Austin Bonsai Society

February 2000

The meeting was called to order by President, Alisan Clarke.  The minutes were approved as printed in the newsletter with the addition that the members voted unanimously for the slate of officers presented in the November newsletter.  The treasurer had been audited and all is well with our accounts.

  • Chuck Ware informed us that the committees are being put into place for the LSBF Convention in 2003 that our club will be hosting.  To date:

    • Chuck & Pat Ware - Convention Co-chairs

    • Greg & Shelia Setter - Registration Co-chairs

    • Arlene Hasting - Treasurer

    • Gloria Norberg - Raffle Chairperson

    • Elaine White - Hotel Liaison

    • Candi & Mike Hansen - Vendor Co-chairs
      Chuck invited EVERYONE to attend a "brain-storming session"  on Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30
      at the Garden Center.

  • Gloria Norberg gave two very interesting book reviews - Classic Bonsai of Japan and Timeless Trees.  Both books are in our library thanks to the memorials given in Jerry Henderson's memory.

  • The January program gave a lot of good information on trees that have been collected by Mike Hansen, Greg Setter, Bill Cody, and Vito Megna.  Some key points to remember:

    • A tree slows its growth with maturity.

    • Make sure a tree is healthy before working or digging.

    • Older roots don't absorb food readily, and if root bound, you'll have to water more often.

    • Elms are aggressive growers both on top and bottom, so need to be watched.

Program for February

Bring a tree that you have had for awhile and would like a different perspective given on it, by those who are not "as close to it" as you are.  This will be very informal.  We will put a tree on each table, so that all at that table may view it, and opinions as to how it might be made changed will be given - the owner does not have to act on these opinions.  But sometimes we have been working on a tree so long that we don't see what others see and this will give a new point of view.
This could be a tree you plan to show this year or at a future show and these design tips might be beneficial.

Board Meeting Minutes

The board was called to order at 7:10 pm on Wednesday, January 19, 2000 by President Alisan Clarke.  Members in attendance were Alisan Clarke, Jim Allan, Mike Powers, Gloria Norberg, Chuck Ware, Pat Ware, and Charlotte Cranberg.  The treasurer passed the end of year paperwork for all to take note of.  The President reviewed the old business items for our new members to bring them up to speed.

Pat told us that Mas Imazumi has agreed to give us a lecture/demo on April 12 and asked that since he wasn't flying out til the 14th, if we wanted to have a workshop on the 13th.  Mike Powers made the motion to do so if the Garden Room was available - Pat would check on that - Gloria seconded it.  After discussion, it was decided by all to limit the workshop to 8 persons, charge $20.00 and "bring your own tree".  It was also decided to send an invitation to the San Antonio, Corpus, & Houston clubs to join us.

An email was received from Herb Gustafson that he would be interested in coming to Texas.  His fee would be for a lecture/demo AND a workshop.  So after much discussion the board decided to switch our annual auction to September; and as our October meeting has to be on a Saturday, we would ask him if that date is available, do a workshop in the afternoon, have a barbecue dinner, and then a lecture/demo.  Pat will contact him and find out.

Programs for the rest of the year were discussed plus a candidate for Chairman.  Alisan will check with the person and report back.

Chuck reported that we need someone to do the Texas Star at the Corpus Convention.  Alisan will ask John Pittenger if he will do it.  She is also still working on our candidate for the Novice Workshop.  Chuck then asked to have an advance to set up an account for the Convention in 2003.  Pat Ware made the motion that we advance $3,000.00 and Jim Allan seconded it. All agreed.

Mike Powers made the motion to adjourn at 8:45pm and Charlotte Cranberg seconded.   All agreed.

Study Group

Elaine White
Last month we discussed your trees and the possibilities for their future development. This month, bring them back; along with a pot or pots, covered holes, wire for tying them into the pot and a chopstick.  I will provide the soaking tub and the club will provide the potting medium.

LSBF Report

Chuck Ware reported that at the LSBF meeting on January 15, 2000 that it was voted to give each club $150.00 for one program that Dennis Makishima does, and then an additional $75.00 for a second program.  The Texas speaker program was voted to be continued again  this year, which LSBF will reimburse the $75.00 fee to each club. John Miller from Dallas reported that the 2001 Convention will be March 24-26 and that they have lined up Pedro Morales and Brian Hoerner.  They are tentatively doing Japanese Maples  on slabs and Australian Pines.

Continuing Thoughts

1989 Bonsai Growing Resolutions (New Year Bonsai Resolutions)

by Marty Klajnowski

The new year is here regardless of whether you are ready for it or not and like it or not we are all a year older.  I sometimes think the only redeeming value of growing older is that some of us also grow smarter.  Now that the new year has begun, let us make some resolutions that will ensure better bonsai growing this year.

Resolution 1:  We will not believe everything we read in books.  All varieties, in a given book, are described in very glowing terms.  However, all the varieties in that same book probably will not be the best adapted for your growing conditions.  Tried and proven principles of your area are best used for novices and experienced bonsai growers.  Listen and learn from the tried and true methods.

Resolution 2:  We will not be deceived by "instant bonsai".  Light, soil mix ph, water ph, fertilizing and TIME are the major ingredients for a master class bonsai so make the commitment and BE PATIENT.

Resolution 3:  We will not overindulge our trees.  Don't kill them with kindness such as using TWICE the amount of any fertilizer recommended, overwatering, spraying with pesticides or fungicides mixed to double strength solution (the "if a little does some good, a lot will be better" philosophy).

Resolution 4:  We will not keep bonsai in total shade.  Lack of light reduces productivity.  Trees need 8 to 10 hours daily of at least 85 lumens of light.  If you over-shade a tree expect spindly plants, poor blooms and little, if any, fruit production.

Resolution 5:  We will pot the right plant at the appropriate time for the tree and in the proper manner. We will not try to "CHEAT" and plant too early or too late in a soil mix of the improper pH. Plant growth is governed by certain physiological limitations.  We can provide optimum conditions for our trees to insure maximum growth, but we cannot hurry trees without damaging them.

Resolution 6:  We will get organized.  Prepare a diary of each tree owned and record its history such as procurement, soil mix needs, potting/repotting cycles, light requirements, and idiosyncrasies.  Prepare soil mixes in advance. Take inventory of fungicides, pesticides, vitamin preparations, etc., to insure only currently dated ones are being used.

Resolution 7:  We will share the knowledge and experience gained in the pursuit of better bonsai with our club members.

Reprinted from the San Antonio Bonsai Society newsletter, "Snips "n Clips", February 1989 issue.


 by Bennie Badgett

  1. If you dig a tree that anyone else has the slightest claim to, it will die. COROLLARY:  If two of you  see a tree exactly at the same time, forget it, the tree is dead whoever digs it.

  2. A perfect bonsai in the ground is never a perfect bonsai  in a pot.

  3. A tree beside the road that is inconspicuous may live if collected, but a tree in a prominent position to  be enjoyed by passers-by will always die if collected.

  4. A tree pulled from the path of a bulldozer, even in midsummer,  will live.

  5. Collected junipers never die, they just fade away.

  6. Cedar elms arising from root sprouts are not worth fooling with.

  7. There is not a cubic foot of soil in Central Texas without a rock in it.

  8. All those fine fibrous roots you see in a rootball you carried a mile will turn out to be grass roots when you get home.

  9. For one reason or another you cannot get permission to dig at any of the best places.

  10. You got to be PURE IN HEART!

reprinted from Austin Notebook February 1986

The Yew

 by Chuck Ware

In this article we will look at the yew and discover some of its potential uses in our bonsai collection.

In the plant world there is always the potential for confusion when it comes to plant identification. I encountered this when I listened to people talk about their yew. It was like hearing the story of the blind men describing the elephant. How could there be so many different descriptions of one tree. The answer is simple. There is more than one tree.

The first distinction must be drawn between the Podocarpus and the Taxus. They were once united in the taxaceae family. The Podocarpus (podocarpaceae) has about 75 species of mostly dioecious, coniferous trees and shrub, native to the temperate Southern Hemisphere and to the mountains and highlands of the tropics, North to the West Indies and Japan. The most common species of Podocarpus in our area is the macrophyllus. It is called the Southern Yew, Japanese Yew or the Buddhist Pine. It grows to 45 ft., with leaves 4-5 in. long and 3/8 in. wide. It is considered a Zone 8 tree. The variety Maki is widely cultivated in China and Japan. The Taxus (taxaceae) is called the yew. There are 8 species. Of dioecious, evergreen trees and shrubs and they are native to the Northern Hemisphere. The most common varieties are the English Yew (baccata) and the Japanese Yew (cuspidata). They will grow to about 50 ft. with leaves about 1 in. long. The cuspidata is hardy to Zone 5.

Notice the words "Japanese Yew" is used for both trees. Down in south Texas this is referring to the Podocarpus because it does well in the warm, moist climate. Up north it refers to the Taxus as it thrives in the colder climate. Both trees are magnificent specimens to use for bonsai.