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

you’re experiencing it right now, is the Website and how we disseminate information to our members. I’m talking of course about the now-ephemeral club newsletter, “The Wire,” and the eBlasts and Website postings that are keeping its function, and hopefully its spirit, alive.

My own adaptation to the change in format is progressing somewhat slowly. In particular, although there has always been a natural separation in my articles between the discussions of last month’s news and the upcoming events, I’m struggling a bit with the idea that maybe I should separate them completely. Just this past month, there were already calls for my summary of Peter Tea’s repotting demonstration almost immediately after it happened. Used to the old newsletter format, I put off writing that until now, because it’s always been part of my monthly VP of Programs submission, and frankly it’s easier for me to conceive of writing everything all at once rather than having to meet two different deadlines in one month.

There is, however, another big, important change in our programs happening right now that sways my decision rather firmly toward separating future instances of this article into two separate entities. That change is the reversal of our meeting and workshop dates beginning in April. That’s right: beginning in April, our meetings and demonstrations will take place on the 1st Tuesday of the month, and the workshops will take place on the 3rd Tuesday, opposite of what we’ve done in the past. The board made this decision based on numerous factors, but mostly because we seemed to be switching the dates more often than not. Hilariously, less than 24 hours after that decision was made, our guest speaker for March (spoiler: it’s Jonas! read on for more info) said that he can only make the 3rd Tuesday, which is why the change won’t take effect until April. It’s probably just as well, so there will be time for all members to hear about this change, even those who don’t relish every word of these riveting articles.

So, with our guest speakers and other demonstrations occurring on the 1st Tuesday each month, and the new instant-gratification online format, it makes more sense than ever for me to separate the meeting notes from the rest of this VP’s message going forward so that I can get the meeting notes out soon after the meetings. I suppose it’s just as well–these things are getting rather long! Therefore, in the future, if all goes well, you will be getting meeting notes, such as the one that follows, two weeks earlier . . .

So what will the rest of the year bring us in the way of presentations? The schedule is not completely firmed up for the entire year, but there are a few certainties. For instance, we already have Peter Tea booked for all the 1st Tuesdays in May, August, and October. Jonas Dupuich will make at least one presentation, possibly two. He will in fact be our very next speaker, coming up in March. That will be our last 3rd-Tuesday demonstration, at least until the next time we have to switch the dates of the events for some special circumstance. Finally, in April, on the 1st Tuesday, our own Jay McDonald will be giving a demo, most likely on saikei/penjing (more later on the difference). There will definitely be a raffle after Jay’s demo.

As for a raffle after Jonas’ presentation in March, we’re not absolutely certain if there will be one. It’s subject to change, but right now the plan is for him to talk about bonsai presentation and the details involved in displays. At one point during the board’s decision process, it was argued that there is enough expertise within our club to educate members about this, and that we should utilize Jonas for something more specialized. Jonas, however, has taken a lot of photographs in Japan, and he’s a really great photographer, so he is going to give us a stunning and highly educational slideshow featuring photos of Japanese bonsai at Japanese shows. In addition, he will bring items and try to develop an audience-participation portion of the demo, perhaps wherein members can try their hands at displays and receive feedback. Jonas probably will bring items for sale, but so far a sound plan for a raffle or auction has not been developed. Stay posted!

For now, that is February, we are holding two more repotting workshops for both dates of the month, the 2nd and the 16th. Remember that all club activities are now starting at 7:00 PM and taking place in the Multipurpose Room at MAGC.

Now I’ve got to get to repotting a tree tonight, believe it or not. See you at the next event!

– David Eichhorn

All photos by George Haas

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