Mel wrote an article for the Bonsai Society Newsletter. I’m reproducing it here for his friends and family who aren’t members of the Bonsai Society.
Off the Bench
By Mel Freeman
As club librarian, I have access to the Bonsai Society’s wonderful collection of books. One of these books, “Bonsai Your Guide to Creating Stands and Benches” by George Buehler, inspired me to change the way I displayed my own bonsai.
My first bench (built from a reclaimed wood pallet) was functional as a first attempt to display my trees, but as my collection grew, it quickly became over-crowded.
Mr. Buehler’s book contains images of trees on individual stands, sometimes called Monkey Poles, which greatly appealed to me.
I made my Monkey Poles from landscape timbers, donated by a neighbor, and wood slats from an old fence I recently took down. The varying heights of the cut landscape timbers along with plants around the base, coaxes the eye to move through many levels of the garden. This also allows me to position my collection where each tree or plant is better suited.
I strongly suggest that members check out Mr. Buehler’s book and see what kind of inspiration one might receive.Remember, how one displays his or her trees is almost as important as the trees themselves.
Building Monkey Poles
Cut each landscape timber into the desired lengths, allowing an extra foot which be placed in the ground to keep it secure.
Attach support slats by drilling pilot holes into both the support slat and the top of the landscape timber and then driving in wood screws into these pilot holes.
Attach the top slats perpendicular to the support slat. Again, drill pilot holes and then drive in wood screws.
Bury the Monkey Pole nine to twelve inches into the ground. Water the soil around the pole to help firmly pack the dirt around the post. Place your bonsai on top of your pole and enjoy.