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Club News – January 2020

“Get Back to Your Roots” with Ryan Nichols
January 18th @ 7:00PM

by Richard Phillips

For our January program, we’ll be getting back to our roots. Not our historical roots, but the roots of our bonsai trees, the below-soil structures that support what we see above the rim of the container. Our own club member, and awarding winning bonsai artist, Ryan Nichols, will tell us how to develop and maintain a healthy root system so that the visible part of the tree gets what it needs from the conditions we provide. How we treat the roots of our bonsai is as important, maybe more important, than what we do above the soil line, so bring your questions, your concerns and learn how to give your roots the TLC they need!

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: January Tasks

Fertilizer Recommendation

You should be using 0-10-10 this time of year. For more details about fertilizer, refer to Fertilizer Basics


Second Club Potting Party on Sunday, January 26

Our second potting party for the 2020 show will be Sunday, December 8 from 10AM – 4PM. We will work on material that can be repotted in the winter. That includes deciduous trees, junipers, pines if protected afterwards, and various other species. Protected afterwards means keep it covered to prevent exposure to frost and/or windy conditions.

Club potting parties are held to work on trees that will be sold at our annual show in order to raise funds to support the clubs’ on-going monthly activities and pay for future show expenses. Each club member is asked to donate trees or bonsai related items for sale at our 2019 annual show. First year members are asked to donate at least one tree while we ask longer-term members to donate three trees. By bringing trees you’ll donate to the potting party you can get assistance with styling as well as use club-provided pots, soil and wire.

If you are new to bonsai or a newer member of the club, the potting parties are a great way to meet other members of the club and kick start your learning curve of the techniques for styling, pruning, wiring, and potting/repotting a bonsai. Newer members will have the option to pair up with a more experienced member to learn the process.

Doughnuts will be provided but also consider bringing a bag lunch.

Location: Club members check your newsletter for location information.

Recommended Reading: Repotting Basics


In Memoriam

Phyllis S. Swanson
Phyllis S. Swanson

Phyllis S. Swanson (Nov. 28, 1932 – Dec. 10, 2018)

The California bonsai community just lost a good friend with the passing of Phyllis. She was born and raised in California, living most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area. She married and raised two daughters, and was still working as a bookkeeper until the end because her many clients were like family. After moving from a large house and garden in La Honda to a smaller townhome, she thought bonsai was the answer for smaller scale gardening. She took a Parks and Recreation class thirty years ago, which led to her joining Sei Boku Bonsai Kai (President five times), the California Shohin Society (Treasurer), Bay Area Shohin (Treasurer), and Electric Termites (Treasurer). Phyllis was always up for any bonsai-related activity. She attended every GSBF Convention she could, including the 2018 convention in Sacramento. She acted as docent at the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt at least once a month until recently. If there was a bonsai related activity, she wanted to participate because she had such a love for the art and the people in our bonsai community.


Soil Making Party on Saturday, January 12

Please join us on Saturday, January 12 from 9 AM – 12 Noon at the home of Lynne O’Dell to sift and combine soil for our potting parties. Participants will have the opportunity to purchase soil at club cost. A big “thank you” to Tom Romer and Armand Navabi for helping to obtain components prior to this date. Please let Lynne know if you plan to attend by calling Lynne.


Second Club Potting Party on Sunday, January 27 

Gordon Deeg is hosting our second potting party at his home on Sunday, January 27 from 10AM – 4PM. You will enjoy learning from more experienced members, have the opportunity to view Gordon’s magnificent garden and work on your donated and club trees that will be sold at our annual show. We will provide soil, wire, pots, coffee/tea and donuts. Bring your lunch, tools and camaraderie. More information about Potting Parties was in the December newsletter



December Holiday Party “Thanks”

Our December 21st holiday party was a really fun event and again the food was fabulous!

The club extends a special thanks to the holiday coordinating committee that included Idris Anderson, Rita Curbow, Marsha Mekisich, Lynne O’Dell, Richard Phillips and Bang Vo.

Idris and Marsha cooked the club-provided ham and turkey, Lynne handled the wine, Bang took care of the coffee and Rita handled the table settings. Lynne and Richard handled the silent auction and selected club-provided items for the benefit-drawing table. Thanks also to everyone who donated additional items for this table and the silent auction table. The benefit- drawing table was filled with some fabulous items! And the silent auction was made up of special items donated by John and Sandy Planting which included a silverberry bonsai originally designed by Nancy Eaton, an original drawing by John Naka of one of John Planting’s trees, and a beautiful bonsai book.

The gift exchange was another fun part of the party and everyone enjoyed the decorated bonsai provided by Barbara Phillips, Charlene, David Moreno, Donna, Gordon, Hal, Idris, Lynne and Rita. We had a record ten trees decorated and quite the variety.

Happy New Year 2019 everyone!

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