Austin Bonsai Society

May 2001

President’s Message

by Candy Hansen

For the first time in my life, I live out on the wide open spaces, and we are experiencing wind, lots of wind. We need to check our trees often to watch for dryness, and to discover if any plants have blown off the display tables. One thing the wind effect does have is to make the trees stronger as the branches are blown about.

Our club's annual show is coming May 19 & 20. The show chairman this year is Vito Megna and he will be looking for many willing hands to help set up and afterwards take down the show set. Be thinking of when you can help as well as when you might be able to be a host during the show itself. It is really fun to be at the show to answer questions people have about what seems to many to be a magical process. Sharing the knowledge you have is very rewarding. Also, be thinking about bringing a tree to display. The show is great only if there are a wide variety of trees to display. At the May meeting show preparation tips will be discussed, but begin extra grooming now for a show-worthy tree!

See you at the meeting

Calendar of Events

May 9
Monthly Meeting
Mountain Top Experience with Mike Hansen
7:30 PM Zilker Garden Center
Refreshments by: Phina Chen, Pat Ware

May 16
Board Meeting
7:00 PM Zilker Garden Center

May 23
Members workshop with Chuck Ware
7:30 PM Zilker Garden Center

May 5
Longview’s Annual Exhibit
Longview Museum of Fine Arts

May 12-13
San Antonio’s Annual Show
Auld House@Botanical Gard.

May 18-20
Australian Asso. Bonsai Clubs

May 19-20
Austin’s Annual Show
Zilker Garden Center 10 AM to 5 PM
Demonstrations at 2 PM each day
Vendors will be on site

May 25-28
Bonsai Societies of Florida

May 31-June 4
4th World Conv.

Bonsai on Board: BCI 2001
Majesty of the Seas

General Meeting Minutes

by David Gordon

The April 2001 meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order by Vice-president Gloria Norberg on April 11, 2001. New guests were introduced; Pat Perry and Darwin Ratisseau.

A motion to accept the minutes from the previous meeting as written in the newsletter was made and accepted by the members present.

Elaine White discussed the Permanent Collection. Details of membership, the logo competition and donor requirements were discussed.

It was announced by Gloria that the second meeting for the 2002 LSBF convention will by held on June 8, 2001 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Hays County Extension Office. The meeting will focus on monetary requirements. Interested members are urged to attend.

The beginners workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 25, 2001. Vito will help members work on trees.

The annual Bonsai Show will be held on May 19 and 20. Members are asked to bring a tree or trees to show. Please bring the trees to the Garden Center on Friday evening. Members were also asked to bring items from sponsors that can be used for the raffle.

Donna Dobberfuhl gave a book report on The Creative Art of Bonsai by Isabelle and Renny Samson. This is a book that will help take your skills to next level. It is available through the club's library.

The program for the evening was presented by Alisan who was introduced by Gloria. The program focused on drawing trees and how helpful this can be when designing your trees.

The meeting was adjourned by Vice-president Gloria Norberg at 9::30 P.M



It’s that time of year again when we can strut our stuff, and show off a little bit. We are very fortunate to have Zilker Gardens to display our trees to the public, so, we need to do our very best in demonstrating how well organized we are, and what a great hobby we have.

Our club needs every able bodied person to show up for setting up the tables and back drops. If you have never helped with this job, now is your chance to get a little sweaty. Last year was the first time since 1988 that Dolores and I did not help with the setup. I guess back surgery in April qualifies me for missing all of the fun. I know some of you live great distances ( 100 miles or more ) from Zilker or can’t get off work in time to join us, I understand. However, you have no excuse not to show up on Sunday for tear down, so, be there or be square.

The dates are May 19th and 20th. The setup hours are from 4:30pm (not 8:30) until we finish on Friday night May 18th. Tear down will start promptly on Sunday at 5:00pm.

Bring your trees and bonsai tables in on Friday night if you want to display them in the show. It is very hard to set trees up on Saturday morning with all of the last minute details that need to be done.

We will need volunteers to monitor the show area on both Saturday and Sunday, please call me at 512-267-3319 or email me at

Okay, now that all of that is off my chest, keep one thing in mind, this is fun, if you’re not having fun come see me.

THERE WILL BE SIGN UP SHEETS AT THE MEETING TO VOLUNTEER AND WHAT TREES YOU WILL BRING. We want to be sure we have name tags for all trees shown; so please think NOW about what tree you would like to show and sign it up at the meeting.

Board Meeting Minutes

by David Gordon

The April Board meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order by President Candy Hanson on April 18, 2001. Members present were Pat Ware, Gloria Norberg, Jim Baumann, Els Ulug, David Gordon, and James Allan. Also attending were past presidents, Chuck Ware and Alisan Clark.

The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted as written in the newsletter. The treasurer's report was given by Pat Ware.

Old Business

It was mentioned by President Candy that volunteer hours for the Garden Festival and other hours worked need to by given to Don Rehberg.

President Candy announced that Vito Megna will be the chairman for the Bonsai Club Show in May. Vendor tables were discussed. The secretary was also directed to make an inventory of who has all the various materials used at the show once our show is completed for this year.

New Business

It was decided that 400 brochures will be printed for the show this year.

Candy mentioned that volunteers will be needed to clean up the Permanent Display area prior to our show. Elaine White will make arrangements for a time and the club will be notified. Everyone who can help is encouraged to come.

Gloria Norberg proposed a study group on wiring. Various options for having such a program were discussed. It was decided that a series on wiring will be arranged to start in January of next year.

Meeting was adjourned by President Candy at 8:30 P.M.

The Texas State Bonsai Exhibit, Inc.

A statewide contest is underway to choose a logo to be used for fund raising, advertising and on official documents.

The contest kick-off was Mach 23rd at the LSBF Convention held in Dallas and runs until 11:59 PM CDT June 30, 2001.

Contact Elaine White for a copy of the official rules. She will have them at the next meeting.

Vendor Call.

People wishing to vend at our club show should send a check in the amount of $35.00 per table, with a maximum of two tables, to Candy Hansen, 601 Kay Lane, Pflugerville, TX 78660 as soon as possible. Space is very limited, so we will make an effort to accommodate requests, but no promises can be made. Applications for space must be in by May 10, and space assignments will be made after that date. Vendors will be notified before the show as to their location.

Don’t Let Tetanus Nail You

Spring is here, and that means yard work and house repairs. Your chores will be a lot safer if you’ve had a tetanus shot within the last ten years, but most people can’t remember if they have.

A recent study at the University of Florida in Gainesville found that two out of three people over age 60 lacked adequate immunity against tetanus, a life-threatening medical condition. Doctors recommend that adults (not just senior citizens) should have a tetanus booster every ten years. (Check with your doctor to see when your last tetanus booster was given.)

Although rare, tetanus is often fatal. It happens when bacteria invade an open wound and cause lockjaw, muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing, headache, and fever. Any deep puncture should be cleaned quickly and thoroughly because dirt and dead tissue promote the growth of bacteria.

Taken from Austin Gardener, published monthly by The Men’s Garden Club of Austin, April 2001

Dear Austin club members:

Thank you so much for all of your support during the Dallas LSBF Convention. I had a wonderful time and was glad to see that everyone else did too. I've been busy having nothing to more to do than take care of my kids and work on my son's school class project for the annual school fund raiser (can't get enough of fund-raisers I guess).

The Austin club was represented by many! Pat and Chuck Ware were instrumental guides in my quest to put on a good show plus Chuck turned some heads with his saikei at the Texas Stars brunch! Terry Ward did a wonderful job on the newsletter working closely with Craig (who by the way is an excellent teacher and should be considered for an LSBF traveling guest artist). Speaking of great teachers, there would be something missing if Vito didn't put on the children's workshop, thanks Vito! The Hansen's were there, as well as Gloria Norberg, Els Ulug, Alisan Clarke, Elaine Clarke..........(if I left you out it was only to save space in your newsletter).

Thank you ALL for making this a successful convention and know that you can count on the Dallas Club to be there next year to lend a hand. See you in New Braunfels!


Sylvia Smith - Convention Chairman, Dallas

Bonsai Tools

Your first peek at a bonsai tool catalogue can be absolutely frightening! The truth of the matter is, there are very few tools required to do bonsai. As in any hobby or art form “needs” can stretch as far as the purse strings. In a beginner class, it might be suggested a minimum of three tools:

  1. Medium sized (8”) concave cutter
  2. Medium sized shears (with handles that feel best)
  3. Pointed chopstick

Many beginners are a little more anxious and want a tool set. A good five piece set consists of:

  1. Concave cutters
  2. Medium shears
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Rootrake or rootpick
  5. Tweezers

When on a limited budget, the one tool, above all others, is the 8” concave cutter. This tool is difficult if not impossible to substitute, and is recommended by every bonsai instructor. (Although the 6” concave cutter is less expensive, it is frequently too small to do the job and is often misused.)

Bonsai tools have been created especially for bonsai by bonsai people. Each tool has a specific purpose, although many are duplicated and only differ in style and size.

Concave cutter:
Removes small to medium sized branches very close to the trunk. Leaves no “nubs”. Cuts heal quickly and smoothly.
Knob cutter (spherical):
Makes deeper cut than the concave branch cutter. Used for thick roots or heavy knots. This is not a substitute for the concave cutter.
Trimming Shears:
There are many sizes and shapes. Bud Shears: Small scissors for convenience with tiny trees and bud trimming.
Remove dead leaves, bugs and needles from conifers. Also utilized in pulling weeds. Those with a flat spatula end are used for tamping soil and loosening soil around edge of container on older trees. Straight or angled is a personal preference.
Folding type are popular. They are often used on collecting trips or at workshops - primarily for larger plant materials (heavy branches and trunks).
Wire cutters:
Specially designed to reach and cut wire on a bonsai without damaging the tree.
General Purpose Pruning Shears:
Not a bonsai tool, useful for initial pruning of wild branches and extensive root systems.
Small leaf Trimmers:
An inexpensive novelty item used by bonsai growers.
Variety of shapes an sized to pull soil away from the base of the tree, to expose any dominate side roots. Also used to untangle roots.
Jin Pliers:
Used to purposely create dead branches, which are called jins.
Branch Benders:
Used to curve or straighten branches that are too heavy or awkward to be bent with wire. (Actually they are small jacks.)

Taken in part from Bonsai Business, June, 1996. A publication no longer in print.

Thinking (?) Plants

by Thomas Powell

Do plants think - reason - feel? Some thirty years ago, research in India, Canada and the United States showed that music had beneficial effects on plant germination, growth and health. From corn to bananas to petunias, various instruments and the human voice produced improved growth. Even sound percussion transmitted through the earth worked: in India, performing the “Sharat Natyam dance without trinkets on ankles” made marigolds grow 60% taller and bloom fourteen days earlier. All sorts of sound waves, scientists believe, have a resonating effect on the “naturally irritable” protoplasm of plant cells, affecting their metabolism so they synthesize more food.

Now the first complete decoding of the genetic makeup of a plant is showing how plants react to all kinds of stimuli. Using a very fast growing and multiplying weed of the mustard family, Arabidopsis thaliana, cooperating researchers in may countries decoded the genome of this plant. This has given them a “Rosetta Stone” to greatly speed decoding of all plants.

Many genes which control hormone receptors in plants have been identified. These are the means by which plants sense and react to even minute alterations in their environment. Through them a plant can “see” changes in the amount or quality of light, or “feel” wind, fluctuations in temperature, or insect bites, or “hear” thunder or the bussing of a bee. Plants thus have complex and often very efficient mechanisms for dealing with physical and chemical stimuli.

This is not to suggest that there is an emotional component - plants do not like or dislike anything, or feel pain, pleasure or anger. Emotion and reasoning seem to be qualities reserved for the animal kingdom. The human mind is governed by more than a purely reactive survival instinct.

On the other hand, there is something called vitalist philosophy, which postulates that everything in nature is guided not solely by mechanical forces but also by a need to achieve certain goals of self-realization. Do plants “want” to grow their best?

Reprinted from The Avant Gardener, Vol. 33, No. 5, March 2001, pp. 37-38

Editor’s note: Maybe there is something to the idea from one of our members to play some light jazz for our bonsai trees to keep them fit and well. Maybe some of you “scoffed” too soon.

State Convention 2002

The second full convention committee meeting will be Friday, June 8, 2001 at 7:00 PM. This meeting will include all Austin and San Antonio members who want to be involved in our convention. The meeting will be centrally located at the Hays County Extension Office in San Marcos, just off Interstate 35.

Committee chairpersons should bring estimates as to what they think their committee will need to be budgeted. All ideas will be heard. Our brochure met with a lot of success in Dallas and, of course, we now have to plan a registration fee. We will discuss the food ideas. Plans will be constructed and decisions will be made. We need all ideas and help.

Directions to Meeting: Take IH 35 to Exit 201 - McCarty Lane.

From Austin, go to underpass and let onto Northbound access road.

From the stop sign at that underpass, go 7/10th of a mile to Clovis Barker (there is a Atkisson GMC Car Dealer on the corner), turn right onto Clovis Barker. At 2/10ths of a mile there is a road on the left, PASS IT, and go another 2/10ths of a mile to the next road on the left (Civic Center Loop). The extension office is on the corner on the left - THE ONLY BUILDING THERE. You can’t miss it!

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen
dies so beautifully.

The time you contribute to public bonsai events and shows, and the Zilker Garden Festival, and non-paid teaching of bonsai to other groups DO COUNT! Don’t forget to give all your volunteer hours to Don Rehberg