Growing trees in style

JUST over 20 years ago, the Shutes from Rowallan Park attended their first bonsai tree show at the Walmer Town Hall. Little did they know it would virtually take over their lives.

As keen gardeners Mike and Jenny always had a love for trees and plants and both have served on the committee of the Eastern Province Bonsai Society.

Jenny said at one stage all trees were modified according to oriental lines. But the society prides itself in African styles that have put South Africa on the international bonsai map.

“The Eastern Cape has a wonderful selection of trees to choose from if you want to try your hand at it,” Jenny said.

Big trees with strange and intricate trunks, small trees with thorns and just trees you wish you could grow all adorn a special area at the Shute household.

Jenny said before the annual show on December 1 and 2, she and Mike would ensure that all the tree beds were cleaned and the moss and the leaves cut back.

Jenny said the biggest mistake people made with bonsais was presuming they were plants and keeping them inside their homes or offices. They are not plants, they are trees.

“This is why so many of them die in office environments,” Jenny said.

More than 120 trees will be on show at the annual show, including two of Jenny’s favourites – an ornamental plum tree and her honeysuckle tree.

There will be many trees on show including the baobab, conifers and even the wild olive.

“There will be styles ranging from wind swept, forests and even saikei,” Jenny said.

The show runs from 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday with demonstrations at 11am and 12.30pm.

Entrance is R10 for adults and R5 for children.

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