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Club News – March 2019

Show Prep and Tool Sharpening with Charlene & Jerry
March 15 @ 7PM

By Charlene Fischer

The focus for our March meeting will be preparation for our upcoming show and tool maintenance. Charlene Fischer will first present information about the various activities around pulling off our show, including what to do to get your trees in their final stage for presentation. 

After Charlene’s presentation, Jerry Carpenter will discuss the care of our bonsai tools, provide advice on grinding stones, and then demonstrate how to sharpen your tools. Please bring your bonsai tools, any grinding stones, Dremel tools, cleaning rags, Hexol Cleaner or rubbing alcohol, or other items you use for sharpening. Jerry and Charlene will assist you as you learn to sharpen your own tools. We will have some stones available for you to use if you don’t have your own. 


2021 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 a few weeks left before our annual show, we’re wrapping up loose ends to assure a smooth running enjoyable show. A few reminders:

  • 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: 8AM–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, 11:30AM-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: 8AM–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 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:

  1. Common name.
  2. Botanical name (if you don’t know, Charlene will look it up for you)
  3. “Trained Since” Year
  4. 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.
  5. 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

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: March Tasks

Time to Start Repotting

We’re in the middle of repotting season. If you haven’t made bonsai soil recently check out our article on Bonsai Soil Basics.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Warmer weather means more green growth and our trees need a fertilizer with more nitrogen. Refer to Fertilizer Basics.

Pest Control Recommendations

With new growth it’s likely that bugs will show up soon, especially aphids. Refer to Pest Control Basics.

Potting Party Event “Thanks”

By Lynne O’Dell

Thank you Mark O’Brien for hosting our February potting party and to the following members who collectively repotted thirty-four trees!!!! Richard Murray, Thomas Chui, Hal Jerman, Barbara Shahinian, Michael Greenstein, Jiechang Zhang (JC), Idris Anderson, Lynne O’Dell, Richard and Barbara Phillips.


Recap of February 2019 Meeting

By Lynne O’Dell and Barbara Phillips

Over fifteen member’s trees received attention and suggestions from fellow members. Some trees simply needed identification while others were urged to undergo a radical makeover. Depending on the tree’s stage of development the pattern of advice was: “Let branches grow and perhaps repot into a larger container to develop the foliage and girth of the trunk”. Owners of some of the junipers and boxwoods were advised to “Cut back and thin out branches to allow more sun into the centers to encourage ramification and pads (for the junipers)”. Whether we brought in a tree or were present as an observer, we all learned a lot. The evening reminded us that there isn’t just one right way to create a great bonsai and there are many opinions.

The variety of trees included Korean Hornbeam, Apple, Japanese Maple, Boxwood, several Junipers, Azalea, deciduous Rhododendron, Valley Oak, and Liquid Amber. 

There were a few announcements about upcoming events. The first intermediate level class will be taught by Ryan Nichols on March 8 from Noon – 4 PM. Cost is $75 per class. Class size limited to a maximum of six people. You must have solid intermediate skills to enroll in this class: basic styling, wiring, transplanting, pruning, and have suitable trees in your collection. Ryan will help with various products to treat your trees if needed. Contact Chris Weigen at (650) 303-3130 for more info.

Our annual show is fast approaching. Charlene Fischer gave an update. On Saturday cold deli-type food will be featured while on Sunday, it’ll be hot food. Think about bringing your signature dish on either day. Club president Lynne O’Dell is organizing the food this year. Also, we need sixty display trees, so Charlene asked us to check our collections and prepare our trees for show. Our headline presenter on Saturday will be Sam Adina from Stockton who has presented to many California clubs as well as at the GSBF convention. Sunday will feature demonstrations by our own members.

Katherine works on her tree while Richard looks on
Katherine works on her tree while Richard looks on
Richard and Barbara discuss Charlene's tree
Richard and Barbara discuss Charlene’s tree
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