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Bonsai Centre Olive Grove Group

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City
At the end of the "So damn lucky" documentary Tim Reynolds says:

".....Just a qualifier, just in case I get the facts wrong....there's a lot of grey area up here....sometimes it doesn't always remember the thing like you think you do and there's always a subjective coloring of memory which I am surely guilty of...and there it is."

I joined the Cape Bonsai Kai as a novice in 1998. Prior to 1998, I had trees for a number of years and tried everything the average bonsai books suggested with minimal success. The kai's quarterly publication advertised monthly workshops for members at Bonsai Centre Olive Grove. Keen to learn and understand the nuts and bolts of bonsai, I went to the workshop with six trees and Sensei Rudi Adam remarked that I was rather ambitious to work on a total of six trees in one afternoon. I could not quite understand much of the group's discussion and realised that if I continued with the art of bonsai, it would take years. I needed to make some sense of it all and went to the following month's workshop with only two trees. After my third workshop, I was invited to join the group.

Much has happened between 1998 and 2008 and both happy and sad memories have prompted me to record something about the group. The sad memory is the passing on of Marius Boshoff who was killed in a motorcycle accident. The happy memories are the fun times with the original core group which included Rudi Adam, Isabel Hofmeyr, Jim McKenna and Isak Volschenk. Later arrivals to the group were Trevor Venables in 2001 and Ralph Metz in 2007.

I shall visit the memory banks and occasionally write about the highlights over the past ten years.

Olive Grove Bonsai Centre has hosted visitors for the last month as Mr and Mrs Owl hatched three chicks on the thatch roof of the summer work area. Mrs Owl keeps a watchful over her young as well as the bonsai group from a branch of a pine tree next to the summer work area. I hope to publish some pics of Trevor's tree and pots as well as the owl family. Image gallery of pics taken in November 2008.

Saturday 25 January 2009
All back to normal after the Xmas and New Year break. I tried to get some information about how Isabel Hofmeyr started bonsai. She started telling me and then told me off for asking too many questions. I shall try again next Saturday. It was a quiet and most pleasant afternoon as everone had things to do. The image gallery features all the members doing their bonsai thing.

Saturday 6 December 2008
Okay, remembered the camera and sufficient batteries. The image gallery features Trevor's ficus in the new pot, Isobel preparing some trees for the Cape Bonsai Kai show (13 to 16 December 2008 at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens), Jim pruning Rudi's olive (only Jim is allowed to prune the olive) and Ralph working lime sulphur and polishing Rudi's pots for the Cape Bonsai Kai show. The remainder of the pics are of the members working on various trees.

Saturday 29 November 2008
The group worked quietly in the winter area even though the average temperature was 25 degrees celsius. A visiting club made use of the summer work area and we did not see much of Rudi until the visiting club members left. It was Trevor's ficus that suddenly sparked discussion. The tree needed repotting and a choice of pots was needed. I can kick myself as I forgot to take my camera. A round flattish pot with a pale green hue and a round olive brown pot were produced from Rudi's stock. Well, it did not take too much discussion as the score stood at three points to the group and nil to me. Trevor, Rudi and Jim felt that the olive brown pot was the better choice. My gut feel was to choose a round flat pot and if it had a hint of blue, it would have been suitable. Rudi felt that the tree is strong and needed a complimentry pot. I felt that it is a gentle tree and that the pot needed to be yin. This type of discussion often takes place which jars and jolts my passion for bonsai. The beauty of it all is that is a discussion where the theory of bonsai and art are thrown in the mix and the group stays intact irrespective of differences. Isabel worked away in her corner and could not be drawn into a robust debate. When Isabel is approached for an opinion, she sums up the theory very concisely and poignantly and we run back to our seats and mutter quietely until the next discussion.