April 22nd saw 13 club members make the trip to the sunny Bay of Plenty to see the collection of Sam Brierley. Sam is well known for his skill in developing trees to a very high standard and the trees we saw on display were very good examples of his skills.

From a tiny chamaecyparis to very large hawthorns and privets, the trees on display showed the benefits of all the time Sam puts in to his trees (4 days of wiring on the one privet!). The pots also show off his imagination and creativity.

As well as his finished and ‘in progress’ trees, Sam had a collection of collected hawthorns ready for his magic touch to turn into fine bonsai.

As well as letting us admire his collection and acquire a few carving bits, Sam gave a talk on a few of his trees explaining his techniques. There were also several discussions on his potting mix, carving techniques and feeding regimes. A very informative morning and Sam and his family were wonderful hosts which helped to make the visit one of the best for a long time.

On the way back from Sam’s we stopped off to see Colin Churchill. Colin is one of the senior bonsai artists in New Zealand, having been working on his trees for over 40 years. In the last few years Colin has been reducing the size of his collection but the trees he has left showed his skill has not diminished.

Many of the trees showed the impression of great age and Colin’s collection of Black Pines grown from seedlings was an inspiration to some just starting out on their bonsai journey.

Colin has also had a long standing love of saikei and his collection includes several very nice pieces.
A great opportunity to catch up with one of the ‘fathers’ of bonsai in NZ and his extensive collection.