Sort-of liveblogging and photos as David does a demo tonight on the art of Saikei (Japanese tray planting) at the Solent Bonsai club.
A very enjoyable evening with David Penny taking you through the creation of a tray planting from scratch, touching briefly on the history of saikei and how it dovetails nicely with the art of bonsai. Above, David shows the audience how the 3 rocks are held together with clay soil.
The alpine (referring to a mountain view as opposed to little plants of the same name) composition included loads of binding material (either keto or ordinary garden clay soil with tons of organic + drainage matter), a large shallow pot, 3 BIG and HEAVY rocks just this side of being suiseki material, and 3 Cryptomeria japonica 'Bandai-sugi' pruned to resemble trees at high altitude. Oh, and loads of moss (or blackbird bait, whichever you prefer).
We ran out of time, so David was only able to moss up the front of the composition (see pic below); I believe the fully finished product will be up for view at one of the shows he'll be demo-ing at in the summer.
If your club is looking for a speaker, then I'd strongly suggest considering David's saikei talk.
Here is David with the (nearly) finished product, unfortunately I got so caught up with talking to people, I didn't manage to snap a photo of the saikei against a background other than his black shirt.