February 2018 Newsletter

February 20, 2018

Phew! Virus sorted, posts removed, apologised to all, passwords changed! Our sincere condolences to Douw Otto on the passing of his wife and to the family and friends of George Vrey who passed away suddenly last week.  It makes you realise how fragile life can be.  Here is the SABA newsletter for February, I hope you enjoy. If you have not confirmed your details, please do so. The updated club contact list is now up and running. If your club is not there (and it should be), please contact me.


February is normally our hottest month here in KZN. I can’t wait for March and cooler weather. Extreme temperatures are experienced everywhere and it certainly has not rained by us in a long time. But not as bad as the Cape.  It breaks my heart to see what people are doing to keep their precious bonsai going.  The one thing we are all learning through this, is to be more economical with our water.  We are recycling shower and laundry water and if it wasn’t for that I would certainly not be able to keep all the trees that I have. 


The plans for the SABA Convention from the 16th to the 18th of November 2018 are coming along nicely. We will let you know about the programme as soon as possible.  The calendar is jam-packed with events, so be sure to check regularly.  Go to the web on www.saba.org.za/events to see all the happenings in South Africa.  Apart from regular club meeting dates and times, there is also major workshops and demonstrations happening.


Another major event coming up soon, is the very popular, not to be missed Autumn Bonsai Festival in George from the 27th to the 29th of April. Kestitus Ptakaukas is the headliner, with Shaun Murphy doing a Ficus demo, Tobie is going to talk about photographing your bonsai and Carl Morrow will talk about displaying bonsai. Last but not least, Freddie Bischoff will talk about unusual indigenous bonsai. Definitely a programme not to miss. 


As some of you may know, we started updating our list of SABA affiliated clubs.  Very soon, only the SABA clubs and businesses belonging to SABA members will be listed on the SABA website. As always, this is for your convenience and SABA does not promote anyone’s business over another.  An email went out early in February to ALL clubs and businesses.  Only 21 responded.  Based on the old page, there are 75 bonsai related businesses in South Africa, of which 24 were SABA members (at the time).  Only 18 clubs responded.  I will start phoning people in the week, as it is possible that I have the wrong contact information. With that, we are very happy to welcome TWO new clubs to SABA. Well, one is not so new,  Nelspruit Bonsai Kai decided to join SABA and the newly (re)constituted Ballito Bonsai Club, also decided to make it formal and join.  Tola Smit is the Chairman of Nelspruit Bonsai Kai and Abram Manqele is the Chairman of the Ballito Bonsai Club.  We welcome both and look forward to a long and happy bonsai relationship.


The photographic competition is more popular than ever before.  There was a basic article on the blog on how to take photos of your bonsai and after Tobie’s talk in April in George, there will be no excuses anymore. Our dedicated Facebook voting page is a roaring success!  The January 2018 competition engaged with 665 people as opposed to 241 for the December competition.  That is a very special achievement AND it means that bonsai in South Africa must be very popular.  We encourage everyone to enter. Some of these photos will be used for the annual SABA calendar, so make an effort, take nice photos and send them in to info@saba.org.za.  The competition is only open for voting for 5 days, so get your photos in before the end of February and start voting the moment we open the poll.  The SABA judges each have one vote and the public’s vote count for one on its own.


I am well aware that not all of us have bonsai that are up to scratch for the photographic competition, therefore, we started a monthly theme fun post on Facebook.  The theme for February was Ficus (that was intentionalJ). People were asked to post their Ficus trees, especially the unusual species. We were stoked with the response.  We had so many posts and comments on the page and we will definitely continue with this.  Watch out for the new theme that will be announced after the announcement of the Photographic Competition winners. 


The website is constantly updated and renewed, but we are looking for articles from members. It would be nice to hear your club news and put it on the blog.  I received very little from any of the clubs.  If you have news to share, please send it to info@saba.org.za.  We also remind clubs to please send us a list of member names. WE do not need contact details, but this will assist in offering SABA members discount rates at SABA conventions.


We are still looking for someone to come up with a new logo for SABA. We would like it to represent South African trees and styles. So, get designing and drawing! 


David Brewis, s SABA EXCO member from the Sunshine Coast Bonsai Club unfortunately had to resign to due other commitments.  We would like to thank him for his contribution so far and hope that he will stay active in bonsai.  We are looking for an additional member to join the EXCO and suggest that the Western Cape or the Bloem area.  That will give the EXCO fair representation from all the regions. If you have someone in mind, please forward their names to me or one of the other EXCO members.


We are also looking for Lifetime Achiever Nominations.  Please send the names and a small motivation to info@saba.org.za, so that we can start working on it.  This special award goes to people with exceptional dedication to bonsai in South Africa.  They must be members of a club in current good standing with SABA (paid up membership). (See? More benefits to joining SABA!)


We wish you a happy month of love and may your Valentine’s gift have been as special as my 40kg’s of fertiliser. Because: why have flowers for a day, when you can feed your trees for a long time?

Yours in Bonsai!





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