The next two days were filled with demonstrations by bonsai artists from China, Taiwan and the United States. Additionally, two stone lectures were presented by authorities from China and the United States. Photos of all the demos were not taken. I was kind of preoccupied with my missing suitcase containing tools which only arrived six days late and two hours before my program. There was a back up plan, of course, I’m a professional bonsai artist/educator and the show must go on. It was much easier, of course with my own tools.
Shinichi Nakajima from Japan worked on a large size Podocarpus and did a great job resulting in a stunning bonsai with excellent potential. It’s important to realize that most Japanese bonsai artists do not have much experience working on “nursery grown plants” or untrained plants. This is not necessary in Japan as they will simply work on a tree which has been initially trained for decades before and refine the image. Or, a common practice is to take an overgrown established bonsai and redesign and improve the image. Since this excellent source of material is not readily available outside of Japan, Westerners have learned the horticultural and artistic techniques necessary to create a form from untrained material.
Pemphis created by Min Husan Lo from Taiwan
The first part of my program consisted of a PowerPoint program introducing the basic fundamentals and design concepts of forest bonsai. Since I had many questions on how we are able to keep our bonsai alive in the severe frigid temperatures and considerable snow, images of my bonsai garden were shown. I think this may have been the first images of bonsai covered in snow were seen by many of the attendees. And, to their surprise, the photos were taken in April and May, not winter.
The material selected for me were great Orange jasmine in several different sizes. There were two skilled members who helped me wash the trunks and remove most of the soil from the root systems. A few had wire, but we removed it so none of the trees were wired. They were only trimmed after planting and mossing in a large and heavy concrete container.
Only one small section of the collection
Everyone was served ice tea……
We were taken to see the private bonsai collection and museum of Tony Gedang a famous movie producer and artist who collects anything and everything. I could not believe what he has gathered from his world travels. African art interests Tony and he has a considerable collection of African tribal masks. Additionally, he has a fine collection of Japanese and Chinese stones, ancient pottery from the Mesopotamian Era, religious items and much, much more many of museum quality. Tony is still collecting too.
On the last day Yumi, Bobby and Susan drove me to see an active volcano, which was quite that day. On the way up the mountain there were several roadside bonsai nurseries. The proprietor was friendly and followed me around holding an umbrella over my head to shield me from the hot intense sun. When she saw I did not need it, she used it as she showed us her collected trees. Concrete containers are made in the area for their bonsai.
The Philippine Bonsai Society is a friendly, knowledgably group of people who are sincerely interested in learning and improving their skills. Many traveled great lengths to attend the convention and even brought bonsai to display. I was truly impressed with the group and tried to put extra information in my programs since the members were so interested in bonsai. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many younger than older members active in their hobby and so willing to help to make their convention a success. And it was, because the organizers worked hard planning and running the entire event. My congratulations to the Philippine Bonsai Society for a successful convention, filled with friendship and beautiful bonsai. Thank you all for making my first trip to the Philippines special and for sharing the beauty of your bonsai with me. I learned a great deal and now have a deeper appreciation for tropical bonsai.
This photo shows how the people love and enjoy their bonsai and is typical of the young, enthusiastic people in the Philippines.