The first attempt to start a club in Cardiff was made by a Mr Colin
Eyres in 1981. There is, in the club library a copy of a leaflet on
bonsaiwhich was taken from a British Bonsai Association club booklet,
with a sticker on it saying Cardiff Bonsai Society, Chairman Founder and
Editor, C.Eyres, with the address 70 Coed Cochwyn, Llanishen, Cardiff.
The club petered out, due to lack of support, but there was still a need
for a club this side of the Bristol Channel.
The next attempt was made by Carl Terry and John Sanger, in
association with the Majoes. Notices were posted in garden centres and
put in the local newspapers, and the first meeting was held in the Beulah
Church Hall, Rhiwbina in Sept 1989. 20 members were signed up.
Dan Barton was invited to talk in Nov 1989, and there was almost
immediately a membership list of 54 people, many of whom are still
members. The club's instant success proves that there was a need.
There have been quite a few fluctuations to the fortunes of the club,
based mainly on the number of members. Other clubs started in South
Wales, and the membership was split, dropping the number of members
in Cardiff to about 20, and making it more difficult to survive. In 1993
problems started to occur, because the regular monthly meeting place
in the downstairs hall at Beulah was wanted by an aerobics class which
met every week. As a result Mick & Barbara introduced us to the
Bethel Church Hall in Whitchurch, and we have been pleased to meet
there since June 1993.
In 2012 Cardiff Bonsai Club was part of the organizing group for
Bonsai in Wales at Tredegar House, which was a national event,
staging some of the best trees in the country, and holding demos
of international standard. This was the third major show held in Wales
and there was an emphasis on trees of Welsh origin. The support and
enthusiastic participation of the bonsai fraternity made this a very
successful and enjoyable event.
In 2013 the National Trust took over the running of Dyffryn Gardens
and there was some uncertainty about our annual show, but after
a late arrangement being made, we did have a show at the gardens
as usual, and this now seems to have been accepted as an annual event
with the new management.
2014 was another year of change, due to a drop in membership at the
same time as an increase in rent. It became obvious that it was in the
interests of the club to find another venue. This wasn't easy but we
found another suitable hall, the Scout Hall at Christchurch, on
Lake Rd North, adjacent to Roath Park, with a vacancy for a Tuesday
booking, so we changed not only our venue but the evening on which
we met. The change of evening didn't suit all our members, but some
ex-members have returned, and we also have new members in our
In 2018 there was another change, we didn't hold our show at Dyffryn
Gardens for the first time since 2000. Enthusiam was waning, the marquee
was deteriorating, and the visitor numbers were very low. The amount
of effort wasn't justified, even though we valued it as a superb setting
for the bonsai. In 2018 we put our efforts towards a larger show at the
Riverfront in Newport, which was another spectacular venue. In 2019
however we decided to go small and use our own meeting place for our
annual event, and hold an Open Day in Roath Park for local people.
This worked surprisingly well - we were fortunate with the weather, but
we had a steady stream of visitors, and everyone enjoyed the day.
We had a smaller display than we were used to, but it was so sucessful
that it will be repeated annually on August Bank Holiday Saturdays.