Tokonoma by Bob Bailey

About two years ago after working with Shohin for ten years I decided I needed a new challenge and decided to try my hand at Mame. I sold my Shohin collection, partly to finance a trip to Japan and also to fund my interest in Mame. After visiting various nurseries and The Green Club I was amazed at  the quality and varieties of Mame on offer and also because of their popularity with the Japanese  how expensive they were, this also applied to the pots, stands, jittas etc. It would appear the smaller the tree the more expensive it is. After two years I now have a collection of 16 Mame, mostly Japanese sourced, but also two out of the garden, a pyracantha and also a clump style potentilla.

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Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Back in 1989, I was reading book on growing exotic fruits; I was eating a Pomegranate at the time and decided to have a go with some of the seeds. Following the book’s instructions the seeds were put on a plate and left on a windowsill to go mouldy. They were then planted and put the airing cupboard to germinate. Three or four successfully germinated and were then grown on in flowerpots for about a year. The soil was then washed off the roots of one of these seedlings and this was planted in the hollow of a rock that I had previously found. Two of the roots were threaded through small holes in the rock and one root was brought over the front. Then this was all put into a flowerpot and completely covered with soil. Gradually, over several years, the soil level was reduced to expose the roots as they thickened; eventually they split the rock apart. The rock the tree sits on today is the remaining part of the original rock.

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Terry Adams discussing his English Elm (Ulmus procera)

During the evening meeting there was a critique of club members’ trees for anyone who wanted guidance and to share their thoughts on the development of their trees and the first to share their thoughts was Terry Adams as he discussed his new project, a recently purchased English Elm (Ulmus procera). Terry put forward his ideas on how he planned to develop the tree and perhaps remove the top branch that veers to the right as it has a deep undercut. He talked about whether he would air layer it as well as develop the other elements of the tree that formed a natural raft. He also proposed to drill through the cavity and develop a central crown on the main trunk and subsidiary crowns on the side trunks to the right.

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Swindon President Reg presents Tony with a Certificate of Merit

Swindon President Reg presents Tony with a Certificate of Merit. taken by Mark

The tree awards were sponsored by Dai-ichi bonsai, Newbury & Redditch &  were presented by Tony Tickle. About 350 people attended this wonderful display. We hope that everyone enjoyed it.

Best Chuhin Award, Juniper

Best Large Deciduous Award, grey Alder

Chaenomeles Japonica bonsai

Chaenomeles Japonica

We are now back from our Annual pilgrimage to Lodders or ‘Bonsai Fest’. Derek, Amelia, Ross and I have been doing this for the last five years. You would think that by now we would have been bored by it, but everytime we go we find something else to interest us. The huge amount of bonsai trees,

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It has been a fairly harsh start to the winter and reported to now have been the coldest on record since the Met office started recording data. So with that said how will our bonsai trees fair? Here are a few of our members trees in the snow at the end of 2010. They show a magical winter wonderland with the blanket of snow covering the bonsai trees enhancing their visual appeal.

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New shoots showing the stipule at the end of the shoot

For general pruning and to promote back budding on Taiwan figs I tend to prune back to behind new shoots (know as the stipule which is the point at the end of the shoot) and this helps if you want a denser crown with smaller leaves.

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