Hosted at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens,Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TR

Work in Progress at The National Bonsai Collection

Earlier this year the team of volunteers from the Midland region who work regularly to keep the National Bonsai Collection in pristine condition decided that the Juniper group, donated many, many years ago to the collection by the late Bill Horan, first secretary to the Federation, had grown too large to be vulnerable to theft – it is now in a tray of over 5 feet in length, so it was time to make it a feature in the outside space.


However it was still unfortunately vulnerable to the fingers of the thousands of schoolchildren in the groups that regularly visit the Collection in the course of the year. Thus The Botanical Gardens requested a protective fence – the volunteers got together, plans were made and a fence built off site. This last week at the end of June the fence was erected.


I hope you join us in thinking that this is a job well done, a first stage in providing protection but allowing visitors closer to the trees.

FNBC Boot Sale

13 March 2016

The Boot Sale run annually at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens each year to support The National Collection has reached a peak; we had the best attendance of booked Boots, perfect weather and lots of attendees looking for bargains. We have had some atrocious weather in the past - March is a very unpredictable month, but this year proved truly excellent in all ways. The largest number of Boots yet and many, many happy purchasers basking in the early Spring sunshine.

With a profit of £405.00 from 27 Boots, it will do a lot towards supporting the day to day running costs of the Collection. Thank you for your support and please keep coming, we’ll try and book good weather.

A reminder; a second Midland region Boot Sale will be held at Thisledome Community Centre on 18 September with the proceeds being shared between FNBC and the Foundation Charity.



Tree Transformation on the National Collection trees

The Chairman and committee members from the Friends of the National Bonsai Collection recently spent a day working on four of the Collection trees. All were trees that had been allowed to extend their growth during the spring and summer and were now requiring varying degrees of restyling and refinement.

One of the trees was the large group of Chinese junipers, one of the first donations to the Collection back in the early 1990’s. This group had been transplanted onto a new slab in March 2015 and it was now time to begin some refinement on a number of the trees in the planting.

Other trees worked on were the two larch groups comprising a mix of Japanese and European larches (Larix leptolepsis and L. decidua) and a formal upright cedar (Cedrus atlantica glauca). The cedar had in recent years developed substantial apical growth so a large part of the work involved thinning out of branches in order to open up the apex. Further refinement is required, but the result is a more refined image.

Both larch groups required thinning out, the triple larch planting in particular having lower branches on the second largest tree removed and others repositioned, resulting in a much neater arrangement.

Further work involving fine wiring will take place in the next few weeks.


The thinning out of the Cedrus atlantica, illustrating ‘before’ ‘intermediate’ and ‘after’ images, including the branches removed which amounted to approximately almost 50% of the foliage mass. Over recent years, this tree has shown vigorous growth, but this was the first time since 2008 that such extensive branch removal had proved necessary. The tree still requires further refinement together with some reduction in length of the lowest branches.

Work carried out by Barry Walker, Chairman of F.N.B.C., on the triple larch planting, illustrating the extent to which the second tree of the planting had been thinned out and lower branches removed.

Andy Dolman (Chairman of the South Staffs Bonsai Society) working on the Chinese juniper planting


Vic Yeomans working on a large larch group. Most of the work in this instance necessitated removal of excess new growth and thinning out on a number of the branches. The next stage will involve thinning out of the apex on the dominant tree.


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