On Saturday just gone Willowbog Bonsai welcomed Dr. Maxim Kapralov to the nursery to talk to us about the complex processes going on inside our bonsai. Maxim is a senior lecturer in plant biology at Newcastle University and his main challenge I reckon was to present things in way that was simplistic enough for us dummies to understand.


Willowbogger Angela is to be thanked for pretty much setting the whole thing up and acting as Maxim’s taxi service on the day. Here she and I take Maxim around the nursery  looking at various bonsai.


Our visitor had made it quite plain when he kindly agreed to talk to us that, whilst he was certainly interested in and fascinated by bonsai, he actually had no knowledge of the trees and the techniques that we use to create them. I knew when he said that that he would be quite at home amongst the Willowboggers !!!


We had previously sent Maxim a list of the sorts of topics that we would like covered. Caz, looking very studious on her spectacles here, checks through that list before we get started.


The seats starting to fill up while Maxim and myself took a look round Willowbog’s bonsai collections.


We had about fifteen names on the list of possible attendees although on the day three failed to turn up.  In the background here The Proprietor looks very relaxed talking to young Sam.  My thanks to The G-man for being behind the camera for all these photos.



Because of my power complex I insisted on doing the introductions !


It was just a case of thanking Maxim for giving up his day to help us and to explain how the day would go. Needless to say it went in an entirely different way which proved, I think, to be way more successful than it might otherwise have done.


Maxim quite simply took over and pretty much dealt with the previously raised topics in entirely his own way which proved to work very well indeed.


Which also meant that I could just sit back and listen and learn. That is a very bald head in the foreground Mr. Greeno ! not mine for sure as it does not display my many war wounds, Antony’s maybe !


No I see now it must have been Ian B’s head. As you might expect Maxim made good use of the flip chart to illustrate some of his answers. We had hoped to be able to utilise slides from his lap-top but in the event technical issues prevented this.


From the front I could see that he kept folks attention the whole time.


I could also tell that he found it a bit of a challenge keeping it all simple enough for us dummies but generally succeeded brilliantly.


There was a good and almost continual interaction between Maxim and the folk in front of him which led to a really nice, relaxed and informal feel to the day.


He was able to send round his lap-top with images to illustrate some of his responses.


Here he looks at our growing medium and talks about the effects of that on the root environment.


We broke a little after midday for a snack lunch and then resumed in the afternoon for about another couple of hours. It was a very enjoyable and informative day and once again I would like to thanks Dr. Kapralov for his time, I reckon there is a good chance that we will see him again, maybe one evening in the spring when, with the benefit of darkness and a resolution of the technical issues we could work through his slides to make some of his answers even more understandable to us dummies, we shall see !