How can we best report on this extraordinary event, which like ‘The Best of British Bonsai’ back in April, managed to capture the best and hottest two weekends of the summer. This was probably the most ambitious event staged on the UK Bonsai Scene for many years. Sussex Bonsai Group had chosen the K2 leisure complex, an enormous and prestigious centre, lined up to be used during the 2012 GB Olympics. The great size and first class quality of lighting, gave the Sussex Bonsai Group, tremendous scope for an imaginative use of space.
It was not just simply a ‘bonsai event’, as it encompassed a selection of Japanese cultural activities from martial arts through the full range to gardens and Ikebana; there was scope for everyone’s interest. The main exhibition comprised of exhibits from 15 societies, 11 individuals, as well as stands displaying their wares from 15 bonsai related traders.
With all this amazing space available, it is not surprising that there was also a great variety of bonsai demonstrations and other Japanese activities to fill your time. The demonstrators were headed up by Marc Noelanders from Belgium, always a great draw at these events, with his easy relaxed style, excellent English and the results he produced from whatever material he is presented with. Marc was joined by fellow demonstrators John Armitage, Ken Norman and Rammon Hamers. All these, together with a plethora of Japanese cultural talks and demonstrations, made this a weekend filled with activity and interest.
At the end of the weekend, awards were presented to:
- Ian Stewardson for Best Large Tree and Best in Show
- John Armitage for Best Shohin
- Amelia Williams for Best Mame
- Ann and Ken Norman for Best Group
- Tracy Morton for Best Tree and Pot Combination
- Swindon Bonsai Society for the Best Society Stand
Thanks to Kaizen Bonsai, The Sasakawa Foundation, the Federation of British Bonsai Societies and Award sponsors for their invaluable input.