Newsletter April 2022

Bonsai Notebook

Meeting Time And Place:
April 9 2022 at 7pm
LAC Arboretum, Palm Room
Board Meeting 6pm – before General Meeting

Our program for the April 9 meeting is a warm-up to our annual show in May. Ted Matson will be our guest, and he will be there to give advice on final tree preparation for the show.

Members are asked to bring a tree or trees and make good use of Ted’s expertise in preparing for the show.

Ted Matson is one of our local bonsai artists known throughout the bonsai community for his attention and mastery of structural details in bonsai design. He began studying bonsai in San Francisco in 1979. He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1980, and over time, studied with Ben Suzuki, Shig and Roy Nagatoshi, Melba Tucker, Warren Hill, and John Naka. Ted started teaching bonsai classes at his home in the late 1980’s. In 2008 he began working at bonsai full time.

Ted is a member of many Southern California clubs including California Bonsai Society, California Shohin Society, and Nampu Kai. He oversees both the GSBF and Huntington bonsai collections at the Huntington where there are approximately 70 trees on display at a time.

This will be a great opportunity to get expert advice to advance the development of your tree. Remember, advice is a guide and not meant to sway you from your own design plans. Learn as Ted shares his thoughts about our trees.

President’s Corner

The Memorial Day Weekend Show will be our club’s 56th annual show, and our first since the Covid-19 pandemic prevented shows in 2020 and 2021. Our show is a popular event over the holiday weekend at the Arboretum. It is attended by a large number of “non-bonsai” guests who visit our show while on a planned visit to the Arboretum. We always make a great impression.

Additionally, we rely heavily on attendance by local bonsai enthusiasts seeking good deals at our sale tables. The revenue from the sale tables helps sustain us financially as a club. We encourage club members to bring bonsai related items to the sale tables where 80% of the revenue goes to the seller and 20% goes to the club.

As president, I am always nervous about the size and success of the show, hoping everyone will participate. I remember being self-conscious the first time I entered a tree, and the satisfaction I felt in having done it. It is our show, and we support each other in this wonderful art form. If you need help with show display (stands, accents, etc.), ask me at the April meeting. Bring a tree to the April meeting, and be ready for the support and encouragement our members willingly share.

Show entry forms are included with the newsletter. Please help relieve my anxiety by returning the form or phoning me by the due date.


March 2022 Meeting Highlights

Tom Vuong did his magic at the March meeting. He has a great deal of experience bending large branches for his bonsai designs, and we were amazed at how he applied his talents.

He started with an “unbendable”, straight semi-cascade juniper and ended with a heavily transformed tree with beautiful movement in the design. Tom brought two trees; one to show how he prepares for bending and one previously prepared that he bent into his final design. His process to prepare a tree for bending involves wrapping the trunk area to be bent with wet rag paper towels, running two lengths of #4 aluminum wire (one on each side of the bend) and holding it in place with zip ties. He then wraps the area with electrical tape, sticky side out. Tom recommended the wrapped tree be left for one week, keeping the wrapping moist to soften the tree fibers.

On the previously prepped tree, Tom wound it with three strands of #5 wire side by side. He then used a special steel bending bar to bend movement into the trunk and held it in place with zip ties. The last step involved using webbed hold-down straps to tie the tree and pot together and looping the straps around the worktable and securing it tight with a ratcheting mechanism. With the tree and pot secure, he used another tie-down strap around the wired trunk and table. By ratcheting this strap, the trunk was easily bent down into a cascade position. The cascading trunk was secured to the tree base with heavy duty zip ties and the two tie-down straps were then removed. The tree design was complete, and Tom said it should remain wrapped and tied in place for about a year to hold the new shape.

It truly was a fascinating process to watch. Sue Cook was the lucky raffle winner who happily took Tom’s tree home.

Members Corner

SABS Club trivia – in the beginning, all Club members were required to enter trees in the SABS Annual Show. There were multiple categories and a tree from you would have been expected for each category. The many entries made the shows exciting to view and created opportunities for many conversations among the members…. Those were definitely the “good old days”

Our raffle table has been fabulous – thanks to all of the members who have generously donated to the table. Please help keep up our club tradition and bring an item to support SABS. Everyone enjoys going home with trees, plants, pots, tools, supplies, books and even an occasional bag of “bonsai dirt”

We are looking for members who are interested in joining our SABS Board to help with planning for future meetings and events. Come and check out the April Board Meeting at 6pm before the general meeting. New ideas are always appreciated, even if you decide not to “join the board”

For those of you still receiving the US mail version of this newsletter, better quality photos, club updates and resources are always available on our website. Check us out at

Anytime you have any questions please contact Dave & Lorraine at [email protected]

Thank You To our March Raffle Table Donors

Bob Alderette, Jerry Banuelos, Jim Barrett, YS Farn, Mike Kelly, Dave Miles, Marren Padrones, Vic Shelton, Jackie Zinder

And to all who so generously purchase tickets

Welcome New Members

Anthony Giandomenico
Johan Garcia
Tom & Hannah Vuong

Upcoming Events

April 2-3
GSBF Bonsai-A-Thon
Fundraiser for the Golden State Bonsai Federation Collection at the Huntington Library, Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, 10a-5p details for attendance to follow.

May 28,29,30
Santa Anita Bonsai Society 56th Annual Bonsai Show
Memorial Day Weekend, LAC Arboretum 9a-4:30p daily, exhibit, sales table, demonstrations

Come Join Us

Next Meeting:
Date: April 9, 2022
Time: 7 pm
Location: LAC Arboretum
Palm Room, 301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

Board Meeting 6pm
before General Meeting
— Everyone Welcome—
we are show planning

2022 Monthly Meeting Dates

April 9 — Ted Matson – LAC Arboretum – bring a tree for critique
May 14 — demo TBA – LAC Arboretum
June 11 — demo TBA – LAC Arboretum

2022 Refreshment Schedule

April 9 — Peter Macasieb, Judy Anthony (if you would like to bring easy snacks to this meeting, please contact Lorraine)
May 14 — Hubert Llanes, Matt Mahaffey
June 11 — Peter Macasieb, Jackie Zinder

Refreshment Sign Ups will be available at the April meeting