Little fig rocks it big with awards

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Border bonsai master excels in PE

LOCAL Border Bonsai Society member Raymond Kingma recently took part in the South African Bonsai Convention in Port Elizabeth, where his rock fig (Ficus Burt-davyi) bonsai scooped two top awards.

WORK OF ART: East Londoner Raymond Kingma with his rock fig bonsai that scooped two top awards at the National Bonsai Convention recently. Kingma is a member of the Border Bonsai Society Picture: MADELEINE CHAPUT

Kingma’s root-over-rock, slanting-style bonsai received one of the top nine outstanding trees on show awards, as well as the African Bonsai Association’s president’s Forbidden Branch merit award.

Fellow Border Bonsai Society member Philip Wynne was also recognised at the convention, receiving the runner-up award in the young talent category.

“I’m extremely proud of his achievement. Philip did very well and has a knack for the art of bonsai,” said Kingma.

Coming from a bonsai-loving family, Kingma has been an avid enthusiast of the Japanese art for most of his life.

The art form dates back thousand years and is a form of horticulture whereby miniature trees are cultivated using specific styles to shape and create the illusion of full-size trees.

Kingma started helping his mother with her collection in 1983, later starting his own collection in 1988 with one wild fig tree.

Since then, Kingma’s collection has grown to include 268 bonsai trees, ranging from wild olives to baobab and bougainvillea trees among many other species.

“The bougainvillea is definitely my favourite tree. I have eight different flowering varieties and when they are all in bloom, it is magnificent,” Kingma said.

Raymond Kingma’s winning Bonsai. Picture: Pollock’s Photography

Kingma started growing his winning tree from a seedling in 2002, taking 15 years to shape and manipulate the tree’s design to the beautiful artwork it is today.

“Bonsai is a living art. You need a lot of patience, time and dedication. People often fail, because they give up too easily and get despondent when trees don’t respond well or die.”

He added that having a background knowledge of different species of trees and understanding their growth habits is fundamentally important for anyone wanting to pursue the ancient art form.

“There must also be the element of creativity and design in your work – without it you will battle. There are so many different styles, some more difficult than others, and you often need to find creative ways to execute them without harming the tree,” said Kingma.

For anyone interested in learning more about this painstakingly beautiful art or more on the Border Bonsai Society, please contact chairwoman Jennifer Weyer on 083-791-8501.

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