Interim Workshop 23 June 2013

Report and Photos were supplied by Carol,
who has kindly volunteered to write up and illustrate all meeting reports
in order to keep this blog up to date.


Preparing Bonsai for Shows Workshop

10 people attended the Club’s first interim workshop at this Reporter’s home on 23 June 2013.

Typically, for  a British mid-summer day,  it was windy and showery with occasional bursts of sunshine, but this did not dampen members’ enthusiasm as trees of all sizes and varieties were brought into the garden for a pampering session as final touches in trimming, shaping and top dressing were applied to prepare the exhibits  for forthcoming public Club shows.

Not only trees in final stages of preparation for showing were viewed, but other specimens were discussed for problem solving and future potential.  The convivial and relaxed atmosphere  made it easy to for members to share experiences, ideas and pass on hints and tips to each other.  There was much laughter – especially when Frank was blamed for bringing down the rain!

A friendship meal around a table while the worst of the weather passed outside, saw everybody enjoy being together and exchanging all sorts of views on life in general.

A warm and sound Thank You to those who supported this event, a new venture in our programme, and Good Luck with the forthcoming Club’s displays at:

Wigston Bonsai Club’s Annual Show at Leicester University Botanical Gardens, Glebe Road, Oadby, Leicester on Sunday, 30 June 2013 from 10am.

Wigston Bonsai Club’s Display and Accent Plants Competition at Bosowrth Annual Flower Show, Bosworth Park Showground, Leics on Sunday, 7 July from 10am.



Meeting Report 4 June 2013

Report and Photos were supplied by Carol,
who has kindly volunteered to write up and illustrate all meeting reports
in order to keep this blog up to date.


Subject : Show Tree preparation

Member Speaker:  Lee Bolton

Lee putting on his serious face during the presentation.

Members brought their own trees and tools to the meeting and there was lively discourse from arrival as assorted trees were viewed and advice shared.  With the growing season now in full swing, it’s an exciting time and much needs doing, especially if you are preparing trees for public showing

The preamble discussion was so intense it took a while before Lee could gain the floor and give us the benefit of his experience and research.  The Club is preparing for several shows coming up in the summer and Lee gave some pointers on how to prepare your bonsai for public showing, especially for novices who may be showing for the first time.  He covered everything from cleaning the pots and removing weeds and old fertiliser, to topdressing and applying moss to the soil surface.

Removing the old soil in preparation for top dressing with moss and fine akadama


Knowing your tree and its species is important, as  different techniques are required when defining growth and shape and maintaining a healthy tree in the process.  Most trees in the UK are now in their first flush of new growth and there is a need to know where and when to decandle, shoot prune or leaf trim new growth and encourage or prevent further growth in the right places.

The question of top dressing with moss was discussed and people had varying views of this.  However, it is generally accepted that it is better for new moss or lichen to be applied just before showing, allowing time for it to settle, smooth out and look natural.  It should look as though the tree is portraying its natural state.  However, if moss is left on throughout the year it can harbour pests and cause problems with over or underwatering as it is hard to judge how dry or wet the soil is below the moss cover.

Joan thinning out the needles on her Japanese White Pine

Other top dressing like Akadama should be sieved to remove any fine dust and the finer granules used to top dress the tree with a uniform layer.  Fine grit, either on its own or mixed with a multi-purpose compost is an alternative but consideration needs to be given to the overall even layer of the finish with colour and granulation size complementing the tree and pot.  Pots must be clean for showing and rubbing unglazed ceramics with oil can enhance the patina and improve the overall appearance of a display.

After all the effort in the preparation work, the finishing touch is a clearly displayed label informing the viewer of the species of tree, it’s age if known, and the style it is displaying.  Mike circulated examples he has been able to produce and they looked very impressive and smart.

Club Secretary, Mike, also brought to the meeting various accent plantings in pots and there was further discussion on the making of small pots with simple materials, and use of suitable plants like sedges, grasses, young or small specie hosta, saxifrage and other low growing alpine plants, thyme or anything else that is small and dainty.  Mosses and lichen are alternatives and a stone or pebble included can give further interest.  Small pots were made available to members to get them started on their own accent planting.  It was decided to reintroduce an Accent Plant Competition for members at our next show on 30 June 2013 in Bosworth, Leicestershire (see Programme of Events).

Dave working on a Chinese Juniper and Carol in the background trimming new growth on a wild Pear

A big thank you to Lee for his presentation which was helpful and concise, and to Mike for bringing his examples to the meeting for our further information.  Thanks also to Frank Mepham who will book our display for the Bosworth Show – please note this additional event for our programme and volunteers are needed to stage this.

Leaflets were distributed to remind members of an opportunity to attend a dedicated Workshop on 23 June 2013 for completing preparation work  on show trees.  Please note:  there is an error in the directions. Fairfield is the second road on the RIGHT, not the left as printed.


Next Meeting:  2 July 2013 at usual meeting place and time.

Unfortunately there was no Guest speaker available for this date, so Mike will do the first part of his presentation on “Horticultural practices in Bonsai cultivation – What,  When and most importantly Why?”

Notes for Diaries – Extra Events for Us in 2013

12-16 June   

Best of British Bonsai, NEC Birmingham – part of Gardener’s World Show.

Contact mkhughes567@ or Internet for further details.

Sun, 23 June     

11am-4pm Workshop in Oadby.  Contact Carol or Alan 0116 2201608

Sun 30 June

11am-5pm Annual Club Show at Leic Uni Botanical Gardens,   Oadby.

We need volunteers to help with setting up, manning the stand and breaking down after the event. Contact Mike 07511 380 375

Sun 7 July   

11am-5pm Market Bosworth Annual Flower Show.  Display & WBC Accent Plant Competition.  Help needed at 3pm on Saturday to set up the display and on the sunday to man the stand.  Contact Frank 01455 291933

Mon 26 Aug B/H

City of Leicester Horticultural Show, Aylestone Leisure Centre, LE2 6LU.

We need volunteers to help with setting up, manning the stand and breaking down after the event. Contact Mike 07511 380 375

7 & 8 Sep

Greenwood Bonsai Bash, Nottingham.

If you are thinking of going, we will try to arrange a car share. Contact Mike 07511 380 375

Sun 29 Sep    

Autumn Show Bonsai Traders Association, Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield S9 3TL.

If you are thinking of going, we will try to arrange a car share, Contact Mike 07511 380 375