The Annual Trip in May saw 14 members headed up the motorway to Auckland. Lindsay had organised for us to see three private collections and plans included a visit to Plantarama in Drury on the way home to search for treasures. With no GPS in the van there was some lively conversation about what turns to make. The back seat drivers did well and we found all three sites with little difficulty.

First up was Bee’s home in Orakei. Bee is fairly new to Bonsai and has the opportunity to acquire some very good bonsai, mostly already in training. There we met up with a small group from the Bay of Plenty, as well as Dianne and Noel down from the Winterless North. A delicious Morning Tea was served, and there was time to catch up with like minded people many of us hadn’t seen for a while!

While Bee’s trees don’t yet have the display facilities they will eventually, she does have some excellent Bonsai! She also gave us a tour of the grounds to see her landscaped cycad and bromeliad collection. They are stunning and include a number of quite rare specimens.

By the way, the tree that intrigued us all is a spindleberry (thanks Melody), one of many species of Euonymous.

Next was Martin’s in Birkenhead. The van was parked on the street as the driveway down to Martin’s house was very steep and not a lot of room at the bottom. Some really superb trees and potential bonsai met us in a very attractive setting as we climbed up to the rear of the house. We had brought lunch and also indulged in Martin’s generous food spread. There were a lot of questions to Martin about a number of his trees- history, progress, future plans, etc. And a lively discussion about what the front should be on a large pohutukawa.

From Martin’s, Dianne and Noel headed back up North. It was great to have had a visit with them!

The rest of us managed to find Jack’s place east of Manukau. What a lovely home and setting! Again, not a large collection but some superb trees! He also has his work cut out for him with the variety of potential bonsai waiting in various training containers as well numerous future tree growing on in the ground in various spots.

Afternoon tea was served in his “Man Cave”, a building any of us would love to have! Again a large variety of very tasty nibbles- I suspect some of us went home a bit heavier after the day’s irresistible indulgences.

Then we said good-bye to the Bay of Plenty group, reluctantly piled back into our vehicles and joined the Auckland traffic to Drury and Plantarama. Several quickly disappeared down the back in pursuit of treasures hidden in the jungle. Some new trees have homes now and some of us found a few very useful pots.

All in all a great day- weather co-operated, hospitality was superb, congeniality within the group very enjoyable, and three very different, very fine collections.

Thank you Lindsay for organising the visits, and Les for organising and especially for driving the van!