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Bonsai Society

2018  40th Anniversary year

Honorary President - Peter Chan

Keith’s Monthly Newsletter

Chairman Tips.

 Styles Part 3

Cascade and Semi-cascade

The semi-cascade and cascade styles differ from the previous three styles within the Prime order of Five Styles, in that their trunk lines encourage downward rather than upward growth. The semi-cascade is exactly as its name implies, in that its flow tends towards a gentle curving downwards ark, whereas the cascade tree is much more certain in its downward growth. According to the scriptures, a semi-cascade dips below the rim of the pot and full cascade dips below the base. That assumes that the tree is planted in a traditional pot. If it is planted high on a rock or in a crescent pot it will not qualify as a cascade style, no matter to what extent it cascades or how rigidly it follows other rules of the style.

A second requirement of both styles is that the trunk should begin to cascade immediately above the nebari (root spread). This makes good aesthetic sense. A trunk that grows vertically before arching over the rim of the pot is not only unnatural, but also leads the eye on an unnecessary, and boring journey before arriving at the focus of the image - the branches and foliage. By the time the eye has arrived at this point all the excitement is lost.

I have referred to the need of making cascading bonsai natural. But how natural is it for a fully cascading tree to start life on level ground like the surface of a pot. Such trees in the Alps or the Pyrenees are clinging to steep or even vertical surfaces. Since the introduction of less traditional crescent pots and other planting methods, the freedom to create more natural, original and exciting designs has increased, albeit at the expense of classicism. By planting a tree on a steep or near-vertical surface, the task of contriving a method of training it as a cascade is made easier, the result more believable, and the potential for creating drama and excitement all the greater.

Returning to the classic style again, just how should the trunk begin its downward movement? Let’s look at nature again for some ideas. If the tree is growing on a horizontal surface, one can reasonably assume that its roots are stable enough to support a more or less vertical trunk, unlike one growing on a cliff face for example. So if we can’t use the angle of emergence as an excuse, we must resort to rockfalls or the weight of snow. Rockfalls are unlikely since the tree is growing on a horizontal surface and they don’t exist in areas where rockfalls occur.

In the mountains all the trees are short and wide with very low branches, sometimes forced right to the ground. If a tree is growing on a ledge, the overhanging branches would eventually be forced below the edge. The trunk would still remain more or less vertical but very short and compressed. In other words, the tree would still retain a crown. This leads directly into another requirement of classical cascading styles, they must have a crown directly above the roots.

The final classical requirement of a full cascade style is that the inverted apex, the lowest point, should be directly below the point at which the trunk emerges from the ground. Although this rule is designed to achieve visual stability and balance, it flies in the face of nature and can therefore defeat the object of the style if not executed with care .

Horticulturally, the lowest foliage mass should be substantially greater than the crown, in order to maintain a balanced energy distribution. The deeper the cascade, the harder it becomes to achieve this balance. Eventually the only way to maintain a really deep cascade is to remove the crown entirely. Without the design and horticultural restrictions imposed by the need for a crown, and the illogical need to position the inverted apex centrally, the creative possibilities become immense.

Combine this with the freedom of choice of container and planting angle and they are almost infinite.

Although it is only very rarely possible to follow these rules to the letter, tradition states that they should be aspired to at all time. Having said this, it is also true that many of the most admired bonsai in the world break the rules in some way.

I personally prefer a more relaxed and inspirational approach to bonsai, reflecting the more liberal western approach to life in general. However, the rules governing the classic styles are extremely useful to know since they enable Bonsai enthusiasts to describe their trees to one another, and they help the beginner to create an aesthetically pleasing design without unnecessary frustration.

Once you have gained a little experience you can break the rules at will and let your own creativity run free.


 Solent Bonsai Society

40th Anniversary Year 1978 - 2018

Honorary President Peter Chan

 Hi all Solent Bonsai Society members and friends.

The Meeting on May 25th May will be a workshop/talk on Air Layering. Please bring trees.

Club show 3rd June

We would like as many club members as possible to bring trees, all trees will go on display, and it is a chance to get used to showing your trees.

When showing trees the two main rules to remember are: - 1. No weeds, 2. A clean pot.

Display stands and accents if you have them but don’t worry, if you don’t have them just bring your trees.

Also on June 10th is the Eastbourn Show. See details below.

Solent will have a display at the Church of the Resurrection, Drayton on Saturday 23rd June and is open to the public from 1.30pm to 4.00pm. For information please see me.

The Meeting on 29th June is a Workshop, Pruning, Wiring. Please bring trees.

Tree of the Month

April TotM results

1st Keith Hartley Japanese Deshojo Maple. 2nd Sean Nutbeam larch. 3rd Enid Jones crabapple


Shows in 2018

Solent Bonsai Society

Sunday 3th June 2018, Club 40th Anniversary summer show, 10am to 4 pm, Entrance Free.

Wallington Village Hall, Broadcut, Fareham. PO16 8ST

Please don’t forget bring along family and friends, all are welcome.

Eastbourne & Wealdon Show 2018

Solent will be exhibiting at the Eastbourne & Wealdon Bonsai Club show

on Sunday 10th June 2018

it is held at:- Herstmonceux Village Hall, Hails ham Road, Herstmonceux. BN27 4JX

Admission: £2.50 1000-1600.hrs

Details can be found at the following Internet site www.eandwbonsaiclub.co.uk

Salisbury Bonsai 30th Anniversary Show 2018

Solent will be exhibiting at the Salisbury Bonsai 30th Anniversary Show 1st July 2018

Salisbury Auction Centre, Netherhampton Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire. SP2 8RH

Admission: tba, Time 1000-1700 hrs

Details can be found at the following Internet site www.salisburybonsaisociety.co.uk

Chichester Bonsai Club Show 2018

Solent will be exhibiting, 7 th & 8th July 2018 at Manor Nursery, Pagham Road, Runcron, Chichester. PO20 1LJ

Free Admission 1000-1700.hrs Saturday, 1000-1500.hrs Sunday

Great Sunday lunch (you have to book).

This is a great show and is a good opportunity to show your trees as there is a very large display area for each club. If you would like to show a tree/trees please let Rob or I know, have a go.

Wallington, Fareham Village Fete on Saturday 14th July 2018

Solent Bonsai Society will be showing at the fete. It takes place at Wallington Water Meadows in Standard Way, Fareham. from 1:30pm to 4:30pm Admission Free.

29th July 2018 Sunday Staverton Bonsai Table Top Sale

There is a bonsai car boot sale on 29th July at Staverton Club the address is

39 Staverton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire. BA14 6PA which will have many trees, pots, etc for sale

Community Woodfair Show on Saturday 1st September 2018

Solent and Eastleigh Bonsai Society's have been invited to bring some indigenous bonsai to the show.

The show is not a bonsai show but a show that promotes woodcrafts etc. and should be worth a visit in September, it is held at:- Zionshill Copse, Local nature reserve, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh. SO53 4SJ

The Heathrow Bonsai Show 21st October 2018

Solent’s last bonsai show of the year is The Heathrow Bonsai Show on 21st October 2018,

it is held at:-

The Harlington sports centre, Pinkwell Lane, Harlington, Middlesex. UB3 1PB

The show open to public 1000-1600, Entrance fees are, adults £3, children under 12 go Free.

This is an excellent show and well worth attending, there are 38 clubs exhibiting bonsai and viewing stones, 25 traders. All Day Refreshments available.

More information can be found at www.heathrowbonsai.weebley.com


Other Local Club Meetings in our area.

Eastleigh Bonsai Society meets on second Monday of the month start at 7:30pm, the next meeting is on Monday 11th June 2018 WTalk by Collette Harrison

Chichester Bonsai Society meet on second Thursday of the month start 7:30pm, the next meeting is on Thursday 14th June 2018 Bonsai Quiz Night (Random Teams of 4 Max)

For more information on Chichester Bonsai Club go to www.chichesterbonsai.co.uk

All the clubs in the area support each other. If anyone would like more information on other local clubs please let me know.

Look forward to seeing you all on the 29th May at the Workshop/Air Layer Talk.

Keith Hartley

Secretary Solent Bonsai Society


Email kb.hartley@ntlworld.com

Tel: - 02392640985

Mobile: - 07847487435

Secretary's Report

Once again, at our last meeting, Amelia gave a very informative talk on tropical bonsai, which I believe everyone enjoyed, it gave us an insight into the best way to growing tropical bonsai, I sure many of us will be rushing out to buy suitable tropical plants, I know I will.


Wessex Show Report

For the second year running Solent won the Bellinger trophy, which is contested between three Bonsai clubs Eastleigh, Wessex and Solent, we had a good display with a yamadori Hawthorn, Japanese Deshojo red maple and a European Hornbeam group all displayed on Tables provided by Rob.

Solent won the Bellinger trophy

The Solent’s club display had trees from Rob, Arthur, Eddie and myself and consisted of three larger trees, a Silver Birch, Trident Maple group, twin trunk Dunkeld Larch and three small trees, a Rhododendron indicum, Cotoneaster and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Green Globe’ plus various accents, I hope we put up a good display representing our club.

Solent Bonsai Display at Wessex

Arthur, Eddie and I also had separate display trees in the main hall, but not in the competition, Arthur had a weeping cedar, Eddie an informl upright larch and I had a Japanese larch group.

A couple of other interesting

Trees at Wessex.

A Viburnum and

A  Blackthorn