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President’s Message

The Royal Address to All BCSB Subjects

Congratulations BCSB members! You made it through a full year of meetings and workshops, post-COVID. Despite all the pandemic-related hick-ups over the last 2+ years, our club is coming back strong with new members, our new meeting space at Bethany Congregational Church, and new bonsai partnerships with Lotusland and The Hermitage. Let’s continue this growth trend through 2023. 

But first to close out 2022, while we won’t be having a December Monthly Meeting or Workshop, we will be holding our annual Winter Holiday Potluck (plus a bonsai raffle and now a bonsai auction) on Saturday 17 December. We are adding the auction and strongly encourage members to bring trees, pots and anything bonsai-related that you might find too valuable to simply donate in the raffle but would prefer to sell it (with 20% of the sale going to the club for fundraising).  More details on the Potluck (plus raffle, plus auction) are listed further below.  Share your love of bonsai with newer members looking to build their bonsai collections and bring some of your larger extra trees, unfinished project trees, and bigger pots for which you never managed to find the right tree. We hope to see everyone there. 

To start 2023, the most important thing is for everyone to remember to pay their 2023 dues ASAP!  Just think about it. It’s worth at least $40/year to read these witty presidential addresses in each monthly newsletter! (Right?).  

Also with the upcoming new year, I’d like to welcome 2 new club officers who were elected at our November meeting: Mark Britton as Vice President and Diana Boydstun as Treasurer.  I’d like to thank the people they replaced: Allan Hemmy for serving as VP and Carol Hicks serving as Treasurer for the last 2 years.  Wally Kunimoto will return in his umpteenth year in service to the club as our secretary and Carol Hicks will now serve in a non-elected position as Event Coordinator. Ann Erb and Steve Gibson will thankfully continue in their roles as Show Chair and Programming Chair, respectively. Plus, or should I say, unfortunately, you folks reelected me as President again.  What on earth were you thinking?  Didn’t you learn anything over the last 2 years??

We are looking forward to a few new wrinkles in our club activities in 2023.  We are planning on having a warm-up event for our Annual Show by holding a slightly less formal show for the members of Bethany Congregational Church who kindly allow us to use their facility every month. Also, with the assistance of Carol Hicks as Event Coordinator, we will be organizing some club “field trips” to bonsai events in California (e.g. Bonsai-a-thon, the GSBF Merritt Lake Collection, or the GSBF Shohin Convention and the GSBF Rendezvous in Santa Nella).  We are looking into renting a van or a bus to get everyone to an event safely together.  Look for trip sign-up announcements in upcoming newsletters and emails. 

Whew! Enough of club business.  Remember now is the time to start treating your trees with dormant sprays and dormant oils to wipe out the future off-spring of this year’s pests so they won’t damage your trees next year.  Also repotting is right around the corner (Woo-hoo!! Time to get dirty my friends!).  Heck, my teacher recommends repotting Mediterranean-climate broad leaf evergreen species like coast live oaks as soon as 22 December (the first day after the winter solstice (provided you can protect them from temperatures below 45 Fahrenheit). 

In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming holidays with family, friends, and your trees!

Last Month’s Meeting: Ann Erb – Pines

At the November meeting, Ann Erb gave a timely demonstration on needle pruning pines. Needle plucking is an essential tool for pine bonsai maintenance. It allows air and light to penetrate the outer foliage to increase the health and vigor of inner shoots and branches. It also helps to spread energy throughout the tree in the same way that bud selection and candle pinching do. Combined with pruning of the current years growth on a pine bonsai, needle-plucking is also the best way of prompting back-budding as well as controlling the size of a pine bonsai. In California, November is the perfect time for needle pruning. Candle pruning usually takes place in June. 

The Pacific Bonsai Expo

Danny Martinez, Mark Britton, and Jeff Sczechowski were very fortunate to attend the Pacific Bonsai Expo at the Bridge Yard in Oakland, CA. Simply put, this bonsai show was outstanding!  The quality of the trees was the arguably amongst the best seen at any show in the US, and the organizers (Eric Schrader and Jonas Dupuich) staged an incredible overall exposition in the intriguing Rail Yard venue.  The Bonsai Empire site has photos of many of the best trees, starting with the award winners.  We all agreed with the judges on these award winners (including Randy Knight’s massive Best-in-Show Ponderosa Pine that required 2 very strong men and a big dog just to position it on the display table).  In addition, our favorites included Michael Hagedorns’s unique Shore Pine display, Ryan Neal’s Yatsubusa Elm, Jeffrey Stern’s Coastal Redwood, Sam Tan’s Monterrey Cypress, and Jhune Clemena’s Atlantic White Cypress. The Pacific Bonsai Expo will be held again in 2024. We highly recommend that if you love bonsai, you need to attend this event.

Holiday Potluck, Raffle And Auction

Tom Post’s creative Christmas tree from the 2017 holiday party

Carol Hicks will be co-hosting our winter potluck this year with Sandy Jewell. It will be on Dec. 17th from 11:30 till 2:00 or 2:30 + or -. It will be at Bethany Church on Hope Ave. Weather dependent, it will be hopefully outside on the patio of if bad or cold weather, it will be inside in the big back room. Please RSVP to my Carol at so she knows how many tables to set up. Carol will provide all the tableware and drinks & water and  a main dish. Attendees are asked to bring their favorite food to share and something for the raffle or sale (brand new members with just a few trees can just bring a food item). As Jeff mentioned there will also be an auction. This is a great opportunity to obtain a nice tree or bonsai item. Since it is so close to Christmas, it will be a Christmas theme so if everyone would like to dress accordingly, it might be fun. 

Upcoming Events

Bay Area Bonsai Associates Show at the GSBF Collection at Lake Merritt. 

Saturday, January 14th (open 4pm-9pm) and Sunday, January 15th 11 am – 4pm. Special Presentation Saturday at 6:30pm with Daisaku Nomoto (Japan) and Jonas Dupuich (USA). Free admission to 40+ high quality Bonsai for your viewing pleasure! Bonsai Sale both Days. For more information: Email:

59th Baikoen Bonsai Kenkyukai Winter Silhouette Show and Sale.

Sat, Jan 21 at Temple City Live Oak Park Community Show & Sales with demonstration at 1pm on both days. Deciduous bonsai are featured from club members and invited guests. The Nagata-Komai award will be presented, and there will be a demonstrator at 1pm on both days. There will be a sales area with club and vendor plants, pots, tools and more.

Sergio Cuan – GSBF Golden Zoom Series. 

Jan 23, 2023, 6:30 PM PST. It’s free and only open to members of GSBF Clubs (which includes BCSB members)

18th Biennial Shohin Seminar. Fri, Feb 03 in  Santa Nella, CA

The only event of its kind in the U.S. Every two years the California Shohin Society organizes a Shohin  Seminar in Santa Nella, California, where bonsai masters, teachers,  students and general enthusiasts from all over the country gather to  learn and share their love of Shohin bonsai. The goal of the Seminar is two-fold: To provide a low-cost, learning-rich environment for those who want  to learn more about Shohin bonsai, and to raise money for the Golden State Bonsai Federation’s Bonsai Collection.  The Shohin Seminar is a major source of funding for the care and evolution of these collections.

GSBF Bonsai-a-Thon, February 18-19, 2023

GSBF is pleased to announce that a date has been set for their upcoming Bonsai-a-Thon at The Huntington on Saturday and Sunday, February 18-19, 2023. Mark your calendar for a weekend of festivities.

Annual Mammoth Auction & Sale at Lake Merritt (near Oakland) 

Feb 18, 2023, 12:00 PM – Feb 19, 2023, 3:00 PM. Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, USA

Christmas Idea From Our Soon-To-Be Vp

‘Tis the season to use ‘tis the season’ holiday intros and to start thinking holiday tree decorations. We’ve put together a few images from around the world (wide web) as inspiration for dressing up your trees for the holiday season. I myself, have forgone a ‘proper’ Christmas tree for the last three years in favor of bringing a bonsai indoors and stepping up my holiday traditions. Enjoy.