Bonsai Society of Australia Inc. Newsletter - March 2015
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Bonsai Society of Australia inc.

Newsletter - March 2015


Office Bearers for 2014/2015

President Georgina Kretschmar   9636 4261
Vice President/Treasurer Maureen Andersen   9871 4162
Vice President Dorothy Koreshoff   4998 6083
Secretary Colin Hugo   9674 2675
Editor Bruce Von Wootten   0406 996 300
Committee Ingrid Bauer (Publicity)   9652 2811
  Joan Cam   9489 5129
  Orhan Guzel (Web Master)    
  Josie McNeilly   9871 4750
  Michele Toomey (Membership)   9872 5146
Librarian Paul Walshaw   9809 0026
Correspondence to The Secretary    
  PO Box 32    
  Pendle Hill NSW 2145.    
Membership Joining Fee   $12.00
  Annual Fee   $30.00
  Students   $20.00
  Family (At same address)   $35.00
Meetings First Tuesday of the month (except January)
  West Pennant Hills Community Centre
42 Hill Road, West Pennant Hills.
7.15 p.m. for 7.45p.m.
Workshops Third Tuesday of the month (except December)
  Normanhurst Public School
Cnr. Pennant Hills and Normanhurst Roads
7.30 p.m.
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G'Day members, March is with us so quickly. It seems that the older I get the quicker time passes. Arh well Tempus Fugit! My trees are enjoying a late summer, early autumn growth spurt so that is keeping me busy.
Sadly our committee got some wires crossed and Sue Brennan did not make it to be our demonstrator last month so our ever reliable Vice President Dorothy stepped in to keep us all entertained! While the ever dependable Ian White ran home and collected a couple of plants and came back to the hall and proceeded to provide us with an excellent demonstration.

Speaking on behalf of the committee I would like to say a big thank you to Ian and Dorothy

Our apologies for the glitch that prevented our evening going as planned. It was a mistake on the Society’s part and not the fault of Sue Brennan who supports us every year in many ways.

The evening was saved by Dorothy who worked on a Black Pine from our raffle table and Ian White who kindly went home and returned with a very beautiful Cedar which he had worked on as a demonstration for us last year. It was good to chart the progress and it is something we should do with trees more often.

Now for the good news for this month - Sue has kindly agreed to demonstrate for us so we will not miss out on her special knowledge.  Come along and support both your Club and Sue. It will be a night of heaps of information and much entertainment.

This year is our 50th Anniversary – a wonderful milestone for the BSA. We have lots planned. Andrew Ward will be coming in October for a demonstration and workshop. He is full of knowledge and is also very entertaining. I would like to see some of our new members participate in a workshop as this will give you good information on styling and working on your trees in general.

When I first started I did workshops with many national and international demonstrators which helped me to have some very fine bonsai in a shorter time than if I had struggled along by myself.
Our annual dinner will be held in August which is the actual month the Bonsai Society began 50 years ago. And there will be further things planned as well.

There will be more news on our Show soon; this year will present the beginnings from China to Japan and eventually to Australia, appropriately called “The Evolution of Bonsai”. This gives a great scope to put together a really wonderful show for our 50th year.

Please if you have any articles or find a really helpful website, let Bruce, our Editor, have this information.

Yes please to the last - Ed

And now an Intoduction to this months presenter
SUE BRENNANGet ready to be entertained!

Sue not only has a vast knowledge gained over nearly 40 years as a bonsai aficionado but is one of the most delightful and amusing demonstrators in the bonsai fraternity.

Sue’s expertise extends to many areas, as evidenced by her having a personal collection containing almost 40 different varieties, and coupled with her storytelling and wit, this makes a Sue Brennan demonstration a sheer delight.

As an accredited AABC demonstrator Sue has demonstrated at Club, National and International level as well as operating a successful bonsai design and care business.
Sue is a passionate tutor, and gifted virtuoso with a natural ability whose trees have won a number of prestigious awards.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see her.
And another thing you won't want to miss - Ausbonsai are having another Market Sale Day on the 7th March. Click here for more information

The recent weather has been mixed, with warm days and somewhat tropical rain. Most trees are showing a late summer/autumn spurt of new growth, so be diligent with your pruning and remember the more clipping the more refinement of branches and thus the more beautiful the bonsai will be.

Use a low nitrogen organic fertiliser during autumn to harden late growth and improve flower and fruit production in spring as plants need to store energy as we approach winter.

Figs can still be repotted and partially defoliated by removing large leaves; the rain and high humidity are ideal conditions for Ficus. As we move into late March and April where the weather is milder we can begin repotting such trees as Australian natives, conifers and fruiting trees such as apples, quinces and pears. If you are repotting at this time of year don’t be too drastic with root pruning and wait till any new growth has hardened off. This is also the time to mix up lots of potting mix in preparation for the trees requiring autumn potting.

Although by the calendar we are in autumn be wary of warm weather, although as we move later into the month we will need to rearrange our trees to provide adequate sun during late autumn and winter.

Trees that exhibit autumn colour will give a spectacular display at this time of year. If you don’t have many or any such plants autumn is the perfect time to make a decision as to what trees impress you most, such as liquidambar, zelkova, some maples, gingko or Manchurian pear. If you are collecting trees for a group, where coordination of colour is important, now is a great time to choose trees. Autumn flowering trees should be chosen in autumn.

Trees that bear fruit or berries in autumn will need some attention at this time. Excessive fruit or berries left on the tree for a long period will weaken the tree and possibly lessen next year’s crop as the tree expends a great deal of energy setting fruit. Withhold fertiliser until the fruit sets, then fertilise lightly.         
Weeds will also be growing in abundance so remove these as they take energy away from the tree and be careful of attack by insects, slugs and snails. Watering can be reduced as we move further into autumn but still be careful of the odd hot and windy day. It may be a case of checking your trees daily and adjusting your watering to suit individual trees.

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, so enjoy your bonsai.
Josie and David McNeilly

Cordially invite all Club Members their Garden:

Where: Contact Committee for details
When:   21 and 22 March 2015
Time:    10 am – 4 pm
Morning/Afternoon Tea provided
A Report by Lee Wright edited with her permission by Colin Hugo

At the 2014 AABC Convention Japanese bonsai master Mr. Shinichi Nakajima worked with mature corky bark Chinese elms and a large sandstone slab. His aim was to make a group setting on the slab although he felt the slab was a bit small for trees this size.

In order to use this type of slab it is necessary to make holes in the rock or affix fasteners using Builder's Blog, Gorilla Glue or Knead-it Aquatic.

When using a slab like this you have to be careful where you place the trees. The right side was thin so you have to create a support underneath and not plant any trees over the thin area.

It is necessary to have different sizes of trees and it is better to have imperfect trees for forest plantings, as you will see on one subject there are no branches on one side so the tree so a second will slide close to the first. This is a great way to use those trees that will never make it as a stand alone subject.

The first tree is the largest but it is better not to have such large branches as this one has, so pruning is essential. When arranging a group setting the long branches need to be shortened first and make the remaining branches as flat as possible.  When cutting big branches you need to seal.  If you don't have anything you Mr. Nakajima suggested you can use chewing gum but a professional product is better.  Shinichi used the ink from a Japanese calligraphy pen; it is environmentally friendly and has an anti-bacterial agent in it!

In the apex there were three substantial branches.  One needs to be retained and the others removed, otherwise it will look like a hat.   There were two large lower branches on tree no 1 but at this stage both are being left until the trees are planted and they can be assessed again.

The soil was removed to reveal the nebari with care being taken so the roots aren’t damaged.  Mr. Nakajima used a bamboo tool and then used the metal rake for the sides. 

Ideally, the year before creating a setting, root prune and repot each tree so the roots redevelop before the actual planting and use a smaller pot to confine the roots.  If the trees are small combine two in a pot so they can grow together, you can create two tree and three tree groups and the end result will look more natural.

 Mr. Nakajima used copper wire to affix the trees, being stronger than aluminium it is always very important to secure trees to a slab, otherwise they could move or fall.

 Sandstone is a soft and can break eventually.  It is better to use a harder type of rock.  If this group is going to survive for a long time it is better to have a more solid slab and not use sandstone.   Granite is more desirable but it is much harder to find this material.

When planting a thin layer of soil was put on the surface and once you have established a good arrangement for the trees wire the first onto the rock.  You may need to adjust the size of the root ball in order to position the trees. The next thing to do is to put in the soil.  Make sure there is no vacant space between the roots.   If you leave empty spaces the larger roots can grow even bigger.  If you touch the soil and your finger goes down you have to work in more soil.

Mr. Nakajima said wiring and trimming is like going to the hairdresser, but planting and repotting is like doing major surgery to a human.  If you do these steps correctly the tree will survive and grow well.   Taking care of roots and repotting are two very important tasks in doing bonsai.  Roots systems need to be worked on at particular times whilst trimming and wiring can be done any time.

Once the soil is okay then put a layer of muck around and over the surface.  Then moss is applied.  It is not easy to put moss on in a nice manner.  Put it in water, squeeze some water out and pat firmly into the muck. 

Final trimming, if the areas are too dense branches have to be removed, the silhouette can now be established and the setting's final form in the first styling achieved.  When small branches are reduced they are done so with their future development in mind, so he cut back to buds.

To adjust a branch Mr. Nakajima made a hook in one end of the wire, hooked it around a lower branch and fastened it to the higher branch once he had moved the branch to a more horizontal position.  This is at the end of the demo there were still some long branches, later these can be reduced.

Mr. Nakajima’s image of this slab is like an island or a hill and the lower part of the rock is a pond.  The tree is leaning over the pond.  The main elm has two suckers which will be allowed to develop.  Mr. Nakajima sees the suckers as the next generation.

Why he didn't use some smaller trees to get more depth??  He used the two suckers but did not add more because of the size of the slab.

Well another issue bites the DUST!!!!
Once again a huge thank you to Colin and Georgina, who provided a lot of support to me in the production of this issue.
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