Sussex Bonsai Group Meeting 23rd May
Guest Speaker Paul Eslinger
Paul spoke with authority on four related Bonsai topics.
The first of these was pests and diseases to which he related to his “Drug Store” which contain various commercially available products to combat such things as moulds, fungus, slugs, snails and various insects. He commented on the gradually reducing availability of some products and the concern regarding the leaching of chemicals into water courses. The outcome of which he suggested would be a future total ban. To green up ailing trees, particularly those which have a liking for iron, Paul recommended the use of Epsom salts and Iron Sulphate.
The second topic, was how to prepare trees for a show. His criteria being pruned to shape, a clean pot with any moss neatly trimmed to the edge of the pot, or a fresh top dressing of fine akadama. Judging of course, he went on to say was very subjective and often comes down to the preference of the Judge or judging panel. His own philosophy was to display trees as you feel is right for you and that each should try to tell a story.
Following on, Paul then turned to Satsuki Azaleas, of which he had brought a number which were in flower to illustrate his own techniques. Pruning is always done after flowering by removing the dead flower heads and depending on the shape of the tree, can be light by leaving some of the green of the flower base or heavy by the removal of the dead flower and stem back to the next sub branch union. Azaleas he said, react best to slow acting fertilizers and sphagnum moss chopped up in the top layer also encourages root growth, with a top dressing helping to preserve moisture.
The final topic Paul talked about was Chinese Junipers of which he had brought along a number of specimens to illustrate his achievements. All were the same variety having very fine foliage. Paul said that Junipers grow well in shady conditions and are much greener that those grown in full sun, due to the need to produce more chlorophyll. Paul likes to scissor prune his Junipers as he felt that the pinching method left brown ends on the foliage, which he felt was a distraction.
Our thanks to Paul who answered numerous questions that were asked by the members who enjoyed an informative evening that kept their attention throughout.