May 2021 Report

Two outside workshops were held at beginning of May in Syston and Whitwick with numbers restricted to 6 attendees wearing face masks, social distancing and no refreshments. Members were itching to get back to group bonsai working and being as safe as possible within the pandemic restrictions. Having last met at beginning of March 2020, members had been keeping in touch by WhatsApp with messages, pictures and occasional calls. We also learned that our former meeting place in Queniborough would be unable to accommodate us in the foreseeable future due to continuing restrictions effecting the premises. So we were on the hunt for a new base.

A meeting place was found at the Park Hall in Whitwick Park, Whitwick, near Coalville and the the club started back cautiously on 18 May. Its a modern community hall with disability facilities and a spacious car park at front of the premises. We required members’ approval that the new location was suitable for our needs.

With sanitiser at the ready, face masks on and tables/chairs set out for social distancing, members attended an informal first meeting bringing trees, materials and tools to work with. They also viewed the new location and facilities, and gave the thumbs up in agreement. It was exciting to see each other and talk bonsai as well as a lot of other catching up to do. Strange times we are all experiencing and was good to be back to some sense of normality and routine.

June 2021 Report

Herb Haywood and his wife Val in 2018. The club’s new Leader.

On 29 June a further Members workshop was held at Whitwick with demonstration on grafting, jining and sharing plus work done on other trees brought to the event. It was a busy workshop with a great deal of discussion on the use of dremels and their accessories with ladies adding this electric tool to their work boxes for the first time. There was great concentration and much sawdust flying and generally the experience was greatly enjoyed.

Grafting: inserting a branch growing from root into trunk to develop new upper top growth on a Field Maple (Campestris) at workshop.

Next meeting on Tuesday, 6 July, 7pm at the Hall, Whitwick Park, LE67 5HB, Practical session on Defoliation of deciduous trees and after care. Display table will be for examples of grafting, jining and sharing. Subs will be due and club raffle will resume. A bonsai library scheme is being introduced. New enquiries welcome – see our Contact page..

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October Report 2022

This one I made earlier

The club met on 4 October in Whitwick and started the meeting with a review on the Heathrow Show. Although we have been showing at this event for a number of years, this year had our largest contingent of members attend. Some were attending a large show for the first time. Overall it was felt that they enjoyed their day in spite of the early start to travel and setting up our display was quite exciting. The only bone of contention seemed to be that the show area was shared by other non-bonsai events going on which didn’t quite send out the right vibes. To have the whole area covering bonsai related items would have been a better experience.

We then had the pleasure of unwrapping the parcels which contained our handmade bonsai pots. Back in May we had a pottery workshop with China Mist of Doncaster instructing us into making primative pinched back pots in clay. The raw pots were then taken away to the studio to be glazed and fired. They were collected and all pots safely survived the finishing process and transportation. In the picture above Carol, who puts together the club’s web reports, is unwrapping her finished pot. Members were excited to see all the results. Everyone agreed it was a fun time in the programme. The evening ended with members being advised of the importance of next month’s meeting.

There is a club workshop taking place on Saturday, 22 October in Syston, Leics from 11.00 – 15.00hrs. This will be the final workshop for this year.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, 1 November at our nomal venue in Whitwick from 18.45 and prospective members are welcome to attend and meet us. Please see our Contact Page for further details. This will be our annual Think Tank session when we organise our administration team and proposed programme to take us through next year.

The display table will be the final viewing of all the trees that we displayed in our 2022 shows and, in particular, those that were developed in the club project this year to produce a show tree and extra workshops were available to facilitate the programme. It will be an opportunity for members to be photographed with their trees as a record.

Nearly into November and I ask where has the year disappeared to? An unusual year with climate challenges and a programme that has kept us on our toes after pandemic restrictions were lifted. We tried new things this year and been blessed with a clutch of new members. It will be interesting to learn at next month’s meeting how we did in 2022 and what new ideas/suggestions will be put forward for consideration.

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August/September Reports 2022

Our Club Winner Olly (left) and Runner-up Mark (right)

In August we had our programmed meeting in Whitwick when members reviewed our Dobbies event in July. During the evening we had the presentations for our annual club competition which had taken place at the Dobbies event. Our runaway winner by public vote for most popular exhbit was Olly for his Larch Root Over Rock on a slab. For the fist time in the club’s history we have a runners-up trophy which was generously donated by club member Alan Taylor who wanted to encourage members of all abilities to participate in the club competition by providing an additional award. The runner-up was Mark for his Korean Hornbeam. Congratulations to both Olly and Mark on their achievements. A tree clinic was also available during the evening for advice to members experiencing problems with their trees. The workshop later in the month was cancelled due to the extreme hot weather.

Olly’s Larch Root Over Rock on a Slab after restyle April 2022

In September we welcomed another new member into our midst when Krishna joined us. We hope you will soon find your feet with us and look forward to your participation in club activities. The programme for the month was very busy as we prepared for our club entry to the Heathrow Show making a come back this year after the pandemic shut down. This year it was at a new location in Bracknell, Berks and the organisers promised a bigger, better event. Always a star in the calendar – this non-competitive show is for clubs to present themselves with displays from their members. It was a very early start out from Leics as our contingent of nine members set off car sharing and loaded up with trees, stands and accent plants. The day did not disappoint. They came back tired, inspired, and with lighter purses after being tempted to purchase a ‘must have’ item plus photos of some amazing trees that caught the eye. There is a very good overview of the event on Youtube.

Further events unfolded as show starved enthusiasts flocked to other locations after two years shut down due to the pandemic. Members attended Greenwood’s Bonsai Bash in Arnold, Notts although Corin had to bow himself out due to Covid but the enlarged and refurbished studio impressed with a selection from Corin’s personal tree collection and showings of demo videos in his absence. Then Doncaster Show and Boot Sale meant we had to cancel our workshop this month as members wanted to attend this event and, more recently, The Bonsai Live Show at Telford has been kicking off so there has been plenty going on and to visit. Much food for thought and lovely to meet up with friends and acqaintences again

Our next meeting is 04 October in Whitwick at our usual place in the Hall on the park, 7-9pm. There will be great excitement as the bonsai pinch pots we made back in May have now been collected from China Mist where they were glazed and fired and now available for distribution in their finished state. There will also be a critique on the Heathrow Show and what we learned from it to take forward to next year. There is a further opportunity for a tree clinic to answer any problems on our trees and possibly what we leared from the hot spell this year and how to protect our trees from climate change and extreme fluctuations in temperature. The display table will cover junipers and any trees currently showing glorious autumn colours to bring us some cheer. Hope to see you there.

If you would like further details on our club, please see the information pages listed above or make contact on 07870117882. We are the only bonsai club serving Leicestershire.

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July 2022 Report

The club met on 5 July in Whitwick, Leics, when members submitted various trees for selection in an up and coming public display. Like many other clubs that go through this process when organising such events, the quandry is how many trees and which trees to select. Club Leader Herb Haywood is pondering on the matter.

On 9 and 10 July we had our first public display of the year at Dobbies Garden Centre, Mountsorrel. It was also our annual club competition event when we ask the viewing public to choose their favourite tree from a numbered selection using a simple voting system. The winning club member whose tree was voted the most popular gets presented with a trophy which they keep for a year. The following is a selection from the event:

The next club meeting is on 2 August at Whitwick Park, 7-9pm. New enquirers are welcome to drop in and visit us. Further details can be obtained from Herb on 01530 813930 or Carol on 01455 845236.

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Catch-up May Report 2022

Magnificent Maples in May

The club met on 3 May and the subject for the meeting was propogation led by Herb Haywood explaining and demonstrating various methods that can be used to produce new bonsai or improve existing trees. There followed a lively discussion by members giving their own experiences with successes, failures, trying new ways and learning from the experience.

For the display table it was maples in May and members brought in some magnificent examples of colour and leaf variations. Again, there was much discussion and maples are certainly very popular. Opportunity was also made to bring ‘happy’ trees to the table – trees that members were feeling happy with for a number of reasons. A few Accents were displayed, always interesting to see. The raffle tree was on view – a root over rock Chinese Elm from Premier Bonsai of Wigston. Last two pics are of a Palmatum Arakawa and close up of its trunk.

On 21 May we gathered in great excitement at Whitwick for our pottery workshop under the guidance of China Mist of Doncaster. We were instructed in the procedure of making primitive pinch pots into bonsai pots with a single lump of clay. It was great fun and if it didn’t go right at first attempt, another lump of clay came our way – practice makes perfect. Time can fly when you are enjoying yourself and it certainly did on this occasion. Thank you Steve Kitchman for bringing everything to us and providing a very entertaining afternoon of pot making plus a talk on bonsai pots in general and answering our questions. The raw pots were taken away after the session to be thoroughly dried out, have a glaze applied and fired in the kiln at the pottery studio.

Next meeting in Whitwick on 7 June is a practical session covering wiring techniques.

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June Report 2022

Practical Session on wiring

At our meeting on 7 June members brought in trees to undertake some wiring work. Such sessions are always popular. It was also a bonus for the club as we welcomed four new members. It was lovely to meet Julie, Kathy, Martin and Judith. As a club for all abilities, from new to bonsai to those who have experience, we like to have a mix of skills in our membership and endeavour to help each other.

In addition the display table was an Open event for any tree or bonsai element members wanted to put on view and we had some Accents too. Forgive the Editor for her indulgence in Accents. A busy evening with a lot of tree carrying and a buzz in the room as members busied themselves with various tasks and shared their bonsai interest with others.

A members workshop was held on 19 June in East Leake and the weather was a bit iffy but turned out ok with a sunny afternoon. An opportunity to continue with wiring work as well as trimming and tidying our trees. Always interesting to attend the workshops as apart from doing bonsai work, you get to see members gardens and they can be very interesting too. Thank you Jan for being our host on this occasion, and for the teas and coffees, plus the opportunity to see your lovely garden.

Our next club meeting is Tuesday, 5 July at Whitwick when we will be preparing for our first public display this year and the club’s annual competition at Dobbies Garden Centre, Loughborough Road, Rothley, Leics LE7 7NL (near Mountsorrel) all day on 9 & 10th July. Do come along and see us and take part in a public vote for most popular tree on display. You do not need to have any bonsai knowledge and children can take part too. Make it a family day out, free parking and entrance. We would love to see you.

Our next workshop will be on 24 July at Donington-le-Heath.

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Late April Report 2022

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Late April Report 2022

David Cheshire visits Leicestershire Bonsai Club

The club enjoyed a very exciting and informative meeting on 6 April when David Cheshire attended as an invited speaker to talk to members on pines. It is not the first time David has attended the club and it was a well attended meeting. We appreciated that David brought examples from his nursery to demonstrate different aspects in pine varieties, development and maintenance. We kept David very busy after his talk with questions from members on their trees, the room was buzzing with conversations.

These are some of the examples handed round at the meeting for members to take a closer look at:

(1) Japanese Red Pine is no longer allowed to be imported into the UK due to it having a desease but there are some specimens here that are safe and usually quite old. The mame styled example below is approximately aged 25-30 years and originally obtained from a female Japanese grower who managed to keep it free from the disease.

(2) Below left is a Pinus thunbergi Mikawa Cork Bark (Japanese Black Pine) aged 6-7 years, raised from seed.

(3) On the right is a Pinus parviflora (Japanese White Pine) that was imported from Japan and is somewhere between 35-50 years old.

(4) Below left is a Japanese White Pine grafted onto a Pinus thunbergi root stock and was a neglected tree that is now being redeveloped after losing a number of branches.

(5) And to the right a Pinus syllvestris (Scots Pine) collected from Cannock Chase and was already quite old when found.

Much discussion followed in Q’s and A’s on members trees with David.

Members’ Workshop in Whitwick on 24 April

Next club meeting Tuesday, 3 May at Whitwick Hall, 7-9pm.

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March 2022 Report

Olly’s Azalea as Root Over Rock Mar 2022
Member Olly and meeting presenter

Another full-on meeting for the club on 1 March 2022 when the topic for the evening was Root-over-Rock and several examples were brought along for viewing. Olly, one of our members, gave an introductory talk on the technique although emphasised its one that takes time and patience but can give some interesting results. There are several ways to undertake the technique but the presenter has a preference for following Harry Tomlinson in “The Complete Book of Bonsai”, pp.80-82, ISBN 0-86318-484-7 (1990). Various rocks were brought to the meeting for members. Different types were explained and information given on where to obtain. There was a lot of discussion afterwards and the session gave much food for thought. This introductory session will be followed up by a workshop on 19 March with Olly, for members to start a root-over-rock project, or to further develop their existing plantings.

The display table for the evening was for root-over-rock examples from members in whatever stage of development, or junipers.

L>R. Top: Larch in development; Cotoneaster on mossed tufa. Middle: Larch over rock; Field Maple over rock; Bottom: Group on tufa; Field Maple on rock; Cotoneaster on rock age approx. 15yrs; Chinese Elm on rock in development 4yrs.

Two mame size junipers made it to the display table for the meeting. The first is approx 4yrs into development. The second maybe about same time when we did a club project.

During the evening Carol was presented with the Club’s Shield after winning the Club’s Competition for most popular tree with her Smooth Leaved Elm (see December report). Olly did the presentation being the previous holder of the trophy. There was no competition in 2020 for the first time in our history due to the pandemic. Carol is the website editor doing our reports.

The next club meeting is on Tuesday, 5 April, 7pm at Whitwick when we will be having an invited speaker and are greatly looking forward to welcoming David Cheshire to join us. David is well known in bonsai circles and has his own bonsai nursery and a frequent visitor to Japan where he has done much of his training. He will be giving a talk with demonstration on Pines and other trees.

Our display Table on this occasion will feature any Pines and give members the opportunity to discuss their trees with an expert. Promises to be an interesting evening.

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February Report 2022

Our new raffle coordinators swinging into action

What an absolute buzz our 01 February club meeting was. Clearly everyone was keen to undertake a practical evening. Apart from members with health issues, we had a full turnout plus a visitor who came to find out more about us. He has now joined the club. Welcome Peter to LBC, we are happy to have you with us. Peter is an old member of Wigston Bonsai Club – our former club. We also welcome Ruth and Jan who have taken on the shared role of club raffle coordinators who swung into action at this meeting. Members can purchase tickets throughout the year at meetings and the draw takes place at our last meeting of the year to win a good quality bonsai tree in a ceramic pot.

The evening was a continuation of the successful January workshop and members were busy repotting, restyling, wiring, and some brought trees for displaying. Sometimes members will trade trees with each other, as happened with the rather craggy privet in the gallery pics above which went home with a new owner.

Our 20th February workshop is being hosted by our Club Leader at Whitwick, and will be an ‘open’ workshop as well as continuing with the club project to develop trees for showing at our public events this year.

Also brought in to display for members’ information was a larch with its ‘root-over- rock’ and is the theme for our 01 March club meeting at Whitwick Hall, 7-9pm. There will be a talk/demo on this technique which will be followed up with a practical workshop on 19 March for members to maintain their root-over-rocks, or beside-rocks; and for those who wish to try this activity for the first time.

The slab on display is an example of what can be achieved from a China Mist event and they are visiting LBC on 21 May for a pottery workshop for members only to make a pot or slab for themselves. A very popular club event plus a talk on displaying pots. We are pleased that Steve Kitchman is visiting us again. The slab in the pic was made by a member at a previous club pottery workshop.

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January 2022 Workshop was fun!

Club Leader assisting a novice

We had a fabulous time on 16 January on a cold but gloriously sunny day when we gathered at Whitwick for the first of the year’s workshops. Nine members were really keen to get working on their trees and into the swing of things after the festive holidays. Plenty of assorted material was brought in and a thoroughly messy session was soon in progress as repotting was the main activity and some pruning and wiring. It was an intense but good fun event getting our club project for the year off the ground. It’s amazing how much you can get done in four hours when its concentrated time. And its lovely to have the opportunity to socially chat and discuss the work on our trees, and give advice and help where needed. Our workshops are free to club members.

With thanks to Herb, our Club Leader, who was kept very busy with his assistance, to Val for manning the kitchen and much appreciated cuppas to keep us going, and to Simon for taking a few photos.

The occasion will be continued at our next evening meeting on 1 February, 7-9pm at our usual venue in Whitwick, to facilitate those who missed the day time session and for those who want to continue working on a further tree.

Anyone with an interest in bonsai, can come along and meet us. We are a small friendly club and visitors are welcome to an Introductory meeting free of charge. Please see our Information Pages on this website for further details.

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