Stone Bonsai Stands

Stone Bonsai Stands gh2I recently purchased two lime stone pieces from American Soil and Stone, Richmond, CA. I got tired of wood bonsai stands and fighting wood rot and termites. I wanted something different in the way of bonsai stands in the landscape.

Stone Bonsai Stands

The two lime stones were cut but are odd pieces in that they show some raw sections of the original stone. I believe they look artistic. In any case, I got a price deal because the stones were not perfectly squared off. I paid $150 each, plus $210 and tax to deliver the stones to my driveway in Petaluma. I had to figure a way to lift and move the stones from the driveway to the landscape. With a good dolly having new tires and the help from a solid friend, we muscled the stones into place. I then topped the stones with bonsai from my collection.

I think the stones make great alternative bonsai stands and add an artistic touch to the overall landscape.

George Haas

Stone Bonsai Stands

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April 2016 – Eric Schrader

What a wonderful Spring we are having! As if the new growth and flowers on our trees aren’t delightful enough, the periodic rain is a heaven-sent relief from our watering regimes. With ideal conditions come ideal growth, but also an increased need for vigilance, so be sure to keep an eye on your trees’ pruning needs, and check your wires! The Taskmaster frequently reminds us of this, but it cannot be emphasized enough. There was a beautiful tiger-bark ficus in the April workshop with deeply biting wires that had been placed on the tree just a few months before. The ficus will be fine eventually, those trees build character through scarring, but seeing those deep wire grooves was a vivid reminder. I’m taking some wire off a wisteria as soon as I finish writing this.

With our trees growing so rapidly, and pruning season well under way, the demonstration we received from Eric Schrader in April gave us a lot to think about with regard to the development of our deciduous and flowering trees. He began with a quiz of sorts for the audience, something Eric Continue reading

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RIP – Frank Bardella

Went above and beyond for family and friends

Gianfranco Teodoro Bardella, died on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at the age of 79. Frank was born August 3, 1936 in Tientsin, China and lived there until age 12, before escaping to Italy from the war. His family lived in Italy for a few years before they were able to come to the United States through Ellis Island and eventually, made it to San Francisco. It was at the International Institute for Foreign Students that Frank met Barbara, his lifelong love and partner. Over the course of the next 58 years they were married and had three children; Liz, Matt and Vanessa, five grandchildren; Ashley, Brittany, Andie, Lexi and Travis, and three great-grandchildren; Maysin, Lane and Nick.


Frank Bardella

Anyone who knew him understands the amount of pride he took in the work he did- whether it be his family-run tax preparation business, his bonsai trees, or his time spent with the Rotary Club. He began working at PG&E in San Francisco before transitioning to the tax business. Frank and his wife have been operating the business since 1958, with three generations of their family working alongside him. He always went above and beyond for his clients and that was reflected in the many long time clients who became his friends. Frank had an astonishing collection of bonsai trees on which he spent countless hours. In his last years, Frank donated his prized bonsai tree to the Golden State Bonsai Federation. He was always more than happy to teach any willing learner about the ins and outs of bonsai. Frank always made an effort to participate in any Rotary event, whether it be sponsoring an event or participating at the weekly meetings. Frank will be missed by his family and the community alike.

The family will be holding a memorial celebration at St. Sebastian Church in Sebastopol. The celebration will not take place until tax time is completed. Please contact Bardella & Associates after April 18 for service date and time. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to Redwood Empire Bonsai Society, Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise, or the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt.

– Copied from Sonoma West Times newspaper, 3/16/2016

UPDATE: Barbara Bardella announced Frank’s memorial service will be on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at Noon. Location is Saint Sebastian’s Catholic Church, 7983 Covert Lane, Sebastopol, 95472. If you could get the word out to your bonsai community it would be appreciated. Barbara requested that donations be sent to Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS), Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA, and/or the Sunrise Rotary in Sebastopol, CA.

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Upcoming Event – Azaleas!

For details, click here.

BASA 21st Show

BASA 21st Date

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March 2016 – Jonas Dupuich

At our March 15th meeting, Jonas Dupuich brought an almost academic air to the gathering. We could have been sitting in an art or design class for all the discussion of angles, flow, and form. After a demonstration of formality using a collection of stands, the audience was riveted by Jonas’ slideshow of some Japanese show displays. Jonas posed a couple questions throughout, and the audience had a host of questions of their own. It was all very analytical as we all sharpened our artistic sensibilities, engaged by the display scenarios and comparisons presented by Jonas.

Jonas Dupuich discusses displays

Jonas Dupuich discusses displays

It is important to grasp the concept of formality in bonsai displays because many of the decisions are based on formality. For instance, the main tree in a multi-point display should be placed on the most formal stand. Some factors that increase the formality of stands are darkness, detail, and height. Even the type of wood is important, with bamboo being the least formal stand material.

Another valuable point Jonas made was the importance of establishing context within your bonsai displays. The scroll and accent plants in a display are particularly important in establishing both the location and season the artist wishes to convey. Continue reading

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From the VP of Programs – March 2016

Repotting season 2016 is coming to a close, and from what I’ve seen, our members’ trees are off to a good start for the rest of the year and beyond. All three repotting workshops were well attended and a lot of beautiful trees were revitalized the way only a good root pruning and repotting can do. If you haven’t repotted your deciduous trees yet, it’s probably too late. Even in the darkest, coolest reaches of Marin, splashes of green Continue reading

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From the VP of Programs – February 2016

Although Fall typically gets the title “Season of Change,” for most of us with bonsai I believe the true season of change is right here and now, when our trees are awaking from dormancy, often to an entirely new pot and other modifications. This is when we take stock of our collection, however large or small it may be, and plot and scheme what will be done throughout the coming growing season, much of it in the next few days, weeks, and months.

Change seems to be a recurring theme in these Marin Bonsai articles of mine. This is largely because the club is continuing a rather long period of extensive change as we adapt to what is going on around us and the needs and capabilities of our membership. The most immediate and noticeable change, because Continue reading

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January 2016 – Peter Tea

For those who find them useful (and who doesn’t?), Peter Tea’s handouts made a return in January, to help summarize and enhance the information he gave us in his engaging repotting demonstration. If you did not get a handout, they are freely available if you ask the right person. Perhaps going forward we will have a link to them within these write-ups.


In any case, I am not going to try to summarize Peter’s entire demonstration because most of the important information is in that handout, and I still think you should really go there Continue reading

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Improving a Juniper

Marin Bonsai Club member George Haas had his bonsai California Juniper evaluated by JP Hoareau, hosted by Bonsai Empire, today.  Nice!

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From the VP of Programs – January 2016

Happy New Year, everybody! After a couple months of minimal club activity, we’re about to kick it into high gear as we enter repotting season. Skip to the end of this report if you want the details of the MBC repotting schedule.

If you didn’t make it to the club’s holiday party, you missed a fine hootenanny. Good food, good drinks, good company, and plenty of beautiful trees all contributed to a lovely and festive evening. Thank you to Roger Lion and Marlene Philley for hosting the event, and to everybody who brought the universally delicious dishes. And congratulations to the tree decorating contest winners: Continue reading

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