Annual Show – Saturday April 20 & Sunday April 21 
@ Addison Elementary School in Palo Alto

It’s time for our annual show! During our two day event you’ll be able to see 60+ 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.

What You’ll See

  • Bonsai trees – formal display including stands, accent plants and scrolls
  • Tours of the show by bonsai experts at 11:15 AM and Noon daily
  • Saturday Demo @1:30: Oak demonstration by Michael Greenstein
  • Sunday Demo @1:30: Kusamono demonstration by Barbara Phillips and friends
  • Sales area for trees and pots
  • Doctor Bonsai – get advice on your bonsai tree
  • Benefit drawings – win a starter bonsai after after demonstrations
  • Education Space – learn about and practice some of the skills we use in bonsai
  • Film on pot firing – running continuously during show. By Richard Phillips
  • Children’s Corner – guiding kids to create their own accent plants to take home


Saturday – Noon to 4pm
Sunday – 11am to 4pm


Multipurpose Room at Addision Elementary School, Palo Alto
1045 Webster Street.

Parking is on street – Webster, Lincoln and Addison.

1045 Webster Street, Palo Alto, California - location of our 2022 Bonsai Show
Location of our 2024 Bonsai Show

No Monthly Meeting in April

Because April 20-21 is our annual show, the club will not be hosting a monthly meeting the 3rd Friday of this month.

Club members: Pre-show setup is Friday April 19 starting at 5PM. 

Special Event at Filoli – May 18 10AM-4PM

We won’t have a monthly meeting in May either because we’ll be doing a special event at Filoli. We will be back at our usual location in June.

The schedule for the day:

Morning Critique/Tour of Filoli Bonsai 10:30AM–Noon

This will be a critique of the bonsai in the Filoli collection by Kusamura member Michael Greenstein along with a short history of various trees by Rita Curbow. Members and visitors will be able to ask questions throughout the critique/tour.

Afternoon Bonsai Demo 1:30PM-3PM

Three bonsai selected from the Filoli collection will be worked on under the guidance of Michael Greenstein. Visitors will get to observe and ask questions about a number of bonsai techniques such as wiring, styling, promoting branch ramification, creating a jin or shari, repotting, etc. 

Kusamura Tree Display

Kusamura will have a special display of up to ten bonsai with a focus on flowering bonsai for that day. If you have a tree that you would like to be included in this display please contact Rita Curbow via email at Note that all trees must be brought to Filoli around 9AM for setup of the display and remain on display until breakdown at 4PM. If you have a tree but can’t make it to Filoli that early or be there at 4PM please let Rita know and she can work with you to find a solution.

Volunteers Needed

We will also need volunteers to help man the tree display tables throughout the day. We will announce how you can volunteer for that via our website once we have that set up. Note that this is a great way to volunteer for Kusamura, promote the club and the art of bonsai, and enjoy interacting with Filoli visitors at the same time. I know there are some of you who joined the club after seeing us at Filoli in years past!

Location of Event on the Filoli Property

All bonsai activities will occur on the Dining Terrace at Filoli or on the lawn adjacent to this area. A map will be made available to club members prior to this event.

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

Recommended Videos – Exhibitions

by Idris Anderson

In anticipation of our own club show in April, I thought it might be good to look at some exhibits that include excellent trees and that illustrate the elements of display. We all aspire to develop trees of this quality. Ours are on the way. Look carefully at the trees but also at the pots, stands, accents, and scrolls that make up the displays. Then check out commentary by Ryan Neil, Boon Manakitivipart, and Jerome from Bonsai Supply for education about what trees should be paired with what pots, what stands, and what accents in bonsai display.

The 98th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition 2024 Part 2 ~Japanese Bonsai Ten

Moritz and George | Enjoy Japan
1 hour 41 minutes | February 17, 2024

This is the best video I can find documenting this year’s Kokufu-ten. Other videos and blogs (including Bill Valavanis’s) focus on the trees, to the exclusion of other elements, often cutting out even the stands! So this one is more of a walk through, through the entire Part 2 of the exhibit (the best trees seem often in Part 2). You will be able to see stands and accents. Wish the video held still a little longer on each tree. This of course is the largest and most prestigious bonsai show in the world.

Taikan-ten Bonsai Exhibition 2023, Kyoto, Japan / 大観展2023

Dave in Osaka
1 hour 7 minutes | November 23-27, 2023

This is a long-ish video but an excellent documentation of the most recent Taikan-ten Exhibition. Unlike the Kokufu-ten Exhibition and many other high quality exhibits, the Taikan-ten includes full display elements, scroll as well as main tree, secondary tree (sometimes), and accent planting, stone, or figurine.

The Trophy 2024 – Facts, Interviews, Demonstrations, Winner and many more

Commentators: Danny Use, Tony Tickle, Mauro Stemberger, others | Treeart Bonsai
29 minutes | February 20, 2024

The Trophy is Europe’s largest and most celebrated bonsai exhibition. Excellent commentary here on the trees.

Bonsai Display Fundamentals

Ryan Neil | Bonsai Mirai
1 hour seven minutes | March 1, 2023

Masterful presentation here, no surprise. If you don’t have patience or time for all of Ryan’s whiteboard presentation that takes the first 27 minutes of the video, skip to his commentary as he finds the best stand and accent plant for a large conifer and then a large deciduous tree. He swaps in different choices to come up with the best. You can see before your very eyes what works and what doesn’t, or what almost doesn’t. 

Bonsai Critique with Bonsai Master Boon Manakitivipart

7th U.S National Bonsai Exhibition
45 minutes | September 29, 2021

At his workshops with his students, many of whom have themselves become bonsai professionals, Boon always includes some conversation about bonsai display, how to put various elements together to enhance the appearance of the main tree and its supporting players: pot, stand, accent. He was probably the first in America to give full attention to this aspect of bonsai education. Here in this video at the 2021 National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, he takes a wide look at how to set up a show, what trees should be placed where, and with each tree what elements enhance it. This is a terrific video for any aspiring bonsai practitioner but is especially good for members responsible for setting up a club show. Be patient with Boon. His English is not the best, but he does convey his reasoning and expertise. He’s an extraordinary teacher. His former students include Jonas Dupuich, Eric Schrader, and Michael Hagedorn, just to name a few.

How to Exhibit a Tree in a Bonsai Show

Jerome | The Bonsai Supply
8 minutes | October 13, 2021

Some really good discussion here in this short video, with samples, as Jerome chooses elements for his tree to be displayed at the Atlanta Bonsai Society Exposition. About four and a half minutes in, we see trees in the exhibition.

Newsletter Editor: Jenn Tan

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