Tropical & Subtropical Program with Jerry Carpenter

September 16, 2016 @ 7pm

This month Jerry will lead a presentation and workshop on tropical and subtropical bonsai. Members are asked to bring a tree for work and discussion. Types of trees appropriate for this program include banyan, bougainvillea, boxwood, camellia, Chinese elm, crepe myrtle, ficus neriifolia (fig), Japanese holly (Ilex crenata), olive, the pepper tree, evergreen pistache, pomegranate, pyracantha, serrissa foetida along with others. Jerry is bringing a bougainvillea and olive for demonstration purposes but not for raffle. Remember to bring tools if you want to actually work on your tree.

As always if you can arrive early to help with setup that would be greatly appreciated.

Club News

2017 Show Dates Announced

Due to renovations at Lucie Stern Community Center, our 2017 show will be held June 23 – 25. This is almost two months later than our normal show time of April. So keep these dates in mind when making vacation plans for next year and choosing and prepping your trees for show.

Club Library

Our club has an extensive library - at least 20 crates of books, magazines and a few VHS (yes!) tapes. There's a lot of good information in our library, but much of this information is now available on the internet. Also it is clearly impossible to transport the entire library to the monthly meeting. So a group of members will be getting together to prioritize which volumes to keep, which should be "deaccessioned" (as the museums say).

Thanks to Alan for his Service

Since March 2015 Alan Merrifield has been the club librarian but unfortunately needs to step down from this task at this time. Each month Alan would bring a couple of crates of books and magazines to our club meetings for perusal and checkout by club members. The club really appreciates and thanks Alan for his tenure in this position. Be sure and tell him so next time you see him… and Linda too.

New Librarian Needed

As Alan has retired from this task, we need to find a new club librarian. If you are a member who is physically able to do the job (i.e., you can lift a 13” crate of books or magazines) and have been wondering how you could volunteer to help with one of the many tasks that help keep the club running smoothly this could be a great opportunity for you to show how you appreciate the ongoing monthly programs and other activities available to you as a club member.

What does being the club librarian entail? The hardest part is transporting the books back and forth to the club meetings. And between meetings the library must be stored at the librarian's house. The less physical duties include:

  • Handling the checking out and returning of library material at the monthly meetings
  • Receiving the club subscription to various bonsai magazines and adding them to the library
  • Purchasing new bonsai books to broaden our collection (of course the club pays for this)

Each month the librarian can determine what part of the collection to bring to a meeting. For example, if our program is focusing on azaleas, they could browse online and make sure they bring material that deals with azaleas.

Being librarian doesn't really take that much time -- if you stay organized. The most critical requirement is showing up at the meetings with part of the collection in tow and making sure items get checked “out” and “in” properly. And there are a couple of really nice perks. At the meetings you soon realize that you now know many of the club members by name and they're all really nice! Between meetings, if you're curious about something, you can look it up in a book or magazine stored at your house.

Splitting the job of librarian between two (or more) people is also possible.

I hope this has peaked the interest of one or more of you and you seriously consider being our new librarian. To volunteer or find out more info, please contact Rita Curbow.

Thinning Out the Club Library

A committee consisting of Rita Curbow, Alison Williams, Stephanie North and John Planting has been formed to review the contents of the library and thin out items that don’t get checked out or are outdated. Some of these items you may see on the raffle table at upcoming meetings, offered as club gifts at our December holiday party, donated to GSBF for convention fund raising or offered for sale to members in the near future and/or at our June 2017 annual show.

My Recent Trek through the Club Library

As the library is in transition, all the books and magazines are now physically located in my living room. As I’ve been sorting and categorizing items for our upcoming library review, it’s been easy to get side tracked and delve into some really interesting articles. Looking through really old issues of Golden State magazine I learned more about the history of the founding of GSBF and saw how people could follow Kathy Shaner’s blog in GS magazine of her training in Japan. I also learned that CA Manzanita as bonsai fall victim to a fungus after a few years in a container but many bonsai enthusiasts are having success with the Arizona Manzanita. And delving into the world of scale insects in The Gardener’s Book of Pests and Diseases * The Complete Diagnostic Guide by Dr Roland Fox I never realized there were so many different types of scale. This was of particular interest to me as we have an unidentified pest on one of our yard trees. I eventually figured out that our tree must have “brown scale” which I had never heard of before. And I think my tree is only acting as a host and the scale “crawlers” are probably attacking the apricot trees in a nearby orchard. AARG! I hope Dave and I are successive at getting rid of the scale.

In short, the library can be a great resource and fun too.

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: September Tasks

August Garden Tour Recap

The weather was fabulous for our bonsai garden tour on August 21 and there were over thirty people in attendance! Each stop had its own unique points of interest and we got to see many fabulous trees and learn a little history about each member’s collection.

The tour started at the home of Donna F. who has had some difficulty with rabbits and other critters this past year. Donna showed us how she has been able to protect some of her most vulnerable bonsai by enclosing them in caged display areas. Set amongst a mixed woodland area, Donna has tried numerous things to protect her trees from the abundance of critters that come with living in a more natural environment. In fact, a rabbit made a special appearance that afternoon while some members were there.

At the home of Jim T. we saw how Jim’s trees were enjoying the humidity from his swimming pool and we all wondered how his pool could stay so crystal clear and free of leaves. Jim was thinning out his collection a little bit and some members even went home with a free tree at the end.

Our final stop and potluck was at the home of Michael G. Michael showed us how he has been able to reduce the frequency of watering needed for his trees by cutting down on the sun they get using shade cloths above them and vertical shade cloth as a wind break. We also got to see how Michael grows some of his trees in the ground.

Those of us who knew Nancy Eaton were happy to learn that Michael has now taken on the care and future maintenance of one of her most dearly loved trees. At our potluck the food was just awesome! Michael and Sharon provided their fantastic “secret recipe” barbecued chicken along with other items and the variety of appetizers, side dishes and desserts provided by other club members was incredible.

The club extends a big THANK YOU to Donna and Jack, Jim and Sally, and Michael and Sharon who all went the extra mile to open their gardens for the tour. The hosts could not have been more gracious. Good friends, great food and fabulous trees! It was really a lovely event.

Redwood Empire Bonsai Society Show Recap

The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society show in Santa Rosa is always a highlight of the year for our club. Great trees, great demos, things to buy. Several members went up on Saturday. Below are a couple of photos.

San Jose Junipert Sierra Juniper Redwood
Shimpaku Shohin Shimpaku Juniper Semi-Cascade Atlas Cedar (Green)

Club Calendar

August: Club bonsai and garden tour on Sunday August 21.

Other Events

September 17 - Placerville, CA
Gold Country Bonsai Club: 2nd Annual Show at Rainbow Orchards, 2569 Larsen Drive, Camino, the lovely Apple Hill destination at El Dorado County, known for its apple cider doughnuts. Show hours are 10 AM – 4 PM with Bonsai Clinic to be held by club members. Renowned bonsai trees and suiseki by renowned member collectors will be exhibited. For more information, contact Scott Chadd at (530) 622-9681 or or check their website at

October 1 - Cupertino, CA
Midori Bonsai Club: 55th Annual Show at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd, near Stevens Creek Blvd and De Anza College. Hours 10 AM – 5 PM, with demonstration by Peter Tea at 1 PM. Tree raffle at end of demo. Sales area will include vendors, members’ trees, pots, and other related bonsai items. Create your own bonsai in beginner's workshop from 10 AM – 1 PM. Bring in your bonsai for advice from Dr. Bonsai. Cookies, tea, and coffee provided for all in attendance with plenty of free parking available. For more information contact Jack Christiansen at (408) 280-7539 or

See GSBF Calendar for additional items

Articles We Recommend

Intro to Bonsai
About Your New Tree
Redwood Basics
Pine Pests

Other Sites We Recommend

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

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