May 2016 – Peter Tea

Our ongoing program with Peter Tea continued in May with Peter’s May 3rd presentation on the topic of deciduous trees. Peter emphasized techniques appropriate to our season, delving into considerable detail and wrapping up by demonstrating a heavy prune on a trident maple he brought.
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Monthly workshop suggestion

Attendance at May’s workshop was extremely low, not at all justifying what we pay to use the space, and thus there is discussion among the board members once again about either encouraging members to make more use of this resource, or being forced to curtail it. Always trying to do the more positive thing, the board is currently reviewing ways to make the workshops more enticing. One possibility we will be discussing is including some sort of informal demonstration at every workshop that reviews the methods we learned from our speaker earlier in the month. I am personally excited about this proposal because it is exactly the sort of thing I’ve been imagining for some time now.
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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

Frank Bardella

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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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