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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bonsai and Good Food; "What Could Be Finer?"

Dick, Jeff, Murph and Ed discuss one of Dick's pines.
    I think all the members of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club look forward to our annual picnic. It's always a great time with plenty of delicious food, plants and pots and bonsai paraphernalia for sale, and a few hours enjoying the company of others who also think that, yes, fertilizer regimens and techniques to encourage back-budding are fascinating topics of conversation, thank you! This year and last, we have been joined by some members of the Michiana Bonsai Study Group in Elkhart. They're always welcome!

The club provides the meat, prepared by Jerry Kittle, our all-around man-behind-the-scenes. The rest of the food is carried in, and since we have some fine cooks among our members, there's always plenty and it's always plenty good.
(For me, the evening meal a few hours later is never more than a formality.) I didn't get any pictures while we were eating; I was otherwise occupied!

Part of the fun is a silent auction; anything bonsai-related can be offered. We used to hold a traditional auction, with our inexperienced members as auctioneers. (Translation: you are the auctioneer for your own sale items.) But as the quantity of plants of all sizes, pots, stones, etc. grew, that became too cumbersome. The present format saves a lot of time.

Murph and Nancy check out one of the five auction tables.
We also have a few contests among ourselves, with the judges "volunteered" from among those who have no trees entered in any of them. This year Dave Bechtold, Bruce Kennedy, and MyShaun Beam did the honors.

One is the Dead Tree contest: the judges decide which entry would be the best bonsai, if it were still alive. Dick Ruthsatz's pine won that distinction. (Sorry, I have no good pictures of those trees.)

"Club Tree" entries. Don't ask me how Murph kept getting into these pictures!
Another is the Club Tree competition. Every few years, the club gives a young tree to each paid member; the tree-lets are all of the same species and variety. Those trees' development, then, is tracked for the next 10 years by means of the annual Club Tree contest, with each "crop" of trees being judged separately. (It's a bit sobering to see the attrition rate that sometimes obtains among these innocent vegetables.) At this picnic, Ed Hake's Amur maple (Acer ginnala) and Becky Dull's bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) came in first for their respective years.

A new contest was added this year: Best On-One's-Own Styling in the Last 12 Months. The name, while cumbersome as a drunken hippo, is self-explanatory. (I'm sure we'll come up with a shorter name by next summer.) I had the privilege of winning that one, with a shohin 'Denisformis' yew. My 12-year-old will help me decide where to place the cheery little birdhouse I won.

Dave, Bruce, and MyShaun examine the Styling candidates.

(But what will the birds think?)

As purchased. (Forgive the picture quality.
 Plants for sale ranged from seedlings to finished bonsai. Al, one of our newer members, recently removed a boxwood hedge; half-a-dozen of the Buxus coreana he pulled out were offered in the auction. I picked one up. Back home I potted it up in a mix of 70% Turface and 30% organics, with the fines sifted out. It's recovering nicely, and I am definitely happy with my new urban yamadori! Take a look. That's a standard US 12-oz. beverage can in the second picture, for a size reference.

Potted up, tied in, and mulched with sphagnum.

Until next year! (On this topic.)

 If you'd like to know more about the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club, visit this link.

 :-)  :-)  :-) 

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