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Club News – May 2019

New Members Workshop

May 17, 2019 @ 7pm

Our May Club meeting welcomes the community and club members who bought trees at our April Show and would like advice on their care. Club members Michael Greenstein and Ryan Nichols will lead the discussion. Michael is a long-standing bonsai enthusiast who is skilled at bonsai development and adept at teaching others. Ryan is new to our club but not to the bonsai community. After studying and teaching ornamental horticulture at Cal Poly, he continues to give bonsai seminars and styling demonstrations.

Experienced club members are asked to bring in a few tools and be prepared to assist new members with their trees during this workshop.

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: May Tasks


Nominees for the 2019-2020 Term

The nominations for Officers and Board Members for the July, 2019 – June, 2020 fiscal year are:

  • Richard Phillips — President
  • Idris Anderson— Vice President
  • Hal Jerman — Treasurer (continuing)
  • Idris Anderson — Recording Secretary (continuing)
  • Chris Weigen — Corresponding Secretary (continuing)
  • Andrew Lipson — Board of Director (continuing)
  • Barbara Phillips — Board of Director (continuing)
  • Tom Romer — Board of Director (continuing)
  • Thomas Chiu — Board of Director (new)
  • Rita Curbow — Board of Director (new)
  • Michael Greenstein — Board of Director (new)
  • Lynne O’Dell – Past-President

These nominations will be announced at our May meeting. Any nominations from the membership at large must be done at this time also. Voting on nominations and the swearing in of new officers will take place at our June meeting effective July 1.

We thank our Nominating Committee of Barbara Phillips, Idris Anderson and Donna Farmar for this new slate of nominations. 


Beginner Bonsai Class Series

The first of a series of three beginner classes will be held on Saturday, May 25. The instructor and series participants will determine the dates of the second and third sessions. The second session will be sometime in mid to late summer and the third will be in the first two months of 2020. The goal of this series is to help you make significant progress in the skills of styling, pruning, wiring and transplanting. The fee for the series has been set at $120.00 and this includes the cost of the tree and a portion of the fee for the instructor. Please email Richard Phillips for complete details and to see if there are still openings for the class.


2019 Annual Show Recap

By Show Chair Charlene Fischer

This is my chance to tell you all how incredibly proud I am of the show you all pulled off. We had seventy displays including three shohin and the mini tokonoma. Twenty-five members showed including John and Sandy Planting (with the help from many of you) who were in the middle of a moving project at home. Really would you have shown if you were moving during the weekend?

Each year we experiment with something. This year, we tried removing four backdrops that ran parallel to the windows. Our guests told me they enjoyed these open 360 displays. I’ve already got some ideas to try next year. This year we knew the parking was going to be a challenge and I want to thank all our heavy lifters who assisted members in either bringing their trees to the show or helping unload in front while the members parked their cars. Even friends and family helped out in this effort. Each of us has something valuable to bring to the team. Maybe you have skills in construction, marketing, hospitality, graphic design, project management, audio/visual or public speaking. Or you have access to a truck or van or just want to get a physical workout. When you think about it, we use all these skills to run our show. If you are a member that couldn’t participate this year, think about volunteering in a way that brings your talents to light next year. Plus, the more people we have, the better it is for the club, members, and the general public.

I want to thank all the sub-teams including, Barbara Phillips for mailing postcards to sister clubs, delightful Kokedama (moss ball accent), and spearheading the Children’s Corner; Richard Phillips and Mark O’Brien for the shed delivery; John Mekisich and Tom Romer for banner installations; John Mekisich for getting gift cards from vendors; Sean Morris and Rita Curbow for bringing stands; Stephanie North for bringing accent plants and scrolls; Gordon for bringing the shohin stands; Tom Romer for running the audio system; Christoph Dressel and Mark O’Brien for setting up the visual system; David Moreno for setting up the lighting for the speakers; Lynne ODell for organizing the dining; and Hal Jerman for handling the plant sales. Richard Phillips deserves special attention for organizing the demonstrations on both days and thank you to him as well as Michael Greenstein, Christine Weigen, JC Zhang, Lynne O’Dell, Mark O’Brien, and Bill Daniels for the Sunday demonstration. Our photography team this year was Sabrina Huang, Dave Curbow, Jerry Carpenter, Bang Vo, Christine Weigen, and Hal Jerman. We had a fantastic crew on Friday night and they set up the tables and backdrops in record time. Plant sales were robust on Friday and we ended up with a good supply for our guests to select from during the weekend. It was so much fun to see JC, dressed in traditional kimono, helping out at the Kid’s Corner as well as at reception and in the show room. Finally, a special thank you to Rita Curbow, Marsha Mekisich, Gordon Deeg and Christine Weigen for setup of the show room trees on Saturday morning.

Both days had successful demonstrations with standing room only on Saturday for Sam Adina and a good mix of participation on Sunday for the topic of North American Native Trees. The majority of guests told us they heard about the show by seeing the banners outside. Three groups said they saw information at Yamagami’s nursery and several said they heard through friends or through social media. We added several new memberships to our roster as well as a handful of people interested in a beginning class. Financially, we ended up in the ballpark of what we needed to accomplish.

“Are you already thinking about 2020?” because I am. Next year will be our 60th Anniversary so let’s get ready for a wonderful show with a possible theme of Urban Collecting where we can tell the stories that go along with the artistry of Bonsai.

A heartfelt thank you again for sharing your energy, dedication, time, patience, and friendship.

Jiechang “JC” Zhang poses with Gordon’s Trident Maple

President’s Message

By Lynnne O’Dell

I reiterate Charlene’s appreciation for the many people who gave their time and energy towards our Annual Bonsai Show. All the great planning ahead by Show Chair Charlene and her teams came together once again. Our annual show definitely brings us together as a club.


Kids Corner at Our Show

The club thanks Katheryn Low, Mithili Gadambi, Andrew Lipson and Barbara Phillips. The children loved it! And this activity fits right in with Kusamura’s mission as a teaching club. Say Barbara Phillips “We are building plant awareness at a tender age and who knows where this can lead!”


The Kokedama, Moss Ball Sale

This was a first time event at our show and added something new and unexpected. They were displayed beautifully, thanks to JC’s artistic eye, and Barbara Phillip’s daughter Rachel, for her careful, meticulous work. Many were displayed and sold on burls from John and Sandy Planting’s home. The response was terrific.

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