I have left this a few months since early in May to post as I wanted to reflect back on the warmth and exotic experience during the wet autumn months back in the UK. If you want to read more of my time in Israel take a look here.
My good friend Ofer Grunwald invited Enrico Savini and me to work with him to make the event more than an exhibition. Jerusalem Botanical Gardens is in the middle of the ‘New City’ in a Valley surrounded by offices and apartments. It is an oasis of green and calm in what is a rather drab coloured conurbation.
By European standards the show was quite compact, consisting of 13 native trees and the standard was very good. Israel is an ‘emerging’ nation of Bonsai enthusiasts and if this show is where they have come to in such a short time then the future looks bright. Ofer worked hard to include all ‘factions’ in the Israeli bonsai community and from my perspective he did a great job. One of the ‘highlights’ at the start of the conference was a very vocal bonsai protester An ‘apparently’ well known Israeli octogenarian conservationist stood up and voiced his displeasure at ‘interfering’ with nature. Ofer let him have his say, then the proceeding commenced with Enrico and Tommy styling a Pine, after half an hour and whilst they worked I presented a few items with the help of the digital projector. The remaining time was filled with an open forum whilst the guys continued and finished the tree.
The bonsai community of Israel is very fortunate to have such a young and enthusiastic organiser as Ofer and the support of the premier horticultural centre of the nation offering such solid support for the art, would it be such in our countries things would be very different.
I have just returned home for the BSA Show at Willowbog…Willowbog is in the wilds of Northern England 5 mile along a single track road off the main road network. It took me a total of seven hours travelling to get to the show and what a show. The Quality of display and the excellence of the trees is the best we have ever seen in one show in the UK.
The BSA has really come into its own with the group producing a wonderful event with a great friendly atmosphere. John Armitage and Peter Warren were on hand to offer advice and they gave a ‘trade secrets’ demo/talk in the afternoon. Andy Hardman (who was celebrating his 50th Birthday) gave talk on Accent plants, the room was so full I could not get in! I also managed to interview two more potter for my potters showcase series.
The Swindon Winter Image Bonsai Show 2012 has fast become a high point in the UK bonsai calendar. 2012 will go down as a milestone in UK bonsai excellence as the quality of display, excellence of trees and enthusiasm of the host club was truly superb. AND it was busy, I do not know the actually numbers through the door but there were a LOT of people at the show… it was also a great meet up of may of ‘the guys’ (and girls) from the UK Bonsai Scene… definitely THE place to be.
I was particularly pleased to have a compliment from Nobu Kaiwara about my cascade Prunus Spinosa, he considered it his favourite tree in the show, in particular its ‘natural’ styling and aged character… nice 🙂
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Over 100 trees were display in all their winter glory and 11 prizes handed out at the end of the event.
Best Shohin display was by Mark & Ritta Cooper
Best Mame display was by Bob Bailey
Best Conifer was the Chinese Juniper that was owned by Martin Shepherd
Best Deciduous tree was the Trident Maple by Mark Cooper
Best Chuhin was the Elm of Will Baddeley
Best Visiting Society was the Artistic Bonsai Circle
Best Accent sponsored by John Trott was by Ian Warhurst from Wirral Bonsai Society
Best in Show was the Trident Maple of Mark Cooper
Best Tree/Pot combination was the Pyracantha by Mark Cooper
Best individual Shohin award from the British Shohin Association went to Paul Hunt of Swindon & District Bonsai Society
Special Merit award was given to Wirral Bonsai Society
I have know many of the members of Wirral Bonsai Society for quite a few years and have spoken there on a few occasions. A truly active club and a model for others to follow. They have an annual show who’s quality is extremely high.
“New members are always welcome, just come along to one of our monthly meetings at the RAFA club. You can even ‘try us out’ for a few months before you decide on joining as an official member. The meetings are informal (there’s a bar!) and the club members are (mostly) friendly, approachable and happy to pass on guidance and information to anybody interested in bonsai- whatever your level of experience.”
Last year I visited Mirek for the second year in a row, Mirek is a good friend of Pavel Slovak’s in the Czech Republic. Mirek has a fine collection of bonsai and yamadori. Here is his garden in the rain, 20 minutes later the sun came out and the trees were well watered… the sun shines on the righteous.