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Local bonsai club to host 50th anniversary show

“WELL, who would have thought we would still be around after 50 years? We must be doing something right!”

This is according to Jenny Shute, the public relations officer for the Eastern Province Bonsai Society, which will host its 50th Anniversary Bonsai Show this weekend.

The club officially turned 50 in September this year and the members are having a blast in marking this milestone.

According to Shute, it’s the second oldest bonsai club in South Africa. She and her husband, Mike, have been members for over 30 years.

On their way home one day, they spotted a car with two stickers on it, one that said, “If I follow you home, will you keep me?” and the other “Bonsai Show”.

“Mike and I followed it to the show, which was held at the showgrounds back then.

“One of the guys actually worked with Mike, but he’d never mentioned anything about bonsai. And the bug bit,” she said.

When they joined, the club only had about 12 members.

“They’ve now grown to include about 65, and they’re not planning on stopping there.

For now, the focus is on their annual show, which will take place at their new venue, the German Club in Lorraine.

This will in future also be the venue for their monthly meetings.

There will be more than 75 trees on display at the show. These will include flowering bougainvillaeas, olives over 80 years old, junipers, acacias, baobabs and spekbooms, to mention only a few.

“The art of bonsai is thousands of years old, with paintings of them in the tombs of Egypt and in ancient scrolls of India, Japan and China. Times have changed and there are new techniques and styles, especially with our indigenous trees that have the world talking,” Shute said.

“We, at the Eastern Province Bonsai Society, want to do our part in saving our trees.

“In every collection you will find small bonsai, as well as exotic trees. However, in South Africa we seem to be going bigger and more adventurous.

“Clubs are using more and more indigenous trees and we are the envy of bonsai enthusiasts the world over for our variety.

“So, for those who want something different and like to think ‘outside the pot’ or use marginal stock, you too will be catered for.”

There will also be a novice section on display. “We want people to see that you haven’t got to have a perfect tree and getting it there doesn’t happen overnight.”

Members will be working on their trees and from 11:00 to 13:00 the beginners’ class will have their final workshop of the year.

Sales tables will offer trees, pots, wire, repotting and “all things bonsai” to patrons.

There will also be a raffle table with many fantastic prizes, even a bonsai, to be won.

“Bonsai is a hobby for the whole family. You are never too old or young to start. Our youngest member is under 10 and his mother too has caught the ‘bonsai bug’,” Shute said.

The Eastern Province Bonsai Society’s 50th Anniversary Bonsai Show will take place at the German Club in Lorraine on Saturday, November 9, from 09:00 to 17:00 and Sunday, November 10, from 09:00 to 16:00.

Admission is R20 per adult, R10 per child and free to anyone under the age of 12. For more info, contact Jenny Shute at 083 999 1058.

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