Austin Bonsai Society

May 2002

President's Message 

by Candy Hansen 

Spring is here, and how! Where do all those weeds come from in my bonsai pots? Actually, since we moved almost 2 years ago, many of the natural systems we had in place for insect control, weed management, etc., have all had to be re-created until we again achieve a balance we can live with. Until then, it means weeding a lot more than I was used to. 

Spring also means much activity for our club. At our May meeting we will have a three part program. Most current, Del and Jimbo will discuss what they need of you to help stage our annual show. Plan now to be actively involved by exhibiting and hosting as well as setting up and tearing down. 

Another vital part of our hobby is proper tool care. Mike Hansen will show us and teach us how to sharpen tools and care for them so we get the most of our investment in quality tools. 

Chuck Ware will discus our coming visit by Mary Miller from Florida. You will be offered an opportunity to sign up for a workshop with her, and Chuck will help us understand what makes good workshop material for any bring -your- own- tree event. 

See you at the meeting - bring your thinking caps and notebooks! 

Calendar of Events 

May 8 Monthly Meeting 
Tool Sharpening with Mike Hansen 
7:30 PM Zilker Garden Center 
Refreshments by: Mack Robertson Joe Wait

May 15 Board Meeting 
7:00 PM Zilker Garden Center

May 22 Members Workshop (see pg.5) 
7:30 PM Zilker Garden Center 
Deciduous Trees with Chuck Ware

May 11-12 San Antonio Annual Show 
Lions Field, 2809 Broadway, S.A. 

May 17-19 Int'l Scholarly Symposium on Bonsai & Viewing Stones 
U.S. Nat'l Arboretum, Wash., DC 

May 17-19 Annual Austin Bon. Soc. Show 

Jun. 11 WORKSHOP WITH (see pg. 4) MARY MILLER 

Jun. 12 Lecture/Demo with (see pg. 4) Mary Miller 

Jun 27-30 ABS Symposium Milwaukee, Wi. 

Jul. 3-6 BCI 2002 Bonsai in the Sun Orlando, Fl. 

Nov 15-17 State Bonsai Convention New Braunfels, Tx.

General Meeting Minutes 

by David Gordon

The April meeting of the Austin Bonsai Society was called to order by President Candy Hansen on April 10, 2001, at 7:30 P.M. 

The regular announcements were omitted this evening so there would be more time for our speaker, Boon Manakitivipart. 

Announcements were handed out for members to read at their leisure. The announcements were as follows: 

Chuck Ware will be doing the Fourth Wednesday class on deciduous trees. 

  • In May there will be a drawing for a free LSBF convention registration from the pool of members who have paid their dues. 
  • Gloria Norberg will help members with raffle books for the convention. 
  • Del De Los Santos would like members to put flyers in nurseries about the club show in May. 

Garden Center News included: 

  • Please give Charlotte your volunteer hours. 
  • The garden center needs volunteers to work in a variety of positions.
  • The Zilker Garden Festival will be this weekend. 

The presentation for the evening was a styling of a formal upright juniper by Boon Manakitivipart. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M.

The Four Seasons by Wanda Woods

Graceful, curving limbs
Black etchings on azure skies;
Winter's bare beauty...

Tiny curls unfurl
Emerald decorations
Signaling rebirth...

Shimmering yellow,
Hot, glowing sunshine saunas;
Bathing our world gold...

Nature's artistry
Painting speckled, russet leaves;
Clinging, brittle flecks...



It will be limited to 8 PEOPLE AT $40.00 EACH AND BRING YOUR OWN TREE

This is a FABULOUS OPPORTUNITY for Everyone! (See Next Column)

She SPECIALIZES on TROPICALS but is so TALENTED, she works on everything!

SIGN UP and PAY YOUR MONEY at the next meeting or mail your money to our Treasurer!!!!

Do not wait until the last moment to get your material. Go to a BONSAI NURSERY as it has material already prepared for you to take to a workshop!!!!!!!

Mary Miller

Mary Miller has been creating and teaching bonsai for over twenty-five years. Born in Washington, DC, Mary moved to Miami, FL in the late 60s and began experimenting with bonsai using tropical plants.

For many years she owned The Bonsai Bench nursery near Homestead, FL. During those years she shipped tropical bonsai all over the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The business never fully recovered from the damage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Today the nursery is closed. Mary looks at it in a positive way and says, "I now have the much needed time to refine my personal collection."

Some of her personal favorites include buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and many of the figs (Ficus spp.) Another favorite is one she introduced to the bonsai world: Bahama Berry (Nashia inaguensis). Mary is eager to share her accumulated bonsai knowledge of tropical plants.

She was voted a life member of both the Bonsai Society of Miami and the Gold Coast Bonsai Society, Ft. Lauderdale and teaches at Fairchild Tropical Garden, Miami, FL and Miami Tropical Bonsai nursery, Goulds, FL.

Mary has been guest speaker at many clubs including the Long Island Bonsai Society, Gold Coast Bonsai Society, Lighthouse Bonsai Society, Greater Cincinnati Bonsai Society and the Detroit Bonsai Club. She gave workshops at the '96 Bonsai Societies of Florida convention, the '98 Lone Star Bonsai Federation, Houston, Texas and the Lone Star convention 2000 in Corpus Christi. Three private collectors (one in NY and two in Miami) value her bonsai talents in maintaining their personal bonsai collections.

In addition to lectures, demonstrations and workshops, Mary writes about tropicals as bonsai for Bonsai Today magazine.

Study Group

The study group in May will focus on refinement. Most bonsaiists have the tendency to pinch off the tips and look at the general outline of the tree so that over a period of time the trees get bigger and leggy. Refinement is needed to correct that situation.

We will look at deciduous trees that are ready for a good haircut after the Spring growth. This is also the last chance to do leaf defoliation if that is appropriate for your tree.

 If you are starting on your tropicals, bring those out and do some hard pruning prior to repotting.

The Club Bonsai Exhibit

The bonsai club exhibit is a very important event. Not only do club members get to show their trees, but it is a time when the club can recruit new members, raise funds for club expenses, get free publicity and community recognition, celebrate an anniversary, and educate. Good planning and a corps of reliable members will make the club exhibit fun and rewarding.

Reprinted from Diplomatic Mailbag, The BCI Ambassador's Newsletter, April 2002

Encourage anyone you know that hasn't paid their dues as yet, to do so! There is going to be a drawing at the May (yes, this meeting!) meeting for all paid members. The "prize" will be a FREE Registration to the State Bonsai Convention in November Do not worry if you have already registered, and win, you will still get the registration.

Our Annual Show is May 18 & 19, 2002

Please start deciding which trees you will show and start grooming them for that date. We will have sign-up sheets at the May meeting for you to volunteer to help!

Editor's Note: It was thought that this might be helpful being that our annual show is this month. Also, do to the length of this article, it has been condensed to fit our space.

The Art of Displaying Bonsai

by Cliff Chappell

While doing research for this paper, I was dismayed to fine, again and again, the "Paint-By-Numbers"mentality which seems so prevalent in bonsai. I will be the first to agree that there is an excellent reason behind every one of the things which the Japanese do when displaying bonsai. However, just because I agree with the principles, that does not mean that I agree with the implementations of these principles. The purpose of this paper is to explain some of the principles which need to be considered in the display of a work of art. The interplay of these principles will determine the degree of impact which your bonsai display has upon the viewer. Innovation, when implementing these principles, is to be encouraged. Simply reproducing a display which you have seen in a book, magazine or bonsai show is impossible, unless you are reproducing a reproduction. The display should be thought out to the same degree as the styling of the bonsai itself, and is no less important.

One of the first elements to be considered in the design of a bonsai display is the mood of the tree. The bonsai artist must examine his or her own feelings which are evoked by the tree. The tree will make its personality known by the way it grows and changes throughout the seasons. The tree's mood must be reflected and enhanced by the manner in which it is displayed.

The background to be used in the display is composed of three elements. Color, contrast and texture. All three of these elements are closely interconnected. If you should get one, or even two of these elements correct and fail to do so with the third, the background and the foreground will compete with each other.

All bonsai, regardless of size, should be displayed on some sort of stand, even if the stand is no more than a reed mat. The stand is as important to the bonsai as a frame is to a painting. The purpose of the stand primarily is to raise the bonsai to a proper viewing height and to give the bonsai a feeling of importance. According to tradition, the stand is made of wood, unless the bonsai is to be displayed on slab of rock. If the bonsai is styled formally, then the stand should be one of a formal design. If the bonsai is informal, then the stand should be informal in design, and so on. The stand should never be smaller or of the same size as the pot. Bamboo or reed mats should be used only with smaller and medium sized, delicate bonsai or accents and never with powerful, primary trees. The apex of the bonsai should b e above the center of the stand.

Once the major components have been decided upon, the task of properly accenting the bonsai must be addressed. This can be a complicated task and is of no less importance than any other item composing the display. These accents can be plants, driftwood, carvings, viewing stones or items meant to relate to the bonsai subject. The accent should blend in with, or gently contrast, the mood of the bonsai. The purpose of the accent is subtle and should not be a literal restatement or mirror the mood of the bonsai. Sometimes you might want to utilize a viewing stone so that an impression of the tree's distant surrounding are hinted at. Remember the mood of the tree as this will help you to determining the correct type of stone. If you are a beginner or intermediate bonsaiist, do not be afraid to show a tree which is not yet finished. No tree is ever finished, unless it is ready for the fireplace.

If your tree is not finished , then it is always as some stage of training or the other. I do not mean that you should show a tree which was in a nursery container yesterday, but if your tree has been in training six months, a year or two years, then by all means show it! You can pick out flaws in every tree. My opinion is that not enough "trees-in-training" are available for the public to view at these shows. Let's bring it down to earth and show what these bonsai look like at every stage of development.

Reprinted in part from Texas Bonsai, Summer, 1992