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August 2001 Newsletter

  Web Page Address:                       Issue 08/01 ¨ August 2001

2550 Camino Tassajara

Danville, California 94526

(925) 736-7600

Sensei: Kunitoshi Akabane (925) 736-7600

President: Bob Evans (925) 820-0268

Editor: Daryl Bunch (925) 830-8790

August Meetings:

All meetings held at Heather Farms Garden Center, 1540 March Banks Dr., Walnut Creek. 7:00 – 10:00 PM

August 13th  -  Basic / Intermediate Class Joint Meeting (7:00 pm to 7:30 pm) - Business meeting and library open(7:30 pm to 8:00 pm); Sensei will look at October Show plant sale trees and trees members plan to exhibit.

         Refreshments: Scott Couture, Bob Eden, Alan Chin and Kevin Coppa


  • There will be no Board Meetings in the month of August.   The September Board Meeting will be devoted to the October Show.  All committee heads should plan to attend this meeting.
  •    Notes: - (1) If you are listed to bring refreshments and cannot attend, please call Bob Evans at (925)-820-0268.

          -  (2) Don't forget to bring a piece of plastic to cover your table during the workshop.  After the workshop, clean-up around your table and help put away the tables and chairs. (two rows of tables and chairs at the south end of the room.)

          -  (3) Wear your name tags to class every month to make it easier for everyone to meet each other.  If you need a name tag, call Bob Evans (925)-820-0268 to order one.  The cost is $2.00.  

    Club News

    The Cherry Blossom Festival gave each of the featured demonstrators a check to partially offset the cost of the materials furnished by the demonstrators.  Our Sensei donated his check to Diablo Bonsai Club.  Thank you for your generosity. 

    We received a letter from the Heather Farms Garden Center asking us to help them in their efforts to conserve electricity.  We can do our part by doing the following:  turn the lights out in the bathrooms after each use; turn out the downstairs lights when we are not using the library or getting the coffee supplies and refrain from using the air conditioning.  If the air conditioning is on keep the doors closed.

    At last months basic class meeting, two members expressed an interest in attending a workshop  on sanding and finishing stands.  Please see Bob Evans at the joint meeting or give him a call at (925)-830-0268.

    At the July meetings the plant sale committee passed out sheets for the listing of the trees members will be donating to the October Show plant sale.  Please get these filled out and bring them to the August joint meeting.  If you don't plan to attend, get them mailed back to the committee.  They have a lot of work to do between now and the show so our cooperation is appreciated.

    The August Joint Meeting is very important to the club's preparation for the October Show.  Every member should try to attend.  Bring the trees you are donating to the plant sale and the tree or trees you are planning to exhibit to this class.  Our Sensei will look at each of the trees and make suggestion for improvement.  This will give members two months to follow K's suggestions.  The quality of our plant sale trees and the trees on exhibit reflects on the club.  Lets each do our part to make our nineteenth annual exhibit a quality event.

    Club Hoppi Coats will be available at the August, September and October meetings for purchase.  The cost is $45.00.  During the October Show we would like to have all the members wearing a Hoppi Coat.

    During the August meeting, the librarians, Pat Hines and Lind Soliven along with Rene McGowan will conduct an audit of the library books.  A reminder to everyone, you are to check the books out of the library one month and return them at the next scheduled monthly scheduled meeting.  If you haven't taken the time to see what books are in the library, get with Pat or Linda at one of the monthly meetings.

    We have had a couple of cases where people a who are scheduled to bring refreshments to a monthly meeting, have not attended and have not called to say they can't make it.  In each newsletter, in the Looking Ahead section, we list who is scheduled to bring the refreshments next month, so everyone knows in plenty of time.  Take a look each month at this section and please give Bob Evans a call at (925)-820-0268 if you can't attend the meeting.


    Bonsai Literature and other notes by Don Meeker

     We’ve looked at some of the contents of the club library.  But if you’ve read all of those and need some other ideas, here are a few suggestions.  Again, I’d like to comment on why I feel it is so important, if we are serious about our bonsai, to study the literature.  We really don’t have a lot of time with our Sensei, for the depth and complexity of the information we need to know to get good at caring for and developing our bonsai.  We need to get up to speed on the basics as soon as we, individually, are able.  The basics, the fundamentals of soils, potting, watering, fertilizing, summer and winter care, insect and disease prevention and control, pruning and trimming are well covered in the Club’s basic classes and in the literature.  We can fill in the gaps, things we are missing, from the literature, so that we aren’t taking the Sensei’s time with questions we should be able to answer for ourselves, and can best use the time we have with  such questions that we can only learn from by direct experience.  If a tree is of poor shape, or is sickly because it needs to be repotted, its root bound or in poor soil, or needs feeding those are basics we should know and not need to ask.

    Anyway, a few other literary suggestions.  One of my favorite books is titled simply Bonsai, by Susan M. Bachenheimer Resnick, published by Little, Brown and Company.  It was produced in cooperation with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the trees shown are from that collection.  There are some fine examples, and the photographs are well done.  I am prejudiced because a friend of mine, Marty Haber, one of the founders of the Long Island Bonsai Society, helped in the development of the book.

    Basic Bonsai Design, by David De Groot and published by the American Bonsai Society is another good reference on the very basics of design.  David is the curator of the Weyerhauser Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection near Puyallup, WA.  The pictures are not of great quality, but the trees are very good, and are from that collection.  The information is well presented and very understandable.

    Another text, helpful in understanding the design or styling basics is Successful Bonsai Shaping, by Peter D. Adams.  I understand this book is no longer in print and is hard to get, Kinokuniya, the large book store in the Japan Center in San Francisco has several copies.  But you may also find it in a used bookstore or a library.  The illustrations are drawings and help give a good feel for the basics of good bonsai design.  

    The Brooklyn Botanic Garden publishes a quarterly “Record”, from that they have published a collection of articles in a small handbook Bonsai: Special Techniques.  If you can find it at a used bookstore it is a good buy.  Interesting short articles on special topics.

    I also am very fond of The Masters’ Book of Bonsai, compiled by the Directors of The Japan Bonsai Association, this book goes back to the 1980’s but the pictures are of pretty good quality, and the information is very good. 

     Maybe good ideas for birthday or Christmas gift lists.  The bookstore in Japan Town in San Francisco usually has a good selection of current publications.

    I’d like to leave the literary scene for some closing comments on Satsuki Azaleas and other flowering trees.  My wife and I love the azaleas and have a collection of about 30 different plants, Satsukis and others.  But I am always a little uncomfortable with some of the azaleas being presented as bonsai when they are in full bloom.  The mass of bloom, particularly if the flowers are large or colorful will totally take away the presence of the tree as a bonsai, and it becomes instead a spectacular mass of bloom.  Beautiful though it may be it isn’t really a bonsai at that time.  I remember well, many years ago I was at a show and speaking with a little old Japanese lady about azalea bonsai.  She said, “Oh, you have to be very careful, only a few small flowered azaleas, of very delicate color are acceptable.”  She helped me select a few small plants and I was very happy until I managed to kill them.  But, I’ll always remember her advice.  And that is true of other flowering trees as well, the small flowered magnolias are sometimes used as bonsai material, but the blooms overwhelm the tree and they loose their bonsai qualities when they are in bloom.  Bougainvilleas can make great bonsai, but when they are in bloom, wow, fireworks don’t make a great bonsai tree.  We can enjoy both aspects, but we should not confuse them.


    Events Elsewhere

    Golden State Bonsai Collection at Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue, Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA.

    Garden House Hours

    Wed, Thurs, Fri – 11:00AM to 3:00 PM

    Sat – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

    Sun – 12 Noon to 4:00 PM

    Call ahead to be sure they are open at (510)-763-8409.

    August 4, 5 - San Francisco Suiseki Kai 20th Annual Suiseki Exhibit in the Sakura Room of the Radisson Miyako Hotel, 1625 Post Street ( Post and Laguna) San Francisco.     Hours Saturday - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday - 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

    August 25,26 - Redwood Empire Bonsai Society 18th Annual Show at Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa.  Hours are Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Demonstrations both days at 1:30 pm, featuring Kathy Shaner on Saturday and Mas Imazumi on Sunday.

    September 5 - Garden Lighting Class at Heather Farms Garden Center, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  The cost is $15.00 for members and $20.00 for non-members.  Call (925)-947-1678 to register.

    September 15, 16 - San Mateo Bonsai Club 38th Annual Exhibit at Central Park Recreation Center, 50 East Fifth Avenue at El Camino Real Road, San Mateo.  Saturday hours - 12 noon to 6:00 pm, Sunday hours - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Demonstrations at 1:00 pm both days.

    September 29 - Fall Plant Sale at Heather  Farms Garden Center, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

    Diablo Bonsai Look Ahead Schedule

            September 4 - Board Meeting 

            September 10 - Basic - Final Review and care of exhibit and project plants.  Workshop.

                                    Refreshments: Patrick Corbiere, Richard Crawford

            September 17 - Intermediate - Manicuring Bonsai.  Workshop

                                    Refreshments: Hollis Hardy and Rebecca Harris

             October - Basic - Ikadabuki (rafting) Style.  Workshop

                                Intermediate - Bunjin Style.  Workshop

             November - Basic - Preparing Bonsai for Winter. Workshop

                                    Intermediate - Discussion on Winterizing and Trimming Bonsai.  Workshop.

            December - Joint Meeting.  Review this Year's Projects.

    Garden Center Classes