Geo Feng High School
The China National Penjing exhibition was held on the grounds of the Geo Feng High School which is a private boarding school owed by Mr. Ma. The grounds are exquisite with trained garden trees throughout the campus.
Most of the taller trees are Podocarpus which are trained and regularly trimmed. The value of these trees is at least USD $20,000 each, and there are countless number. Also there are a great number of trained Japanese five-needle pines, which look like they were imported from Japan, also expensive. Additionally large penjing are placed around the field track, swimming pool and around pathways. I wonder if the students realize the beauty they are surrounded with and also their value. The huge garden stones were easily taller than most people. Around back one could enjoy a beautiful pond full of prize winning koi fish.
These grounds are far superior to many Japanese gardens I’ve seen in the United States. They are well maintained and I was told the gardeners are paid more than the high school teachers. We had a few lunches in one of the several cafeterias. The food was institute served on metal trays.
International Forum For The Development Of Penjing In China
Representatives from several foreign countries were invited to participate in a forum about the status of bonsai in their respective countries. Countries included: France, England, Italy, Taiwan, Viet Nam, Japan and the United States. We were asked about the National Penjing Exhibition, our impressions, likes and way to improve future exhibitions. Next questions came up which were quite interesting, especially comments and discussions from Susumu (Chui) Sudo from Japan. There is a new movement suggesting the development of modern, creative and innovative bonsai and display. Robert Steven from Indonesia had such a successful exhibition last weekend and reports can be found in my earlier blogs.
Uhaku Sudo from Japan
Mr. Bum from Korea
Tony Tickle from England
Su Fan, host, moderator and organizer from China
William N. Valavanis from the United States
Several demonstrations took place on Friday afternoon, during the same time as the Penning Forum, so unfortunately I was not able to watch. In the morning the demo trees were displayed and an old Japanese red pine was given to Robert Steven to work on. Soon he told that his un shaped demo tree was sold for USD $15,000. It was an impressive bonsai already. So Robert selected a Japanese five-needle pine, not so old, but with a bit of character.
Original demo tree for Robert Steven, but sold before demonstration for USD $15,000
Someone shaped the tree
Kuio Kobayashi worked on an old multi trunk Japanese black pine and Mr. Cheng Cheng Kung from Taiwan worked on his specialty, carving juniper bonsai. By the time the forum concluded all the demo trees were displayed outdoors except for Mr. Cheng’s because he was still working on it under an umbrella because it began raining near the end of demos.
Kobayashi demo tree before shaping
Kobayashi demo tree after shaping
On Saturday morning the foreign guests were invited to have breakfast with the headmaster Mr. Ma. We were escorted to the tallest building on the campus and went to the 14th floor. When we got off the elevator it looked like we stepped into a fancy hotel, complete with artwork, stones and penning. There was a huge round table with a turntable in the center where the 15 foreign guests were seated. Mr. Ma entered the room a few minutes later and warmly greeted each one of us, me with a bear hug. This ”breakfast” ended up being a 21 course feast with Mr. Ma personally serving the main dishes to everyone. Delicious unusual food was enjoyed including a rare yellow fish which costs USD $1,000 each, and two were served. I just ate and was told afterwards some of the food included turtle soup, yams, sweet potatoes (small sizes so you could easily pick them up with chopsticks), many vegetables and a large whole crab. I was told mine was a male because I was eating the orange sperm.
Mr. Ma serving everyone the yellow fish
Whole crab before opening and eating
I sat next to Amy Liang from Taiwan who showed me how to eat crab