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March 2001 Newsletter

     Web Page Address:                          Issue 03/01 ¨ March 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

March Meetings:

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

March 5 th  -  Basic and Intermediate Class Joint Meeting (7:00 pm to 7:30 pm) - Business meeting and library open(7:30 pm to 8:00 pm); Workshop (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm).

         Refreshments: Bill Magee, Jack Mahshi and Renee McGowan

March 6th Board of Directors Meeting at 7:30 at the CalFed Bank on Crow Canyon in San Ramon

          Notes: - (1) If your 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.

March 4th  -  Potting Session No. 2 at the Tassajara Nursery, 2550 Camino Tassajara Rd, Danville - (10:00 am to 12:00 noon).

Take the Sycamore Valley Road east exit off I-680.  The nursery is approximately 2 miles east of I-680 on the right hand side of the street.  When you arrive please park on either side of the street outside the fenced parking area so that the regular customers can park inside the parking lot.  Please take note that this potting session is on a Sunday.  If you did not make it to the February 10th potting session, please try to attend this one.  A detailed write-up was in the February newsletter.  A recap of the highlights is as follows:

The objective of the potting session is for members to prepare the trees they are donating to the October Show plant Sale.  The club furnishes the pots, wire and soil used and the members provide the trees.  Basic members - two 1 gallon sized trees and intermediate members two 5 gallon sized trees or group plantings.  You can bring your own trees or trees will be available at the nursery for you to purchase

Bring your own bonsai tools and a piece of plastic to cover your work table.  Before you leave the potting session, make sure you clean-up around your area and register the trees you have prepared and the pots you have used.

Club News

Our thanks to Mineko Montoya for bringing refreshments to the February potting session.  Our thanks to Byron Nobriga for setting up the February 24th field trip to the Sumigawa and Lone Pine Nurseries.

Don Meeker has joined the Board of Directors as the Intermediate Class representative.  Thank you Don for accepting this appointment.  Intermediate members who have items they wish discussed in the Board meetings show see Don at the regular class meetings or call him  at (925)-933-4492.

Five (5) pots and two (2) stands from the estate of Phil Hermann will be at the March 5th meeting at reduced prices.  The benefits from the sale of these items are going to Phil's widow.

Please welcome the following new members: Cynthia Hubbard of Oakley, Hilda Newell of Antioch and Kent Smith of Walnut Creek..

If you have not paid your dues for the year 2001 yet, this will be your last newsletter and we will assume you have left Diablo Bonsai Club.  Otherwise  please get a check in the mail to Tom Fong at 126 St.. Joan Lane, Pleasant Hill, Ca 94523 immediately.  Single membership is $40.00 and Couples are $65.00 

In previous newsletters we have asked if anyone has bonsai related books they are no longer using to consider donating them to the club library.  If you have any books to donate, bring them to class or contact Pat Hines (925)-944-1246 or Linda Soliven (925)-934-2875.  A club member has the John Naka Basic Bonsai Techniques Volume I from the library.  Please bring it to class in March or give Pat Hines or Linda Soliven a call if you can't be at the March meeting.

The dates for the Cherry Blossom Festival Bonsai Exhibit have been changed to a week earlier.  The new dates are April 21st and 22nd.  Please note this change to " Diablo Bonsai Club 2001 Schedule ".  At the Cherry Blossom Festival Exhibit we are asked to have two members of the club at the exhibit while it is open to the public.  We split the hours up as follows:

    Saturday  -  10:00 am to 1:00 pm

                     -  1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

                     -  3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

    Sunday     10:00 am to 12 noon

Sign-up sheets will be at the March and April Classes.

Special Article

A look at Bonsai Literature

 by Don Meeker

When I joined the Diablo Bonsai Club several years ago I had been involved with bonsai for many years. I had collected several books, studied them often, and looked at the pictures even more often. My wife and I enjoyed taking in many bonsai shows. After I joined the Club, I experienced a big improvement in my understanding of Bonsai. I learned much more from Sensei Akabane than I would have without the literature and having seen so many different bonsai trees at the many shows. What I got from the Club pulled it together enabling me to understand what I had read and seen.

When we are really serious about Bonsai, about practicing the art, all three of the information sources are important. I believe the most important and useful source of information and skills is the Club. Sensei’s instructions, and the members, their trees and experience are the key to learning to do it right. You really get the best direct and specific information here.

The bonsai shows with all the different trees and styles, some really excellent, some maybe not so good, help build our sense of bonsai styles and possibilities. The demonstrations of making a potential Bonsai from nursery stock helps us understand how it is done. We can get ideas about things to do, and of things not to do. Seeing the show trees helps build a solid background for making our design decisions. But all the trees in all the shows and all the photos in all the books and magazines don’t tell us how or why. For that we need our teacher and the written literature. Face it, we only get a few precious hours a year with our teacher. To get the most out of that time we need to do our homework.

To help with that we’ll do some articles for our newsletter about the Bonsai literature. The Club Library has a number of excellent books, and some of past issues of Bonsai Today and other periodicals. The goal is to help you find the information you want to study.

Caution: Note that seldom do the writers gives consideration to our local climatic conditions. Even articles written for San Francisco or Oakland don’t serve our hotter, drier summers and colder winters. We need to interpret a lot. For example they say repot or transplant in April, we have to interpret, late January, February and early March. Sometimes there are errors or misleading information. You can’t take one book or one article as an absolute authority, but several together help build the background we need to improve our skills. If you have questions ask our teacher, or one of the more experienced Club members.

Bonsai Today. Issue 17, January February 1992. This issue is wholly devoted to the issue of Transplanting. It is an excellent overview of the many aspects of repotting or transplanting. Although I don’t believe it covers a very important basic, nor in fact do many of the books. Never remove all the soil from the root ball. Always leave at least a third of the root ball intact, with soil. For older mature trees, do not remove more than one third of the root ball, that is leave two-thirds of the root ball (at least) intact, with soil. Fine hair roots exposed to the air for more than a few minutes will die. If it is warm, windy or very dry that will be seconds, not minutes. If you have to work on the roots a long time, keep a spray bottle handy with water to mist the roots. If you have special circumstances that require a variance from this cautionary note discuss it with the Sensei.

Many issues of Bonsai Today have in-depth articles about specific material. For example Issue 55, May-June 1998 has an excellent article on the Crataegus Cuneata, "The Hawthorn with Red Blossoms". This kind of article helps to build the depth of knowledge necessary to develop and maintain a top quality bonsai tree. Scattered here and there you’ll find tidbits such as, Crataegus take 20 years to bloom from seed. Probably is not a good source of material for most of us.

In the back of many issues of Bonsai Today is a "Step by Step" article focused on a specific topic. In issue 55 it is about Pine Bonsai. This tends to be basic stuff, propagating, watering, sun exposure fertilizing, important tasks, trimming, pruning, repotting, etc.

Issue 58 has a great article on pinching back tender shoots, "How Branches are cared for from Spring until Fall." Great background information as we move into those seasonal tasks. The "Step by Step" for this issue is about Pruning.

Next time we’ll look at issues in the Club Library and the topics they cover, after that I’ll look at issues we don’t have but which have important articles you may want to study. After that we’ll look at some of the key books to try to sort out which ones may help answer your questions.

The Club Library does not currently have issues 55 and 58 of Bonsai Today. Many back issues are available from Bonsai Today for $8.00 postpaid. Tassajara Nursery has recent issues for sale. I recently picked up a couple of really good issues there.

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.

March 17 & 18  -  Fresno Bonsai Society 32nd Annual Show at Shinzin Japanese Garden, Fresno, CA.  Hours 10:00 am to 4:00 pm both days.

March 21 - 25  -  Bonsai Society of San Francisco Annual Exhibit in the East Building of the Cow Palace. South San Francisco.  Part of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.

March 31 - April 1  -  Modesto Bonsai Club  Annual Show at the Medical Building, 2339 St. Paul's Way, Modesto, CA.  Hours 10:00 am to 4:00 pm both days.  Demonstration both days at 2:00 pm by George Fujita.

April 21-22  -  San Jose Betsuin Bonsai Club 31st Annual Spring Bonsai Exhibit at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 640 North Fifth Street, San Jose, CA.  Hours Saturday  12:00 noon to 5:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Demonstrations both days at 2:00 pm by "Mr. California Juniper", Harry Hirao.

April 28 - 29  -  California Suiseki Society 7th Annual Suiseki Exhibition " The Japanese Art of Stone Appreciation" at Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue, (Lake Merritt), Oakland, CA.  Hours 10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days.

Diablo Bonsai Look Ahead Schedule

April 2, 2001  –  Basic Class - How to Pinch New Growth, Feeding, and Watering. Workshop. 

    Refreshments: Billie Morenz and Sandy Morenz.

April 3, 2001 –  Board Meeting

April 9, 2001  -   Intermediate Class - Discussion on the Problems of Branch Development.  Workshop.  

    Refreshments: Don Meeker and James Merrill.

        April 21 & 22 - Cherry Blossom Festival, San Francisco

Garden Classes at Heather Farms - Call (925)-947-1678

1. A Garden for Four Seasons - March 7th, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Fee $15.00 for Members and $20.00 for Non-members.

2. Paper Making - March 10th, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Fee $15.00 for Members and $20.00 for Non-members.

3. Flower Drawing and Painting Workshop - March 17, 9:03 am to 5:00 pm.  Fee $65.00 for Members and $70.00 for Non-members.  In class materials fee $10.00.

4.   March 28th - Gold Country Wildflower Walk with author Toni Fauver.  Transportation provided, bring your own bag lunch and refreshments.  Leave Heather Farm Garden Center at 8:30 am, return 4:30 to 5:00 pm.  Fee - $100.00 for members and $125.00 for Non-members.  Limited to 16 participants.

5. May 1 - Peninsula Garden Tour of three beautiful old gardens in Woodside/Atherton.  Depart 9:00 am from Heather Farm Garden Center, returns around 4:30 pm.  Transportation and al fresco luncheon included.  Fee $100.00 for Members and $125.00 for Non-members.  Limited to 30 participants.

See the last page of this newsletter for a form to use for these classes if interested.


Class Registration Form                                Send to: The Gardens at Heather Farms

                                                                      1540 Marchbanks Dr., Walnut Creek, CA 94598

                                                                       Phone: 925-947-1678        Fax:  947-1726


Name ________________________________________        Phone  _____________________________

Address  __________________________________        City  _______________________    Zip  ___________

Name of Class                                                          Date & Time                                                               Fee                                  




                                                                                                                                                                              Total  _________________

_____ Member        _____  Non-Member        _____  Check Enclosed                    _____  Visa          _____  MasterCard

Card Number  _________________________  Expiration Date  _______________

Signature:  _______________________________________

                                                                                Make checks payable to:  The Gardens at Heather Farms

                                                                Refunds for canceling attendance will be made only until one week before class