August 2018: Peter Tea

Peter Tea returned to the Marin Bonsai Club for our August meeting with his ongoing program on developing junipers for bonsai. He brought several trees to illustrate his talk, some he had worked on previously with the club, so we could see the progress the trees have made.

Peter started out with a review of the trees, pointing out the differences between the Itoyagawa variety which has lighter, finer foliage and is a little more difficult to work on, and Kishu, which is identified by darker and more dense foliage. Examining the trees that had been worked on previously with the club we saw that the trees exhibited strong growth and buds developing at the base of branches enabling Peter to make some judicious cuts. He cautioned us not to over prune the trees. Generally junipers are worked on twice a year, in June and December. The months of June and July will generally show the strongest growth, and if the tree responds well to pruning at this time and grows back strongly, it can then be pruned again at the end of the year. The top might even need to be cut more frequently, but there will also be areas that we won’t want to cut at all. The temptation to cut ugly or overly exuberant growth is strong, but these branches serve a purpose for a period of time in that they may generate new growth in an area that currently has none.

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More auction enticement

Wondering what else you’ll be able to bid on at tomorrow’s Marin Bonsai Club auction?

The auction is open to the public. Be there or be square (sorry, couldn’t stop myself).

August 21 – 7pm preview, live auction starts at 7:30pm.

Terra Linda Community Center
670 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael, CA

+ Google Map

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Here’s Your First Look

This is a sample of what’s in store at next week’s Marin Bonsai Club’s annual auction. This handsome and newly styled Shimpaku Juniper is a ‘Legacy Tree’ owned by a long time MBC member.

The auction is open to the public. Come one, come all.

August 21 – 7pm preview, live auction starts at 7:30pm.

Terra Linda Community Center
670 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael, CA

+ Google Map

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The Auction Office

In this post you’ll find info to help prepare yourself for our auction on August 21. Check back, as we’ll be updating this post over the next week.

It’s all in the details...knowing a bit more about the tree you’re considering acquiring makes all the difference. Below is a form you can use to tell potential bidders about your tree. Click here (or there) to print the form.  Fill the form out, bring it to the auction and we’ll attach it to your item.


The Seller’s inventory form is below, along with a sample of what it looks like filled out  properly (in pencil!).






Click on the form to print it and then fill it out before you arrive to give yourself more time to peruse the other auction inventory.


And….introducing the new Silent Auction form:

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June 2018: George Haas

Collecting Bonsai

Our club president, George Haas presented an excellent program on the art of collecting bonsai at our June meeting. This is a topic which has not been covered by any area bonsai club within recent memory, so most of the material presented was eye-opening for members. While many bonsai enthusiasts would not venture to the mountains collecting trees in the High Sierra, George’s description of the perils and rewards of collecting gave us all a heightened appreciation for these bonsai. And for those looking for bonsai closer to home George had plenty of tips that applied to urban and suburban collecting as well, something many of us can do in our own backyards.

Before launching into the details of collecting George emphasized the importance of ethical collecting. It might seem like a good way to jump-start your bonsai collection with trees that are decades or even centuries old and have intriguing deadwood features, but there is a right way to collect, and many wrong ways. Unfortunately with the growing popularity of bonsai more bad behavior has been observed: collectors not getting permission from property owners, or permits from government agencies to collect, collectors digging only part of the tree from the ground and giving up – not filling the hole back in so the tree can live, trying to collect too large a tree and not preserving enough of the roots and foliage to allow it to survive, leaving trash and debris behind. Whether you are collecting two hundred year old Sierra junipers or your neighbor’s boxwood hedges George enumerated the many steps of successful collecting.

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May 2018: Peter Tea

Just photos this time.

Peter explains things

Adam closely supervising Peter’s handiwork.

Twiggy much?

David – you should do more of that!

Looks like a party!

Professor Tea

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Command Center for the 2018 Marin County Fair Bonsai Show

Click on the button below to see who’s signed up for which shifts – updated 6/26/18.
Please use the ‘Contact Us‘ form or email to sign up.

Docent Schedule

This really is the highlight of our bonsai year, and if you’ve ever been a docent before then you know that it is a lot of fun. You will get to answer really basic questions about bonsai and meet nice people who are interested in your hobby. It’s also a fun time to hang out with fellow members and share bonsai experiences.

The Fair runs from June 30 – July 4 and there are 3 shifts each day. We need for all of them to be fully staffed so we can make sure our trees are safe from curious fingers, well watered, and the public well-informed about the glorious art of bonsai. So check your calendars, confer with significant others, look at the Fair schedule for other events you might want to explore on the same day, and sign up for multiple shifts, if you can possibly manage it. We need all hands on deck at the Fair, and for set up and take down as well. The Fair exhibit is a fund-raiser for the Club and one of our best opportunities to reach out to the public and recruit new members. It’s easy. It’s fun. Your Club really needs you to help out.

We will have admission tickets for docents and parking passes for those who pull multiple shifts at the June 19 workshop.



Here you’ll find answers
to the most frequently asked questions
from visitors to our show.




MBC Brochure photo

The Marin Bonsai Club has published a club information brochure for distribution. The brochure is loaded with information about our club philosophy, activities and exhibitions, and a brief history. It is intended for public consumption and new members. You will see it as a hand-out at our annual exhibitions and auction & sale. For more information, contact either Candace Key or George Haas.


This is the time of the year the club members really pull together to promote our club in the best possible way through the display of our bonsai. Please prepare your trees to show their best. Sign up for multiple docent shifts if possible. We need as many volunteers as we can muster.

The Fair is always so much fun; we get to promote the Marin Bonsai Club, sign up individuals for the beginners’ bonsai class and auction following the Fair, all of which attracts new members. Our bonsai exhibit is a big draw among Fair-goers and we need to make this one another standout.

I hope everyone will lend their support.

 – George


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