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Club News – March 2021

Prepping and Photographing Your Tree for Our Virtual Show
March 19 @ 7PM via Zoom

As we find ourselves in continued shutdown because of Covid, the club is hoping everyone has been working on their trees and plans to display at least one tree in our 2021 Virtual Bonsai-at-Home Show. 

First you may ask “why display a tree”. At a recent Santa Cruz Bonsai Club presentation via Zoom from the East Coast, Bill Valavanis of International Bonsai, gave these reasons:

  • Displaying a tree allows you, the owner/creator, to enjoy it the most
  • Prepping your tree for display makes you really focus on your tree
  • Displaying allows you to visually study other trees and get inspiration for how to improve your tree

For our March program, Show Chair Charlene Fischer will narrate a slide presentation she has put together on how to get your tree ready for show and how to create a proper display using your tree and accent piece. She will cover such topics as how to make little last minute adjustments to your tree, how to choose a stand and accent plant, and how to decide if the pot needs to be changed. Virtual Show Coordinator Barbara Phillips will tell us the steps we need to follow so she can coordinate the collection of photos and documentation that you need to  provide for your virtual display. Show Photography Coordinator Richard Phillips will walk us through the steps to take a great “Bonsai-at-Home” photo of our display.

Remember that you can submit photos of trees taken in any season in our 2021 Virtual Show. So if you have a tree which was in fabulous bloom in a previous year, it’s okay to submit it for this year’s show. And if you took a photo of your tree in awesome fall color in 2020 you can submit that photo too. But if you are taking a current photo of your tree this spring, remember that you should consider seasonality when deciding on an accent plant for your tree. I’m sure Charlene will delve into this and point out that while ferns can be used in a display any time of the year, grasses are considered seasonal to summer displays only and for spring displays, spring flowers like daffodils and the California poppy are great choices to use if you have them.

As Richard Phillips pointed out in the February newsletter, we want to create an online “virtual show” that will showcase our member’s bonsai talents at every level from seasoned veteran to brand new beginner. Check out this At-Home-Bonsai site that will be the inspiration for our show. You will notice that the bonsai range widely from beginner bonsai to older well-developed and maintained trees. And the photographs are taken “at home” by their owners, not by professionals. 

Again, as Richard pointed out, our goal is to have as close to 100% participation as we can and to provide whatever support is needed to make that happen.

Feel free to be as creative as you like for this Bonsai-at-Home show. I think the display in the photo above is truly inspiring.

Photo provided by Bill Valavanis

Recap of Our February Zoom Meeting

It was great to learn all the “tips and tricks” that members shared during our February program. And the variety was amazing too. For those present, I think that you’ll agree that Donna Farmar won the most creative award for  her frugal use of potato grocery netting and a metal cooking rack. If you weren’t at the meeting, you can find her use of these items documented in this article created by Idris Anderson on the club website at Tips & Tricks by Idris.

In that document you’ll find tips and tricks from Charlene Fischer, Christine Weigen, Donna Farmar, Idris Anderson, Lynne O’Dell, Michael Greenstein, Mark O’Brien, Richard Phillips and Rita Curbow. Michael Greenstein had so many great suggestions, they warranted a document of their own. It can be found at Tips & Tricks by Michael.

Idris Anderson and Lynne O’Dell both discussed how to create a bonsai heat box. Idris’s great write-up about the process along with Lynne’s photos can be found at Making a Heat Box.

It was a really fun evening. Richard had promised door prizes but we lost track of time with all the great stories that no one cared about door prizes at the end which ran over our normal time. Another nice thing that can happen with Zoom meetings, you don’t have to break down and close the doors if you need more time.

The club thanks everyone who participated and our VP and Recording Secretary Idris Anderson for doing such a great job recording everyone’s suggestions.


Beginner’s Workshop on Saturday, February 27

Richard and Barbara Phillips provided their lovely back yard for this event and the participation was great. Marlon Diokno, Maryann Hinden, Bryan Matsumoto and Michael Williams attended the morning session that started at 9:00AM. Aditi Drshpande, David Martinez Moreno and Richard Murray attended the afternoon session that started at 1:00PM. Note that you had to be a newer member of the club and/or a member who had attended one of the Monday night Zoom workshops as a Participant in order to be invited to this in-person workshop. I, Rita Curbow, joined Richard and helped attendees learn to wire their tree, bare-root and repot trees, style small nursery stock material into a “beginning” bonsai, and style, wire and refine previously worked bonsai material. It was a great day to be outside and it was great for members to meet each other in person. We wore masks and social distanced of course. I was really impressed with the eagerness to learn of all the attendees that day.


Monday Night Zoom Workshops

These have been well attended and everyone seems to enjoy getting to meet more than once a month and get help with their problem trees or get advice about planning for our upcoming Virtual Show. We have covered a wide range of trees. We are taking a break on March 8 and our next Monday night workshop will be held on March 15.


Nominating Committee for Kusamura’s 2021-2023 Election

Rita Curbow will be heading up the Nominating Committee for election of new officers and Board of Directors for the 2021-2023 term. The committee will be looking for a new President, a new Vice President and three new Board of Directors as three current members finish their two-year term on June 30. New officers and Board of Directors will be nominated and elected at our May meeting, sworn in at our June meeting and begin their term on July 1, 2021. If you would like to assist Rita by joining her on the Nominating Committee and/or to be considered for one of these positions, contact Rita at your earliest convenience.

A Closer Look

Pollen Sacs on Juniper

Pollen sacs on your conifers can be removed to retain more energy for your tree. Usually you can just rub them between your fingers and they’ll fall off. The earlier you do this the better.

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