PBS Newsletter

Archives

2009

JAN.
FEB.
MAR.
APR.
MAY
JUNE
SEPT.
OCT.
NOV.
DEC.

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January 2009

January Meeting

Soon the Philadelphia Flower Show will be upon us, and January’s meeting is designed to help our members prepare trees for the PBS Flower Show exhibit, or for those not showing a tree, to learn what goes into preparing a tree for exhibit. We’ll be meeting at the Community Center where lots of wiring, pruning, and other preparations will be taking place.

For those showing a tree, bring whatever display accessories that will go with the bonsai (stands, scrolls, accents, etc.).
If you wish to just get some hints or help on a tree, please bring it - there will be lots of help available. If you want an evaluation of a tree, this is a great time to do it. Many bonsai are just a tiny bit of effort away from being show quality - if yours isn't quite ready, you can get some tips and help toward making the tree one for the Exhibit.

We need exhibit trees for the show, and this is an excellent time to see what is involved with showing a bonsai.

PBS Workshop
Date: Saturday, January 17
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center
Time: 10:00 am

Future Meetings
February 20 - Jim Doyle - Lecture/Demo
March 1-8 - Exhibit Sitting - Flower Show
April - TBA

Workshop Hints

If the soil of your bonsai is frozen, bring it into an area that is slightly above freezing several days before the workshop to allow the soil and branches to thaw out. Return it to freezing temperatures gradually following the workshop.

Tropical trees should be protected when taken out to travel. Cover the foliage and avoid cold drafts. Warm the interior before loading the tropical into the car.

Be sure to bring what you'll need for the morning - tools, wire, cut paste, etc.

December Meeting

Turnout for December's Annual Holiday Celebration was excellent. Lots and lots of raffle gifts greeted members as they entered the room.. Trays and trays of holiday goodies were lined up just waiting to be sampled, which they were as the evening progressed.

An interesting tour of Italian bonsai studios, the Crespi Cup Exhibit, and the BCI convention exhibit was shown by Chase Rosade. Chase and Soli were guests of several of Italy's leading bonsai artists while in Italy, so Chase was able to get some great behind the scenes shots. One has to be really impressed by the bonsai in Italy -there were some remarkable trees shown at the various exhibits. Thanks to Chase for the presentation.

The evening concluded with the traditional holiday raffle. Over thirty gifts were colorfully provided and wrapped by Howard McNeal, so lots of enthusiasm and speculation was evident over which packages held the "good: gifts and which contained the "zonks". To everyone's delight, the zonks were few and far between, and the suspense as to where the MABS certificate was hidden held until the very last gift was opened. Frank Rechner was the lucky winner of a complimentary full registration for this year's MidAtlantic Festival found in that very last package!

Many thanks to those members who brought the marvelous goodies to share. Thanks to Santa's Helper (better known as Mike Marinelli) for keeping a steady flow of gifts moving, along with lots of commentary! Special thanks to Howard for all his efforts in providing some really great gifts, as well as wrapping them, too!

Flower Show Notes

This is our annual appeal for help with the Flower Show Sitters. Linda Brant is always looking for new volunteers to help act as docents for the exhibit. A brief three hour period of your time is all that is needed, after (or before) which you are free to visit the rest of the show. Tickets to the Show are provided for you and a guest. We have to cover the exhibit for the entire show, over 90 hours total, so lots of help is needed. Contact Linda by phone (610-948-6380) or e-mail (lbrant@comcast.net) to volunteer, or sign up at the January or February meetings..

As always, trees are needed for our Flower Show Exhibit. If you are unable to attend this month's workshop, but wish to exhibit, please contact Randy Naftal, our Exhibit Chairman, for details as soon as possible by e-mail: randallnaftal@yahoo.com or phone: 610-942-7546.

MidAtlantic Festival

This month's focus will be on David Easterbrook. David has been Curator of the Montreal Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection since 1985. He is also a recognized bonsai artist, having taught and demonstrated throughout North and Central America as well as Europe. He first began growing bonsai as a hobby when he was 19 years old and then studied with Mr. Jerry Stowell of Stockton, NJ. In 1980, he completed a one-year apprenticeship with Isao Shinkai of Kidouen Nursery in Japan. His free time is devoted to caring for the over 700 bonsai in his personal collection. He is most noted for his work in creating bonsai forests and groupings as well as his outstanding specimens of collected larches, thujas and pines. David was a founder of the Montreal Bonsai and Penjing Society in 1978 and now has been honored with the official title of “Sensei” by them. They also named its most prestigious award in his honor. He was organizer of the 1988 American Bonsai Society convention in Montreal, the first ever held outside the USA. As well, he served as director on the ABS board from 2004 to 2008. He has also authored two books on bonsai and Bonsai care techniques. He will present two lecture/demonstrations. On Saturday he will refine an ancient collected Larch, and on Sunday he will style a large “Larch Clump Forest”. Also, on Saturday Mr. Easterbrook will conduct a critique of the Exhibit Trees, and on Sunday he will conduct a workshop utilizing Larch Clump Forests.

Remember, super demonstrations, great vendors, raffles, a banquet, exhibit critiques, live and silent auctions, and bonsai fellowship are all a part of a MABS Festival. This year, first-time attendees will receive 50% off the basic registration fee .
Please join us, April 17-19, 2009 for a great program!

Seasonal Notes

So far, our winter has been very good to our bonsai. Although temperature have been quite low on occasion, we’ve had plenty of precipitation. If your trees are in outdoor storage, there are a few things to be aware of. First, be sure no rodents are having a banquet on your bonsai. Some mothballs scattered about seem to do the trick.

Second, watch out for a long, dry, cold period. This is the time when your trees can have problems. A dry cold wind can desiccate the tree, putting severe stress on it. Good wind protection is vital. Also, when the temperature is above freezing, be sure that nothing is drying out.

Trees in indoor storage (above freezing temperatures) may need a bit more attention, as far as watering goes. Be sure to check on a weekly basis to see if watering is needed. Even dormant trees should have some moisture available to them. Also, watch out for mice - they've moved inside to get out of the cold, too. Buds and bark are a banquet for the little monsters.

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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February 2009

February Meeting

Our February meeting features one of our own members, an accomplished bonsai artist, Jim Doyle. Jim will be presenting a lecture/demo on the literati style of bonsai using jack pine (Pinus banksiana) as his demo material.
In 1973, following graduation from Delaware Valley College, Jim started Nature's Way Nursery and developed an interest in Asian culture and plants. By 1980, influenced by Chase Rosade, bonsai passed from being a hobby to a business/life-style. Jim attends many symposia, teaches year round to both adults and children at his studio and travels extensively. He was involved in founding the Susquehanna Bonsai Club, and co-chaired the 1992 ABS Convention in Hershey. He has written articles for national publication and consulted regionally in Japanese garden design. He has been features in many Bonsai symposia, teaching and demonstrating internationally.
Today, along with his teaching, Jim continues to import bonsai, pots, tools and related garden items. Jim's favorite tree is, of course, the one he is working on. As time goes by, Jim continues to enjoy the benefits of knowledge through bonsai.
Jim's demo material will be raffled. Jim has requested that members bring in examples of their literati trees for an informal discussion during the evening. (Double raffle tickets.) Please plan on attending - Jim is a great bonsai artist and an excellent teacher.

Guest Artist: Jim Doyle - Lecture/ Demo
Date: Friday, February 20
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center
Time: 7:00 pm

Future Meetings

March 1-8 - Exhibit Sitting - Flower Show
April 24 - David Easterbrook - Lecture/Demo
May 22 - TBA

January Workshop

Our January workshop benefitted from a beautiful, sunny morning which unfortunately, did nothing to raise the bone-chilling temperature outdoors. Indoors, however, there was plenty of warmth in the smiles of the members attending the workshop, equal to the sunlight streaming in the windows. Curiously, the room's heating system was on the fritz, leaving the room a bit cool for the members, but ideal for the dormant trees.
Quite a few very nice trees were brought in to be groomed, refined, wired and discussed. Fine details, branch placement, soil surface, jin treatment, and pot selection were all part of the day's topics. Lots of help and advice were given
While not all of the trees were ready for the Flower Show exhibit this year, those not selected showed great potential for future exhibits.

Flower Show

This is a request for help with the PBS Flower Show Exhibit. Linda Brant is always looking for new or returning volunteers to help act as docents for the exhibit and to promote PBS. A brief three hour period of your time is all that is needed, after (or before) which you are free to visit the rest of the show. Tickets to the Show are provided for you and a guest. We need to cover the exhibit for the duration of the show, over 90 hours total, so lots of help is needed. Contact Linda by phone (610-948-6380) or e-mail (lbrant@comcast.net) to volunteer, or sign up at the February meeting.
.

MidAtlantic Festival

This month's focus will be on Susan Amoy. Susan has been raising succulent plants for over 30 years, and practicing bonsai for 15 years. She grew up in Hawaii, earning degrees of Bachelors of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts. In 1987, she moved to New York City.
Susan currently divides her time as a corporate design consultant for interior landscapes, maintaining bonsai for private clients, conducting workshops and lectures on succulent and conventional bonsai. She also maintains her own extensive collection of succulent bonsai. Her contributions to publications include those on indoor and succulent bonsai for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She is a member of the National Cactus and Succulent Society, Connecticut Cactus and Succulent Society, and Friends of Bonsai of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Susan will open the 2009 seminar on Friday evening with a lecture/demonstration using succulents as bonsai. On Saturday, Susan will conduct a critique of the Exhibit Trees. On Sunday afternoon her workshop will feature large, collected, Busera Fagaroides. These are semi-tropical succulent plants about 50 years old.
Remember, super demonstrations, great vendors, raffles, a banquet, exhibit critiques, live and silent auctions, and bonsai fellowship are all a part of a MABS Festival. Your participation in the MidAtlantic Festival directly benefits PBS. Last year's Festival returned over $1400 to PBS, as all excess monies are shared by participating clubs.
This year, first-time attendees will receive 50% off the basic registration fee .
Please join us, April 17-19, 2009 for a great program!

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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March 2009

see April

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April 2009

April Meeting

Our guest artist for the April meeting is David Easterbrook. David has been a guest speaker previously appearing in September of 2006. David began growing bonsai in 1970 and is owner of a bonsai nursery. He studied bonsai in Japan in 1981 and teaches regular bonsai classes as well as being a well-known lecturer and demonstrator in northeastern US and Canada and also France. He served as president of the Montreal Bonsai Society and was chairman of the American Bonsai Society convention which was held in Montreal in 1988. He has also authored two books on bonsai and bonsai care and techniques.
David has been curator of the Montreal Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection since 1982. Among the most prestigious collections in North America, it includes 30 masterpiece bonsai donated by the Nippon Bonsai Association, 40 dwarf potted trees from the collection of Hong Kong banker Dr. Wu Yee-Sun, over 300 penjing donated by the People’s Republic of China, new specimens of Vietnamese bonsai and a North American bonsai collection featuring outstanding mature bonsai created by North American experts.
David's demo material will be raffled at the end of the evening - double your chances for a win - display one of your bonsai.

Guest Speaker: David Easterbrook - Lecture/Demo
Date: Friday, April 24
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center
Time: 7:00 pm

Flower Show Notes

"Molto bello" - Very beautiful. This could well describe the 2009 Flower Show, themed " Bella Italia". While the bonsai in the PBS exhibit were not of Italian heritage, the exhibit certainly fit the "very beautiful" category.
The society would like to thank both the exhibitors and the "sitters" for giving of their time, their talents, and their trees in making this year's exhibit a success. Throughout the week, long lines formed waiting to view the exhibit, ask questions, and take photos. As usual, "how old is it really?" and "what does years in training mean?" provided starting points for spreading the word about bonsai to the general public. One heartening fact is the number of persons who tell us that the PBS exhibit is high on their list of "must see" exhibits at the Show.
Randy Naftal, exhibit Chairman, coordinated another fine effort in setting up the exhibit, producing signage, and acting as liaison between PBS and the Horticultural Society. Randy asked that this be added to the Flower Show Notes:
Thank you members who participated in the 2009 Flower Show! The show looked beautiful and the PHS was once again extremely impressed. All the trees were terrific and the displays were well put together. Howard once again came through with additional stands and scrolls to complete our display.
Thank you Linda for putting together the team of sitters who once again, made sure the trees were cared for and watched with upmost care.
The show is comprised of all of our efforts and as a society, we sure put on one heck of a display!
Thank you again!
Randall Naftal

Future Meetings
May 22 - Ron Lang - Pot Selection
June - Annual Picnic & Auction - TBA

February Meeting

A great turnout and very pleasant (for February) weather greeted our guest artist for February, Jim Doyle. The topic Jim selected for the evening was the literati style. After a brief description tracing the roots of literati, or bujin, bonsai, Jim formed the group into a circle and and led a discussion focusing on what literati style meant to the members. Replies covered a great range from " a tree that can drink tea" to "a bonsai with natural grace". A consensus of the group was that a literati is a simple tree with a certain "something".
Jim spent a few minutes with each of the literati brought in by the members, giving both the strong and weak points of each tree.
Following a brief slide show illustrating literati bonsai in its many forms, Jim proceeded to craft a literati from a Jack pine - Pinus banksiana. The tree was an ideal candidate for literati, Jim explained, having a slender trunk with very little taper, the requisite three movements in the trunk, and well placed branching. Jim stressed the idea of simplicity of design - a literati is style presented in a minimal manner - as few branches as possible. Lots of wiring and the able assistance of wife Mary Kay, and the branches were ready for placement.
The end result was a true literati, one of harmonious bends, graceful branching, and a simple, but elegant tree. With an appropriate pot in its future, this tree will be ready for its new owner to proudly display.
Winner of the evening's raffle was Paul Krasner.

MidAtlantic Festival

.
We certainly hope that you can attend this year's MidAtlantic Festival, , April 17-19. MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies is a consortium of eleven regional bonsai clubs, who work together to present this convention. Without the time and effort given by volunteer club members, this venture would not have succeeded for the last 25 years. The Festival's goal has been to provide the opportunities to broaden your knowledge of bonsai techniques through demonstrations, to view members' trees in a well staged exhibit, to have the opportunity to shop in the bonsai bazaar, and to socialize with other bonsai enthusiasts. Any monies remaining after expenses and the next year's seed money are returned to the participating clubs, based on attendance. Your participation in MidAtlantic Festivals directly benefits PBS.
Remember, super demonstrations, great vendors, raffles, a banquet, exhibit critiques, live and silent auctions, and bonsai fellowship are all a part of a MABS Festival. Please join us, April 17-19, 2009 for a great program!

Seasonal Notes

The following is the first of a three-part series dealing with techinques for developing shohin bonsai. Les Dowdell resides in Edmunton, Alberta, Canada, and often spends the long winter days researching and writing about bonsai techniques. These articles are reprinted with the permission of the author. -Ed.

Bending Without Wire (Part I)
By Les Dowdell

In bonsai there are many techniques that have to be learned and mastered before you can achieve the ‘look’ that best suits each tree. One of the most demanding skills in bonsai is wiring. Even more demanding is the wiring of mame (very small) bonsai. Applying thin wire to a thin branch that is only a couple of centimeters long is very difficult and can also be very frustrating. If you want to get a reputation as a masochist, than add still another factor to this scenario – try wiring a young, short, thin seedling that you want to train into a mame. This is NOT something that should be tried by anybody with normally thick fingers.
Growing bonsai material from seed can be a pleasant, long-term project. In theory you get to control every stage of the developing bonsai’s growth and training. One unfortunate aspect of this approach is that you are required to wait until the seedlings attain a certain maturity before the stems (and any branches) are capable of withstanding the weight of any wire you apply for the purposes of wiring. The waiting period is usually at least one year.
Would you like to be able to bend tender young seedlings before they have even opened their first sets of leaves? Would you like to make strong curves in the trunks of ‘trees’ that are only a couple of centimeters tall? Would you like to do this without wire? If so, then read on and learn some of the mysteries of mame bonsai.

Try Amifuse

Amifuse!? What the *#%@ is amifuse? Well, it’s a Japanese term that describes a very interesting procedure. “Ami”, although pronounced the same as the French word for ‘friend’, actually means ‘net’. “Fuse”, pronounced ‘foo-say’, means ‘restrain’. Consequently, amifuse is restraint by a net.
This technique involves limiting the amount of space within which a seedling can grow. This is accomplished with a strong, fine-meshed net such as window screening. By placing the screening on the soil surface and forcing the seedlings to push against it as they grow, the seedlings develop twists and curves in their trunks. Start by filling a sturdy pot with a good soil mixture appropriate for starting seeds (50:50 sand and peat moss works well). Pile the soil up above the lip of the pot so that a good mound is formed (see Fig. 1). Sow the seeds so that they are below the soil surface. The usual rule of thumb is to bury them 2-3 times the diameter of the seed below the surface. Now comes the tricky part. Place a piece of window screening over the soil and tie it to the pot with string. The string should circle the pot and hold the screening against the pot’s side. In order to keep the screening in contact with the soil, use more string and go over the screening and under the pot a number of times so that the end result resembles Fig. 2.
Water the soil and wait until the seeds begin to sprout. As they germinate they will push through the soil and reach for the light. However, because of the presence of the screening, they will be forced to push against it and, consequently they will twist and bend. By keeping the seedlings confined like this for two or three years (longer if you like), the trunks will develop a great deal of character which cannot be obtained very easily with wire.
There are a number of points that you must keep in mind when you are trying out this training method. The first thing to know is that you should keep the pot in a well ventilated location. Since the leaves of the seedlings are growing in a cramped space between the screen and the soil, they will stay moist and the likelihood that mold will grow on the leaves increases without a good flow of air around them. Since very young seedlings are especially prone to fungus problems, pay extra attention to the condition of the young shoots.
Another point to remember is that these young shoots will eventually require more space in which to grow. Every couple of months during each growing season you can loosen the strings holding the screening and let the new growth expand into the 1-2 cm of new space that has just been provided. Do not loosen the strings until the new growth has hardened off and the new curves are a permanent feature of each small bonsai-in-training.
As with any other young, healthy seedling, water well, fertilize often, and keep pests away. With proper care you can have mame bonsai with strong natural curves without having wired a single branch. Give the amifuse method a try.

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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May 2009

May Meeting

Our guest artist for the May meeting is Ron Lang, one of the country's premier bonsai potters.
Ron headed the Ceramics program at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore from 1979 until his retirement this year. His work over the years has for the most part been sculptural in emphasis with narrative themes. More recent work returns to the vessel making tradition uniting a long time fascination and nearly 25-year practice of the art of bonsai. He organized and curated the ground-breaking exhibition Bonsai inSites that brought together in collaboration the work of ceramic artists with bonsai artists. A feature exhibit in Washington, DC at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum of the U.S. National Arboretum in 2003, the show proved controversial to many traditionalists.
His awards are many, and those range from the 2008 National Bonsai Exhibition, Rochester, New York, Second Prize for Creative Western Formal Display, to First North American Bonsai Container Competition 2001, National Bonsai Foundation, Washington, DC Finalist in non-traditional category and Second North American Bonsai Container Competition 2002, sponsored by the National Bonsai Foundation - First Place in non-traditional category.
Ron will offer a program showing the process of making a bonsai pot along with the artisitic considerations. Also, members are requested to bring examples of pot-tree matches that they would like comment on, time permitting.
At the conclusion of Ron's program, we will raffle off one of his bonsai pots. He will also have some pots for sale.
Double raffle tickets will be awarded to members exhibiting bonsai.

Guest Speaker: Ron Lang - Lecture/Demo
Date: Friday, May 22
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center
Time: 7:00 pm

April Meeting

Our guest artist for April, David Easterbrook, performed a wonderful transformation of a collected larch.
David described the forlorn collecting area near the Arctic Circle as rocky, nearly permanently frozen, and extremely harsh - causing stunted trees which are contorted by howling winds and crushing snow loads. Since these trees grow so close to the ground, David must literally crawl on his belly to feel for a desirable trunk and branching in order to select a tree.
The tree David provided for his demo exemplified one that had grown in these harsh sub-Arctic conditions. The growth pattern of main leader dying, being replaced by a side branch, recurring again and again, was apparent. Severe twists and turns in the trunk and branches were the result of this growth pattern.
Since larch are so limber, David showed no hesitation in planning dramatic bends in the main trunk.With his able assistant, Flex (more about Flex later!), David wrapped the trunk with an old bicycle inner tube to prevent a major break, coiled on #6 coppper wire, and proceeded to twist the trunk quite a bit. Final detail wiring and branch placement led up to placing the tree in a nice semi-cascade pot. The resulting bonsai was a real knockout, closely following David's preliminary sketch. The tree will be a real show-stopper when the foilage masses fill out.
There is a long-running joke in PBS - that whoever lays hands on a demo tree will win the raffle. Well - maybe it's not a joke. Flex helped David all through the program AND he won the raffle. Congratulations!
Many thanks to David for a most interesting program!

MidAtlantic Festival

This year, the combined clubs of the MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies presented another wonderful Festival. Outstanding works by guest artists Isao Omachi, Ferrand Bloch, David Easterbrook, and Susan Amoy highlighted the weekend.
A masterpiece exhibit drew very good reviews. Exhibiting for PBS were Paul Krasner, Karen Harkaway, and Jim Brant. Workshop material was exceptional this year as well.
Thanks to Pat Morris, Karen Harkaway, Linda Brant, Dave Tettemer, and Paul Landis for their help with the Auction. Special thanks go to Jim Gillespie and Jim Doyle for their exceptional work as auctioneers.
Photos of the artists and exhibits will be posted soon on the MABS website: http://midatlanticbonsai.freeservers.com

Seasonal Notes

The following is the second in a three-part series dealing with techinques for developing shohin bonsai. Les Dowdell resides in Edmunton, Alberta, Canada, and often spends the long winter days researching and writing about bonsai techniques. These articles are reprinted with the permission of the author. -Ed.

Bending Without Wire (Part II)
By Les Dowdell

A GREAT(??) NAME
Since the method I am about to describe has no official name, I think I will christen it the Gravel Bed Technique (GBT). The GBT will produce naturally curved bunjin shohin without touching a single strand of wire. Instead, the twists and turns of the trunk will be formed from the root of a seedling as it negotiates the various spaces between small stones. Figure 3 shows the basic set up for growing GBT trained bonsai. The training pot should be tall with good drainage. The bottom layer should be regular bonsai soil. On top of this layer add some gravel. The amount and type of gravel will determine the size of the bonsai and the quality of its curves. By adjusting the depth of the gravel layer, you control the length of the root that will later form the trunk of the bonsai. Varying the size and roughness of the gravel will give character to the trunk. As an example, you could use 10 centimeters of pea gravel for a 15 centimeter bunjin with gentle, rounded curves. Or you might want to use 15 centimeters of larger, broken stones to produce a 20 centimeter bonsai with a more angular appearance. Experiment a little to see what you can produce.
After adding the gravel to the pot, pour some sand on top of the gravel and shake the pot to make the sand sift down between the stones. Keep adding sand until no more will penetrate the gravel and a shallow layer has formed. The sand will retain a bit more water than the gravel, and the seedlings will not dry out.
Plant the seeds in the top layer of sand and keep the sand moist. When the seeds germinate, the new roots will only be able to grow and extend between the stones. Add weak fertilizer about once a week to maintain the health of the seedlings. Eventually the roots will reach the bottom layer of bonsai soil where they will start to act like normal roots by spreading out and producing side roots. Leave the new bonsai candidates in this pot for at least two years to let the roots thicken a little. During this period, let the top growth continue to extend unchecked. This will also speed up the thickening of the root. If the trunk gets to straight and thick, consider trimming it back close to the sand occasionally.
When it’s time to transplant the young tree to either a regular training pot or a proper bonsai pot, carefully remove the gravel/sand mix, check the condition of the main root, trim off small side shoots from the future trunk and pot into the new pot. If the trunk is too weak to support the foliage, make a wire support to hold it up until the trunk thickens sufficiently to do its job properly. If there are two or more major roots, you can either trim back to one or train the tree in the ‘raised root’ style.
Now that the ‘trunk’ has formed, begin work on the rest of the tree. Develop the branches and remember to aim for a nice bunjin style. After a couple more years, your new shohin should be ready for a few photographs of its own.

Future Meetings
June 28- Annual Picnic & Auction
at Rosade Bonsai Studio, New Hope

Auction Alert!!

Each year, our auction serves two main purposes. One, it serves as a fund-raiser for the society, as auction material is donated by our members, and two, some great bonsai materials, pots, tools, magazines, etc. are purchased by our members, enlarging their plant collections, and providing new inspiration for bonsai styling and training. Sometimes that tree you've given up on or grown out of becomes someone else's treasure. The pot you were sure you'd use when you bought it five years ago, which still sits on the shelf, may be exactly what another enthusiast is looking for. Those seedlings that you planted, planning on a bonsai forest, but are still in nursery containers, could be a delight for another bonsaist. Please, please, donate to the auction! We do need your donations to help make the auction a success. Past auctions have been a huge success due in no small part to the generosity of our members.

Dues Reminder

It’s that time of the year again! Our membership year ends with the last day of May. If your address label has an 08/09 on it, please send your dues check to our treasurer, Dave Spirt, as soon as possible, or rejoin at the May or June meetings. Labels displaying an 09/10 indicate dues are paid for the 2009-10 year. Dues remain at $20.00. Please clip the attached form, fill out, and return. The mailing address is:

The Pennsylvania Bonsai Society
Box 801
Spring House, PA 19477

Directions to the Greater Plymouth
Community Center

From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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June 2009

June Picnic and Auction

Once again, we've come to the end of a year's meeting cycle, which means it must be time for the annual Picnic and Auction. This is an event that is eagerly anticipated, and with good reason. Hosts Chase and Solita Rosade have promised us wonderful weather for this year's picnic and auction (we have shelter in case thing turn wet).

This year's picnic will feature tube steaks in a bun (no less!) supplied by PBS. The Society will also furnish liquid refreshments. We're asking that members whose last name begins with A-L provide an appetizer, a salad, or a covered dish to share, while those members whose name begins with M-Z bring a dessert to share.

This is an election year, and our election chairman will be proposing a slate of candidates for you to vote on.

Each year, our auction serves two main purposes. One, it serves as a fund-raiser for the society, as auction material is donated by our members, and two, some great bonsai materials, pots, tools, magazines, etc. are purchased by our members, enlarging their plant collections, and providing new inspiration for bonsai styling and training. Sometimes that tree you've given up on or grown out of becomes someone else's treasure. The pot you were sure you'd use when you bought three years ago, which still sits one the shelf, may be exactly what another enthusiast is looking for. Those seedlings that you planted, planning on a bonsai forest, but are still in nursery containers, could be a delight for another bonsaist. Have you read that bonsai book over and over? Recycle the knowledge - bring it to the auction. Please, please, donate to the auction! Without your donations and participation, the wonderful speakers and programs we’re used to seeing won’t be there. Past auctions have been a huge success due in no small part to the generosity of our members.

As we've done in past years, there will be a special raffl e, at no cost, for a $100 gift certificate from Rosade Bonsai Studio.

We look forward to a great turnout and to sharing a wonderful day!

Annual Picnic & Auction: Sunday, June 28
Hosts: Chase & Solita Rosade - Rosade Bonsai Studio, New Hope
Times: Picnic - 1pm , Auction 2:30 (approx. time)

Please bring a folding chair.

May Meeting

Guest Artist for our May program, Ron Lang, delivered a comprehensive, fascinating presentation of his "Winter 2009 Production Cycle; Making, Glazing, Loading & Firing", describing the processes involved in the production of his custom bonsai containers.

Ron was fortunate that, upon his retirement, he was able to purchase a property in central Pennsylvania that provided him with a home in a style he and his wife admired, an existing studio, and the space to build a wood burning kiln.

In constructing his containers, Ron mixes his own clay according to his recipes to control particle size, especially for the larger bonsai pots. That is necessary to keep the walls of the pot from slumping as it dries or during firing.
Ron's PowerPoint program showed us the steps involved in making an oval container moving in sequence from round to oval, floor rolled out, oval wedded to fl oor, drainage holes drilled, and feet added. He pointed out that his ovals, in fact all of his pots, are hand-built, not pressed from molds, a process involving the artist to a much greater degree and a more difiicult process, especially with the larger pots.

Of special interest was a series of pictures showing the development of a custom container for one of our members, again depicting the steps involved in building the container and showing the final result with a bonsai planted in it. Quite impressive!

Ron's kiln is quite large, approximately 80 cubic feet, so it can hold quite a number of items to be fired. A kiln firing is a major event, stoking with wood all throughout the night a necessary thing.

We thank Ron for a great presentation, one that was both informative and interesting. We've added words to our vocabulary such as grog, wedging, slip, pug mill, greenware, and wall marrying floors. We'll never look at a bonsai pot again without remembering the labor, art, and skill that went into its construction.

There were two raffl e winners - Jim Brant and Charley Gysi, thanks to Ron's generosity in donating a second pot to raffle.

Ron's website - www.langbonsai.com - has excellent slide shows giving construction and firing details, as well as examples of his work.

President's Notes

Our September exhibit at Shofusu, the Japanese House in Fairmount Park, has be cancelled due to a number of conflicting events involving the exhibitors. We hope to continue this exhibit at some time in the future.

Seasonal Notes

The following is the last in a three-part series dealing with techinques for developing shohin bonsai.
Les Dowdell resides in Edmunton, Alberta, Canada, and often spends the long winter days researching
and writing about bonsai techniques. These articles are reprinted with the permission of the
author with my gratitude. -Ed.

Bending Without Wiring III
By Les Dowdell

So far we have looked at two very different methods you could use to put curves and bends in shohin bonsai. The amifuse and Gravel Bed techniques are not seen in very many bonsai books. In contrast, this third method is widely known (maybe not widely used) and can also be used for any size bonsai. It is the Lingnan clip-and-grow technique. I prefer to call it the build-and destroy method since this more accurately reflects the sequence of the steps involved as well as sounding more rugged.

You can start with a wide range of material, from young seedlings to relatively mature trees. However, for this explanation we will look at the seedling as the araki, or starting material. Find a nice, straight, 2-3 year old tree with no branches. Decide how tall you want it to be when it becomes a bonsai in fi ve or ten years (who said anything about instant bonsai?). At about 1/3 that future height, look for a bud on the trunk. Cut just above that bud, trim the roots, and tilt it at an angle that has that important bud pointing up. Now, maintaining that angle, plant the rather short tree in the ground or a large pot and let it grow unattended for one or two years to thicken the trunk and heal the pruning scar. Of course you will water and fertilize the tree to promote vigorous growth during this period. You should now have a tall, thicker sapling with a bend down near the bottom. It would be even better if some side shoots have developed during this time. A perfect result would see a side shoot growing from the pruning point. Species such as maples, that have leaves in pairs, are prime candidates for this technique because one of the buds near the cut will become the new leader and the other bud will become a branch. For trees that have alternating leaves and buds, such as elms, there are usually buds that will open close to the cut and form the branch.

Now dig up the tree and do it all over again. Decide where the tree’s next curve is going to be, trim back to a bud close to that location, trim the roots, and replant at a different angle that puts the new leader growing straight up. One suggestion for the location of the new terminal bud is  of the distance from the previous cut to the future apex. As you repeat this process, remember to add some depth to the tree by also putting in curves that would go front and back in addition to the left-right curves. As more branches form along the trunk you can start training them by pruning and wiring them so that by the time the trunk is formed, the branches will also be semi-trained. This building up of new branches, a thick trunk, and nice natural curves continues for a few more years until you have the basic structure of the soon-to-be- bonsai well developed. The last stage involves planting the tree in its fi nal position and working at increasing and improving the ramifi cation of the main branches that have formed. Again, you can use the same technique to develop this secondary branch structure by ‘building’ the basic structure and then ‘destroying’ the excess to promote side branches and twigs. This Chinese technique produces bonsai that have a more angular look than those trained with wire.

Dues Reminder

It’s that time of the year again! Our membership year ends with the last day of May. If your address label has an 08/09 on it, please send your dues check to our treasurer, Dave Spirt, as soon as possible, or rejoin at the June meeting (if you receive your newsletter via email, notices have been sent out via email). Labels displaying an 09/10 indicate dues are paid for the 2009-10 year. Dues remain at $20.00. Please clip the attached form, fill out, and return. The mailing address is:

The Pennsylvania Bonsai Society
Box 801
Spring House, PA 19477

Directions to Rosade Bonsai Studio

Central New Jersey - route 95 west to Rt 29 north to Lambertville, left on Rt 179 at light, cross bridge to New Hope. Turn right at fi rst light Rt 32 north. Go 21/2 miles on Rt 32 to Ely Rd, turn Left on Ely for 1 mile - studio on left (sign) at end of long driveway

Philadelphia & South - Delaware, Maryland, D.C. etc - I 95 north to last exit in Pennsylvania # 51- left at stop sign. Follow signs and Rt 32 North for 10 miles into New Hope. From traffic light in center of New Hope continue straight (North on Rt 32 ) for 2 1/2 miles to Ely Rd on Left, 1 mile on Ely Rd to studio on left (sign)

Philadelphia & West - Pennsylvania Turnpike East to exit # 27 (Willow Grove) North on Rt 611 approximately 10 miles just south of Doylestown . Exit right to New Hope Rt 202 North. Follow Rt 202 North to exit (New Hope- Easton Rt 32) At stop sign turn left North on 32 about 1 1/2 miles to Ely Rd, turn left on Ely for 1 mile. Studio on left at the end of a long driveway.

Allentown and North - take the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike south to Quakertown exit #32. Go north toward Quakertown on Rt 663 (which becomes Rt 313 East) through Crosskeys to Rt 202 north. Follow Rt 202 north to exit (New Hope- Easton Rt 32) At stop sign turn North on 32 to about 1 1/2 miles to Ely Rd, turn left on Ely for 1 mile. Studio on left at the end of a long driveway.

For those with GPS, the
address is:
6912 Ely Rd. -Solebury
New Hope, Pa 18938
215-862-5925

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September 2009

September Meeting

Our 2009-2010 meeting schedule opens with a very special program. This September, we welcome William N. Valavanis presenting a lecture-demonstration on group plantings.

Bill's interest in bonsai started at age eleven. He began lecturing to garden clubs in the Charleston, West Virginia area when he was only sixteen. In 1970, Bill went to Japan to begin his bonsai studies in earnest. There he studied with Kyuzo Murata, Toshio Kawamoto, Kakutaro and with Tameji Nakajima.

Bill graduated from the SUNY at Farmingdale in 1971, majoring in Ornamental Horticulture. He began teaching regular bonsai classes in Rochester and traveling extensively teaching classical bonsai art. After graduation from Cornell University in 1976, he lived, studied and taught bonsai courses with Yuji Yoshimura. Bill now lives in the Rochester area and his business, The International Bonsai Arboretum, reflects his dedication to the promotion of the international artistic and horticultural expression of classical bonsai art through propagation and education. He began publishing International BONSAI in 1979, now reaching over 50 countries.

In an interview Bill stated "My bonsai are "quiet" bonsai. While I enjoy working with a small number of collected trees, I prefer a quiet, classical taste to the often overworked and occasionally ostentatious specimens, which feature very large areas of dead wood. I can only think of one specimen in my garden which features dead wood, and that specimen is a recent addition."

Bill's knowledge of bonsai is encyclopedic. He is always willing to take the time to answer a question or give an opinion on bonsai. He has organized and sponsored the first Bonsai National Exhibition which was a great success, following it with the second National Exhibition on June 19-20, 2010. The September International Bonsai Symposium has been a mainstay in the bonsai world for the past 28 years.. This year's focus is on shohin bonsai.

Demo material will be raffled - Exhibit your bonsai & double your tickets.

Guest Artist: William N. Valavanis- Lecture/Demo
Date: Friday September, 23
Time: 7:00
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center

June Picnic and Auction

Great weather, great turnout, great location, great hosts - that pretty well sums up the annual PBS Picnic and Auction last June. Lots and lots of great food, good company, a multitude of donated items all made for a pleasurable day.
New officers were elected for the 2009-2011 term. Voted in by acclimation were Linda Brant - President, Karen Harkaway - Vice President, Jim Gillespie - Secretary, David Spirt - Treasurer. Mike Marinelli moves over to fill the post of Past President, after doing an exemplary job over the last two terms as President. Super job, Mike - and our thanks!!
Many thanks to Chase and Soli for hosting the event ( and again to Soli for the wonderful sangria!) , and to Jim Gillespie , who applied his usual excellent skills as auctioneer.

October Meeting

Mark your calendars for a very special October event. Our October meeting will feature a guided tour of the Kennett Collection, one of the largest and best private bonsai collections in the country. The tour is scheduled for Saturday, October 17.
It will be necessary to car pool from the Plymouth Community Center. If you have a van or 7 or 8 passenger SUV and are willing to drive, please contact Linda at 610-948-6380 or email lbrant@comcast.net.
More information will be coming in the October newsletter.

PBS Logo Shirts

For those of you who missed the picnic, there will be a second chance to purchase a Pennsylvania Bonsai Society shirt at September’s meeting. If you ordered a polo or tee last spring, your shirts have arrived for pickup.

These shirts are all very high quality, available in several colors, and the logo (designed by Joanne Dhody) is eye catching.

There are several leftover shirts for purchase, and others can be ordered in the future if your style, color, or size is no longer available. The prices are $20 (T-shirts) and $25 (long-sleeved Ts and polo shirts)-, cash or check.

See Joanne at the meeting to purchase or order.

President's Notes

Summer 2009 has been very strange - lots of rain, many cool days and nights. Our trees, although lanky from water, have done well. We had few bugs and fungus problems. I did not see one Japanese Beetle on our trees! I hope that your trees also endured the unusual summer.

In June, Jim and I attended BCI 2009, Survivors of the Storm, in New Orleans. The convention was great (although the weather was hot). Events took place at the New Orleans Botanical Garden which is beautiful. Everything was held in air-conditioned buildings so everyone was comfortable. The exhibit was outdoors and the bonsai, mostly tropicals, were outstanding. Please visit the BCI website (www.bonsai-bci.com) for photos of the exhibit and other events. We got to see several new bonsai artists as well as some familiar ones.

We have many outstanding bonsai which belong to PBS members, but one of the best things about attending conventions is that you get to see different bonsai and are exposed to new and different bonsai information. If you get the opportunity to attend a convention, please consider writing an article and taking some photos for our newsletter . After all, we are all members in order to learn from each other.

I look forward to our meetings this year as the PBS Executive Board has planned excellent activities for all of us.

Linda

Future Meetings

October 17 - Bonsai Tour - The Kennett Collection
November 20 - Members' Auction
December 11 - Annual Holiday Social

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center

From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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October 2009

October Meeting

October's meeting will be replaced by a Saturday tour of The Kennett Collection. The owner of the collection, Mr. Doug Paul, has graciously invited our motley crew to visit what is most likely the largest and best private bonsai collection in the United States.

Due to some current construction, we have been asked to limit the number of vehicles, so we'll be car pooling. Let's meet at the Community Center parking lot at 9 am. We'll have directions for each driver. The drive should take about an hour, depending on traffic. We'll have a guided tour until about noon, then return to the Community Center. Lunch will be on your own.

As space is somewhat limited, please let us know by e-mail or phone if you will be attending by October 14. Those of you who signed up at the September meeting need not make contact unless you are not going.

Date: Saturday, October 17
Tour of The Kennett Collection
Time: 9:00 am
(meet at GPCC parking lot)

September Meeting

Our new membership year got off to a great start thanks to a superb program presented by William N. Valavanis. Members sure looked spiffy in their new PBS logo shirts!

Bill opened his presentation on forest (group) plantings with a visual presentation outlining methods, design factors, and styles that are possible with a group planting. He showed photos of many outstanding examples throughout the first half of the program.

Bill outlined methods to create forest bonsai using sinuous style or raft style plantings from a single root system, or a group planting using multiple trees.
Design factors to consider are:

  • Focal Point
  • Composition
  • Trunks
  • Trunk Lines
  • Silhouette
  • Near or Distant View
  • Realistic or Idealistic appearance
  • Definitive or Suggestive vanishing point
  • Container - oval or rectangular

In the second half of Bill's program, a three tree grouping was created using Chinese Elms. Bill removed the trees from their nursery containers, worked out a good bit of the soil, and placed the trees in a large oval pot. The audience was asked for suggestions as to the arrangement of trees in the group planting, finally settling (with Bill's decision being the final one) on an arrangement with the tallest tree in the center of the group. This seemed to create the most harmonious arrangement.

Once the placement was decided, the trees were anchored in the pot, branches trimmed, some wiring done to place branches, Bill finished the potting and presented the finished planting. While some growth and pruning will be beneficial in the future, the group planting was very nice - so much so that we ran out of raffle tickets!!

Bill's assistant for the evening, Jim Gillespie, did a yeoman's job of helping Bill get the trees potted. It's difficult to get trees as large as these were into a container directly from a nursery pot.

Turnout was great, the program touched on a favorite subject for many, and many thanks to Bill for an exceptional presentation.

Our raffle winner for the evening was Karen "Hot Tickets" Harkaway. Congratulations, Karen.

Future Meetings
November 20 - Members' Auction
December 11 - Annual Holiday Social
January 16 - Flower Show Workshop

PBS Logo Shirts

There are still PBS logo shirts available for purchase. The prices are $20 (T-Shirts) and $25 (long-sleeved Ts and polo shirts) , cash or check. These shirts are all very high quality, available in several colors, and the logo (designed by Joanne Dhody) is eye catching.

See Joanne or Linda at the meeting to purchase or order.

MidAtlantic Festival

Featured artists for the 2010 Festival have been announced. The lineup for the upcoming Festival features an international cast of bonsai masters; Michele Andolfo from Italy, Charles Ceronio from South Africa, and Michel Phaneuf from Canada. This promises to be an exceptional program, one to be sure to attend. Dates for the Festival are April 16-18, 2010 , at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa. Let's hope we have a better representation of PBS members at the next Festival. This is a fantastic event for the money, with the added bonus that excess monies are returned to member clubs to assist in presenting programs locally.

Auction Reminder

Don't forget, the Members' Auction is coming up this November! While you're getting things ready for winter storage, look over your plant material. Perhaps your collection is getting out of hand and it's time to part with some trees. Perhaps you're "downsizing" - either reducing the number of trees or moving into shohin bonsai. How about those prebonsai you've been meaning to do something with? Maybe you have a super pot collection, but can never find a pot and tree match (sound familiar?). Whatever you're doing, think about putting those items in the November Auction. You'll receive 80% of the selling price, with 20% going to the club.

Be sure to check the Silent Auctions at each meeting.
Bring an item you'd like to put in the Silent Auction.

Seasonal Notes

This week is most likely the last time you should fertilize. Doing so any later in the season could cause some budding which will not have a chance to harden off before winter, thus causing dieback next growing season, at the very least. Any fertilization beyond the first weeks of September should have been as low as possible in nitrogen - fish emulsion, liquid seaweed, etc. work very well (nitrogen is the first number given on the label, ex. 5-10-10).
If your trees are like mine, this summer has been a battleground with leaf burn on the maples. The summer's rains may bring on some fungus problems. Be especially careful in the coming months to use a good fungicide to eradicate problems before the trees go into winter storage.
These heavy, late rains will also caused an explosion of moss. While moss on the soil surface is pretty, it soon will be crawling up the trunk if you’re not vigilant. Once on the trunk, the moisture retained by the moss can harbor fungus spores, insect eggs, or cause the onset of rot. Use a toothbrush or soft brass-bristled brush to remove it. Linda has been using one of the cheap battery-powered toothbrushes to remove moss and clean up the trunks, and the thing has worked remarkably well.
Now is a great time to check out the winter storage area and perform any clean-up or maintenance that is necessary. Give a close inspection to your trees, looking for any wire that was forgotten over the summer - if it's cutting in, cut it off.

President's Notes

I would like to thank Bill Valavanis for a wonderful, informative program at the September meeting. It was wonderful seeing such great attendance for the meeting. I hope the trend continues.

Jim and I have been involved with the sale of several bonsai collections. Happily, most of them have had positive outcomes, such as the Malofiy auction that Mike Marinelli organized last year. Relatives of Mr. Malofiy contacted the club for help in disposing of the trees and related pots, tools, etc. The family and the club benefitted as the club did the work and shared the profit of the auction with the family members. Several years ago we helped Ron Solt sell the trees and bonsai supplies of a deceased member of the Gayru Club. In that case, the trees were donated to Bonsai Clubs International which provided the family with a tax write off and then shared the profits with the Gayru Club. In both cases the individual had educated his family members that something had to be done with the bonsai as quickly as possible so that the trees would not die.

Unfortunately we have also witnessed poor outcomes. A woman called us a couple of years ago. Her husband (not a club member) had passed several months before. Most of his trees were dead due to lack of good winter storage. The remaining three trees were in such bad condition when we got them that two also died. Only one ficus survived to be sold at a PBS Silent Auction. Through MidAtlantic we also helped pack up the bonsai pots, books and supplies of a long time bonsai artist. All of her trees had died because when she become ill, her family had no knowledge of how to care for the trees and had placed them in a sun room for the winter, where they slowly cooked to death. It was heartbreaking to see all of those once beautiful trees put into a dumpster.

I think of this because a PBS member recently contacted us to pick up some of her larger trees for the November auction (More about this in the next newsletter). She realized that the larger trees were too much to haul into winter storage. She asked us to sell them. While it is very hard for her to let go of her bonsai, she would rather see another bonsai person enjoy her trees than to watch them decline. PBS has done this for several members in the past.

This is a delicate subject, but all of us who have bonsai must think of the future and plan what should be done with our trees if we become ill or are unable to care for them any longer. While the club will not always be able to conduct a special auction, we do have one auction, and sometimes two per year. Many of us know of other organizations which could possibly help in selling or finding homes for the trees. PBS is affiliated with MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies, the American Bonsai Society, Bonsai Clubs International and the National Bonsai Foundation, all of which are possibilities for donations.

Do not hesitate to call club members for help if for some reason you are unable to care for your bonsai. PBS has many willing, helpful hands. That is what this club is all about - we enjoy our trees together, learn about bonsai together, and help one another when needed.

I am looking forward to our "field trip" to the Kennett Collection. Please do not forget to call or email before October 14th if you have not already signed up for this special event.

Linda

National Bonsai Foundation


Are you a member and supporter of the National Bonsai Foundation? If not, please consider supporting an organization "created to develop an international living museum of the art of bonsai and penjing at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C."
The museum features an impressive display of bonsai and penjing, as well as programs and special exhibits throughout the year. Over one hundred photos of the trees in the three main collections (North American, Japanese, and Chinese) can be viewed on the website; www.bonsai-nbf.org . Also on the site is a schedule of special exhibits.
Your Basic membership of $35 is tax deductible. You can join or renew very easily on line, or see Jim Brant or Chase Rosade for a membership form. PBS as a Society is an annual contributor.

Editorially Speaking..

In last month's account of the June Picnic and Auction, I accidentally omitted thanks to Ron Solt, who stood over a hot grill all day providing some great food for all. Thanks, Ron, for all your help with the food.

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.
From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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November 2009 

November Meeting

This November’s meeting brings us to the Fall Members’ Auction. This auction provides our members with an opportunity to buy and sell materials at an auction with 80% of the selling price going to the seller. Terms are; Absolute auction, no reserve. Previous auctions have been most successful, with a tremendous number of items changing hands. This is an opportunity to thin your collection, or to add some material to it for winter and early spring work. Bonsai, pots, prebonsai stock, tools, magazines, or any bonsai-related item may be offered for auction.

We look forward to a good turnout, both of sellers and buyers. Be sure not to miss this tremendous bonsai opportunity. Bring some things to sell and take home something you’ve bought - checks or cash are acceptable for payment. We’re also going to continue the Silent Auction this year with selected items being offered. Place your written bids on a list, and check the lists as the evening goes on to make sure that yours is the winning bid when the close of that auction is announced. Items designated for silent auction (only) may have a reserve (minimum) price. All items sold at regular auction will be sold without minimums.

PBS reserves the right to limit items based upon available time- we must be out of the building by 10pm. In order to conduct this auction in the fairest possible manner, you’ll be asked to label each item both for accounting purposes as well as selling priority . For example, if you have five items, you would label each with a number and a letter (which will give your priority). When the auction starts, your item with an A letter will be auctioned first, then that labeled B, and so on. This way, each seller will have an equal exposure.

This is a great evening and loads of fun, so add to the enjoyment with your participation.

Members' Auction
Date: Friday, November 20
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center, 2910 Jolly Road Plymouth Meeting, PA
Time(s): (Check-in) - 7:00 - (Auction begins) - 7:30

Future Meetings
November 20 - Members' Auction
December 18 - Annual Holiday Social -NOTE DATE CHANGE
January 16 - Flower Show Workshop

October Meeting

Nor'easter (n.) - a type of macro-scale storm along the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada, so named because the winds come from the northeast, especially in the coastal areas of the Northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. More specifically, it describes a low pressure area whose center of rotation is just off the East Coast and whose leading winds in the left forward quadrant rotate onto land from the northeast. The precipitation pattern is similar to other extratropical storms. Nor'easters also can cause coastal flooding, coastal erosion, hurricane force winds, and heavy snow. (from the Wikipedia)

Our October tour to the Kennett Collection was endangered by Mother Nature. The second nor'easter of the weekend dumped huge amounts of rain just as we were gathering at the community center and setting out for Kennett Square. Spirits were low as we faced the prospects of slogging through a downpour, peeking under umbrellas to peer through the drops, looking at bonsai. Fortunately, as we approached Kennett Square, the rain began to let up, and as we arrived at the Collection , it had nearly stopped.

Entering the Collection, we were all stunned by the scope and the breadth of the collection. There were five or six very large display slabs, each holding thirty or more shohin specimens, and that was just inside the gate! Everywhere we could see, there were exquisite bonsai on display, and as we walked through the paths, even more bonsai rose into view. We were later to learn the collection contained approximately twelve hundred bonsai!!

Specimen azaleas were scattered along paths bordered by streams and ponds. Fantastic pines stood guard over a large koi pond and beyond. Closer to the greenhouse, a series of steps led to yet another large display area with a variety of conifers and deciduous bonsai.

The greenhouse is very impressive. One part of the building is a reception area overlooking the benches in the greenhouse. The attention to detail and the quality of construction are truly impressive. Refreshments offered by our hosts were most welcome, giving us the opportunity to ward off some of the chill with a hot cup of coffee.

The owner of the collection, Mr. Doug Paul, has spared no expense in making the Kennett Collection the finest and largest collection of bonsai in the US. PBS is most appreciative of the opportunity to tour the collection. We wish to thank Mr. Paul for his hospitality and to thank Sean Kelly, who manages the collection, for taking the time to guide us through the collection and to answer the myriad of questions asked. A special thanks goes to Chase Rosade for coordinating this great tour. What a great day!!

President's Notes

Twenty seven PBS diehards braved the weather to visit the Kennett Collection on Saturday, October 17th, and was it ever worth it! The weather cooperated (a little) as we walked through drizzling rain to see the collection and the beautiful grounds on which the bonsai are displayed. Tree after beautiful tree were displayed on slabs of exotic wood. Sean Kelly, who manages the collection for owner, Doug Paul, was our guide. He patiently answered our many questions and explained how the ponds and landscaping had been built, and how he and his team maintain the grounds and the collection. Our host provided coffee and donuts which were gratefully consumed as we dried off. It was a great morning!

The November meeting brings our popular Member Auction. 80% of the profits will go to the member and the club will earn 20% for its efforts. Look over your trees, pots, tools, books, accents, etc for material to bring to the auction. Jim and I have already picked up several trees from member Joan Simon. She is offering a maple group, a Monterrey pine, a Dawn Redwood and two smaller pieces of juniper stock. There is also a large cascade azalea which is very nice. Also, Joan has donated a large Camellia to the club to auction. If you want a very nice indoor piece, this is for you. Bring you checkbooks or cash and pick up some real bonsai bargains!

The falling leaves are telling us that it is nearly time to winter our trees, so I hope that all of you are making preparations for winter storage.

See you on November 20th! Lots of help will be needed for this event so please lend a hand with moving items, labeling, and assisting with the auction process.

Linda

MidAtlantic Festival

The lineup for the upcoming Festival features an international cast of bonsai masters; Michele Andolfo from Italy, Charles Ceronio from South Africa, and Michel Phaneuf from Canada. These artists will be conducting lecture/demos, critiques, and workshops over the weekend. This year, the Festival will be hosting the Joshua Roth New Talent Contest. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of the entrants was a PBS member?

Every year MABS features a great exhibit of trees from member clubs. PBS members have some great trees. If you'd like to exhibit yours at MABS, contact your MABS reps, Jim Gillespie, or Jim Brant for details.

Dates for the Festival are April 16-18, 2010 , at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa. Registration folders should be in the mail in early December. First time registrants and non-bonsai spouses may register for half price. Watch for your mailing and register early.

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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December 2009

December Meeting

The year is flying by, or so it seems, and we've arrived at one of our members' favorite programs, that of our Holiday Social. Each year we have a bunch of raffle surprises - pots, tools, wire, trees, whatever...- and lots of fun trying to separate the good items from the "zonks". There's even somewhat of a treasure hunt - trying to find the package containing the free MidAtlantic registration. There are always lots of goodies to enjoy, and treats to sample.

This year's program will feature a Display Program - each member of the PBS Board will set up a bonsai display. This will be a brief but interesting program, one that could help with display decisions for the Flower Show Exhibit. What are the elements of a bonsai display? How should the available space be utilized? What is negative space? What are the differences between a "good" display and a "so-so" display. These questions and many more will be explored. Sharing ideas and knowledge is a great way for all to benefit.

Please bring a goodie or two to share - one of the delights of this meeting is the variety of wonderful treats that always seem to magically appear. PBS will furnish beverages.

Our Holiday Celebration is a wonderful tradition for all of our PBS members. This promises to be a great evening and loads of fun, so add to the enjoyment with your attendance and participation.

Holiday Social & Raffle
Date: Friday, December 18
Location: Greater Plymouth Community Center, 2910 Jolly Road Plymouth Meeting, PA
Time: 7:00

No exhibit trees this month, please. We need room for all the gifts!! (No double tickets this month.)

November Meeting

This year's Members' Auction was most successful! Lots and lots of really nice plant material, both bonsai and prebonsai were available for bidders to compete for. Some outstanding pots and miscellaneous pieces also were on the auction block.
Auctioneer Jim Gillespie performed his usual skillful role, providing lots of horticultural information and some (really bad) jokes - (or were the bad jokes coming from the "peanut gallery?). Anyhow, many thanks to Jim for a masterful job, getting through a large number of items within the time constraints of the Community Center, earning good prices for the selling members' benefit. Any bids on a PA system?

No auction can run smoothly without a capable crew behind the auctioneer recording bids and sales and delivering trees to the winner of the bidding battles. Many thanks to Pat Morris, Karen Harkaway, Linda Brant, Dave Spirt, and Paul Landis for their assistance with all those tasks.

President's Notes

December '09 is turning out to be very cold. If this is a sample of what the remainder of the winter will be, our bonsai must be well protected. Jim and I heel our outdoor trees into mulch and have wind protection around our storage area. It is open to the sky and gets rain and snow, but this just helps with the watering. Remember, the trees should not be allowed to dry out so each time there is a mild spell check to see if watering is needed. Be extremely vigilant about bonsai that are stored in an unheated garage or shed. These tend to dry out more rapidly and I speak from experience when I say that trees can be lost very quickly if not watered when necessary.

Thank you to all who participated in the November Members' Auction. There was some outstanding material and the great turnout made it a fun and successful evening.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Holiday Social on Dec. 18th. There will be a short program, goodies to share, the raffle and the annual "Try to figure out which package holds the MidAtlantic Registration Certificate Contest"! Bring a goodie to share and lots of money to buy raffle tickets. Joanne Dhody will be collecting shirts from anyone who wishes to get a PBS Logo (see announcement) and the 2010 Flower Show schedule will be available for those who want to get the prime spots.

Your PBS Executive Board is always trying to make our meetings interesting and fun. I encourage you to make suggestions to any of us on the board.

PBS Logo Shirts

It seems like everyone wants a different kind of PBS Shirt. Long sleeves, short sleeves, hoodies, sweatshirts and polos in a multitude of colors have been requested. Rather than try to order all of these different shirts, Joanne Dhody is requesting that you bring the shirt on which you would like the PBS Logo to the Dec. meeting and she will take them to the Embroidery Shop and have the logo applied and then return the shirts to you at the January meeting. Joanne will be gathering up shirts at the Dec. meeting. Cost of the logo is $12.50 (checks made out to PBS) or cash. Please mark your shirts with your name. If this method is successful, perhaps Joanne will do another in the spring.

Flower Show Notes

It’s not too early to begin thinking about the Philadelphia Flower Show,
February 28 - March 7, 2010. As always, we need trees for display. We’ve seen some great trees at each meeting these past years - how about submitting one of your trees for exhibit at the Flower Show? This year's theme is "Passport to the World".

Our Exhibit Chairman, Randy Naftal, has sent the following:

Hello members,
It is time to look at your trees to determine which one you are thinking about submitting for the 2010 Flower Show.
We need 13 trees this year total. We will pick the trees at the January workshop. Bring your stand and scroll to the workshop so we can review the display and provide feedback.
If you cannot attend the workshop, please email me at randallnaftal@yahoo.com.
We are looking forward to seeing you at the show and thank you for your participation.

Regards,
Randall Naftal
Flower Show Chairman

Speaking of volunteers - Linda Brant is always looking for volunteers, new or experienced, to help act as docents for the exhibit. A brief three hour period is all that is needed. Tickets to the Show are provided for you and a guest (have you checked the cost of admission this year? $24-$28!!!). We have to cover the exhibit for the entire show, so lots of help is needed. Contact Linda by phone (610-948-6380) or email (lbrant@comcast.net) to volunteer.

MidAtlantic Festival

The 2010 lineup for the MidAtlantic Spring Festival features an international cast of bonsai masters; Michele Andolfo from Italy, Charles Ceronio from South Africa, and Michel Phaneuf from Canada. These artists will be conducting lecture/demos, critiques, and workshops over the weekend.

Our focus this month will be on Michele Andolfo.
Michele Andolfo is a bonsai professional known for the artistic approach he has promoted in his work and teaching for more than 10 years. In 1996, after obtaining his IBS (Italian College of Bonsai and Suiseki) instructor degree, he began his teaching and bonsai development activities, holding workshops and bonsai courses in Italy and abroad. In 1999, he co-authored the first European book on bonsai aesthetics entitled “Bonsai Culture and Aesthetics Project,” which was followed by “Bonsai Basic Course,” which was recognized for facilitating the teaching of bonsai to children and beginners. His work has won him important prizes and recognition. He has been published in the most prestigious magazines in the field of bonsai, first in Italy, then in Europe generally, and more recently, in the USA, Canada, Taiwan and Japan. He is also cited in European, Chinese and American bonsai books. When not doing hands-on bonsai work, his administrative duties include: Secretary and Head of Teaching of the IBS; adviser on the board of directors of the Italian National Association UBI for 10 years, and President of the Bonsai Club Martesana for 13 years. In 2003 he founded the Andolfo Bonsai Studio School, which has about 100 students in five centers in Italy, Switzerland, and Quebec. He will present two lecture/demonstrations, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. On Saturday Mr. Andolfo will conduct a critique of the exhibit trees; on Sunday he will conduct a workshop utilizing yews.

This year, the Festival will be hosting the Joshua Roth New Talent Contest. Wouldn't it be wonderful if one of the entrants was a PBS member? Information will be available at our monthly meetings.

Every year MABS features a great exhibit of trees from member clubs. PBS members have some great trees. If you'd like to exhibit yours at MABS, contact your MABS reps, Jim Gillespie, or Jim Brant for details.

Dates for the Festival are April 16-18, 2010 , at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa.
Registration folders should be in the mail in very soon. Again this year , first time registrants and non-bonsai spouses may register for half price. Watch for your mailing and register early. MABS is a very good experience and a real value.

National Bonsai Foundation


Are you a member and supporter of the National Bonsai Foundation? If not, please consider supporting an organization "created to develop an international living museum of the art of bonsai and penjing at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C." The museum features an impressive display of bonsai and penjing, as well as programs and special exhibits throughout the year.
Your Basic membership of $35 is tax deductible. You can join or renew very easily on-line, or see Jim Brant for a membership form. PBS as a Society is an annual contributor.
The current exhibit, Winter Silhouette Exhibit, runs from Dec. 5-20 - and is open from 10am – 4pm in the Special Exhibits Wing.

Future Meetings

January 16 - Flower Show Workshop
February 19 - Lecture/Demo - Pines - Bernie Gastrich
February 28- March 7 - Philadelphia Flower Show - Exhibit Sitting

Weather Related Meeting Notification

Over the years, we have had very few cancellations due to the weather, but sometimes we get caught in a storm. If we are faced with a cancellation, the following procedures will take place.
A. If you are on the email list for newsletters - you will receive cancellation notice by email.
B. If you are not on the email list, then check the web site. Cancellation notice will be posted prominently on the home page.
C. If you do not have computer access, a board member will attempt to contact you by phone.
D. We will also try to place a notice on KYW radio.
If you are in doubt about a meeting taking place, be sure to check before leaving home.

Directions to the Greater Plymouth Community Center


From Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276)-Take Exit 333 (Norristown - old exit 25). At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Plymouth Road. At the light, turn right onto Germantown Pike West. Continue approximately one (1) mile, through five (5) traffic lights. At the sixth light, turn right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Blue Route (I-476)-Take exit for Germantown Pike West (Exit 20). Continue on Germantown Pike west for approximately one (1) mile, through six (6) traffic lights. At the seventh light ti right onto Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

From Route 202-Follow Route 202 to Germantown Pike. Travel EAST on Germantown Pike, through five (5) traffic lights. At the next traffic light, approximately half a mile, turn left on Jolly Road. The Community Center is on the right at 2910 Jolly Road.

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