The British International Bonsai Show 9th-11th July 2021

A date for next year’s diary

Venue: The Conference & Exhibition Centre at The British Motor Museum, Banbury Road, Gaydon, Warwickshire.

Organised by The Federation of British Bonsai Societies in association with The Friends of the National Bonsai Collection (a registered charity)

A major 3 day Bonsai Exhibition with renowned national and international demonstrators.  Already booked to appear: Bjorn Bjorholm (USA), Harry Harrington (UK), Marc Noelanders (Belgium), Mauro Stemberger (Italy), Steve Tolley (UK). Demonstrators Bios

Forms are available online for FoBBS Societies and Individuals and non FoBBS affiliated Societies to display their trees.

For further information email:

British International Bonsai Show poster

February’s Demo – Ken Norman

February’s Club evening was a repotting demonstration by Ken Norman.

He brought along 3 different trees – a tiny cotoneaster,  a medium sized elm and an acer group.

The tiny cotoneaster had become very pot bound and needed a sharp knife to get it out.

The elm needed a new pot and a slight change of angle to disguise the thick roots coming out at opposite sides.

The acer group was repotted without breaking the trees apart, so that they maintained their original positions in the group.

White Pine demo by Lee Verhorevoort

Club Meeting – 23rd October-White Pine demo by Lee Verhorevoort

What a fascinating and information packed evening with Lee on Wednesday!

Lee brought along a fairly large white pine (5 needle pine), grafted onto a black pine root system that he bought in Japan.

The material was challenging because, although the lower trunk had interest, above the first branch it was rather straight and lacked taper.  So he had decided to remove the top of the tree and use the lowest branch to develop a semi cascade style.

Having cut away the upper branches, he left a long ‘stub’ which could be gradually reduced over time using a technique of reduction by stages to encourage callousing over of the final wound.  The cut ends of the trunk and branches were cauterised to limit sap loss and cut paste applied.  Lee anticipated at least 6-7 years before the wound would be totally healed.

Next, the branch junction with the trunk and the branch were bound tightly with soaked raffia, then wired with thick aluminium wire.  A guy wire was used to pull the branch towards its new semi cascade position.

Whilst working on the tree, Lee gave lots of general advice about pine cultivation, feeding, styling, pest and diseases, etc. He also talked about candles and de-candling but too much information to summarise here.  Anyone who would like to know more would be well advised to visit Lee at his Nursery.

See here for LINK.

Demo by Malcolm Driffield – June 2019

Malcolm Driffield from Bournemouth, was guest speaker at June’s monthly meeting.

He brought with him, a great selection of trees and used a combination of whiteboard diagrams and actual trees to explain the theory and practice of how to develop trees, starting with root structure and developing a good sized trunk.  He then moved on to how to shape the trees, with and without wiring. He went into finer detail regarding how to shape the branches and develop twig structure and how to keep a large well developed tree in good shape.

With the different tree species he discussed how and when he would begin to shape them.

Our many thanks go to Malcolm for a very interesting evening – a shame we had to stop at 10pm!


Demo by Alan Peacock at May’s Meeting

It was great to see some new members at May’s monthly meeting, when Alan Peacock demonstrated how a plant from a garden centre could be turned into a promising bonsai tree.

He started with a cedar, quite bushy looking at the start, with a drooping branch structure and gradually uncovered ‘the tree within’.

Many cedars are grafted, so there was a slight lump at the base of the trunk but Alan carefully trimmed some of this away to improve the trunk line.  He then chose a ‘front’ by looking for the best angle to give an apex which bowed towards the viewer.

By then removing any primary branches that emerged from the trunk opposite each other, and any secondaries that were growing upwards or downwards, the tree’s final shape began to emerge.

Then some wire was applied, first to bring a top branch upwards to form the new leader, then the other branches were wired to allow them to be positioned in a way that made a pleasing bonsai outline, and ensure that there was an even spread of branches and no empty spaces.

Hopefully the pictures show the transformation.

The second tree that Alan worked on, was a juniper with lots of very dense, compact and healthy foliage. The plan for this one, was a semi cascade style but there was not enough time to complete the transformation during the evening.  However, after some careful pruning, Alan showed how the tree could be developed in the future.

Finally, Alan brought back a tree that he had styled at a demonstration evening a year ago, to show how that had progressed.  In fact, it had progressed so well that it was voted the best tree in this month’s Tree of the Month competition.

Our thanks to Alan for such an interesting evening.


Demo by Corin Tomlinson

Wednesday 27th March, Sussex Bonsai Group welcomed Corin Tomlinson as our guest speaker/demonstrator.  Corin is no stranger to our group having visited us on a number of occasions and is always well received.  Tonight saw around 40 members/visitors and enthusiasts enjoy an evening of Bonsai demonstration at its highest level.


Corin bought with him a very large collected Hawthorn (a yamadori); this he had taken in as a part exchange.  The tree having been in the large rectangular pot for the last ten years.  Corin said that had he had the tree in his possession earlier, the work that he had planned for tonight would have been carried out then.  However, it is not too late to re-style the tree and bring out its best features.

Corin first considered the viewing angle which was to be the front, (the viewing side).  This he stated would be one of the two possibilities which were quite close to each other.  On closer examination, he pointed out to the audience that the tree in his opinion had two crowns, which he thought distracted one from the other.  So decided to go with the one which had the best taper and movement.  In doing so, this would require a number of large branches to be removed, this he achieved using a mini chain saw (with gasps!! from the audience).

Following this, Corin selected a number of branches which he wired into position or used guy wires and turnbuckles to obtain their position.  After which he pruned away the smaller branches, those upward or downward pointing, those that were too thick or those that would not contribute to the framework of the finished tree; structure he said was the first fundamental element we should all consider when designing a Bonsai.

A short break for refreshments, which also gave the audience an opportunity for a closer look at the re-styling work achieved so far.  After which Corin proceeded to remove the tree from its existing pot and pruned the roots using a powered saw (more gasps!! from the audience) and a hand rake.  The Pot that Corin had chosen was a deep oval, which he felt suited the tree and with some manipulation repotted the tree.  The front was moved slightly to allow the character of the trunk to provide a better movement.  Following this, Corin proceeded to carry out some basic carving of the dead wood, this he said would be finished at a later date but would give us some idea as what the finished tree might look like.

Our thanks to Corin for a thoroughly entertaining and inspirational evening.

March 2019 Bulletin

D26BC5B1-05B2-41CC-B017-F9707299965EOn Wednesday 27th March, we welcome back by popular demand, Corin Tomlinson. Corin is one of the most respected Bonsai artists in the country.

Our Tree of the Month competition will be held as well as our Raffle.

We will have a bring and buy table set up.  Books and DVDs will be available to loan.  Teas , Coffees and Biscuits will on sale for a small fee.

Fees for this demo evening: Members are free and Visitors are £5.00.

Please arrive promptly, 8pm start.

Repotting Demonstration-Feb.2019

There was a good turnout for February’s meeting – a repotting demonstration by Ken Norman.

Below, are photos from the evening’s demo.

Ken imparted his wisdom, offering hints and tips, too many to add them all here, but have cherrypicked just a few.

  • Use akadama – no need to sieve it, as the first watering will wash the dust through.
  • For established trees, repot Maples every 2-3 years.  Other species can be left longer.
  • For a medium sized tree, add a drainage layer of pumice first.
  • Root pruning encourages new root tips to emerge closer to the trunk.
  • If the pot has 3 feet, then 2 should be at the front.  If just one is showing at the front, the pot will look unstable.
  • Wire in with thick wire.  Thin wire will break when twisted to tighten.
  • Don’t feed for 4-6 weeks after repotting.

If you require any Bonsai advice or help, please don’t hesitate to contact us through the website or our Facebook page.  Visitors are most welcome to attend a monthly meeting.

Pot Making under the guidance of Paul and Gill Canham


November’s Club Meeting:

POT MAKING with Club members, Paul and Gillian Canham of Pinecone Ceramics was great fun, as usual.

Paul had carefully prepared the clay for us all to make a little rectangular pot.   We had step by step instructions about how to measure the clay and cut the mitres for the corners.  Once assembled, members personalised their pots with a variety of designs and some made little freestyle pots with the left over bits of clay.

As you can see from the pictures, a fair bit of tea drinking went on as well!