Yesterday was our first NIBS 'solo' bonsai school following on from our 4 year partnership with Willowbog Bonsai. Feedback from members who attended has been excellent and numbers on the day were fantastic. A big thank you to those who have supported the school in it's new format and we will continue to aim high with our content. A new approach to the school is not only to combine outside artists and our own in house talent but to also push on keen club members by setting presentation tasks/challenges on the day. We started of with Josh, a founding NIBS member with over 30 years experience in bonsai, talking about creating bonsai from field grown material. I don't know of anyone in the UK who has done this with the results that he has. The Broom style Beech is one he grew from a seedling! We then moved onto a talk and double demo on repotting. Ian repotted a Trident Maple to show the root structure on a well developed bonsai while Phil repotted a collected Larch from it's sphagnum moss mix into it's first pot. A nice contrast in trees at different levels of development. After lunch we had a fantastic presentation from Ben B who took up the challenge to speak about pot selection for trees. With an open and friendly audience we had lots of input from those in attendance. Ben normally teaches Primary 5 children so this wasn't too much of a stretch for him ;-) This was followed by Ben F talking about potters in Ireland, the UK, Europe and of course China and Japan. No easy task but he made an excellent job of it and although he looks very relaxed below, I think he was secretly bricking it!! With many members seeking new pots, this was a great way to help those in attendance find the right potter and pot style for them. We finished up with Phil and Ian talking about collecting yamadori with examples of collected trees on view but also photos of them over the last 20 years out in the wilds, spade in hand. Here's a few photos from back in the day to show just what a hard life they have had over the last 20 years :-).