By now there are probably lots of photos and write-ups out there floating on the Web on the Swindon Winter Image Bonsai Show; and a rather precise synthesis done by @ExtremeWork on Twitter. So I'm not going to try and duplicate any effort here. But I will share what photos I took. And tell you what I did (other than stuffing my face).
So of course I will mention the cakes at this point. Top of the list. Because anyone who is in the know will agree that Swindon Show is also about the cakes. As the show is a fund-raiser for the club, the cake sale is one of our favourite ways of showing our support.
After that show of team spirit, the bulk of my time today was spent catching up with people; some were at the Noelanders show last month but most of the local club people I hadn't seen since last year. So it was good to catch up with the Welsh lads again (nope, no karaoke this time) and the guys who got back from Japan, although not to the depth of detail that I would've liked. Also met up with @grumblemouse, and we had a good natter during the day.
I also need to mention that John Pitt got snowed in and didn't make it to the show, so I didn't get my dose of annoying the Pitt-boss which is also part of the show ritual for me. Snow nearly prevented the Walsall lads from getting there,which would've been a right freak-out as they had made the trophies.
Food in general (and Japanese food in particular), being one of the big loves of my life, I always used to spend a great deal of time talking to both Bob of Dai Ichi Bonsai and Ken of Windybanks about food. During this show, that important part of the ritual got chopped down so drastically I didn't even get to grill @AntiqueNetsuke about the nosh during his very recent trip to Japan (nor did we talk about the Kokofu show either). So if I didn't get to do all that bit, you can imagine that taking pics fell way down in my list of priorities today.
Lots more snowdrops in today's show than last year. Examples from the Phoenix Bonsai Group display and from Chie-san's Kusamono display:
An accent plant on the Artistic Bonsai Circle display. As the owner wasn't around, I wasn't able to ask what plants were in the composition but it looks to me like Ajuga, Ophiophogon, Equisetum and a rush.
Bulbs are big at this time of the year. A fine set of Irises was on display at the Phoenix stand (sorry, missed that opp) and some yellow Crocuses were on the Eastleigh Bonsai display.
Here is a Chinese Juniper (AKA Shinpaku) on a rather unusual display table. The owner got it in its raw state at the Westonbirt Festival of Wood - for a fiver. A bit of elbow grease (and just a little bit more dosh), transformed it into an unusual bonsai accoutrement. He reckons a total of 20 quid spent. Not bad...
And more from the same person, a mame Lonicera (about 3 in / 8 cm high) that was dug out of a hedge.
Going up in tree size, here is a Trident maple on rock. If you look closely, there's a dragon nestled in the interior of the cave. Over the years I've seen this bonsai displayed alone as well as with all sorts of figurines inside the cave, possible a tiny beer can even, if I recall correctly. Proof that you don't always have to take everything seriously. But you can if you want to.
And this is the winter image of this Alder. I have heard varying views on this particular tree at this time of the year, and I will confess to having a preference for the tree with its summer foliage on. Simply because I find it particularly impressive then.
And yes, I need to be impressed. So I'm shallow. Sue me.
But as I am of a generous and giving nature (coughing fits at this point) I will leave you with @ExtremeWork's beautifully compact summary that went out on Twitter earlier this evening. My thanks to the author for allowing me to use their text. And if you're not familiar with how the Twitter timeline goes, you'll need to start reading from the bottom and work your way to the top. Otherwise, feel free to read this synopsis backwards.
- Swindon & District Bonsai Society as always were excellent host & made all welcome. Cake was up to usual high quality and met expectations.
- Chie-san had a very nice selection of kusamono on display and was taking bookings for her workshop on 16 April
- Ken from Windybanks had some very nice material and small trees to show and is expecting new stoock imminently.
- Dai Ichi Bonsai had imported Japanese pots and stands on offer with a few very nice Satsuki Azalea.
- Chris Thomas had some fine Larix and his usual collection of accoutrements on offer.
- Andy Pearson had a range of his pots including some unusually large pots from his kiln.
- Paul Goff had a very nice range of scrolls and was gathering interest for the Bonsai Review that he publishes.
- David and Mark from Walsall Ceramics Studio made early calls to check weather in Swindon and arrived with some very nice pots.
- Weather up North seems to have hampered some from arriving. John Pitt (John Pitt Bonsai Ceramics) was redirected with heavy snow.
- Phoenix, Solent, Newbury, Cotswolds and the Splinter Group had good society displays. Artistic Bonsai Circle's trees to their normal high standard on display
- Dragon Bonsai and New Dawn Bonsai had some exquisite trees and some old friends on display to very high standard.
- British Shohin Association and ABBA's displays were well presented.
- A good show of very finely ramified Chinese Elms, Ian's Hornbeam group has recovered well from its trip to the Noelanders Trophy in Belgium
- Some of the really nice exhibits at the Swindon Bonsai Show were the mame There was a good range of varieties & the trees were small.
- Back from Swindon. Bonsai were of the usual high standard. Met lots of friends and caught up on the gossip. Great day of bonsai ...