Thoughts From Your President – August 2015

By Jeff Lorch, President

The July 4 weekend marks the midpoint of the summer. The craziness of the spring work is over. The growing/styling season is here. For everyone who has put off the styling, wiring, and fine pruning, it’s time to get moving on it. The Meeting Program last month was all about State Fair judging.

The health of the plant is essential. Bonsai is a living art form. When the tree is dead, it is sculpture. Keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Prompt action is essential to keeping your trees and plants healthy. Watering can be challenging, but it is essential. Missing a day or two can result in severe stress on the plant and the plant owner.

The form of the plant is essential. It’s all about the feeling created by the artist. The big solid craggy tree growing from the rocky hillside may be only 8 inches tall, but you want to go hiking underneath it. Jin (dried dead branches) can be enhanced and preserved. Previous pruning scars can be worked and minimized.

The attention to detail is essential. The viewer’s attention will immediately focus on the twig that is pointing outward awkwardly. No-one wires enough. The best way to learn how to wire is to do it. Also, fine pruning and styling will allow the tree to do some rebudding to develop ramification before the Fair. Yes, you will need to touch up before the Fair.

The display accessories are essential. Simple and effective accent objects do not have to be hideously expensive: for example, strawberry plants with runners, lots of stones are laying around, and scrolls can be purchased in several venues. Several local artisans have very beautiful things.

We are in full swing for the State Fair (a huge undertaking). The State Fair Committee has broken this down to single person tasks. These tasks can be done by folks with varying physical abilities, time constraints and personal interests. We will have the State Fair signups available at the meeting.

There is also some light at the end of the tunnel. Peter Warren, this fall’s visiting bonsai professional, will be leading a series of workshops. It will be a chance to contemplate and then manipulate the next plant you will be developing for the State Fair. Both bring-your-own and plant-supplied workshops are available.

The club tour is coming up and you should plan to participate in it. It is a wonderful way to gain knowledge on how to cultivate a lot of warm temperate to tropical plants in our sub-arctic climate. The plant owners readily share tips and know how in how they have managed these problems. Also, it is amazing how bonsai can take over a yard.

Participate in the summer to make beautiful plants to display in September.