You are currently viewing April 2023 – Getting Show Ready
Ann Erb presents two trees, one ready to show this year and one that could be ready next year.
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President’s Message: It’s All About The Show

This month, we are focused on preparing for an informal “mini-show” on 30 April for the members of Bethany Congregational Church, who kindly let us use their spaces for our meetings and workshops, as well as our BCSB Annual Show on 13-14 May at Trinity Lutheran Church. Ann Erb will present on show preparation at our April Meeting. Also, Julian Tsai will be the instructor for our April Workshop and can help you put the final touches on any trees you are thinking of displaying at either or both shows. In addition to the knowledge and information that Ann and Julian will pass on to us, below are some links to internet content on preparing trees for show displays and creating accent plants. It’s time to get busy and get those trees and accent plants ready, folks, and we also need you to sign up to help the club put on successful shows at both venues.

General Display Info:

Display Stands:

Picking the right stand

Accent plants:

Still Wanted: Newsletter Guru

Our former Newsletter Guru, still enjoying his retirement….

As discussed last month, Ernie has ridden off into the newsletter publishing sunset. We are looking for someone who likes writing, is a good copy editor (to fix all the president’s mistakes), is publishing software savvy (basic Adobe skills), and can manage an emailing list with the treasurer as new members sign up.

If this sounds like you, please contact Jeff via our club email ( with the subject line, “Newsletter Guru.”

April 11th Meeting: It’s Showtime With Ann Erb

A beautiful Sierra Juniper displayed by local Nipomo artist Jeremiah Lee at the Pacific Bonsai Expo (November 2022).

On 11 April, Ann Erb will give her presentation on how to prepare your bonsai for a show. Note that we have two shows coming up very soon (see below) and preparing a tree for showing is all about making the entire composition look the best it possibly can. You will learn the fine details of preparing your tree and the pot, picking (or borrowing) the right stand, what to look for in an accent plant (aka “shitakusa”) and how to prepare it. With regard to the latter two items, the Club has a tradition of being very sharing and collaborative when it comes to stands and accent plants. Therefore, if you plan on showing a tree(s) in our annual show on 13-14 May, bring it/them to this April meeting. This will allow Ann and some of the other senior members to see its/their size and proportions and let you know if they have a possible candidate stand that you can borrow for the show.

April 15th Workshop With Julian Tsai: He’s Back!!!!
9AM-Noon and 1PM-4PM

On 15 April, Julian Tsai is returning to teach at our April Workshop following his recent stint as our February Workshop instructor. There will be two workshop sessions – morning (9-12) and afternoon (1-4) at Bethany Congregational Church. Each workshop session costs $50. Please contact Carol Hicks ASAP to reserve your spot, as Julian’s workshops fill up fast!
Julian Tsai is a Southern California resident who discovered a passion for bonsai while in college. After graduation, he pursued an apprenticeship under Keiichi Fujikawa of Fujikawa Kouka-en in Osaka, Japan. Julian’s experience in Japan gave him a strong foundation in both evergreen and deciduous techniques. In his practice, he emphasizes horticulture and development that enables the sustainable design of trees. More information about Julian and his bonsai work is available at

Recap Of March Meeting: Getting A Little “quercky”

We almost got rained out twice, but on 21 March we were finally able to hear Joe Olson’s presentation on “Oaks: in nature and as bonsai.” I (Jeff) was amazed at how “quercus ignorant” I was, other than the fact that I haven’t killed mine yet… although I did learn from Joe that is pretty hard to do. I was also planning on truffle hunting in Joe’s back yard until he informed us that edible truffles are not found in California, and especially not in bonsai pots. Rather than have me try to summarize the 20+ species of oaks found in California in this newsletter, Joe’s presentation is posted on the club website on our resources page. On a somewhat related note, if you are looking for a humorous mystery novel about oaks and truffles, read “Anything Considered” by Peter Mayle.

Recap Of March Workshop: Temporary Digs

Our March workshop was held at the UCSB Greenhouse, courtesy of the Greenhouse Manager, Cameron Hannah-Bick through our club member Phil Watt. (Thank you, Cameron and Phil, for accommodating our temporary homelessness.) Our own Ann Erb was the instructor and led the workshop with Japanese-trained techniques coupled with more than 40 years of personal practice that helped both novices and experts alike. Her hands-on tutelage, demonstration of high-level refinement techniques, and keen aesthetic eye were of great benefit to all including a few new (to bonsai) students who we hope to see more in the future.
There’s always some nuance of technique or thought-provoking insight for students of all levels in a class with Ann. If you missed the workshop, we will be lucky enough to have her come down from Nipomo to give a presentation on bonsai show preparation during our monthly meeting on 12 April. So don’t miss that one, as the big show (and the Bethany show) is coming right up.

Upcoming BCSB Shows:

30 April, BCSB Mini-show At Bethany Congregational

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! On Sunday, 30 April, we will put on a small “Thank You” show for the members of Bethany Congregational Church, who graciously allow us to use their patio and meeting rooms for our club events. The show will open around 11:15 and run until about 12:30. We will need to quietly set up outside starting around 10:00 AM. This is an excellent opportunity for new members just starting their bonsai journey to practice the ins and outs of preparing a tree for display. It is also a great warm-up for all members for our upcoming BCSB Annual Show two weeks later. Trees will need to be in a clean bonsai pot with moss or a clean/neat top dressing. Bring a display stand if you have one. Senior members will bring extra stands if you don’t have one (we will coordinate loaner stands at our April Monthly Meeting). Accent plants are optional. We will also have a table of “trees in training” with trees that are in bonsai pots but still in the development stage so attendees can see some of the wiring and bending techniques we use to style trees. We will review the preparation details in our April Meeting.

13-14 May, BCSB Annual Show At Trinity Lutheran Church

MARK YOUR CALENDARS AGAIN!! On 13-14 May, we will host our Annual Show at Trinity Lutheran Church (909 N. La Cumbre, Santa Barbara). WE NEED ALL MEMBERS to participate in setting up, showing trees, answering questions from attendees, staffing the sales table, and cleaning up. In addition to this being our opportunity to both inform and entertain the public about the art of bonsai, it is also our biggest fundraiser of the year. Ann Erb will present on how to prepare your tree(s) for the show during our April Monthly Meeting. We will also pass around sign-up sheets (and post them on-line for virtual sign-up) so people can sign up for a designated time to help with some aspect of the show. Let’s make this year our best show ever!