Newsletter March 2022

Bonsai Notebook

Meeting Time And Place: Mar 12, 2022 at 7pm
LAC Arboretum, Palm Room

The March 12 meeting will again be at the Arboretum. It was great to be back to familiar surroundings at the February meeting. Our guest will be Tom Vuong, who has demonstrated for us in the past. We look forward to seeing his talented work again.

Tom has been involved in bonsai for over 20 years. He is a self-taught bonsai artist and has developed an amazing understanding of the art of bonsai. He has learned by watching and studying bonsai experts over the years.

Tom has a large collection of trees that he and his wife Hannah have shared while hosting bonsai events at their home. He works a lot with large conifers and has developed specialized techniques for styling these trees. At the March meeting Tom will use a juniper to demonstrate how he bends large branches. Join us for another enjoyable and informative bonsai experience

President’s Corner

It is repotting time in Southern California. Our trees have to be confused by our back and forth weather patterns; cold to hot and back to cold. Deciduous trees are popping buds all over and our conifers are also ready for repotting. Of course, we don’t have to repot all our trees.

Some say every three or four years, but our trees will often tell us when it is time for root pruning and soil change. If water stands on top of the soil and doesn’t drain steadily, it is time for repotting.

If a tree isn’t quite as healthy looking as it has been over time, repotting may bring back its vitality. If roots are pushing a tree out of its pot, it is definitely time for root pruning and new soil. A healthy tree with good draining soil should be fine for another season. Keep track of repotting dates, and let the trees tell you when to repot.

Soil is always a topic of curiosity for bonsai enthusiasts, and there many opinions on what to use. Inorganic, fast draining soil for conifers is popular. Adding some organic potting soil to the same mix for deciduous trees is also widely recommended.

I use a popular recipe of Akadama, lava rock and pumice. I was out of pumice to begin mixing soil and my usual brand was unavailable. Gonzalo heard my supply woes and showed up at my house with a bag of pumice. Thanks Gonzalo, now I have no excuses.


February 2022 Meeting Highlights

The February meeting featured a fun and informative presentation by club member Debra Mauzy-Melitz. Debra has become very knowledgeable about the art of Kusamono, the arranging and potting of wild grasses and flowers. She shared her knowledge as she spoke and demonstrated the art form.

Debra’s career as a teacher was very evident in how she presented details and elicited feedback from our members. She had everyone engaged and interested.

It was fascinating to learn how much the art of kusamono parallels bonsai. A kusamono design incorporates tall grass to represent heaven, flowers to represent man, and vines for earth. Kusamono are very popular for use as an accent to bonsai in shows.

Debra brought numerous examples of the elements for a kusamono design and showed us how to arrange the plants in a pleasing display. She utilized two of our members, Sue Cook and Judy Anthony, to build two different kusamono styles at the same time she styled her own planting.

Debra talked about a variety of ways to pot kusamono including small ceramic pots, wood, and pots made from crocheted wool yarn. She also explained that a completed display included a stand for the kusamono and a small accent made from a variety of elements.

Debra used the kusamonos completed by Judy and Sue along with two of her own designs to make four complete displays with stands and accents. She donated these to our raffle along with many individual kusamono elements. A large number of our members went home with something from Debra’s presentation. Thank you Debra for a memorable evening.

Thank You To our February Raffle Table Donors

Jerry Banuelos, Jim Barrett, YS Farn, Mike Kelly, Peter Macasieb, Dave Miles, Marren Padrones, Jim Pelling, Wendy Tsai, Jackie Zinder

And to all who so generously purchase tickets

Welcome New Members

Bryan Nicholson
Frank Saya

Members Corner

  • Debra Mauzy-Melitz shared so many Kusamono ideas and examples at our meeting. She also provided a comprehensive pdf handout for those in attendance. Debra has generously offered both the handout and technique sharing to all who might be interested in Kusamono. Please contact her at: [email protected]. Thanks again, Debra!
  • Annual Membership for 2022 will continue to be available at the March 12 meeting. Dues remain the same: $20 per person and $25 for family. For those of you who joined in 2021 your membership will extend until Dec 2022.
  • 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
  • The raffle winners of the completed displays were Bryan Nicholson, Sue Cook, Peter Macasieb, and Judy Anthony’s granddaughter Hailey.

Upcoming Events

Mar 19-20
California Bonsai Society 65th annual bonsai exhibit
Huntington Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, details for attendance to follow.

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
LAC Arboretum

Come Join Us

Next Meeting:
Date: March 12, 2022
Time: 7 pm

LAC Arboretum, Palm Room
301 N. Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007

2022 Monthly Meeting Dates

Mar 12 — Tom Vuong – LAC Arboretum
April 9 — Cheryl Manning – LAC Arboretum
May 14 — Demo TBA – LAC Arboretum

Refreshment Schedule

Mar 12 — Julio Martinez, Daniel Deephouse, Judy Anthony, Vic Shelton
April 9 — Peter Macasieb, Judy Anthony
May 14 — Hubert Llanes, Matt Mahaffey

2022 Refreshment Sign ups will be available at the March meeting
Thanks to all who brought snacks to our Feb meeting – they were delicious!!!