Redwood Demonstration by Sensei Kathy Shaner

On August 28, 2018, our Club Sensei Kathy Shaner performed a demonstration on a collected California Coastal Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). The demonstration redwood tree was collected about three years ago by Bob Shimon of Mendocino Coast Bonsai. The redwood was at the smaller end of the classification of Chiu or Chumono, two-handed bonsai, 16 to 36 inches in height. Its trunk was thick and somewhat slanted with top heavy healthy green foliage.

Let me digress for a moment and explain more details about the demonstration tree. There were two trees offered for demonstration. In addition to the redwood, there was a Procumbens Nana Juniper (also known as common juniper or Japanese Garden juniper). The club members voted to have the redwood serve as the demonstration tree for the evening.

Kathy started the demonstration by pointing out what we should be looking for in a bonsai. That being the best focal point or item of interest within the tree. She believed that the redwood demonstration tree could be developed into a multiple trunk bonsai. She began by working the surface soil, removing the soil to expose surface roots and discover what was the extension of the trunk base, referred to as the nebari. The widest part of the trunk base or nebari is oftentimes used for the front view. The nebari is found under the surface.

There were pieces of deadwood near the trunk base that showed tool cut marks. Kathy worked on eliminating the tool cut marks by using pliers and branch cutters to “cut and tear” the straight tool mark edges. Some of these pieces of deadwood became jins. A jin is a branch that is deadwood or created as deadwood and can appear almost anywhere on the tree. Jins are short since deadwood rots and breaks off over time in nature.
Kathy then discussed styling the redwood tree. She wanted to angle the tree by tilting it upward and forward towards the viewer looking at the front. She said perception is very important here. With the redwood tilted towards the viewer the tree appeared and felt like the tallness of redwood trees in nature.
Kathy explained the difference of jins versus shari. A jin was described above. Shari is deadwood created in nature or by the bonsai artist along the trunk of the tree. She reduced the thickness of several deadwood trunks by stripping the bark using the “cut and tear” method. By doing so, this strengthened the primary trunk in size and appearance. She said the styling of the demonstration redwood would have multiple tops by wiring three branches upward, each having its own height, one being the apex or taller than the others.


She used copper wire for its strength and holding power. Kathy’s wiring was loosely wrapped around the branches to create movement and hold them in place. She would wrap the wire in an elongated manner and not close together like a spring. She chose to have three apexes, each wired closely together and which would have similar growth patterns. By wiring loosely, she would avoid having the copper cut into the bark of the branches. The wire could stay on for about one year and would set the branches in the desired position. Wire cuts are ugly and require vigil to avoid them.


New growth on redwoods should be popped off at the very tips of the branches in order to prevent them from becoming long and leggy. Using you fingers, you pop off the tiny middle section of the new growth tips. This should be done throughout the growing season.


Kathy advised that the demonstration redwood tree should be placed in the shade until it becomes adjusted to its new location. Light morning sun and afternoon shade is the best condition for the young branches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upon completion of the demonstration, Peter Naughton won the raffle for the redwood bonsai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35th Redwood Empire Bonsai Society Annual Bonsai Show

During the recent Redwood Empire Bonsai Society’s 35th Annual Bonsai Show, August 25 and 26, 2018, held at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, Master Bonsai Artist and Club Sensei Kathy Shaner performed two demonstrations – a collected Sierra juniper on Saturday and a Procumbens juniper on Sunday, from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Let’s look more closely at the Sunday’s performance on the Procumbens juniper (also known as Japanese Garden juniper or Common juniper).

The demo tree was a healthy green and full of foliage. There were several primary branches. Kathy first dug into the surface soil to discover the nebari girth (strength of the surface roots and trunk base). She removed some of the length in the foliage to give a better look at the movement of the trunk.

By removing the dense foliage, one could see the strength and interesting movement of the trunk.

 

Kathy cautioned about removing too much of the foliage in the initial styling. Here the apex appears as a rounded mass of foliage at the top. The primary side branch is left alone for the time being to protect the health of the tree.

 

 

 

 

 

After a bit more styling, it is time to raffle the tree. Kathy and Raffle Chair Wayne Culp build on the excitement in selecting the winning raffle ticket.

Club member Jim Scholz was rewarded for buying the raffle tickets by adding the Procumbens juniper to his bonsai collection.

Congratulations, Jim.

 

Beginners’ Workshop

Thursday evening, September 20, 2018
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

In this class, taught by senior club instructors, you will learn practical, hands-on techniques for development, styling, care, and maintenance of bonsai. One tree and wire will be provided and students will have styled and wired a tree at the end of the class.

The cost of $75 includes tree and supplies.

Reservations for the beginners’ workshop are required – limit 12 students.

No refunds for missed class.

Please send your check to Redwood Empire Bonsai Society, PO Box 2872, Santa Rosa, CA 95404-2872, by September 10, 2018. For further information, contact Ivan Lukrich at (707) 527-0795.

Class location: Franklin Park Clubhouse, 2095 Franklin Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404.

 

 

 

Demonstration by Bill Castellon – Japanese Black Pine Bunjin

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.

Bill Castellon begins his demonstration discussing what is Bunjin bonsai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill begins working on the demonstration JBP Bunjin bonsai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here Bill is adding wire to some of the larger branches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill is pointing out the smaller branches at the base of the starter JBP trunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill has removed large candles, leaving two to develop the base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill is posing with his 28-year old Shohin JBP bonsai after it was decandled and needles pulled recently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Nelson won the demonstration JBP Bunjin bonsai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wayne Culp won one of the JBP starter trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Wycoff won one of the JBP starter trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Schrader – Demonstration on Zelkova

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

Paul Wycoff won the Zelkova demo tree