Still, it hasn't all been budget airlines and infant induced stress since the last post...the garden is finished to a certain extent, polytunnel up, watering system in place and related problems a plenty. I think most of you are aware that I was the judge/demonstrator at the midwest show earlier this month. It was held in the Botanical gardens in Chicago, a beautiful location, but unfortunately it meant a flight through the immigration nighmare of O'Hare which is fast becoming my least favourite airport. The show itself was a good experience, having heard a little of the issues around the previous years show, including the hate emails and venomous comments towards the judge (That bloke Bryan summat or other), I must say that I was a little nervous. In retrospect, there was nothing to be worried about, the organisers, especially the indefatigable Cat Nelson were outstanding and although I was pretty busy (12 people in a three hour workshop), it was good fun alround.
There is a video taken of the critique I gave, shot in flattering black and white by OfBonsai, thank you for that, old school style. I haven't watched it, nor looked at the comments, but my inbox is yet to be filled with bile that Ryan received last year so I guess I didn't try hard enough to be offensive. Admittedly I have been off the grid for 4 days so it maybe. The demo tree was a massive spruce, grown in the gardens since '64 and destroyed in less than 4 hours. It was a messy tree at the end, but all things being equal, it will survive because of that, despite cutting off around 90% of the foliage.
The professional - enthusiast relationship is not one often discussed openly for various reasons, but it is an absolutley essential relationship without which, Kimura, Kobayashi and Suzuki (or Neil, Noelanders and Valavanis) simply wouldn't exist in the way that we know them now, and there would be far fewer masterpiece trees. This relationship is an essential one, as long as it is mutually beneficial and is beginnng to be understood and accepted in Europe and the US but still there are some who think of it as cheating or are against the idea of an enthusiast displaying a professionally styled tree at an exhibition under the name of the enthusiast owner. This should not be seen as a haves or have not argument or a snake oil salesman pitch in order to drum up business, rather a call to stop and think a little about what we are hoping to achieve with Bonsai, to improve the art form as a whole, or to accumulate personal glory? Although pessimists will say the latter is the reason for buying a professionally styled tree, it is in fact the former which can be achieved a lot quicker with a symbiotic relationship between the enthusiast and the professional artist.
Anyway time for bed. Just had to get that off my chest. I had in fact written a page more but deleted it because it could have been interpreted as too much like a sales pitch. Will have some pictures this week for those who are still looking. My senpai Akiyama is cming for a few days next week, so i will be busy working on getting stuff to a presentable condition.
Autumn is coming...make sure to fertilise accordingly...lay off the nitrogen so no new growth is induced that won't have time to harden off, let the tree expend any nitrogen it has in the system and look towards high P K fertilisers, especially bonemeal for an autumn to winter fertiliser regime. Get the roots, foliage and cell walls hardening ready for winter.