Newsletter – March 2020

Bonsai Notebook

We have a unique dual demonstration planned for the March 14 meeting at the Arboretum. Jason Saito and Jaime Chavarria will be talking about and demonstrating the differences and similarities between two distinct styles of landscape plantings; a rock planting (ishitsuki) , and a Chinese landscape (penjing). They will discuss the skills and techniques used to create naturalistic landscape plantings. Both pieces will be in the raffle for members.
Jason and Jaime are students of saikei and bonsai master Frank Goya. Jason has been studying bonsai for about 9 years and is primarily focused on landscape planting and ceramics. Besides master Goya, Jason has studied with Al Nelson, Mel Ikeda, and John Wang.

Jaime started studying bonsai in 1991. He worked in a gas station near the Yamaguchi Nursery and met many bonsai masters while picking up their cars for oil changes from the nursery. Sam Nakano gave him his first tree, which he still has, and a few lessons. Jaime joined an all Japanese bonsai club, Bay Cities, as the first non-Japanese member and learned a lot. Later he joined Marina Bonsai Club and met Frank Goya, who he still studies with.

Don’t miss a chance to see this dual demonstration and maybe win a great landscape piece.

Meeting Time And Place:
March 14, 2020 at 7pm
LAC Arboretum/ Palm Room

President’s Corner

Members voted at the February meeting and selected “conifers” as our 2020 show theme. This choice provides us with many tree options including pine, juniper, cypress, and spruce, to name a few. Now is the time to pick a tree or two and prepare them for the May show. You can always enter multiple trees and also trees other than theme trees. The important part is sharing our work with the public who pass through Ayres Hall and always enjoy the show.

We are in the middle of repotting season. Most trees don’t need repotting every year, but the timing can vary. Some say every three or four years, but trees will often tell us when it is time. If water stands on top of the soil and doesn’t drain steadily, it is time for root pruning and new soil. If a tree isn’t quite as healthy looking as it has been over time, repotting may bring back its vitality. If the roots are pushing a tree out of its pot, it is definitely time for a repot. A healthy tree that drains readily should be fine for another season. Keep track of repotting dates, and let the trees tell you when it is time to repot.


February 2020 Meeting Highlights

Louis Camerota joined us in February to share his second lesson on the care of azalea bonsai. This year Lou talked about repotting. He said, as a general rule, to start repotting narrow-leaf azalea varieties in February and larger leaf varieties in March. Lou recommended repotting every three years, but to let the tree tell you when (sounds familiar!).

He said the tree branches are a mirror image of the root system, so if there is no new growth, it is time to repot. If growth is only on branch tips, repot. Finally, if water doesn’t drain or drains slowly, repot.

When repotting, Lou suggested removing about 50% of the roots from the bottom of the root ball and to cut flat across the bottom. He advised not to hollow out the bottom as we do with other tree types. Lou said using a metal root rake can easily damage azalea roots and to use a bamboo chopstick to gently comb out roots.

Lou uses Kanuma soil exclusively for his azaleas and recommends it above any other soil mixture. He said the acid level of Kanuma is just right for azaleas. He also talked about water ph levels and said 5.5 to 6.2 is ideal. He uses “ph down” to lower high ph levels. Lou said he uses a 5-5-5 organic fertilizer in tea bags placed on top of the soil.
Lou brought several young azaleas for our raffle, so members had a chance to win a well cared for azalea to develop as Lou continues sharing his azalea secrets in the future. Thanks Lou for another great lesson.

Thank You To our February Raffle Table Donors (And to all who so generously purchase tickets)

Jerry Banuelos, Joe Cervantes, Edgar Fukutaki Family, Y.S. Farn, Peter Macasieb

Welcome New Members

Matt Mahaffey
Andrew Nguyen

Members Corner

It is with much sadness that we share the passing of long time bonsai enthusiast and SABS member Joe Cervantes on Feb 11, 2020. Joe will be always remembered by many of us.

  • Jan – March is SABS membership renewal time. Thanks to all for your participation and support. It has been exciting to see how SABS’s membership is growing. Our membership dues are vital to SABS. Your dues enable us to maintain our relationship with the Arboretum, offer monthly meetings, and amazing demonstrators. Our Annual Show every May is filled with our member tree displays and a members sales table with a huge variety of stock, rocks, pots, ceramics, supplies and much more. Past members who have not yet renewed are encouraged to do so at this time. If you joined SABS during Oct-Dec 2019 then your membership is current until Dec 2020.
  • The SABS Newsletter is one of the “perks” of belonging to our club. When your membership is not renewed annually by the end of March 2020 the membership lapses and you are no longer eligible to receive this newsletter directly via email and/or US Mail. The newsletter will always be available on our website
  • If you have a knack for writing or an event/ story to share please contact Lorraine at [email protected] before the 20th of any month to be included in the newsletter.

Upcoming Events

March 21-22
California Bonsai Society annual show at the Huntington Botanical Center
1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, three demonstrations each day at 1:00pm, reception Saturday at 6:00pm.

Come Join Us

Next Meeting
Date: March 14, 2020
Time: 7pm
LAC Arboretum, Palm Room
301 N. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007

2020 Monthly Meeting Dates

Mar 14 — Jason Saito & Jaime Chavarria
April 11 — Al Rivera
May 9 — Tom Vuong

Refreshment Schedule

Mar — Marge (drinks) D. Melitz, J. Pelling. P. Macasieb, L. Miles
April — Marge (drinks), J. Pelling, E. Jee
May — J. Pelling, E. Jee

2020 Refreshment Sign ups will be available the March meeting