Bonsai Facebook Pages

I thought I might post some interesting Bonsai related Facebook pages for our members to have a look at and maybe help to spread the good work done by other Bonsai Clubs in the UK.

First one is the page of the Wessex Bonsai Society.


A small club like our own, trying to raise their profile and hoping to attract new members. Please have a look and like their page to get updates of their activities.

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February Guest Speaker Confirmed


We have now confirmed Corin Tomlinson as our guest speaker for the February meeting.

Please make sure to put this in your Diary so as not to miss it.  Corin has a wealth of experience in all aspects of Bonsai and his demonstrations and lectures are well presented.



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2017 Meetings and Events

The meeting and events programme for 2017 has now been published.  There are still a few items that need to be confirmed, but the main items are now on there and I urge all members to make a note in their diaries to make sure you don’t miss any of the meetings.

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Hi All

Just a reminder that there is no club meeting this evening, Tuesday 6th Deceember,

The Xmas Social is next week, Tuesday 13th December at the Horse and Trumpet in Wigston.

Doors open 7.00 pm, food served at 8.00 pm.

If any one hasn’t confirmed, but wants to come along (spouses and partners welcome), please let us know asap please.



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Members X-Mas Social 2016

We have now booked the X-mas social skittles night at the Horse and Trumpet Pub in Wigston for Tuesday, 13 December 2016. 

Please note that this replaces the monthly club meeting so we will NOT meet at the rugby club in December!

 The Club will stand the cost for the skittles alley and the meal, so you just need to come along and bring a bit of money for your drinks and a good arm to knock over some pegs.

The food is basic traditional pub grub ( Cottage Pie, Sausages, Faggots, Mushy Peas, Chips), but they will provide a vegetarian option if pre-ordered.

The room is booked from 7:00 pm with food being served at 8:00 pm.

Please contact Mike ( or Alan ( ) know as soon as possible if you are going to attend (… and please feel free to bring along your spouse or partner, the more, the merrier), so we can let the Pub know how many to cater for.


Hope to see you there.



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Heathrow Bonsai Show 2016

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.


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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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Backtracking – 18 Sep 2016 Workshop

Our Hon President, Frank Mepham, kindly hosted the Cascade Workshop for members.  The weather was good, enabling the event to be held outdoors in the img_1698large, mature garden which has some huge fruit trees.  Frank is well-known in bonsai circles||.  Largely self-taught, he had the opportunity to experiment over the years when a family member, working on a local estate, was able to supply him with plenty of raw material.   He has been a member of Hinckley and Wigston bonsai clubs and his trees have won prizes at many shows over a long period of time.  Frank is coping with poor health now.  A very special  Thank You goes to Frank for his hospitality on this occasion.


Mike led the instruction and the material used was pre-bonsai Juniperus chinensis ‘Blaauw’.  It was the right time in the year to work with junipers.   The thinking behind this exercise was to enable a group of members to work with the same material and over time comparisons can be made on the trees and their development by the different owners.  Trimming and first stage wiring for shape took up most of the time.  This enabled beginners in the group to understand the process and encourage their confidence.  The trees will remain in their training pots until next year so participants will have plenty of time to look around for suitable ceramic pots for their project.  If members had existing cascades, they could bring them to the work- shop, discuss and progressed further if time allowed.  Thanks also to Mike for his tuition.  The following is a gallery of the event.


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Club Meeting – Tuesday 4th October – Members’ Tree Talk

Hi All
This Tuesday’s meeting is an opportunity for members to bring along a tree to show to the club and share a few words about it: it’s history; challenges; developments; future plans etc.
Whilst we have a few experienced members who have volunteered to talk to us about one of their trees, the less experienced of us are encouraged to pluck up the courage to have go. The aim is to generate conversation, advice and guidance. Being a relative beginner myself, I’ll even bring along one of my sticks in pots and have a stab at it 🙂
Also don’t forget to bring something along for the display table, which has been a successful addition to club nights.
There are a couple of good events happening this month:
– 16th Oct – Bonsai Traders Assosciation show at Elsecar, Barnsley.
– 23rd Oct – Heathrow bonsai show.
The Heathrow show is a fantastic event, with over 30 clubs exhibiting, over 20 traders, and a demonstration by native tree expert Will Baddely. I highly recommend this one.
See you all Tuesday
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Cascade Workshop 18 Sept (Members Only)

Hi All
Hope you’ve been doing some research and studying your material ! 🙂
This Sunday is the “Cascade workshop”, 10.30 am – 3.00/4.00 pm.
To be hosted by Honorary President, Frank Mepham.
For those who don’t know Frank, he has been a long standing member of the club, a speaker on the club circuit, and has been doing bonsai for nearly as many years as I’ve been alive!
Unfortunately he has had to miss most of this years meetings due to heath issues and his trees have suffered quite badly too.
If the weather is against us there should be plenty of room to work, as we will be able to use Frank’s conservatory and three greenhouses too. If the weather is fine, if you have one, bring along a worktable.
Along with your material, tools etc. bring along a packed lunch and drinks. No need to worry about a pot as the trees will need some time to recover from the serious bending before re-potting.
This will be a good one! See you there.
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