You are currently viewing September 2022 – Member Trees Q&A/Review/Critique
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President’s Message: To Fall And Beyond! 

The Bonsai Club of Santa Barbara has been officially on summer vacation in August.  In fact, I think it was sent off to summer camp for a few weeks before school restarts (or was that me….).  So, while we didn’t have a meeting or workshop in August, I didn’t have to draft some kind of long boring presidential newsletter address for August, AND better yet, you didn’t have to read it.  Now that September is just around the corner, both you and I will need to endure another club newsletter.

Speaking of September…. we will use our meeting (September 13th 7 to 9 pm) to hold one of our favorite participatory events.  It’s our Tree Q&A/Review/Critique Roundtable Session.  All members are encouraged and invited to bring in 1 to 3 trees to the meeting to ask questions about styling, care, improvements, etc. 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 to my “stupid questions” and to ask for help with techniques I have not yet mastered (there are a lot of those).  

For our September workshop (September 17th) we are hoping to secure the services of Julian Tsai. Julian 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

Note this workshop will follow the traditional format of one session from 9 AM-Noon and a second session from 1 PM-4 PM. You can sign up for either session at the standard professional workshop fee of $50. Both meeting and workshop will be held at Bethany Congregational Church, 556 North Hope Ave in Santa Barbara.

July Meeting Recap

In our July monthly meeting, longtime Bonsai Mirai student and BCSB member Daniel Martinez gave the attendees an awesome detailed demonstration on proper wiring techniques first using a wooden dowel with removable pegs to illustrate the proper branch cleaning and secondary branch selection.  He then illustrated wiring techniques and strategies using colored pipe-cleaners on this wooden structure.  Having explained the basics, he continued his wiring demonstration on a piece of nursery stock which was a western red cedar (thuja plicata) provided by our “humble” club president, Jeff.  Working with the tree, Daniel went through the process of determining the best front of the tree and then discussed the design options and settled on what will likely be a “dynamic” form (trunk moves to the right, defining branch is on the right the apex (when finished) will move t the left).  Some of the key takeaways were:

• “Same Angle, Same Spacing, No Gaps” which is a Bonsai Mirai mantra to remind students that 1) the wire should be applied at a consistent angle (about 55-60 degrees relative to the central axis of the trunk or branch), 2) the wire should be applied with the same consistent spacing between each wrap of the wire, and, 3) there should be no gaps between the wire and the trunk or branch.

• When wiring a branch, the wire needs to be properly anchored to the trunk or another branch by wrapping the wire around that anchor in the opposite direction of how the wire is wrapped around the targeted branch that is being wired.

• When transitioning from wiring the trunk to wiring a primary branch, try to wrap the wire as closely as possible to the shoulder of the branch (the swollen ridge where the branch departs from the trunk) so that you can use the wire’s strength to position the branch where you want/need it to be.

• Always bend the trunk or branch slowly and progressively. Listen and feel for the plant fibers starting to separate from each other at the point of the bend to know how far you can bend the material without breaking it.

In the time allotted, Daniel was able to demonstrate the primary wiring of the trunk and the primary branches coming from the trunk. Humble President Jeff took the tree home to do the secondary branch wiring and some of the tertiary (fine) branch wiring.  You can see the “finished product” (a preliminary design) above.  We will try to bring this tree to future club run workshops so that members can study the wiring patterns and replicate them on their trees.

Show Trees from The Bonsai Exhibition May 21-22

Last Month: August Potluck 

Ah, summertime – free food and free bonsai at my house. That is if Club members bring it. And they did! We had everything from pot stickers to goji berry juice to chili rellenos and enchiladas. Plus dessert! And Club members brought enough starter trees, pots, slabs, books, and related stuff so that we had more than 20 items to raffle off. Everyone won something and the Club was able to add a couple of hundred dollars to the coffers. Fortunately, we had enough shade because it was one of those rare 80+ degree days in Santa Barbara. I’d like to take credit for doing the whole thing myself, but actually my wife Pat took care of most of the details, so I gave her my raffle tickets. She didn’t get to kee my winnings, of course. But she did get to yell out: “I won! I won!”   

Upcoming Events: 

September 27, 2022 Sacramento, California

The American Bonsai Association, Sacramento is hosting its Annual Bonsai Auction & Sale on Tuesday, September 27th. 6:00 PM Preview / 6:30 PM Auction at Shepard Garden and Arts Center at 3330 McKinley Blvd, Sacramento, California. Bonsai trees, pots, stands and other bonsai related items will be offered for auction and sale by our community’s avid bonsai practitioners, some of whom have been practicing the art for decades. Check out the event, our club and our website at

October 1, 2022 Cupertino, California

Midori Bonsai Club: Come celebrate Midori Bonsai Club’s 58th Annual Bonsai Show, October 1st, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Road, Cupertino, Saturday’s demonstration by John Thompson at 1:00 p.m. Bring your trees in for Doctor Bonsai, plus beginners bonsai school by purchasing a bonsai starter tree, vendor sales and door prizes. Free admission, with plenty of local mediate parking. For more details contact POC Jack Christiansen, at

October 1 & 2, 2022 Oakland, California

East Bay Bonsai Society: Annual Show at the Lakeside Park Garden Center at Lake Merritt, located at 666 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland CA. Show hours are Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The show features an impressive exhibit of quality bonsai as well as a demonstration by Andrew Robson, a deciduous artist in the American bonsai community and the President of the Bonsai Society of Portland, Oregon, the largest bonsai club in the United States. There will also be a benefit drawing and a sale of bonsai and related materials. For information, visit

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 and 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 materials will be held on both days. Consignment silent auction sales opportunities are available. Rendezvous hotel room rate $155 two-night minimum.

For more information visit the GSBF website 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 on both days. The show is a benefit to raise funds for the Bonsai Gaden 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 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 prizes 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 Exp 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 visit the Pacific Bonsai Expo website.