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Club News – April 2019

2019 Show

Saturday April 27 & Sunday April 28 @ Lucie Stern Community Center

It’s time for our annual show! During our two day event you’ll be able to see 100+ bonsai, demonstrations of how to create and care for bonsai and buy a bonsai for yourself. If you’d like to get a taste for what you might see at our show take a look at trees at last year’s show.

Hours: Saturday Noon-5pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.
Saturday’s demo will be at 1:30 and feature Sam Adina, Sensei of the Modesto Bonsai Club.
Sunday’s demo will be at 1:30pm and feature a demo by club members

Hollywood Juniper from our 2018 Show
Hollywood Juniper from our 2018 Show

No Club Meeting this Month

Friday April 26 is setup for our annual show at the Lucie Stern Community Center. Show setup starts at 5 PM that day.

Charlene asks everyone to have their show trees at Lucie Stern by 10:00 AM Saturday morning. The final placement of the displays occurs around 11:00 AM and it is very difficult to rearrange things last minute.

Sunday morning the trees are highlighted in their photo shoot by Sabrina Huang and then at 5:00 PM the show ends and we take down everything. 

Monthly Tasks

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: April Tasks

Show Update

Dates: Saturday April 27 (Noon to 5PM) and Sunday April 28 (11AM-5PM)
Setup: Friday April 26 (5PM-9PM) 
Location: Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

With only hours left before our annual show, we’re wrapping up loose ends to assure a smooth running enjoyable show. A few reminders:

  • Parking with be difficult this year because of construction. You are strongly encouraged to park in the surrounding neighborhood and at the Walter Hayes Middle School lot located down the street towards Embarcadero.
  • If you need assistance with large plants please let Charlene know so she can make sure someone is available to help transport from your car.
  • Contact Charlene Fischer to let her know which trees you will show, common and scientific name, and the year or approximate decade the tree started being trained (i.e. trained since early 1990’s). Remember that we have a “Trees in Progress” so they don’t have to be Show perfect.
  • The club owns stands and an inventory of stands is on our website.  Contact Sean Morris to have him reserve a specific stand for your needs. If you don’t see a stand that will work on the website, contact John and Sandy Planting to borrow stands and scrolls 
  • Email Charlene on open volunteer slots. We need help selling raffle tickets, trees, and manning the show room and front reception table.   
  • Delicious lunches on Saturday and Sunday are provided by contributions from club members. Email our Kitchen Coordinator at to let her know what you will bring for each day. Saturday is reserved for easy deli types of foods while Sunday we have more time to make hot dishes and casseroles. The club provides turkey/ham sandwiches and beverages. Salads, desserts, appetizers, are all possibilities.

Thank you to everyone who is helping make the show a success. See you all soon.

Participating at Our Show – contact Charlene Fischer

Please contact the Show Chair, Charlene Fischer to add your name to any of the jobs or to ask questions on what is needed. Please sign up for at least one task if you are able.

These are the activities in which volunteers are needed:

  • Friday Setup and Plant Pricing:  5PM – 9:30PM
  • Saturday Setup: 8:30AM – Noon
  • Sunday Breakdown/Strike: 5PM – 7PM
  • Hosts (Reception Lobby, Exhibit Area): Saturday, 11:30AM – 5PM
  • Hosts (Reception Lobby, Exhibit Area): Sunday, 10AM – 5PM
  • Kitchen (Kitchen & Dining Room Setup): Saturday/Sunday, 10AM – 5PM
  • Plant Sale (Sale Table, Sale Area): Saturday, 11:30AM – 5PM
  • Plant Sale (Sale Table, Sale Area): Sunday, 10AM – 5PM
  • Door Prize and Benefit Drawing Ticket Sales:  Saturday, 1:30 – 3PM
  • Door Prize and Benefit Drawing Ticket Sales:  Sunday, 1:30 – 3PM
  • Kids Corner:  Saturday, Noon – 2PM
  • Kids Corner:  Sunday, 11AM – 3PM

Logistics – Friday Plant Sale Drop-off: 6PM – 9PM 

If you are helping price trees, please arrive at 5PM to setup. Otherwise, when you bring in your donation and sale trees, please get plant tags and identity the tree variety if you know it. Also, for consignment sale trees, add your initials followed by slash C (e.g., SN/C-1) on the plant tag and fill out a Consignment Form (available on Friday night of you don’t have one). Later, we will provide a record of your donation for use on your 2018 taxes.

If a tree does not sell, the donor (preferred) or another member must “tree sit” it until next year and improve upon it. Long-term members are asked to donate three items for the sale while newer members are asked to donate one item. If you do not have a donation tree/pot that can be sold for a minimum of $25 each, please bring cash or a check and give to Hal. All cash donations will be filed separately from any purchases members made on Friday evening. Friday night is a popular night for members to purchase trees or pots before they go on sale to the general public on Saturday. Don’t bring your trees that you will display until Saturday morning. 

Contact: Charlene Fischer

Show Room Setup – Friday, April26: 5PM – 9PM 

Show room setup will start at 5PM for those of you signed up to put tables in place. Backdrop and screen setup will start shortly after that. At around 6PM we will be laying out the tablecloths using the box fold so all the corners look neat and tidy. If you have a large stand or a stand that requires assembly, you can bring it in on Friday evening after 7PM and we will assign you a location in the room for your display. 

Show Setup – Saturday, April 27: 8:30AM – 5PM 

Arrive early. Donuts and coffee will be available. The doors open to the public at noon but we need everyone to arrive as early as possible to get their trees placed in the show, assist with plant sale setup, dining room setup, etc.

Bring your show tree(s) and stand(s), scroll(s), accent plant(s) into the staging area in the lobby outside the show room. A team of volunteers will work to place your tree in the show room. Please have your display tree there by 10:30AM at the latest on Saturday in the event we need to switch things around to accommodate the design. 

Show Setup – Sunday, April 27: 11AM 

The show opens at 11 AM but we need some volunteers before then to help with misting show trees and plant sale area prep. At the close of the show, we celebrate by giving away some nice plants, pots, books, etc.

Show Tree Display Cards

Members are asked to prepare at least one and as many as three displays for show this year. Contact Charlene Fischer to let her know what trees you plan to show. 

For each of your trees, please provide the following information:

  • Common name.
  • Botanical name (if you don’t know, Charlene will look it up for you)
  • “Trained Since” Year
  • Normally your first name will also be on the card but can be left off if you prefer. Shohin displays will have a simple list of the trees rather than individual cards.
  • Story of you tree. If you have an interesting story about your tree of display, let Charlene know. Our visitors will find it interesting to learn more about our trees or about why we do bonsai as they stroll through our show,

Contact: Charlene Fischer

Consignment Sales

Offering trees for sale via consignment at out annual sale is another way to thin your collection and benefit the club at the same time.

Contact: Hal Jerman

Kids Corner

Last year this was such a hit so we will be introducing bonsai to our young visitors again this year. We will have tables and chairs setup with pre-planted bonsai ready for some simple wiring. The goal is to inspire children about bonsai as a fun hobby.

Contact: Barbara Phillips

Food for Saturday and Sunday Lunch

Food items should be there by 11:00AM. Bring serving plates/dishes along with a utensil for serving. All non-disposable serving items should be well marked with your name for pickup at 3:00PM as cleanup of the kitchen and dining room starts then. We’ll have hot trays for hot dishes; if you’re bringing a dish that needs to be cooked or heated, be sure that we have proper instructions.

Visitors from other local bonsai clubs are invited to enjoy our hospitality and Kusamura members can invite their family and friends to dine with us when visiting the show but please make sure you provide extra food for them. 

Contact: Lynne O’Dell


Recap of Our March Meeting

By Charlene Fischer

During the second hour of the program we focused on proper care of our tools. We’ve heard that professionals don’t bother sharpening their tools and just purchase new ones as they are needed, but typically hobbyists like us don’t have that luxury and need to maintain our tools for as long as we can. First of all you should keep your tools in a dry plate. Tools left outside where rain and dirt can hit them tarnish and rust quickly, leaving you with more work cleaning them up later. Tools can be cleaned with WD-40 and then wiped with an old rag or a sanding eraser is nice to erase rusty stains, sap, and debris. Sap is particularly nasty to our tools and can be removed quickly with hand sanitizer. Our tools become dull with use and need to be sharpened. There are small files that can be stored with your tools and used in emergencies to get tools into shape on the fly. However, periodically, you should do a thorough sharpening using either a Dremel with a sanding bit attached or a water stone placed flat on a board where you can glide the non-flat side of the blade across the surface of the stone. A water stone should be soaked in water at least for twenty-four hours and it is good to use a slurry stone rubbed around the surface to make sure the water stone is flat and smooth. Water stones (grit 1000-6000) or slurry stones can be purchased online or at Woodcraft located in San Carlos. Disinfection of our tools is also important. A soaking in rubbing alcohol is good and some people like to use Hexol to soak the blades of our tools since it is a thicker substance that sticks to the tools more. Leave your tools in these disinfectants for as long as you can but for a minimum of a few minutes. Twenty-four hours is recommended if you want to be sure.

Charlene Fischer (L) and Barbara Phillips (R) discuss setup duties for our upcoming show
Charlene Fischer (L) and Barbara Phillips (R) discuss setup duties for our upcoming show
Jerry Carpenter demonstrating how to sharpen tools as club members look on
Jerry Carpenter demonstrating how to sharpen tools as club members look on

San Jose Betusin Club Show

Last weekend the San Jose Betsuin Club held their annual show. Lots of beautiful trees on display. If you didn’t get a chance to visit this year, you should go next year. 

One of the trees on display at the San Jose Betusin Club Show
One of the trees on display at the San Jose Betusin Club Show
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