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
Here are some of the members who contribute significantly to the Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) and make extraordinary efforts to make club operations and programs run smoothly throughout the year.
On April 24, 2018, our monthly general meeting and demonstration featured Club Sensei Kathy Shaner. Kathy demonstrated on a Prostrata juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) (also known as a creeping juniper).
She started the demo with the question everyone of us should ask ourselves before working on a tree, and that is “What is interesting about this tree?” Kathy then described the movement of the trunk and potential flow or direction of the foliage. The trunk was somewhat narrow with a slight taper towards the top of the tree. The direction was clear and the foliage would be styled to flow in the that direction. This, of course, meant some of the foliage at the top would have to be removed as it appeared to flow in two and opposite directions. Kathy said the juniper lend itself to the bunjin or literati style of bonsai.
By nature, this style of tree can be located in dense forests where competition is restricting and the tree can only struggle to survive by growing upward and taller than the other trees. The trunk is bent and without branches due to the sun reaching only the very top of the tree. The style of bonsai is to demonstrate its struggle to survive.
Kathy pointed out that the demo tree had too much foliage and it covered the trunk and obstructed the view of the trunk’s movement. She would remove the lower foliage and branches. When cutting the branches, she left only small stubs for jins. She described jins as deadwood and cautioned about making jins too long. When dead branches occur in nature they can be long at first, but eventually in time the deadwood breaks off. So, short jins show age.
She moved quickly to cut off and eliminate the foliage and branches at the top of the tree that were in the opposite flow or direction of the trunk. She wasn’t concerned about selecting a front view until this point where sufficient unwanted foliage and branches were eliminated and the trunk was fully exposed to the viewer. In selecting the front view, Kathy turned the tree around several times to view the complete trunk and its movement. There were some exposed roots at the base of the trunk and Kathy said these roots can be worked on a later time. She was interested in finding a front view where the movement of the trunk was most interesting.
Kathy having decided on the front view of the tree proceeded on wiring the first branch and other major branches. She explained that her wiring was loose so that as the tree grew the wire would not cut into the bark. Wiring too tight would require removing the wire before the branches had time to set in place. She would next have to bend the branches slightly upward at first and then down. Placing movement side to side in the branches gave it more interest. Kathy would make small, slight bends first. She said to massage the branch in order to make it more flexible and less of a chance of breaking under the stress of bending. Kathy cautioned about wire spacing and suggested wiring not in close or tight wraps but rather elongated wraps for better control. Note that some bonsai books suggest wiring in 45-degree wraps around the branch, but this and tighter wraps only acts like a spring. It is better to elongate to 55 to 60-degree wraps.
A major branch cracked during the bending process. Kathy used Parafilm product to wrap the slightly broken branch. Parafilm® M film for lab, floral, produce and nursery applications and Floratape® stem wrap for florists. The Parafilm tape will seal in moisture and help the healing process.
Kathy created some jins on branches removed from the top of the tree and again stated that the jins should be short and not long and dangling deadwood. Jins shouldn’t be rounded off and pointed but rather broken off for the appearance of age.
She cut the terminal tips of the foliage to green up close in to the trunk. This would cause back budding near the interior of the foliage.
The demonstration tree was transformed into a bunjin or literati style bonsai. The movement of the trunk was clearly in view and the foliage was mostly at the top and flowing in the same direction as the trunk.
Kathy said shari or deadwood feature could eventually be carved narrowly along the trunk to give the juniper even more age appearance. She suggested an oval or round bonsai pot for the styled tree. The bunjin or literati styled bonsai should give the viewer the feeling of being off balance and on the verge of tipping over.
A raffle for the demonstration tree was taken and longtime member Ivan Lukrich won the tree.
REBS Club will be hosting a beginners class in May 2018. There are two options to having the beginners class, i.e. two midweek evenings or one weekend day. Locations would be at a senior center or private home of one our club members. Tools, wire and trees will be provided for a small fee. Lead instructor is Ivan Lukrich, a senior club member and long time bonsai instructor.
Details are still TBD. However, we need everyone interested in participating to RSVP at the soonest date. RSVP’s can be made by contacting Ivan directly by phone 707-527-0795 or through email at Lukrich@sonic.net.
The beginners class will cover a brief introduction to bonsai basics, use of tools and creating bonsai. This opportunity comes once a year at REBS. Class size is limited so we will form the class on a first come first served basis.
REBS annual bonsai show is in its 35th year at the Veterans Memorial Building, Santa Rosa, California