular in the bonsai scene. Each tree was immaculately presented. The pot choice for each tree really stood out to me, careful thought and many years must have been spent searching for those pots.

The South Staffs club had also invited Stourbridge to display at their show. A favour  which Stourbridge repay by hosting South Staffs at their own show in early November, at the Bonded warehouse, Canal street. This sharing of show space is a great idea. It gives their members twice the opportunity to show trees at completely different times of year. This way the strengths of different species can be appreciated or a completely different message can be portrayed even if using the same tree.

Semi cascade juniper, in rare root over rock style
Dwarf Cotoneaster on rock, the tiniest leaves
Hawthorne, evenly covered in flower buds

Big thank you to South Staffs and Stourbridge for an enjoyable day. The effort and teamwork that goes into it all is really evident. The standard of UK shows continues to increase and this ones definitely worth putting in the diary for next year.

Thank you to Graham from Dragonfly Bonsai Pots for this show report. To see more of his pots see here