At the meeting this month, Peter Evans gave a talk on accents and accessories to Bonsai.
He brought a few bonsai along and accompanied them with a succession of accents, mostly plants, but also a tiny bronze hare and an ivory netsuke. The little plants were grown in pots which, as with Bonsai, compliment them without competing. Peter demonstrated that accents must compliment the tree sometimes by species, at others by seasons. Like the Bonsai, accents need to stand on a base to show them off. A major principle here is that pot doesn’t stand on pot, wood on wood. Many people viewing Bonsai will see the the and accent without appreciating the space between them, the alignment and the way the accent draws the eye to the centre of the display.
Allied to Bonsai and accents is the speciality of Kusamono, a miniature planting in a pot making an assembly of plants, often of kinds usually overlooked. What is regarded as a pest in the garden comes into its own in the miniature world of Kusamono.
Peter Evans has studied the subject of bonsai in far greater detail than most growers, certainly British ones. He holds by one principle that we would all do well to follow namely that the purpose of Bonsai is to display them. To that end it is quality of trees that matters, not quantity. To produce trees of show standard requires design ability, study and work.