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May 2002 Newsletter

Web Page Address:                                     Issue: 05/02May 2002

2550 Camino Tassajara

Danville, California 94526

(925) 736-7600

Sensei: Kunitoshi Akabane (925) 736-7600

President: Scott Couture (925) 735-3535

Editor: Daryl Bunch (925) 830-8790

May Meetings:

All meetings held at Heather Farms Garden Center, 1540 March Banks Dr., Walnut Creek. 7:15 – 10:00 PM

May 5 – Heather Farms Garden Faire, Club information booth, 11:00am to 5:00pm

May 6  - Basic Class  Meeting.    (7:00 pm to 7:30 pm) - Business meeting and library open (7:30 pm to 8:00 pm); Class instruction topic: Yoseue (group planting style) by Sensei Akabane;  (8:00 pm to 10:00 pm) – Workshop.  Every member should bring material to work on during the Workshop.

         Refreshments: Barbara Richards and Alex Schneider.

May 7  -  Board of Directors Meeting at 7:30pm. CalFed Bank, San Ramon.

May 13 – Intermediate Class Meeting.  (7:00pm to 7:30pm)  Business Meeting and Library open.  (7:30pm – 8:00pm) – Class Instruction Topic:  Balance of Trees in the Bonsai pot, by Sensei Akabane.  (8:00pm to 10:00pm) Workshop.  Every member should bring material to work on during the workshop.

                         Refreshments:  Bob Brown

May 25 – Spring garden tour.  Note this is a change of date.

Notes:     - (1) If you are listed to bring refreshments and cannot attend, please call Scott Couture at (925) 735-3535

               -  (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 Scott Couture at (925) 735-3535 to order one.  The cost is $2.00.  

Club News

Welcome to new members, Steven Huskins, Nancy and Sheldon Savage.

From the Chair (and “K”):

If you have been listening to Sensei “K”, you will have heard him talk about studying trees, understanding their nature, and paying attention to a trees natural “growth habit”. You will notice a lot of “nature” and “tree” references in the same phrases, with a fair amount of “study” and “understand” thrown in. “K” is reinforcing time and again what he knows we need to do to become better at the art of bonsai - study and understand nature.

Toward that end, for the last few years we’ve been talking about putting it altogether as a different kind of learning experience – studying trees in their natural setting – on Mother Nature/Father Time scale. Big…..Old….Trees. Study them, look at their injuries, their surroundings, their form. Contemplate how the sun, the soil, the moisture and the tree interacted over perhaps hundreds of years to produce the tree that is standing in front of you. Ask questions and try to answer them.

Why does it lean the way it does?

Why are the roots so much larger on that side?

Why are the branches arranged the way they are? Are there trees shading an area so some branches had to stretch out much farther to reach the sun?

What caused the dead branches?

Why do some branches have much more ramification than others?

Where is the new growth? Why?

Don’t limit yourselves to these – explore the tree, be inquisitive. Many questions may be tough to answer, maybe there’s no answer, or maybe there’s more than one answer. But, the real value in studying nature is the learning and understanding that comes from searching for the answer, more so than the answer itself. While  nature study may not yield a big leap in understanding, we CAN develop  insights that will help us be a little more skillful in representing our impressions of nature in our trees. I have noticed that some very subtle differences in technique makes a jin look either spectacularly real or totally artificial. Studying trees in nature and natural aging processes in action can help us make our trees look more real.

Instead of taking a big class trip somewhere, “K” would like us to organize ourselves in small self-study groups – a car full is best – and go to school. Visit the mountains, or a local park, or the Monterey coast. When you see a good, old, tree that might make a nice bonsai if it was 100th scale, stop (safely) and study it. Take photos if you can. Take notes on the tree’s surroundings (Is it standing alone, or on the outside of a group? Is it in a valley where there is little morning and evening sun?). Take note of what type of soil it is growing in. Ask questions amongst yourselves and try to talk through some answers. Once you’ve really explored the tree, and you have a good set of notes so you can remember it all, get ready to come back and share with your class what you learned. (More on that next month.)

Some of us will need help with this. Those of you who have had your eye on a tree or group of trees, please bring directions to class and pass them to your class representative. If you’d like, volunteer to lead a group there. I would like an Intermediate Class member to try to be in each group to help make sure enough questions are being asked – not to lecture or try to provide all the answers. Now that the coast is warming, and the snow in the mountains is making the side roads more passable, it’s a good time to get started. If intermediate members have ideas for trip destinations, please pass them to a Basic Class rep, Loretta Hayes or Patrician Hines,or to me if you need to, lets build some ideas for those who to are ready to get started.

Best Wishes, Scott

May 25          GARDEN TOUR          May 25

The Garden Tour is an opportunity to visit the Bonsai collection of three club members. Mr. Wanek, Dr. Merrill and Mr. Lausten have graciously agreed to allow us to see their extensive collections. This is a “Do Not Miss Opportunity.”

Please note the date of this event is May 25 not May 18 as it may have been previously announced. Try and car pool to each location to minimize our impact in the neighborhoods.

Directions and the time schedule will be available at our May meeting.

Richard Crawford  

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.

May 4 – 5 Concord.  Shikishima Bonsai Club 44th Annual Bonsai Exhibition and Demonstration.  11am to 5pm Saturday, 10am to 4pm Sunday, Japanese American Cultural Center, 3165 Treat Blvd, Concord

May 4-5 Sacramento   Sacramento Bonsai Club 56th Annual Show at Sacramento Buddhist Church, 2401 Riverside Blvd.  Hours  Saturday 12noon-6PM and Sunday 10AM-5PM. Demo by sensei Mas Imazumi at 2PM both days.

May 5   Watsonville  Watsonville Bonsai Club 29th Annual Bonsai Show at the Watsonville Buddhist Temple Annex, 423 Bridge Street. Hours are 10AM-4PM. Demonstration at 2PM by Katsumi Kinoshita.

May 18-19 Oakland, Bay Area Satsuki Aikokai 8th Annual Satsuki Bonsai Show at the Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave. Hours are 10AM-5PM with demonstrations at 1:30PM both days.

May 18-19 SacramentoSatsuki Aikokai of Sacramento Annual Show and Sale at the Sacramento Garden & Art Center, 3320 McKinley Blvd. Hours are Saturday 10AM-5PM and Sunday 10AM-4PM with demonstrations at 1:30PM both days by bonsai master, instructor, Golden Sate Bonsai Collection-North curator Kathy Shaner

May 25-26 Reno, NV, Yukiyama Bonsai Kai Annual Bonsai Show at the Art Etc. Room, Park Lane Mall, corner of South Virginia and Plumb Lane, Reno, NV. Hours are 10AM-4PM both days Demonstrations at 1PM both days by Ted Matson

June 1-2San Mateo, Sei Boku Bonsai Kai<19th Annual Show at the San Mateo Garden Center, 605 Parkside Way, San Mateo, CA.  Hours are 11AM-4:30PM both days. Demonstrations from 11AM to 3PM both days featuring Warren Clark, Steve Fenton, Tim Kong, Valerie Monroe and Mike Page.

June 2   Monterey,Monterey Bonsai Club 39th Annual Bonsai Show at the Monterey Buddhist Church, 1155 Noche Buena, Seaside. Hours are 11AM-4PM. Demonstration at 2 PM by Katsumi Kinoshita.

Diablo Bonsai Look Ahead Schedule

June 3 – Basic Class.  Topic – Review styles learned thus far.  Bring all styles to the Workshop.             

Refreshments: Mary Beth Smyth and Linda Soliven   

June 4  -  Board Meeting

 June 10  -  Intermediate Class.  Topic – Discuss concerns of feeding, soil and location.  Workshop.      

Refreshments: Scott Couture