The Enmanji Buddhist Temple in Sebastopol, California, celebrated its 64th annual teriyaki BBQ and bazaar on Sunday, July 8, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with their delicious teriyaki BBQ chicken dinner plate, bonsai display, exhibits, plant sales, handicrafts, and raffle. There were performances on the outdoor stage of taiko drums, martial arts, folk dance and music, flute and guitar music. More than 3,000 chicken dinner plates were purchased by the visitors in attendance and take out crowd. The bonsai display was set up by Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) members Art Kopecky with the help of Wayne Culp, Chris Garret, George Haas, Jim McGlashan, Michael Murtaugh, Janet Price, and Mary Alice Wilson. A variety of bonsai species were on display. REBS brochures and postcards for the 35th Annual Bonsai Show were handed out generously to the visitors. REBS members demonstrated bonsai techniques by working on individual bonsai.
Michael Murtaugh working on pruning and thinning a Chinese elm bonsai.
Our latest meeting and demonstration occurred on June 26, 2018, Tuesday evening, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, Santa Rosa, California, featuring Bill Castellon. Bill is a landscaper and aesthetic tree pruner by profession, and bonsai artist and instructor as well. He brought with him four Japanese black pine (JBP) trees, one Shohin just recently worked on by cutting the candles and removing some of the old needles, one demonstration Bunjin JBP and two other JBP starter trees. Bill first passed out a couple of articles published by International Bonsai describing Bunjin or Literati bonsai and depicting a number of examples of trees styled in the form of Bunjin (Literati).
What is Bunjin or Literati bonsai? “Bunjin or Literati bonsai is an “approach” or “interpretation” within bonsai and not a specific style in and of itself. It is somewhat difficult to describe.”1
Bill pointed out that his Bunjin JBP demonstration tree has a slim trunk, slow taper, small branches of foliage, and apex. There is a lot of movement in the trunk and shape of the branches. The Bunjin bonsai invokes emotions in the viewer of wind, awkwardness, unbalance, and struggle. The design is a deliberate effort to move away from other bonsai styles, such as the usual JBP triangular style. The Bunjin or Literati bonsai is interesting by itself or displayed with other bonsai styles and accent plants.
Bill would demonstrate work required for the JBP Bunjin bonsai in this region from June 15 through July 1. He cut at the base every candle grown this season. This is done to maintain balance in the needles and keep the needles and internodes small. The trunk is slim and the tree on the small size, and so having small needles appear in proper proportion. Bill described several techniques for cutting and removing the new candles. However, he practices cutting at the base, all in one day, and then removing last year’s needles. This is done only if the tree is strong and healthy. Only seven or eight needle pairs at the top are left alone at the cut candle site. More needles can be left on at the bottom of the tree, which is weaker than the top of the tree. In cooler weather conditions, the candle cutting is done earlier than the above dates. Waiting too long to cut the candles can be hard and stressful for the tree. After about four to six weeks, new candle buds will begin to show. New candle buds will appear in two, three or four at the base or cut site. In the fall (October) a decision must be made to reduce these new candle buds to two. At this time, the older needles are removed.
Bill discussed the type of pot for use with Bunjin or Literati bonsai. The pot should be small and rustic as found in the Nanban styled pots. He believed a deeper pot than the one used with the demonstration tree would be better suited for the JBP tree’s roots. The small pot lends to the appearance and display of Bunjin bonsai. It appears awkward and almost ready to fall over.
After cutting the candles, Bill moved on to wiring the branches of the demonstration tree. He reduced some of the branches and foliage where it appeared too dense or full. Bill said he preferred to use the smaller size branches over the large ones. Some small branches would need to grow stronger for wiring and for taking over in place of the larger branches. But, for now he left some of the larger branches alone. Bill wired the branches and set them in place. He created movement in the wired branches and created an apex branch. When he was finished, the demonstration JBP tree was slim, slow tapered and with plenty of branches. He estimated the age of the demonstration tree at 15 years based on the start of some barking at the base of the trunk.
Bill then moved on to the two other JBP trees in four-inch nursery containers. These trees were being grown from seed for Shohin, bonsai with a maximum height of eight inches. The trees have large new seasonal growth and branches for growing a large trunk base similar to Bill’s Shohin JBP example. He cut some of the large candles but left alone one or two largest candles to be used for growing the trunk base diameter. He suggested placing the two JBP trees in terra cotta pots slightly larger than the plastic four-inch nursery containers and using a bonsai soil mix.
All three JBP demonstration trees were raffled and won by club members – Mike Nelson, Wayne Culp and Paul Wycoff.
1 – Literati or Bunjin Bonsai, by Bonsai Learning Center, February 24, 2016.
The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) of Santa Rosa, California, cordially invites you to join us to celebrate the 35th year for the exhibition of Japanese living art of bonsai held on August 25 and 26, 2018. The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society was founded in 1981 by a small group of bonsai enthusiasts in Sonoma County. The first exhibition may have been the displaying of 45 bonsai but has since grown to more than 200. We have been displaying bonsai at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., in Santa Rosa, now for 35 years. The exhibition is the largest in the US of its kind. Our mission is to teach and promote the living art of bonsai. Our Sensei Kathy Shaner has been involved in bonsai for over 30 years. She was trained in Japan under the apprenticeship of Bonsai Master Yasuo Mitsuya and became the first woman and non-Japanese citizen to be certified by the Nippon Bonsai Association as a professional bonsai artist and instructor. The exhibition will be open on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Demonstrations by Kathy Shaner will be held from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m., both days.
On May 22, 2018, our monthly general meeting and demonstration featured Eric Schrader of the Bonsai Society of San Francisco (BSSF). Eric demonstrated on Zelkova (Zelkova serrata), or Japanese Zelkova. This Zelkova, originally from Japan and China, is related to the Ulmus genus, which is the genus of the European and American elms. 1
Eric gave a brief bio of his interest in bonsai, starting with a visit to the bonsai displayed at the San Francisco Cow Palace Flower Show in 2001.
Eric brought to the demonstration a Zelkova bonsai, broom style, about 10 inches in height, for an example. He said Zelkova is a deciduous, known for its fall color and ramification or twigginess. Broom style is the most common bonsai style for the Zelkova due to its ability to create ramification. Eric also brought in a wooden box containing about 50 or more Zelkova plants from seed. In addition, he brought in a tall, broom style Zelkova to demo and raffle off upon completion of his demonstration.
Fig 1 depicts a single Zelkova sapling from the wooden box of plantings from seed. By cutting the trunk, branches form as well as secondary branches. Fig 4 shows budding from the cutting of the trunk. Eric said to tape around the trunk just below the buddings to prevent callus roll. The soft tissue that forms over the cut plant surface, leading to healing. Select from the buds the primary branch development desired. Fig 3 depicts how the demo tree was developed with primary branches and secondary branches. Eric said wiring Zelkova is avoided due to the ramification and twigginess nature of the secondary branching. Fig 2 shows an alternative wiring technique of wrapping the wire with a number of secondary branches in an upward direction.
Shaping is done by cutting the terminal tips of the secondary branches. The cutting should take on the broom style.
1 Bonsai Empire
Fig 1 thru 4
Eric holding up his Zelkova bonsai
Eric shaping Zelkova saplings
Eric’s Zelkova bonsai example
Here, Eric is working on the Zelkova demo tree
Eric applies some loosely fitting wire as depicted in Fig 2 above
Eric is calling off the winning raffle ticket number for the Zelkova demo tree
Class will be held on two evenings, May 24 and May 31, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Location is at the Bennett Valley Senior Center, 704 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, California.
Club will provide bonsai information, a tree, use of bonsai tools and wire for tree styling.
Cost is $80 which helps to pay for the tree and room rental.
If you are still interested please mail a check made out to REBS (Redwood Empire Bonsai Society) to reserve a spot.
Mailing address is:
4595 Mt. Taylor Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Give me a call if you have any questions.
Ivan Lukrich 707-527-0795