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President’s Message: August Is Potluck Time!

It’s August, the weather is warming up and since I never have been disciplined enough to be consistent with my soil mixes some of my trees stay moist in spite of the warm days, while others dry out very quickly. I have a hose in my hand every day trying to cater to each tree’s needs.

Again this year, the club had a small but elegant display at the Obon Festival at the Santa Barbara Buddhist Church. It’s always a big hassle to participate there, but visitors and everyone connected with the event are so appreciative and complementary that it’s worthwhile. Wally Kunimoto, Ernie Witham, and I had trees on display, but the real thanks go to Carol Hicks who gave up her entire day not only to help set up and tear down the display but also to stay there for the entire event as the club’s representative.

Our big event and our only event this month is our summer potluck and raffle. Patti Post has offered her house for the big party on August 18. Thanks, Patti! Plan to bring a dish to share, any dish you want, and also bring bonsai-related items to donate to the raffle, and enjoy the day. See you there!

~ Joe

Last Month – Steve Gibson, Shohin Grown In Colanders

Last month our colander guy …remember the song… we love, we love, we love our little colander guy… Oh wait, I guess that was Calendar Girl. Well, either way, it was a great presentation. Steve uses colanders as growing pots for his shohin and brought in a number of specimens to show and talk about, including a ficus, a cherry, a Japanese maple and a grape. Steve also shared a multi-page handout including an article written by Jonas Dupich who says: “I’ve been growing black pines in colanders for years. Thanks to Bonsai Today issue #20 and Boon Manakitivipart, many enthusiasts have been doing the same. Drainage is great and the cost is reasonable.” Steve would agree. He grows many different trees in colanders and styles them before putting them into bonsai pots for final styling and showing. It’s easy to keep the roots trimmed. They just stick out the side and he cuts them off. For those interested in trying this, Steve buys his colanders online at

Santa Barbara Bonsai Club Shows Trees At Obon Festival

Once again this year the Club was asked to bring trees to the Buddhist Temple of Santa Barbara, 1015 East Montecito Street, for a bonsai display during their Obon Festival. Special thanks to President Joe Olson, who transported the trees to the festival, and to Vice President Carol Hicks, who stayed all day to answer questions and represent our Club. The Temple says: “The Buddhist observance of Obon has its origins in the scripture Ullambana Sutra spoken by the Buddha. This ancient story is rich in meaning for us. It encourages us to be mindful of how the kindness and generosity of those who have come before continues to touch our lives in so many ways.

Santa Barbara Bonsai Club Shows Trees At Lotusland

This year I was asked to put together a special display of bonsai trees from the Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara for Lotusland Celebrates, the largest event and fundraiser for Ganna Walska Lotusland throughout the year. This year’s theme was ”Memoirs of a Garden” and celebrated, among other things, the reopening of the Japanese Garden, which has undergone a two-year renovation. We had six stands placed on the main drive that every one of the 500 attendees had to walk past to get to dinner on the main lawn. There was much interest. Trees displayed belonged to Joe Olson, Wally Kunimoto, Keith Mautino, Steve Gibson and Ernie Witham. Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the Montecito, California estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, today recognized as one of the ten best gardens in the world. Docent-lead tours are available at

Librarian’s Corner: Susanne Barrymore

The Essentials of Bonsai
By the Editors of Shufunotomo
Introduction By Donald Richie

For anyone interested in Japanese terminology for bonsai, the Japanese terms for various styles are well illustrated with color photographs of fine bonsai. In fact, throughout the book you will encounter Japanese terms for many things; such as
a flat pad of fused roots is bankon.

There are multiple smaller black and white photographs for more Japanese terminology. There are further details about which plants are suitable, raising bonsai, wiring, leaf cutting, pruning, root placement, collecting wild seedlings, including equipment needed to collect plants found in the wild, and how to care for them after collecting. Further material goes into raising from seed, and starting cuttings, taking air layers, and grafting. It discusses repotting, wiring tree into pot, and frequency of re-potting, and the timing thereof, including concern of protection right after repotting. The discussion of soils used may not be what we have learned recently, but still valid points made. Placement during summer and winter varies with what weather an area experiences in terms of temperature and moisture. Toward the end of the book, there are a number of practical techniques”