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March Program: Bob Pressler, Return Of The Boxwood

In July 2016, Bob Pressler brought in a 15-year-old boxwood, one of 125 that he had collected in 2015, or rather that he had his staff at his nursery dig up for him. It’s great to be the boss. He did an initial pruning on the tall bushy boxwood that he brought for the demo, turning it into a bunjin style bonsai-in-progress, also adding interesting features to the trunk. He returns on Tuesday, March 14, for stage two – refinement and repotting. He things it will take three sessions to make the tree show-worthy. Bob is the owner of Kimura Nursery, 17230 Roscoe Blvd in Northridge He is a member of the California Bonsai Society and John Naka’s club Nampu Kai. He has studied with a variety of teachers, starting informally with Frank Okamura at the Brooklyn Botanical gardens in the early ‘70s when he was a boy. He is always entertaining and has a keen eye for what makes an interesting boxwood, which is handy, seeing as how he has 124 more boxwoods to go, though he did hint some may be for sale.

President’s Message: Forging Ahead

I’m always surprised at how fast time passes. Do you realize that the club’s biggest event, our annual show, is just a little over two months away? I hope you have a tree or two that you will enter this year. Show dates are May 20-21.

The recent cool, rainy days have made evenings by a cheery fire seem quite delightful. Over the years I have accumulated quite a lot of copper wire of many sizes, and of course copper wire isn’t of much use to a bonsai enthusiast unless it has been softened by annealing. The temperature of hot coals of a wood fire is a perfect temperature for annealing the wire, so I’ve been placing coils of wire under the grate before lighting the fire, and the next morning after sifting through the ashes I now have nicely annealed coils of wire, ready to wrap around and tame any recalcitrant branch.

Coils of wire under the grate.
The next morning after sifting through the ashes.

Last Month : Susanne Barrymore, Fastest Root-over-rock in the West

There’s a story going around the club about a root-over-rock that Susanne once created that was so heavy it took several members to carry it into our annual show. Then when they placed it with prominence in the middle of the table, the table bowed to the extent it’s demise seemed eminent. Last month, Susanne chose a much smaller rock (a chert) that she had collected from a nearby mountain. Susanne has obviously done many root-over-rock bonsais and possesses one of those skills I lack — organization. She showed up with a young trident maple, a pot, her rock, her special “muck,” twine, and a plant and seed blanket. She explained how she had tried wiring the roots to a rock and using plastic bags to hold the roots in place. Now she spreads the roots over the rock as evenly as possible, then holds them in place with muck, which is what we used to associate with spring in New Hampshire. When she had everything in place, she covered it with the blanket material, wrapped it all up in twine, placed it into her pot on a bed of bonsai soil and filled the rest of the pot with soil. Total elapsed time: 30 minutes. She then took questions for another 30-45 minutes and gave everyone some of her seed blanket material.

Preparing the tree
Laying the blanket over the roots and muck
All done

Coming Events:

March 4: Bonsai Club Of Santa Barbara: “1st” Saturday Workshop With Guest Instructor.

9 AM until noon or 1 to 4 PM., Room 7, Goleta Valley Community Center. Cheryl Manning, guest instructor. This is the makeup workshop that was supposed to held on February 18, but was postponed BECAUSE OF RAIN! I chose February 18th as the day to drive from Goleta to Los Angeles. Took just under 4 hours.

March 18: Bonsai Club Of Santa Barbara: 3rd Saturday Workshop With Guest Instructor.

9 AM until noon or 1 to 4 PM., Room 7, Goleta Valley Community Center. Mel Ikeda, guest instructor.

March 11 – 12, 2017 Oakland , California

Bay Area Bonsai Associates: 36th Annual Bonsai Exhibit at Lake Merritt Garden Center , 666 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland. Hours are Saturday 5 PM – 9 PM with light dinner at 5:30 PM and demonstration by Bill Castellon, Gordon Deeg, and Jim Gremel at 6:30 PM. Hours for Sunday are 10 AM – 4 PM.

March 25-26 , 2017: 60th Annual Bonsai Show. Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Discover the timeless appeal of an ancient horticultural art form as the California Bonsai Society presents its 60th annual show, featuring more than 100 beautiful specimens created by bonsai masters. General admission. Brody Botanical Center at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California.

April 1-2, 2017: San Jose, California

San Jose Betsuin Bonsai Club: 46th Annual Bonsai Exhibition and Demonstration at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 640 North Fifth Street. Show hours are: Saturday Noon – 5 PM, and Sunday 11 AM – 4 PM with styling demonstrations at 1 PM on both days by Peter Tea. West America Trading Company (David and June Nguy) will provide a full range of bonsai supplies, including pots, wire, tools, soil and many other items helpful to the art of bonsai. Bonsai Fusion (Kanehiro HamaJima) will be offering small rose trees and his small specialty pots. Art of the Daiz (Jerry Braswell) will provide Rocks/W/Daiz along with his unique high quality Bonsai Stands. Soh-Uu-en Satsuki Bonsai (Daren Wong) will be featuring Azalea trees fresh from Japan, as well as many other species of Azaleas. Club trees and pots also for sale. For more information, contact Ken Azuma at or Jim Urhausen at

April 1 – 2, 2017 Sacramento, California

Bonsai Sekiyu Kai: 40th Annual Bonsai show and demonstration at Buddhist Church of Sacramento, 2401 Riverside Blvd. Hours are 10 AM – 4 PM with demonstration at 2 PM by Yuzo Maruyama, followed by a benefit raffle both days. There is a bonsai vendor area and a food vendor. Admission and parking are free. For information, email

Member Trees: Daniel Martinez

Juniper purchased at SB Club show May 17, 2015 from club member Keith. First thing I did after getting home was to get it into better soil and clean up the live vein and deadwood. The month of May was a little late to repot but it worked out fine as the tree really appreciated the new soil of akadama, lava and pumice. I began styling the tree at the end of my first year of training with Ryan Neil in January 2016. The tree is now ready for some maintenance and refining.

Tree as purchased
After first styling 2016
Current tree 2017 (photo by Hayden Martinez)
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