You are currently viewing February 2023 – Members’ Critique moved to the 21st
Wally Kunimoto and Steve Gibson can be seen looking very serious as they contemplate Wally’s delightful juniper.
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President’s Message: Happy New Year!!

February is a bit of a hard month for me…. Last year on February 12th, someone in a “hipster van” tried to end my life on PCH-1 while I was quietly peddling my way back to my car after a mountain bike ride in the hills above Pt. Magu. It’s been a long haul since that fateful day and I’m still working on my recovery from the physical injuries and my brain is still a bit scrambled from the concussion and PTSD. Fortunately, working on bonsai has been a big part of my physical and mental recovery. I’m happy to say that January 2023 marked the first time I was able to use 6 gauge copper wire on a Japanese Black Pine, and hope to be able to use 4 gauge in a month or 2.

Again, I wish to say a big thank you to all of you BCSB members who have helped me out with everything from watering my trees when I was encased in a plastic turtle shell, to checking in on how I have been doing, to helping me load and unload trees to club meetings and last year’s club show. Because of last year’s excursion, this year in February I now have 2 years’ worth of trees to repot (83 at last count, in fact). Granted, I’ll be lucky if I can do 40, especially because I’ve only just started…. I hope that you folks are already ahead of me with your repots as my deciduous trees are already starting to pop. I also want to get my pines repotted as those buds are just starting to elongate.

One of the reasons I’m running behind schedule was because I took last weekend off to see the Baikoen Bonsai Kenkyukai 59th Annual Winter Silhouettes Exhibition with 11 other BCSB members. We had a rockin’ time on the party bus on the way down there and back. Details of this club field trip are below.

We have a busy February coming up. Please note that our February meeting has been moved from 14 February to 21 February because Ernie, our newsletter guru (along with everyone else) has a hot Valentine’s Day date he doesn’t want to miss. The program for the February meeting will be a club classic and favorite; our annual club tree critique. Again, don’t let the word “critique” scare you. Think of it more like if you have a tree that has you puzzled, bring it to the meeting and play “Stump the Chumps” with the senior club members as they strain their brains to help you figure out how to turn it into the best bonsai possible.

February 18th Workshops: Julian Tsai, 9am-Noon, 1pm-4pm

Please Note that we will have our monthly club workshop on 18 February, BEFORE our monthly meeting. 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 is available at There will be two workshops, morning and afternoon. Each workshop costs $50. Please contact Carol Hicks, ASAP to reserve your spot. Here are a few photos from Julian’s last workshop including the amazing before and after photos below (Thanks Danny Martinez for the photos). If you have questions on repotting trees, bring your trees and your own repotting supplies to the workshop. My teacher, Ryan Neal, considers repotting a tree to be the equivalent of open-heart surgery. Therefore, you want to do it right and people at the workshop can show you how. Otherwise, it’s still a good time to do major bending and pruning.

February 21st Meeting: Members’ Critique

First, please note the date. This month the second Tuesday falls on Valentine’s Day, so we will hold our monthly meeting on the third Tuesday of the month, February 21tst. This will be a critique meeting. So bring in a tree or two that you want suggestions on. We will gather around the table and look at your tree from all angles. We do this a couple times each year and it is a great learning experience. Not sure about the front of your tree? You will no doubt get several suggestions. Your tree will also be tilted in several directions, so when you pot it or repot it, you will have a better idea how it should sit in the pot. Wonder what style and size pot your tree should have. You can learn just before you go to Bonsai-a-Thon, where there will be many pots for sale. As usual, we gather at 7:00 pm at Bethany Congregational Church on Hope Avenue, with the meeting beginning at 7:30. See you there!

Our Recent Trip To The Winter Silhouette Show In Temple City

On Saturday January 21st, the Club rented a bus (and driver) so that we could all travel to the Winter Silhouette Show together. We saved on gas and the frustration of driving into the abyss of Los Angeles. Here are some photos of the trees taken by the official photographer at the show. And a photo by Club Prez Jeff of us on the bus. There was a great demo on pruning a Catlin elm by Steve Valentine and I think most of us purchased a tree or two from the sales table. It was too far for some of us (me) to walk to the nearest restaurant so some of us (me) settled for eating 11 bags of potato chips that Carol brought. Carol you owe me a larger belt.

Club Name Badges

We will be ordering badges again soon, and those that have paid before and never got one, need to contact Carol Hicks by email ASAP. For new members, if you want a badge they will be about $9.00 depending on how many we order. Wearing them to local and non-local bonsai events identifies you as a member of the greatest club in Santa Barbara. If you would like a badge, please email Carol with your name as you would like it to appear. For those that need a badge for Bonsai-A-Thon, at our next meeting, we can make up some of the old plastic ones that clipped on your collar or button area. Carol has some blank ones.

Upcoming Events

February 22: Trip To The Hermitage: 10am -Noon (or so)

Because of the glorious rains in January, which have filled our reservoirs to overflowing, we had to cancel our planned trip to the Hermitage. As some of you may know, we have been working with the Hermitage, repotting their bonsai collection. As a result, the Hermitage is offering our Club a couple of free visits. The first of which is coming right up on February 22. The first visit is limited, so if you are interested contact Carol Hicks ASAP. The Hermitage is a unique – to say the least – art collection on a large piece of hilly property. We will be walking the grounds. Here is a link to the website: Again, please contact Carol immediately if interested and if you are willing to drive and take a passenger of two. Directions will be given when you sign up. Ernie

February 25-26: Bonsai-A-Thon

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 25-26, 2023. Mark your calendar for a weekend of festivities. This is the annual fund-raising event for the GSBF Collection at The Huntington. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to secure a shuttle bus to take a horde of BCSB members to the event so you will need to get there yourself. If you are going and you have room in your car for another BCSB member or 2 (who can help cover the cost for the gas to get there), please contact the club at and we will email a list of potential drivers for potential riders to contact. This is a must-see show, with some great display trees, demos both days, an auction, a raffle and a large vendor area.