There are a couple of things that stick in my mind about the Noelanders Trophy XI this weekend; one of them would be the Saturday crush. The doors opened at 10:00 and we decided to arrive late to avoid any queueing. We got there at 11:00; all the convenient parking spots were gone, plus there were still over 100 people waiting outside to get in. Marc Noelanders told us apparently some people had been there since 09:00. I'm totally pleased for him, as they put in so much hard graft into this show. (More on that later.)
I mentioned on Twitter that the Noelanders show seems to have become the unofficial landmark opening of the European bonsai show circuit. I recognised Eastern European, UK, French, Italian, German, Spanish & of course BeNeLux visitors (you do see many of the same faces year on year) as well as the occasional Americans; I'm sure there were other nationalities there, I just don't know them all so apologies if I missed you. Lots of cards and show flyers were exchanging hands. What seems to happen is that people make a point of catching this show to invite enthusiasts from other countries to attend or display at their local shows later in the year. TOH got no less than 3 invites to display our trees on the Continent this year: fitting them all in will be something of a logistical - and financial - challenge. But I'd love to do it.
That said, I know you're gagging to see the trees. So here goes. But my usual caveat applies - these are my photos of displays that I found interesting, for all sorts of reasons; but this is not an indication of my personal preference for or an indication of merit (or not) in the trees, unless specifically mentioned. Most of the time I do try to refrain from any sort of technical or artistic critique; I'm sure the owners are already more than aware of the strengths and limitations of their bonsai.
a whole load of wire, but that is not why this photo is in here. He also had another Scots Pine in the show (a large literati I think) but maybe I just have a preference for groups of trees...
And of course, I will always mention the Suiseki that Gudrun and Willi Benz go through so much trouble to bring out for our enjoyment. I could have photographed them all as the standard is always excellent, but taking down the details of all the photos is one heck of a drag.
And everyone wants to know the winners. There were several trees that received Special Mention certificates, but I didn't have the time to go hunting them all down. Just because the attendance was lower on the Sunday didn't mean that it wasn't busy in the exhibition hall. So what I did manage to take were:
One thing I've always liked about this show is that there are no restrictions on the public taking photos. Not that Joe Public walks around with professional quality kit anyway, plus the light is really not ideal for taking detail shots. And you can't get far back enough without bumping into another person taking photos. If you are interested in purchasing the show book, go to their website here.
(No, I do not take commissions for plugging things on this blog. Sod off.)
Four years ago, my mate Bob insisted that we come to the Noelanders show; his selling points were the lack of politics, the friendly atmosphere and the quality of the trees. The former is probably something you can never get rid of in a human congregation, but it has never affected me at my level; the latter two are very definitely true and I look forward to going back each year. I've already decided on which hotel to book....