September 2015


September 2015, Vol. 41, Issue 9

Japanese Black Pine - Seiji Shiba (after decandling)

Japanese Black Pine – Seiji Shiba
(after decandling)


  • President’s message
  • JT’s Tree Tips
  • Editor’s Note
  • August Meeting Recap
  • September Meeting Topics & Club Calendar
  • 2015 Midori Backyard tour
  • REBS Bonsai Show Photos
  • 2015 Meeting Schedule
  • Northern California Bonsai Events

Presidents MessageIMG_3634

  Here we are September already, our summer is quickly moving to Fall and our club’s bonsai show is just around the corner.  With this in mind how are we as a club doing using the printed materials to promote and publicize this yearly event?  This is our one great chance to let others we know see what bonsai is all about and share how these incurable trees all came about. I’ve been very proud to be apart of past years shows with Midori and every year our program and trees just get better and better.  So lets promote it!  So pick up flyers and us them!

Our club is presently passing around a sign-up sheet that list the many and various positions for our tree’s within the show.  There are still many available positions left to be filled especially for the large back ground backdrops and the long row positions.  Many of us within the club have many trees to fill those positions, but we’re looking for everyone to have a chance to be in the show and feel apart of it. So step up to the plate and sign-up!

Also in order to have a well organized bonsai show there’s always plenty of work to be done up front and at the show.  Please make yourself available when opportunities come up, there will be a sign up sheet distributed at the meeting with the various jobs opening as we get closer.

I just finished coordinating and putting together this years Back Yard Tour program for the club, and since we didn’t have any local volunteers from our club this year once again we will be traveling to some very eventful locations threw out the Bay Area. Followed up by a potluck BBQ at my home. An article published in this news letter will fill you in on all the up and coming details.

As many of you already know our Secretary Debe Kahn passed away recently at her home after fighting a long time illness.  Yes this came as quite a shock to many of us, I’m still trying to deal with this personally and look forward to going to the memorial and saying goodbye for a final time.  Debe’s candor and personality just wow people over at meetings, and she was a real trooper doing her part as our accounts person and secretary for our club.  Debe you’ll be missed!

I hope everyone in the club has enjoy and followed the many and various programs we have put on for club members this year.  Thanks Mehrdad and Seiji for handling this past months program with Wood

Carving and the Art of Bunjin!

Have a great September everyone!

Jack Christiansen

JT’s Tree Tips

Our show is coming up Saturday October 10th at the Wesley United Methodist Church on N. 5th St, and as usual we are fine tuning our trees.

Once you have decided on the tree(s) you wish to put in the show, examine them as if they weren’t your trees.  If you were just walking past this tree what would you think of it? Really look at your tree.  Sometimes, looking at the reflected image of your tree in a mirror can change your memorized picture of it so you can really make a needed change.  There are usually easy things you can do to improve your tree immediately. Keep it simple.

If you are showing a tree in the “in training” section of our show, it can have wire on it almost anywhere.  After all, it is in training.  But it still needs to be as neat as it can be.  And, please stretch yourself and your tree just a little bit farther.  First, clean up the pot and weed it.  Then take all hanging foliage and pinch it off.  Leaving a little space between the branches defines them better and allows the “birds to fly through.”  Prune or pinch off those shoots that have outgrown the silhouette you see as the tree.

You may do some light wiring to bring back and clean up the line of the branches.  Don’t take off excessive foliage.  Leave it a little fuller than if you were styling it.  It will look better this way than if you plucked it down to nothing.

Prune off any sickly or off-color foliage and those bits of foliage underneath the pads. Cleaning that line makes a big difference.  Clean the remaining foliage if it has excessive water spots or honeydew.  Check for critters.  Snail, slugs, scale, mites or ants are sure to take a bow during the show if you let them.

Decide if you want to use moss or other ground cover and whether you need smaller scaled soil.  Scrape off some of the older soil; add your moss then work in the fine soil bringing it up to the level of the pot.  Sweep with a soft brush, and then tamp down to just below the rim of the pot.  Water in gently. .  If you have a source of fine show soil or moss, please bring that in to the 1st and 3rd Thursday meetings to share with your fellow exhibitors.

Coming up with moss in the fall is always difficult, but with another year of  drought, its almost impossible.  You can use a dark colored (brown or black) fine gravel if you have no moss or use a little moss close to the trunk with the gravel covering most of the surface.  Just make it neat.


Editor’s Note

Hey Folks,

Due to my upcoming wedding next months newsletter may not be exactly on time.  Please bear with me.  You can find this month’s bonsai video here.


August Meeting Recap

This past month Seiji gave a demo on Bunjin style trees.

September Meeting Topics & Club Calendar

September 3rd – Judging Trees with Peter Tea

Peter will be doing a program on how to think through judging trees in a show.   t

September 17th – Show prep workshop

For the third Thursday meeting please bring in any trees you plan to show in our fall show.  This is the time to plan out the display, do mossing, oil your pots, any last refinement wiring, etc.

2015 Midori Backyard Tour – September 19th

Having a chance to get out and away and see other bonsai enthusiast homes, yard, and bonsai trees is always refreshing and motivating. We can always learn from those that have taken the initiative to make their home and yard special for a visit.  And often times we gain a greater understand and appreciation for the people that have us over and come away feeling that we gained a new friend. This year will be no different!

Our First Stop 9:00am:  Rick Trumm and Janet Nelson’s Home up in the Oakland hills above highway 580.  This is an amazing large home and property with a lovely conifer garden out front.  Their garden and bonsai tree’s was featured in Bonsai Focus magazine a few years ago that gave me the idea to run them down.  Fortunately they are wonderful people that enjoy having visitor and showing off their wonderful collection of trees and meeting all of us. They are with Boon’s Club (Bay Island Bonsai). We’ll have a short continental breakfast there that morning provided by the club and host.

Our Second Stop 11:00am:  John and Marsha Mekisich’s home in San Mateo just off highway 92.  Here in a sweet residential area of San Mateo John and Marsha have combined landscape gardening with bonsai trees to make a complete environment to sit back and enjoy life’s pleasures outside.  John say that they have gone out of their way to collect plants that are out of the ordinary or collectors pieces.  Even Though their property is on the smallish size they have big results in the way they have manicured their plants and garden.  They are with the Sei Boku Bonsai Club.

Our Third Stop 1:00pm:  Jack and Linda Christiansen’s home in San Jose.  This will be our rendezvous and place to hang out for the afternoon and enjoy a Potluck BBQ and drinks and a chance to wonder about my backyard conifer garden. Many of you have been there before and the only thing that has changed is that the plants are getting larger and I’m getting behind hacking them back. My bonsai collection has doubled and is starting to take up more and more space of my large deck. All in all it should be a pleasant time that day traveling together and sharing food on a California summer afternoon.

A complete itinerary with a map and directions will be provided at our third Thursday meeting this month that should answer any questions you may have regarding the tour.


REBS Bonsai Show Pics

2015 Meeting Schedule

September Judging Trees with Peter Tea Show Prep Workshop
October Show Volunteer Setup Program Grafting Demo with JT
November Forest Plantings with Juan Cruz Display (Out of the Ordinary) with Mehrdad Chavosh
December Annual Holiday Party, Election, and Auction Pork chop workshop

Set-up & Refreshments and Formal Tree Display

Month Formal Tree Display Set-up & Refreshments
September Jack Christiansen Jeff Quast & Seiji Shiba
October Danny Powell George Shoptaw & Carolyn Davis
November Jeff Excallier Jim Wallace & Larry White
December Holiday Party, no formal display Everyone!

Notice about Set-up & Refreshment Duty

Hello Everyone, it’s Ray Stagner, in charge of facilities. For our club meetings to be successful, it is important our members participate and share in some of the responsibilities. We ask our members to help in the monthly duties of setting up and tearing down for both first and third Thursday meetings. Members who attend meetings regularly, are asked to help. Please arrive 1/2 hour before the meeting starts. I will be there to direct you. It’s very important, if you are unable to help on the days you are assigned to please contact me (408-209-5654). As well as helping with set up, we would like you to bring snacks of your choice to both meetings. If everyone participates, our meetings will start on time so we all can enjoy the activities planned for that evening.

Northern California Bonsai Events

September 25 – 27, 2015    Portland, Oregon
The Artisans Cup
 held at The Portland Art Museum. The Artisans Cup is the premier exhibition of American Bonsai. The event will also feature select artisans who are creating distinctive supporting elements such as ceramics, woodwork, tools, and more. For further information, visit our website at

September 26 – 27, 2015 Penryn, California
Sierra Bonsai Club: Club show in conjunction with Placer Buddhist Church’s Annual Fall Food Festival. Hours are 11 AM – 4 PM Saturday and 11 AM to 4 PM Sunday. Bonsai demonstration by Scott Chadd in the afternoon, both days. For more information contact Robin Knittle at or Gary Judd at or 916-622-8048.


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