Vice President’s Message
It is now officially springtime, which is always an exciting time of the year as our trees put on their new growth and wake up from our long, cold winter. OK, I know most of our deciduous trees have been leafed out for over a month or more and our winters are hardly long or cold by most of the country’s standard. But it is still an exciting time of year.
Especially this year, as we are going to hold our first in-person meeting of the year at 7pm Tuesday evening, April 12th. We will be at our NEW location at the Bethany Congregational Church, 556 N Hope Ave, Santa Barbara (the new location address and map are also on our website). Club Show Chairman Ann Erb will present on the topic of Show Preparation to help us get all of our trees in tip-top shape for the long awaited resumption of our annual club show the weekend of May 21th and 22st.
Following the County’s guidance, masks will no longer be required at our meetings and workshops. The vaccination and signed waiver requirement has also been removed from all Club events. We hope to see a large turnout at the meeting and please feel free to bring any trees that might have questions about, would like advice on showing, or would just like to show off! We will also be signing up volunteers at the meeting to help with the various tasks to make the club show a success.
Finally, I am very excited to announce that we have a new vendor for the show, Legacy Cork Oaks of Hacienda Heights. As their name suggests, they will have oaks of several varieties along with many other species of trees and also handmade American bonsai containers. They will be vending at this weekend’s Bonsai-a-thon fundraiser at the Huntington Library and Gardens, so feel free to say hello if you attend the event.
Club Dues Increase and Workshops
In other business, it was rightly pointed out that we probably didn’t do a good job of communicating the annual dues increase and some of the changes around the workshops. The last dues increase of $5 was in 2017 and we didn’t collect dues in 2021 to make up for the cancellation of most events in 2020. As several of our operating costs have increased (PO Box, insurance, web hosting, etc.), we had to make the decision to increase dues another $5 for 2022. The individual cost is $40, family or dual membership is $50, and a reduced student rate of $20 is available for any full-time students.
At our current average membership levels, this increase will allow us to cover our operating expenses and the monthly meeting expenses. We also had to make some changes to our annual workshop programs, as we were pretty far below market on the fee that we paid to the instructors who are mostly all full time bonsai professionals. Our new fee of $450 to the instructor is still below the rate of some professionals, but should give us the ability to be more competitive in scheduling workshops. Due to this increase, we have had to increase the individual professional workshop cost to $50 and drop the number of professional workshops back to 2 in the spring and 2 in the fall semesters.
There will be a discounted rate of $90 if you register early and sign-up for both workshops. Based on the average attendance, the Club will still be subsidizing the total cost of these workshops at the new rates. We will still have 4 total workshops each semester, with the 2 remaining workshops being led by experienced club members. These club led workshops will also be free.
Depending on the availability of our new space at the Bethany Congregational Church, we may be able to schedule additional free club workshops or special themed workshops. Our April 16th workshop will be led by friend of the club and bonsai professional Mel Ikeda. Please check the website as we will update the instructors for the fall semester once booked.
Tuesday, April 12, 7-9 PM Ann Erb: Preparing Show Trees
There are a number of things to do in order to show a tree (remove the 11 pounds of copper wire holding up your apex for one thing) and our Club’s show coordinator, Ann Erb, will explain them in detail at the April meeting, including choosing the right pot, stand and accent plant, preparing your top soil and adding moss, and removing the inch or so of white salty crud from your pots. Ann, who has been coordinating our show for years, also does the California Bonsai Society’s shows and helps with Bonsai-A-Thon. If you have a tree you’d like to show, but are not sure if it’s ready, please bring it to the meeting and Ann will evaluate it. See you all there!
New BCSB Resource
We now have a Club Member Q&A Google Group. The link to will only work if you have been granted access to the group. Members can email the club at email@example.com and we can grant them access and send a link. We suggest that you bookmark the emailed link, as it is difficult to navigate to from the main Google homepage. Hopefully, members will find this a useful place to get answers or feedback on a variety of topics including pest identification, which branch to prune, which pot looks best with this tree, etc.
Saturday, April 16, Workshop With Mel Ikeda
Mel Ikeda will be the workshop leader at our great new outdoor workshop space at Bethany Congregational Church, 556 North Hope Avenue this month. Mel conducts demonstrations throughout the United States. He is active in many clubs, serving on their boards as well as that of the Golden State Bonsai Federation, where he performs live demonstrations at Bonsai-a-Thon. He has done demonstrations for our club many times. There will be two workshops: 9 am to 12 noon and 1 pm to 4 pm. Only $50! Please Contact Carol Hicks for space availability.
Last Month, Zoom Meeting – Rincon-Vitova Insectaries
Last month’s program was a Zoom presentation by Kyra Rude of Rincon-Vitova Insectaries in Ventura. She discussed the five concepts of integrated pest management which work at all scales even on our tiny trees. The first idea is to avoid using disruptive pesticides which in part refers to their effect on beneficial predators already on the plants and in the surrounding habitat. If spraying is required to control an infestation, the preference is to start with the least toxic controls such as insecticidal soap, horticultural oils, or microbial treatments such as Bacillus thuringiensis.
Secondly, build refuges for beneficial predators, many of which have adult forms that eat pollen from flowering plants. These don’t have to be massive acreages of wild plants and can even be accessory plantings in containers to complement our trees. Next it is important to monitor the insect populations with things like sticky cards to identify early imbalances in the predator-prey relationships. The fourth feature, correct cultural practices, relates back to the other tools and includes the correct management of surrounding plants in your garden or green space. The fifth concept is the release of the correct beneficial organisms at the right time to control pests.
This might include generalist predators like green lacewing larvae or ladybug larvae. But it can also be targeted predators like beneficial mites for spider mites, predatory beetles for scale, or nematodes for soil dwelling insect control. Many of these products can be found online. But closer to home, Island Seed & Feed in Goleta has organic pest solutions and some beneficial predators. Of course, Rincon-Vitova also has a huge catalog of beneficial solutions on their website and is available over the phone or in person to help diagnose the problem and provide a solution.
Online: Show Photos, Past Meetings, Workshop Signup & More
We have a really cool website! Our webmaster, Daniel Martinez, has made some great updates, including adding a Lotusland link on the home page that leads to descriptions of the Club trees currently being displayed. Visit often and tell your bonsai friends: santabarbarabonsai.org
ALSO: Our annual CLUB MEMBERSHIP dues are now due. Thank you for those who have already paid: $40 ($50 for families). We also owe a huge thank you to all those who included a donation for 2022. Along with membership dues, we received donations totaling $1,323 from 9 individuals. This includes a very generous donation of $1000 from an anonymous donor. Visit our membership page for more information or bring to the April workshop.
Sometime last year I discovered that I am not getting any younger and that putting trees into ceramic containers makes them much heavier. I like to turn my trees once a week to give them even access to sunlight. I believe this is especially important in the winter (for those trees that aren’t dormant) when the sun is at a lower angle and for those trees that are against a wall.
My solution was a 6” diameter metal turntable bearing rated to hold 400lbs and purchased online for anywhere from $2 to $6 each, if ordered in multiples. I placed the bearing in between 12” and 18” square ceramic tiles from the local home improvement box store. These tiles usually have a barcode on the side to allow them to be purchased individually. I turn one tile glaze side down on the bench or concrete block pedestal to allow any water to wick away from the metal bearing. The other tile goes glaze side up atop the bearing. The bearings come pre-greased, but I oiled some of the bearings with standard 3:1 oil and on others I used an additional waterproof bearing grease.
After about 6 months of use outdoors in the elements, both lubricants still appear to be holding up well with no signs of rust and bearing still turns easily. In some cases too easily and you can quickly identify which benches are not level. For these, I bent some aluminum wire to act as a pin to lock the table in place. The only downside to this system is that the vacation auto-watering system has to be removed before being able to rotate the trees.