Sunday, 22 April 2012

Acers @ Exeter

This afternoon was spent as a guest of Exeter Bonsai Society doing a practical  demo & talk on all things Acer. In previous visits we've done an in depth practical session on pine care, a follow up meeting working with the members pines and have now booked a further visit for the future to work on Junipers.

Back to today..............

Today was a perfect time to cover the early season work that needs to be applied to Acer bonsai so I popped 2 trees and all my tools in the car and headed into Devon for the afternoon

We had an excelent selection of trees -including katsura, deshojo, beni maiko, shisigashira, mikawa yatsubusa, palmatum sp., a likely seigen, trident, field maple and sycamore !! This alone shows what a variety you can have within one species meeting.
The opening half was spent on the stages of pruning and pinching applied to the first flush of growth - from removing the inner shoot that bears the second pair of leaves, then, as I had a tree 4 weeks on from this 1st prune it was perfect for showing the results you get. We then dealt with this inner growth and discussed how to preserve and strengthen the inner buds that are formed from this style of pruning.

I always like a 2 way demonstration with plenty of interaction from the hosting club as the talk can then evolve to the actual members needs and requirements, and I like to actually do realistic and relevant work on trees at the same time rather than just talk theory. I had a tree in full leaf (as it had not been repotted this year) to show pinching, secondary pruning and finally the cutting back of long outer growth to developed inner twigs. My second tree had been properly root pruned so the growth was about 4 weeks behind and was perfectly indicating where the strong areas are. This tree was a good candidate for getting the tweezers out to get the tiny inner shoot from between the first pair of leaves..........  By coffee break we were up to wiring and styling.

After coffee we talked about the timing of wiring and  how best to get it off again in a leafy tree before any scaring occurs. Then we stopped with theory and moved onto the members trees - I love this part of my talks as you do not know what will be presented, what advice the owner is looking for or what  work they are happy to have done. It is always very pleasing to get follow ups about trees that have been worked in previous meetings.

At this stage we are running nicely over time !!! but not too many members have had to disappear for their roast dinner so the talk must be going ok. A final flourish let us transform a lovely airlayed tree with just one main cut and 3 or 4 snips and the meeting drew to a close talking about grafting branches where they are needed.

This was an excelent demo afternoon and I am looking forward to attending the main show hosted by the Exeter society - 20th May at Exmouth Pavillion - the Bonsai South West event with many displays, styling demos, traders and the famous styling challenge.

Later this year I've got a pine follow up talk with my local Cornwall Bonsai Society, a mixed species Juniper and Acer booking with South Devon society in September and the TBA Juniper 'hands on' day with Exeter. Hope to meet up with some of you there

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