Club Meeting Report 4 October 2016

Members’ Trees

1.  Peter gave an extended history on his 38yr old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). It was originally collected from a Surrey peat bog in 1978 by Dan Barton, the internationally known bonsai grower and writer born 1938 in Hong Kong and lives in England.  This tree has providence, as is recorded in a book [1] written by Dan Barton who still had the tree in 1986.img_2345
After Dan sold it, it passed through a couple of further owners ending up in Leeds and went on Ebay with a price tag of £1600.  After haggling and agreeing to self collect, it was purchased by Peter, it’s current owner.
After 14yrs of cultivation, it succumbed to pineapple gall- an infestation that swells and distorts young pine needles into a sac that contains emerging insects similar to aphids that are sap sucking and damage the branches.  If not promptly dealt with can kill the tree.  If allowed to develop they grow wings, fly, and
 create further galls in which eggs are laid and repeat the process.  Unfortunately, the recommended eradicator, Bifenthrin, had been discontinued in UK. However, through research, Peter discovered this used to be an ingredient in the insecticide Roseclear and, by good fortune, an old batch came to light at a garden centre and stock was duly bought up.  The pine was treated but it took three years and a lot of patience to restore the tree back to good health.
The tree continues to display the literati style it has always sported.  It does not back bud which has been a problem.  It has a reminiscence aurea of trees depicted in old Chinese paintings, and the era of the great John Y Naka (1914-2004) comes to mind – a period back in time.  To this day it continues to be in the ‘shallow purple-black pot’ originally planted by Dan Barton.  [1] Barton, D (1989) The Bonsai Book: The definitive illustrated guide. London: Ebury Press. pp.46, 112.
2.  Dave introduced his Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) which he has had 12-14 years and originally purchased from a non-bonsai show.  It’s a bit of a beast and extremely heavy to transport about now.  It’s a tree that doesn’t stop growing and produces leaves non-stop.  It does not lose its leaves in Winter and is kept outdoors all the time.


This tree has great character and is a survivor!   The above is the reverse side and the front displays a
hollowed out main trunk.  Dave explained originally it started with a decaying knuckle which was ugly and he drilled it out and opened up  the inside.  It then suffered an intentional fire – this is a former member of the fire brigade becoming an arsonist and setting light to his tree – Ouch.  He wanted to create the authentic look of a lightening strike.  Walnut wood stain was applied to darken the inside.  Finally the roots were exposed to complete its characteristic look.  Dave ended by saying it may not be the traditional way of doing things, but its his tree.  He has created what we see today and is pleased with how it has developed so far.   He likes the rugged look, and that this tree has a story to tell.


3.  Carol produced her small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata), also known as Linden tree.  No history or story here.  It was purchased as raw material from a bonsai nursery four years ago as she has a bit of a penchant for native trees.  About the same time Mike was giving instruction at a club meeting about developing thickness in trees by planting in the ground, allowing to grow out and cutting back for a few years.  There is not a lot of ground space in Carol’s garden, so was taken out of its nursery pot and put into a larger terracotta pot, and allowed to grow.  It’s currently taking on its yellow Autumn colour.


It has certainly grown from a stick and perhaps glad did not put into the ground as suspect it would be twice this size by now.  She wanted to know how much longer it should be allowed to grow on, and commented that for a small-leaved variety, the leaves did not appear to be small.  Members gave their thoughts.  Mike advised soil in pot was very solid and probably root bound.  To plant into a large bonsai container  next Spring and expose roots for nebari.   As a deciduous tree, branches can be pruned end of dormant period before they start to swell next Spring.  It was noted that there was a prolific appearance of new buds already formed, so would be even bigger next year.  They are thirsty trees in the growing season.  A framework can be started with wiring and a first leaf pruning will produce a second crop with smaller leaves in the Summer.  Not to over-feed as that encourages larger leaves.


General notices were given out and members asked to note that next year on 22-23 Oct, it is being envisaged that the Club will be participating at the Heathrow Show – this would be our first formal bonsai show with other bonsai enthusiasts.  Trevor will also be putting his handcrafted pots on sale.
December Social:  Members were asked to give their choices for skittles or ten-pin bowling with a supper at next meeting.  People are looking into these possibilities and will have further details for next month.
Next Meeting:  In the past it has been usual to plan our next year’s programme after the AGM previously held in November.  The AGM has now been moved to January 2017.  This will allow us to have much more time to have a full planning session for next year’s programme and members are asked to bring to the meeting their ideas and suggestions for topics and speakers for new programme.  Also, please bring more trees for informal display.
Afterthought:  Not done this before, new idea – grab the opportunity to bring in seeds to share at next meeting.  Whether spare bought seeds or freely gathered from garden and hedgerow, can members research growing needs of seeds they bring in and pass the information on at meeting.  Remember to remove flesh/pulp off seeds.  About time Mike had a rest from tutoring.  It’s rather a nice activity to go seed gathering on a nice day.  Or bring in grown seedlings in excess of your needs  Looking forward to seeing your supplies.  Thank you.
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