During a visit to Melbourne I had the opportunity of joining a workshop of the Bonsai Society of Victoria. The Bonsai Society of Victoria is one of several bonsai societies in Melbourne. The group regularly receives international artists to give demos or lectures. As a result, the group has a high overall level. The members create trees at an international level.
To ensure the members stay up to date and gain theoretical knowledge about growing bonsai, the group has 2 types of metings. Every second Saturday of the month they meet, and work on their trees. In a friendly atmospere they work together, and share ideas and discuss routes to development. On the fourth Monday of each month, they get together and have a lecture or demonstration. This ensures that memebers both gain insight in their ow trees, as well as a solid theoretical foundation in growing bonsai.
The meeting I attended was at the end of their summer holidays. As such, only a small part of the members was present. However, some 15 members had made the trip through the rain and decided to join the meeting in the old church used for their meetings. Members brought in a variety of tree species. There was a seriously big trunked Chinese Elm, one of the species used around the world. But als some trees that are stricly australian, suc as the pine look-alike Casuarina (Atually, when you really look at them, they do not look like pines at all). It is very nice to see the pioneering happening here to grow local species, not commonly seen as a bonsai.
The growing speed here is impressive. A large chinese elm displayed up to a metre new growth in a mere 5 months. And a Casuarina that had been repot just 5 weeks ago, was showing up to 30cm of new growth. Unbelievable and something that in the climate at home, we can only dream about!
The society is clearly driven, and aiming at creating trees at the highest level. I have this suspicion that we are going to see a lot of trees from this club during the World Bonsai Convention in Perth (October 2012)…