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President’s Message: Time To Feed ‘Em

It’s October which means it’s prime time to be working on your trees after a long hot summer. Fall is the time to set your trees up for success next year. This is the best time to fertilize because it encourages and supports a tree’s vascular growth. This vascular growth leads to strong new bud development and back budding (in some species) which will be the starting point for next spring’s growth push. With all this vascular development it is important to look for wire starting to bite in as trunks and branches start to swell and fatten up (just like me). Fall is also the time to do a lot of deciduous work as the leaves start turning crispy and dropping off. It’s so much easier and safer to wire deciduous trees without leaves. Plus during the fall, the buds are smaller and more securely attached to branches and less likely to get knocked off branches when wiring. Your maples will have a lower probability of “bleeding” sap when being pruned at this time of the year. Sap bleeding at the wrong time of year can lead to future die back of entire branchlets and even branches.

October also marks the return of the Santa Barbara’s Asian American Neighborhood Festival on 16 October from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park after a 2-year COVID hiatus. Like previous pre-COVID years, the club has been invited to create and host a 2-table display our member’s trees (6-8 trees). In general, this is a great community event with a broad spectrum of Asian food, music, dancing, and other cultural demonstrations. The event flyer with more details accompanies this newsletter.

The Asian American Neighborhood Festival is a great opportunity for BCSB members who haven’t displayed a tree in the club’s annual show in May to get their feet wet and become familiar with the process preparing a tree for display in this less formal setting. If you are one of those people, feel free to reach out to a more experienced club member to ask for assistance with getting your tree ready. Later this week Ernie will send out your a separate email to all club members asking for people to sign up for a few hours to help with pre-event set-up, overseeing the display and answering very basic bonsai questions during the event (“How do you get them to fit into those little pots?”), recruiting more new members, and taking down the display after 3:00 PM. It would be great to see some of the club’s newer members turn out to help with this event as some of the “usual suspects” who have been working at these events and representing the club for years aren’t getting any younger.

And finally, our October monthly meeting on Tuesday, 11 October, will feature our club’s illustrious (or was that infamous) founder Wally Kunimoto. Mel Ikeda will be the instructor for our October workshop on 15 October. Further details for both the meeting and workshop are further below. In the meantime, get busy with fall bonsai work!!

Tuesday, October 11: Wally Kunimoto, Bonsai Tips, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Wally Kunimoto is a founding member of the Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara, which began in 1971. For you younger members that means our Club is more than 50 years old! Wally has created some incredible bonsai over the years and is a grafting aficionado. Like most of us, though, he has had some trials and tribulations along the way. At this month’s meeting, Wally will be sharing valuable information he has gleaned that will help us all. Wally says: “After attending many bonsai demonstrations, club meetings and workshops, I have learned a lot and want to share techniques etc. that will make bonsai as a hobby more enjoyable.” Topics will include:

• Retired/Starting Bonsai
• Instant Bonsai (??)
• 100% Success Transplanting
• Maple Fall Color – No Potato Chips
• Plus 24 other Bonsai Tips”

As usual the meeting will take place at Bethany Congregational Church, 556 North Hope Avenue. 7:00-7:30 is social time and the meeting begins at 7:30. See you there.

Saturday, October 15: Mel Ikeda, 9:00 AM-Noon & 1 PM-4 PM

Mel Ikeda standing next to a bunjin styled bonsai tree

Mel Ikeda will lead workshops to be held at Bethany Congregational Church on Hope Ave. Mel Ikeda’s father, Masayuki Ikeda, owned Ikeda Bonsai Garden. This gave Mel the unique experience of growing up around Harry Hirao, Khan Komai, John Naka, Kenji Miyata and others who eventually became his teachers. Mel conducts demonstrations throughout the United States and was a headliner at the 2009 Bonsai Ohana II Convention in Hawaii. He is active in many clubs, serving on their boards as well as that of the Golden State Bonsai Federation. Tables will be provided and socially distanced. The area is covered with a shade cloth, but hats may be needed if it is sunny. We are limited to how many Club members we can accommodate, so if you are interested in attending, please let Carol Hicks know as soon as possible which session you want to attend.

AST Month: Q&A/Review/Critique Roundtable Session

September seemed the perfect time for one of the Club’s Q&A/Review/Critique Roundtable Session at our regular meeting location, Bethany Congregation Church. All members were encouraged and invited to bring in 1 to 3 trees to the meeting to ask questions about styling, care, improvements, etc.. Jeff said: “Don’t let the word ‘critique’ intimidate or scare you. Think of it as an interactive positive feedback session that is beneficial to members at all skill levels. I personally prefer not to work on bonsai in a vacuum. I find it extremely helpful to have people around to talk through different design and styling options, to seek answers my ‘stupid questions’ and to ask for help with techniques I have not yet mastered (there’s a lot of those).” I was sorry to have missed the meeting as I was traveling, but thank you Daniel Martinez for taking these photos.

Upcoming Events:

October 8 & 9, 2022 Santa Nella, California

GSBF Bonsai Rendezvous 2022: Annual GSBF event held at Hotel Mission de Oro, 13070 S. Highway 33, Santa Nella, CA 95322. Free and open to the public. 30+ vendors from northern and southern California as well as several out of state vendors will be on hand both days. Admission is free, donations are appreciated. Free demonstrations throughout the days. Bring-your-own bonsai work area. Mel Ikeda and his tomodachi group will demonstrate the art of creating bonsai amongst friends. Silent auctions of bonsai trees and related material will be held both days. Consignment silent auction sells opportunities are available.

Rendezvous hotel room rate $155 two-night minimum. For more information see or contact Rich Guillen at or (831) 348-5015.

October 15 & 16, 2022 Sacramento, California

The Capital City Bonsai Association Show will be held at The Shepard Garden and Arts Center (in McKinley Park), 3330 McKinley Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95816. Show hours are 10 am – 4 pm both days. The show is a benefit to raise funds for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt and will feature trees from:

• American Bonsai Association, Sacramento • Bonsai Sekiyu Kai
• Sacramento Bonsai Club • Satsuki Aikokai Association

The sale will include established and starter bonsai, pots, tools etc. Admission is free. Contact Paul Holtzen for more information at

October 16 Santa Barbara, California

Asian America Festival Flyer. Content below image.

Once again, the Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara has been invited to be part of the Asian American Neighborhood Festival to be held in downtown Santa Barbara at the Presidio. This is always a fun event with entertainment, food and exhibitors with arts and crafts. We be displaying Club members trees, answering questions and encouraging interested visitors to join our Club. Jeff Sczechowski and Ann Erb will be working on trees at the event. If you would like to show a tree or help at our exhibit, please email Jeff as soon as possible. Even if you can’t help or don’t have a tree to show, please stop by.

October 22 & 23, 2022 Union City, California

YAMATO BONSAI KAI 51st Annual Bonsai Exhibition: Saturday from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. and Sunday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church. Location: 32975 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City, CA 94587

Exhibition of Bonsai trees, plant sales, and vendors
Free admission and free parking

Demonstrations on both days at 1:30 pm, featuring David Nguy on Saturday and Yamato Bonsai Kai Club demonstrator Howard Correa on Sunday. Demonstration trees will be raffled off as grand prize each day. For more info and updates find us on Facebook by searching “Yamato Bonsai Kai”.

November 12th & 13th, 2022 Oakland, CA

The Pacific Bonsai Expo is to be held November 12-13, 2022 in Oakland CA at the Bridge Yard. The Pacific Bonsai Expo is a juried exhibition featuring 75 outstanding bonsai displays and a selection of the community’s top vendors. The Jurors, Bjorn Bjorholm, Ryan Neil, and William N. Valavanis will select the trees. For more information go to the homepage using the following link Pacific Bonsai Expo.

New BCSB Online Presence

The Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara now has Instagram and Facebook pages! Please check them out and remember to like us, tag us, and share your trees on both sites. Here are the links: BCSB Instagram and BCSB Facebook