Satsuki Azalea Society New Trees
Many of you will recall the excellent Exhibition held in Plymouth in 1998 co-hosted by FoBBs and the then, fledgling Satsuki Society. (The Satsuki Society changed it’s name to the Satsuki Azalea Society shortly after because some people were getting confused with a well known Japanese motorcycle manufacturer!)
As part of this event a party of Japanese bonsai masters were invited to demonstrate pruning & styling techniques on some splendid Satsuki material specially imported for the event. Subsequent to the event, the tree worked on by the main demonstrator, Mr. Gondo, was donated by the Satsuki Society to the National bonsai Collection at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham.
Moving on a few years…
To the new Satsuki Azalea Society’s AGM in 2007, a question was raised about the tree in the Collection and the possibility of the Society purchasing another tree to offer to the Collection on a loan basis thereby doubling the number of Satsuki’s on display.
Much discussion resulted in a motion being passed to try to source a tree of suitable stature to grace the collection whilst still being affordable to the Society. (The first part of this quest is relatively easy, the second not so!)
Subsequent to the meeting FoBBs & the FNBC were approached to see if they would be amenable to this plan and the response was a resounding yes.
So, all we had to do was find an excellent, cheap tree! Step forward Bob Thompson of Dai-Ichi Bonsai. Because of his contacts with Satsuki growers in Japan he felt sure that if it was explained that we were looking for a tree for a National Collection one of them would be keen to help. To that end, Mr. Goto of Goto Bonsai Nurseries was approached resulting in an email in June ’07 to Bob with pictures and details of a tree he had specially chosen for us. The email was forwarded to committee members and all agreed that it was an ideal specimen but even at the reduced price Mr. Goto was offering it was way over our budget.
2007 rolled into 2008 and yet another AGM. Yet again the question of a tree for the Collection was raised and finances discussed. How could we afford it? Step up Bob again with an offer that Dai-Ichi would part fund the purchase of the tree. Problem solved.
February and the tree duly arrived in Newbury and during a visit by Society members to inspect it the deal was done. It’s ours!!!
Where is the tree now?
The tree is now residing at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens where it can be seen by all in its re-styled state.
On a personal note, as Secretary of the SAS I would like to thank Bob on behalf of the Society for his gracious offer and help in sourcing this tree and without whom this venture would not have been possible.
The pictures on this page were taken in Cornwall on the 19th July 2008 at the home of Alexander Kennedy who supervised, advised and worked on the re-style of the new tree. As can be seen various eager members assisted in removing the hundreds of flowers and seed pods before work on styling could begin.
On behalf of the SAS I, and the other committee and society members, want to thank Alex for his time and his foresight in restyling and producing a tree that we can all be truly inspired by.
We hope that our Society has spread awareness and knowledge of these beautiful plants and that this new tree will help to bring them to the attention of all bonsai enthusiasts as well as the public in general and which will also be an inspiration to all the people who see it.