It is some months ago now that we as a club decided to up our game a little and put on a display at a dedicated bonsai event, rather than just at local horticultural shows. We put in a bit of work on preparing for this with a workshop lead by Malcolm Hughes and some research of our own.
We were aiming to make the Bonsai Traders show at Coventry in 2017 our first foray into setting up a display, but having received an invitation from Mark and Ming Moreland to put up a club display at the Heathrow Bonsai Show, we decided we may as well take the plunge and go for it.
So myself, Olly and Trevor set off on Saturday morning and after a leisurely drive to London we arrived around lunchtime and volunteered to help with the setup of the display area in the sports hall.
I have to say that the organisation and logistics behind was quite complex, but Mark and Ming and the motley crew of volunteers handled the task superbly. The hall was set by 4:30 pm, ready for the trees to arrive early on Sunday. We even managed to get our trees on the display area before we left, giving us a bit of extra time in the morning to tinker with the layout.
Then it was off to the Scout hut where Mark had offered to put us up for the night, saving us a costly night in a hotel.
A quick trip to the pub for a few pints with Will Baddley and Simon Jones and then back to the Scout hut for a BBQ and more Beer. Great bonsai banter around the bonfire until about 1:30 am with a crowd of people, whose names were sadly erased by a beer induced amnesia (sorry guys, all I can recall is that there was a Chris and an Andrew and that most came over from Wales) Apologies also for the lack of pictures of the evening. Aparently the photos were so bad they could not be used. It is still unclear if that was due to the bad lighting or the amount of ESB and hobgoblin consumed by Olly who was in charge of the camera.
Sunday started with loads of coffee and by 8:00 am we arrived back at the exhibition hall to finalise our display. The hall was a hive of activity for the next 2 hours with 34 bonsai clubs and societies setting up their displays and traders setting up their stands. More than 400 bonsai were set out on the day.
The show opened at 10:00 am and it was finally time to relax and take it all in. Some superb displays were on show showing the diversity of club level bonsai here in the UK.
Below is just a small sample of the trees on show, no doubt you will see many more on the various club websites and facebook posts by people who attended the show.
Just a few final words.
I am glad that we chose to display at the Heathrow Bonsai Show as our first proper Bonsai event. The organisation was spot on and the atmosphere was friendly and conducive and the welcome and hospitality offered to us by Mark and Ming Moreland (on what must have been a very stressful day for them) was humbling .
Needless to say, we booked our place for next years show.