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Club News – January 2020

“Evaluating Bonsai Trees” with Jonas Dupuich
January 17th starting @ 7:00PM

by Richard Phillips

Jonas Dupuich, one of Kusamura’s favorite guest presenters, will be the headline attraction at our first meeting of the new decade. Jonas’s presentation will be on how to evaluate and “score” a bonsai tree to determine its desirable features as well as its flaws. This kind of detailed evaluation is very useful at every stage of the development process because it provides guidance on the steps needed to bring out the maximum potential of the tree. Applying a systematic method of evaluation is also helpful when making a decision to purchase a bonsai to add to your collection or when deciding what trees you no longer want to keep. Jonas will demonstrate this approach using examples from his own extensive collection as well as one of the trees that were recently donated to the club and may have unrealized potential waiting to be developed.

Jonas Dupuich began studying bonsai over twenty years ago and is a member of Bay Island Bonsai and has exhibited in such shows including the Artisans Cup, U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition and the JAL/WBFF World Bonsai Contest. Jonas writes about bonsai at Bonsai Tonight

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


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


Memoriam: Members We Lost in 2019

Let us remember club members Bill Scott and Sandy Vrooman who we lost in 2019. Bill and Sandy were both long-term members of Kusamura who gave generously of their time and resources. Both will be long remembered by those who knew them within Kusamura and the greater bonsai community.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott joined the club around 1978 and served as a Board Member, Treasurer, Show Chair, demonstrator at monthly meetings, and Plant Sales Chair at our annual show countless times. He was President from 1990-1992. Bill was known as an expert on elm bonsai and he collected California junipers on digs in Southern California. Most note-worthy, Bill drafted the vast majority of the clubs current by-laws. In 1992, Bill successfully led the effort for Kusamura to gain 503©(3) status with the IRS.

Bill had a very successful career in the aerospace industry designing antenna systems for satellites. Practicing the art of bonsai gave him a connection to the natural world that appealed to his analytical mind.

As his collection grew (eventually to over one thousand trees) Bill enlisted the help of his wife Marie. Bill and Marie would spend many hours together in all kinds of weather hunched over plants trimming and repotting, wiring branches, and yes, discarding the failures. It was a hobby for which they shared a passion and in addition to Kusamura, he and Marie were active members of Midori Bonsai Club. Marie is the person who made all the fabric backdrops that Kusamura uses at our annual bonsai show held each spring.

In 2012-2013, Bill donated two hundred and seventy-five trees that were sold during that time by Kusamura or GSBF. The majority of the proceeds went to Kusamura. Bill chose to donate generously to the club because he said he wanted to return the generosity shown by previous club members throughout Kusamura’s history

Sandy Vrooman

Sandy Vrooman was an artist and her bonsai were a reflection of her talent. Sandy served as Show Chair multiple times and was a demonstrator at our annual show and monthly meetings countless times. As Sandy was downsizing her collection, she often dropped by club meetings and donated lots of bonsai material for the monthly benefit drawing.

After retiring as a purchasing professional, Sandy was employed by the City of Palo Art and taught art to children through the city’s enrichment programs and through CSMA (Community School of Music and Art) of Mountain View. Sandy specialized in ceramics, fiber arts, puppetry, and automata (moving toys).

Sandy was also a writer and poet throughout her life. Eventually she had short stories and poems published in Doorknobs and Bodypaint, Riverbabble, Canadian Zen Haiku, Juice, Autumn Leaves, Dances with words, 40 Plus, Poets Against the War, Moonset, World Haiku Review, and Atlas Poetica. Sandy also wrote under the pen name Kitsune Miko, specializing in Japanese style poetic forms. 


December Holiday Party “Thanks”

Barbara Phillips reports that – The decorations were again lovely, and the dishes brought were delicious. As the coordinator this year I thank everyone for their efforts and thoughtfulness. It’s the one time of year we can reconnect with family and friends who don’t normally come during the year, making for a lovely evening”. Idris Anderson handled the ham, Hal Jerman handled the wine and turkey, Bang Vo handled the coffee and Barbara handled the table settings along with the overall organization.

Lynne O’Dell and Hal handled the silent auction and selected club-provided items for the benefit-drawing table. Lynne and Hal put a lot of planning into the silent auction and Hal reports that it was a financial success for the club. Again, the club thanks Hap Thompson for her donation of bonsai tools that were used in the silent auction and everyone else that donated items for the auction or special holiday drawing held that night.

I wasn’t able to be there that night but everyone has told me what a fun party it was indeed. A first time guest said it was so much fun she planned to attend every year now.

Lastly, Happy New Year 2020 everyone!

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