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Bonsai Society

2018  40th Anniversary year

Honorary President - Peter Chan

Keith’s Monthly Newsletter

Chairman’s Tips.

Here we are with the first newsletter of 2018, already at the end of January, when thoughts should be turning to re-potting. I hope the following suggestions will be of some help.

Equally as important as the Bonsai itself, is the container in which it is planted. Where art and aesthetics combine with the practical to make the whole, it is essential to show a complete picture.

The most beautifully styled, creatively crafted Bonsai will be less than best if, when displayed, it has been given a pot for which it is unsuitable. All that work will have gone for naught when a pot and tree have become two mismatched items.

The relationship between pot and plant as one is more important in Bonsai then in any other type of horticulturally based design, and it is vital to spend time in understanding the aesthetics of such a purchase.

Shapes and Sizes

When you see the vast range of containers available, you begin to comprehend what variety there is in growing bonsai. From the tiny, thimble-like mame pots, they grow outwards and upwards to cope with any shape or style of Bonsai you may care to create.

Some have an unglazed matt finish, others are glazed with a soft natural sheen, and they mostly come in a range of soft natural shades of green, blue, grey and brown aiming to set off the tree rather than detract from it. Some are decorated. Some have hard edges, others soft curved rims.

However, it’s hard to set down rules chipped in tablets of stone. The perception of what is right is a very subjective affair and requires a certain amount of flair to hit it on the nail straight away.

Your aim is to match the container with the type of tree, and the style you have created, and you’ll want to be pleased with the overall outline you have achieved. From an aesthetic point of view, there should be a relationship between tree and pot so that it is hard to imagine the tree looking any other way.

In Proportion

As a rough rule of thumb:

1. The width of a pot should be about three-quarters the height of the tree.

2. For a shortish specimen with a good spreading canopy of foliage, the pot width should be about three-quarters of the overall spread of the tree to give it a good balance.

3. Where possible, go for a pot with a depth matching the thickness of the trunk.

4. The depth from front to back of the pot need to be a little less than the depth of the tree which also helps the balance to look right.

5. This code doesn’t entirely work with a group planting, but if you can make sure the tallest tree in the group follows the three-quarters the height rule, the other trees in the group can be planted around it to good effect. Each trunk should be seen from the front, but they shouldn’t be equally spaced.

6. Trees should seem neither too big, nor too small for their pots.

7. Remember that your deciduous trees will look bigger when in leaf, and your choice of pot must allow for that.

8. The character of the tree must be thought about when choosing a pot. A strong, rugged specimen will look vaguely silly given a decorative pot or one that is too dainty. Instead choose a more work-a-day style in a neutral non-competitive colour. And its depth needs to match the apparent weight and solidity of the tree. An airy, dainty tree with delicate foliage will need a pot that is fine in thickness, texture, and lighter in design. For trees that show brilliant foliage or flowers at certain times of the year, the pot colour must be considered carefully. Choose something that will show off those colours to their best advantage.

9. Oblong, oval, round - the choice is yours. But remember that a rounded shape will probably best suit an oval or round pot, while angular oblong pots are powerful and strong looking and suit trees that match this image.

10. For the cascade style bonsai, a special tall pot is required. The height is about two or three times its width at the top. This allows the tree to cascade unimpeded while remaining in balance and proportion to the pot. Like all other pot sizes, there are cascade pots of all heights and widths to accommodate trees of all sizes.

11. Some pots have feet - both ornamental feet, that add to or detract from the overall design depending on whether you’ve got the right plant, or little barely seen feet that simply raise the pot slightly from its display stand or table.

12. Few trees are planted plumb in the centre of the pot. The position they take depends largely on the angle of the trunk and branches, the outline created by the foliage, and the general flow of the overall design, all of which help the tree reach a comfortable equilibrium within its pot.      It will usually look more natural if it is placed off the centre, especially if it has a trunk that is slanting towards the middle. The best advice is to spend time trying the tree in one position after another, until your eyes tell you that you’ve got it right. No one can really tell you when this is. It’s something within yourself. And you will know only with experience. Another good idea is to thumb through books on Bonsai culture, and examine closely all the pictures of Bonsai. Try to understand why a tree looks pleasing, what kind of pot it has, why the pot enhances the tree, why the position of the tree looks right. This way, you will begin to appreciate what is in the mind of the great Bonsai Masters, and take some steps in emulating their work! There will be a good opportunity to purchase books, pots and even trees in our annual auction.


Hi all Solent Bonsai Society members and friends.

Our first 2018 meeting is on 26th January 2018

We start the year with our annual auction there will be trees, pots, tools, display tables, books, etc. for sale, so any trees, pots, books etc. you wish to move on please bring them along.

There should be a good selection of plants, books, etc. to choose from, so don't forget to bring your money, 10% of the sales goes to club funds. Friends and family all are welcome.

Our annual subscription for the year is due as usual in January (adults £20, couples £30, Juniors £10).

Our February meeting is on the 23rd and is the Solent Bonsai Winter Image show evening, this gives members a chance to show other members some of the trees that they have and discuss and get advice on their trees, so please bring them along, it's always a great evening that everyone enjoys. Don’t forget bring along family and friends all are welcome.

Secretary’s Report.

Its 2018 and its the 40th anniversary of The Solent Bonsai Society we look forward to an exciting year and it will not be long before our Bonsai's start Springing  into life again, which is always an exciting time of the year.

I would like to thank Jackie and Lynn for the excellent nibbles at our November meeting.

Just a few pictures from our November meeting.

Great display from Enid And Rob

Eddies much admired Pyracantha

This year’s committee voted in at the November AGM is as follows:-

Chairman................................Rob Stewart

Vice-Chairman........................Clive Jones

Secretary.................................Keith Hartley

Treasurer.................................Richard Hodges

Show Manager........................Eddie Savory

Assistant Show Manager…… Vacant

Membership secretary............Lynn Stewart and Alison Fitsgerald

Webmaster..............................Anthony Wilson

b. Other posts

Refreshments...........................Jackie Hayter

Raffle tickets.............................Jean Blair

Auditors 1.................................Eddie Savory

Auditors 2.................................John Hughes

The Subscriptions stay the same

£20 Adult Member,    £30 Joint Members,   £10 Junior Member.

Next Year’s Programme

The Committee has planed next year’s program. We have firm dates for Amelia Wilson and Malcolm Driffield to give us a talk in 2018.

Solent Bonsai Society 2018 Programme.                                                               Tree of the Month

26th January         Auction, Trees, Pots, Books etc.                                               Owners Choice

23rd February       Club Winter show. Bring Your Trees.                                    No Competition

30th March            Repotting Workshop.                                                                Owners Choice

27th April              Speaker. Talk by Amelia Williams. (Booked)                         Owners Choice

25th May               Workshop/Talk, Air Layering. Please bring Trees.               Owners Choice

Sunday 3th June    Club summer show. 10am to 4 pm

29th June              Workshop, Pruning Wiring. Please bring Trees.                    Owners Choice

27th July               Critique of Members Trees. Please bring Trees.                    Owners Choice    


31st August          Pine Workshop. Please bring Trees.                                         Owners Choice

28th September    Speaker, Talk by Malcolm Driffield. (Booked).                     Owners Choice

26th October        Talk by Rob.                                                                               Owners Choice

30th November    A.G.M. & Jackie Party nibbles.                                                Owners Choice

Please Note the Club summer show is on Sunday 3th June.

25th February sees the first show of the year at The Swindon winter image show, Solent are not showing this year as it is the turn of Eastleigh Bonsai Society, it is always a good show to start the Bonsai year with many traders selling trees, pots, etc. (for venue details see below)

Acadama and  Kyodama.

At the February, March meetings we will ask Collette to bring some Acadama and  Kyodama along for the members who have ordered some bags. If anyone requires Acadama or  Kyodama for their repotting please let Collette know at the January meeting.

Tree of the Month

November TotM results

1st Keith Hartley with a Chinese Elm

2nd Enid Jones with her Privet

3rd Alison Fitsgerald with her Cotoneaster

                  1st  Chinese Elm                                                 2nd Privet                            3rd Cotoneaster

The overall winner of the Tree of the Month 2017 will be announced at the January meeting.

Shows in 2018

Swindon Winter Image Show 2018

Swindon Winter Image show is on 25th February 2018, one of the best shows of the year at:-

 Grange Leisure Centre, Grange Drive, Stratton St. Margaret, Swindon, Wiltshire. SN3 4JY

It is a good opportunity to buy those elusive pots, trees etc. as there are many traders at the show.

More information can be found on their website . www.swindon-bonsai.co.uk

Sutton Bonsai Club Show 24th & 25th March 2018 Saturday & Sunday

Wisley Gardens, Wisley Lane, Wisley, Surrey. GU23 6QB

You pay £12.60 adult, children £6.30, to enter Wisley gardens and the Bonsai Show is free to enter.

Expo Bonsai UK 2018

Expo Bonsai UK  8th April 2018 at:-

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

The show open to public 1000-1600, Admission £5. The event will consist of a display of approximately 100 show quality trees along with support from a number of well known bonsai traders.

Further details to follow. If you are interested in submitting a tree for consideration please contact ebuk@gmail.com . for more details see the website www.expobonsaiuk.weebly.com

Wessex Bonsai Show

Solent have been invited to show at the Wessex Bonsai Show on Sunday 13th May which is held at the

Kinson Community Centre, Pelhams Park, Millais Road, Kinson, Bournemouth. BH10 7LH

The show starts at 10:30am to 5pm, the entrance fee is £3.50, Solent Bonsai Society will be represented plus numerous other societies and traders, it should be a very good show and worth the trip to Bournemouth. Wessex , Eastleigh and Solent will also be taking part in the Bellinger trophy which is held yearly between the clubs.

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.

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.weebly.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

 (12th February) Talk By Chris Thomas.

Chichester Bonsai Society meet on second Thursday of the month start 7:30pm, the next meeting

(8th February 2018) Enrolment & Re-potting workshop – tips for beginners from Senior Members.  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 Friday 26th January at the Auction.

Keith Hartley

Secretary Solent Bonsai Society