Kathy Shaner California Juniper Demonstration

July 21 @ 7:00PM

Kathy Shaner will be our guest demonstrator that evening and she will style a California Juniper. Thanks to Mark O’Brien who has been caring for this tree since the summer of 2014, the tree is in excellent health and sure to be much coveted. Check out the photos of it on our club website. The tree will be included in the benefit drawing at the end of Kathy’s demonstration.

Kathy Shaner’s bonsai story began in 1983. Her passion started slowly. First she took a workshop on bonsai, and then attended conferences. She gradually came to study under some of California’s most respected bonsai instructors and joined almost a dozen different bonsai clubs over a ten-year span.

Kathy was driven. She met with bonsai masters, who discussed the difficulties in finding good apprentices. Women were not considered. I am sure this only intensified Kathy’s determination. She then sought out a master to apprentice under. She met with bonsai master Yasuo Mitsuya. He was so impressed he accepted her the same day he met her and asked her to come to Toyohashi, Japan later that week to begin a five year apprenticeship.

Almost instantaneously, her life changed drastically. She was immersed in bonsai, trying to simultaneously learn the techniques, the culture, and the language and all the time striving to stay a step ahead of her teacher. This began her career as a bonsai master. Upon completion, she became the first non-Japanese citizen to be certified by the professional bonsai grower’s branch of the Nippon Bonsai Association, as well as the first woman bonsai master.

Kathy is sought after for her vast bonsai knowledge and her artistry. She travels constantly as a highly respected professional bonsai teacher. She is curator for our Bonsai Garden Lake Merritt. She truly puts a bit of magic into any tree she works on. While she maintains rules are important, they do not confine her. She is more interested in how nature may influence a tree, its health and styling that is natural for the particular species.  Any time with Kathy is a treat. You won’t want to miss seeing her in action.

Kathy Shaner working on a bonsai at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Kathy Shaner working on a bonsai at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt


Kathy Shaner working on a bonsai at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
The California Juniper Kathy will be working on


57th Annual Show Recap

by Charlene Fischer, Show Chair

On Saturday, Jonas Dupuich had a really large audience during his demonstration on a Coast Live Oak. Jonas is such a great presenter. New member Idris Anderson who had just joined the club earlier that day was the proud winner of the oak. While visiting our show room afterwards, Jonas commented on the unique way the room was set up with surprises at every turn and how healthy all the trees were.

Jonas Dupuich and new club member after winning the demo tree on Saturday
Jonas Dupuich and new club member after winning the demo tree on Saturday.


On Sunday, Gordon Deeg, Sandy Vrooman, Marsha Mekisich, and Sean Morris were in front of another full house and really engaged the audience with their dual demonstration. Two lucky winners, including Marsha Mekisich, were excited to win the Boxwoods that were originally dug up from the Winchester Mystery House by a club member about fifteen years ago. Both trees had been cared for by John and Sandy Planting over the years and repotted with Jerry Carpenter’s assistance three years ago.

New things that were tried this year included:

  • The Kid’s Corner (over twenty kids participated)
  • New demo room layout allowed the audience to be closer to the presenter(s)
  • Video projection during the demos provided better view of tree styling
  • New professionally printed club brochures
  • Acceptance of credit cards in the plant sale area
  • A light dinner for volunteers working Friday night
  • Taller backdrops behind taller displays in the middle of the show room


The Kid’s Corner

The Kid’s Corner was a huge success with twenty kids participating during our two-day show. This was the brainchild of Lynne O’Dell and Richard and Barbara Phillips. Barbara and Zach were assisted by Isabella, a former student of Barbara’s, on Saturday and fellow Kusamura members both days. Thanks to all who assisted especially to Zach and Isabella who were the shining STARS of this event.

Barbara Phillips and her grandson Zach
Barbara Phillips and her grandson Zach


Kusamura at Filoli

Kusamura’s participation in the Filoli Flower Show June 2-4 was another success story this month. The club thanks the twenty-four club members who displayed trees and/or accent plants in the show and/or participated by helping with manning the exhibit over a four-day period and/or helped with setup and breakdown. Filoli had over 3,000 visitors during the Flower Show and I think Kusamura members manning the exhibit talked to the majority of them. It was a wonderful experience for all of us to witness the enthusiasm of the visitors to our exhibit.

At the end of the show, the Filoli staff informed us that they had received lots of feedback from guests who loved the hospitality of the club members and the variety, creativity and artistry of our exhibit. This week Filoli staff asked that Kusamura be their official bonsai exhibitor in the Garden House for future shows. Filoli is especially happy to be able to give Kusamura this opportunity in recognition of the many volunteer hours donated by Kusamura members who maintain the Filoli bonsai collection. Several Filoli bonsai were included in the bonsai exhibit and Filoli enjoyed seeing how we incorporated those trees into the display. Great job everyone!


Club News

“Thank You” to the Plaid Team

The club thanks Jerry Carpenter and Sean Morris who represented Kusamura at the Sei Boku Bonsai Kai Bonsai Challenge on the evening of June 28. Jerry said they had a great time!

Kathy Shaner working on a bonsai at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Jerry and Sean working on their oak


Timely Work Schedule

Each month there are a number of tasks you need to do to your bonsai - from repotting, to fertilizing to spraying for pests. We have put together a checklist, customized for the San Francisco Bay Area to help you. This checklist is adapted from earlier work by Mitsuo Umehara.

This month: July Tasks

No Meeting Recap

Normally we have a recap of the previous month's meeting, but we didn't have a meeting in June.

Club Calendar

July 21: Demonstration by Kathy Shaner

August 26: Club garden tour starting at 1PM. Tour stops include the gardens of Sean Morris, John and Sandy Planting, and Gordon Deeg where we will have a barbeque. Thanks everyone for volunteering your gardens!

Other Events

July 12th, Oakland
East Bay Bonsai Society's Annual Auction
Beginning at (preview at 7:00pm) you'll find bonsai trees, pots, tools, and accessories. The event will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center, located at 666 Bellevue Ave. Oakland, CA. 94610

August 26 – 27, Santa Rosa
Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS): 34th Annual show at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Avenue. Show hours are 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 10 AM to 4 PM on Sunday with demonstration by Bonsai Master Artist Kathy Shaner from 1 to 3 PM both days. Demo trees will be raffled. See the largest bonsai exhibition. Large number of bonsai vendors will be on hand plus sale by club members. Exciting silent auctions or “buy it now”. Admission and parking is free. For more information visit our website or contact Bob Shimon at (707) 884-4126 or shimon@mcn.org.

October 7, 2017    Cupertino
Midori Bonsai Club: 56th Annual Bonsai Show at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Road, from 10 AM – 5 PM. More details to follow as the date approaches. www.midoribonsai.org

October 14 - 15, 2017    Oakland
East Bay Bonsai Society: 56th Annual Show will be held at the Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave., Lake Merritt. More details to follow as the date approaches. www.eastbaybonsai.org

See GSBF Calendar for additional items

We Accept Donations

As a non-profit, we happily take charitable donations to sustain our club. In exchange, we will will get you a receipt to include when filing your taxes.

For more info see Donations

Articles We Recommend

Intro to Bonsai
About Your New Tree
Pine Pests

Other Sites We Recommend

Michael Hagedorn's blog
Bonsai Tonight
Peter Tea's blog

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