Sad News to Report

Fellow Kusamura members, It’s with a very heavy heart that I tell you that Kusamura has lost two long term members, Lonnie McCormick and Wayne Richter. Both of them in their own unique ways represent the foundation upon which Kusamura was built. As we reflect back on their lives and the memories they left with us may we be comforted by the fact that they were both happy with the club that Kusamura has become. For newer members that may not have known them as well, please know that you too brought them joy as you reminded them of their early days of learning and practice of the wonderful art of bonsai.

Lonnie McCormick

Lonnie lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, December 28

Lonnie was a very outgoing and active member of our club and the larger bonsai community throughout the Bay Area. Lonnie was currently serving as a member of Kusamura’s Board of Directors, a position he served many times in the past. Lonnie also served Kusamura as President, Vice-President, Plant Sale Chair at our annual show for many years, and demonstrator at many of our club meetings and annual shows. In the larger bonsai community, Lonnie served as President of Bay Area Shohin, was a District B Trustee of the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF), and was a regular volunteer at the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt. Lonnie was even involved in the construction of the Bonsai Garden. In addition to bonsai, Lonnie had a passion for fishing and his family. Many of us will remember how he always looked forward to his annual summer trips to Alaska to fish with his brother. During the Korean War, Lonnie was in the US Navy. Lonnie and his legacy of service throughout his life will long be remembered.

Lonnie McCormick
Lonnie at a potting party, 2008

Wayne Richter

Wayne lost his battle with ALS (often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease) on Monday, December 23. Wayne shared a love of bonsai with his wife Louise who passed away in 2006. In her memory, Wayne continued to care for her bonsai and was a supporting member of the club. Wayne served our country during World War II and continued to give back to his community serving as Treasurer of the Menlo Park Farmer’s Market for many, many years. Wayne was a person with a very kind spirit and almost always had a smile on his face.

Wayne Richter
Wayne at our holiday party, 2009


Club News

January 16th, 7pm Club Meeting

Our January program will be a workshop on wiring. We will start out with a short demonstration on proper wiring techniques and then members will get help with wiring the trees they bring in. Don’t forget your tools and wire.

Beginner Bonsai Basic Classes with Jerry

The first two 2015 Beginner’s Classes for new club members will be held on January 24 and February 28. These workshops are club-sponsored events with fees that cover materials used. Class size is limited.

This Beginner's Class program is "Bonsai through the Seasons" and will meet quarterly to work on trees and provide information for the horticulture of your trees. A commitment to meet throughout the year is expected. We will meet at least five times with two classes in the spring. Class fees are $10 per class that is payable to Kusamura Bonsai Club. For our first class we ask each student to bring candidates for bonsai. These can be nursery material or bonsai material that has had some work before. Please contact Jerry to register.

Next Potting Party Sunday, January 25

Our potting party will be from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Planting's home. We will work on trees that are best repotted in the winter with an emphasis on deciduous trees.

For those of you who can come early and help with setup or stay late and help with breakdown, your assistance will be greatly appreciated. Remember you don't have to stay for the entire time. Some people prefer to come early while others start midday. Help make this a success by coming by and lending a hand. For new members without experience, help will be provided in styling and potting your trees.

Bring any club owned trees you are baby-sitting that need to be improved. In addition, each club member is expected to donate three trees or bonsai-related items to the sale. Each item should be something we can sell for at least $25.

Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Mammoth Bazaar

The Mammoth Bazaar is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has invited local bonsai clubs to participate by setting up a display for Sunday, February 22. A six-foot table will be provided for each participating club. The display should include a bonsai or stone and an accent plant along with a scroll and literature about our club and/or annual show.

New Board Member

Allison Williams has been elected to the Board of Directors to replace Jane Iki who resigned from the board for personal reasons in early November. The club thanks Jane for her contributions to the club as a board member since her election in July 2013. Allison joined the club this past year and the club is excited by her enthusiasm to help the club going forward.

2015 Annual Show News

The date for our next show is May 2 - 3. Our guest demonstrator is Valerie Monroe on Saturday May 2.

Charlene Fischer will be our Show Chair this year and will be forming a team of co-chairs to assist her. Charlene thanks Diane Churchill and Lynne O’Dell who have already joined her team. The additional co-chair positions that are open include:  Plant Sale, Publicity, Show Setup, and Benefit Drawing/Door Prizes. Anyone interested in being part of the Show Team can contact Charlene at 

Says Charlene “This year we are also considering a new setup to highlight a main tree.  First of all, I would like to formally thank Dave Flynn for all his work over the years to ensure the tokonoma, a highlight of the show, was prepared and then assembled each year. That tokonoma was always a special way to introduce our visitors to the beauty of bonsai. Dave is at a point where he’d like to show someone else the work needed to prep the tokonoma for the show and then show him/her how to set it up. We would still have access to his crew for some of the heavy lifting on Friday evening before the show. If anyone is interested in taking on this responsibility, please let us know before the end of January. If we cannot find anyone, some club members have discussed showcasing a main tree in another manner such as highlighting a tree with special lighting or a dramatic backdrop, etc. Any ideas the club members have about how to highlight a tree would be greatly appreciated.”

Charlene will have the sign up sheets for the club activities at our January meeting. She also reminds us “Our next potting on January 25 is a time for you to work on your three donation trees. Since the trees are donated, the pot, soil and wire are provided as well as advice on styling and pot selection. Hope to see you there.”

The club extends a big THANK YOU to Charlene for signing up as Show Chair and lining up Valerie Monroe as our guest demonstrator!

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: January Tasks

Holiday Party Thanks

I know everyone who attended will agree that our holiday party was a whole lot of fun, the food was amazing, and party organizer Donna Farmar did a fabulous job! The table decorations provided by Charlene Fischer provided the perfect ambiance. In addition, Lynne O’Dell helped Donna with the wine and Janet Refvem provided her magic touch with setup.

It was wonderful to see so many members in attendance. The club thanks Donna, Charlene, Lynne and Janet for all their efforts and Gordon Deeg for providing the holiday music for this event. Donna also adds “Thank you to all the great cooks and everyone who helped clean up so efficiently. Great group!”

Kudos to whoever thought of the idea of asking club members to donate items to our special holiday drawing. Lots of members participated by donating some awesome items and many of us went home happy winners! The club thanks Jerry Carpenter for organizing the holiday drawing and donating his time as part of the gifts by way of certificates for tool sharpening and a one-on-one bonsai workshop. Along with Jerry’s special donations, Charlene and Barbara Shahinian donated some of their artwork and the club thanks them along with the other members who donated bonsai pots, tools, books, trees, stands, wine, etc and made the drawing such a fun part of our holiday party.

Holiday Party 2014
Holiday Party 2014