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THE FIRST YEARS

After starting to grow my own bonsai trees in 1989, I met up with Hendrick and Helen Visser as well as Deon Arangies a year later. As bonsai enthusiasts we decided to place an ad in the Eikestad News and had our very first informal meeting at the Visser’s home in late 1990.

 The Boland Bonsai Kai (then the Boland Bonsai Society) was officially founded in January 1991. I served as chairperson and Helen Visser as secretary. Excitedly we opened a bank account and got a postal address.

Monthly meeting were held at the botanical gardens in Stellenbosch and soon members from all over the Boland started joining. Besides for Eikestad News’ gracious support regarding short write-ups, we also sent opening Wim Tijmans, Gene McInnes and Rudi Adams were made honourary members.

We knew very little about different styles of bonsai and also where to obtain proper equipment. At the time containers and tools were hard to come by and as a result very expensive. With the contacts we all starting making, the club served as a wonderful platform to go at this together. In the meetings we learnt to share knowledge through presentations and I remember how tough it was for some of us to simultaneously learn how to speak in public.

A year later Deon Arangies became the next chairperson while I started the Literati and with the help of everyone organised our first public exhibition during the annual Stellenbosch Festival. Although I out monthly notices. At the public

relocated the following year, the impact the members of the Boland Bonsai Kai had on my understanding of bonsai indeed lay the very foundation of the styles in which my small collection of trees are in today. Here I also have to remember the influence of Winfred Ludeman, Karin Jakobs and Francois Voges.

Looking back I think one indeed should honour those growers who for many years have been involved in the Kai and have guided its development. Besides for also linking members to the many experts in the greater Cape Peninsula, the real pay-off for me has been to see the advanced state in which many local trees are in at the annual shows. I imagine that the most important contribution members of the Boland Bonsai Kai have is to freely share as much information as possible with each other and also to be able to spot young talent and help shape it to be even better than any older grower.

Glenn Barkhuizen


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