Post-37th REBS Bonsai Show

Over 1,100 visitors were counted as attending the 37th REBS Bonsai Show over the weekend of August 26 and 27, 2023, at the Rohnert Park Community Center, Rohnert Park, California. Ryan Neil performed two morning workshops, daily demonstrations and a post-show critique of the exhibit trees. Ryan’s performance was superb! His demonstrations on yamadori Mendocino pygmy cypress and shore pine were both informative and entertaining to full crowds.

REBS will be pressed to outdo the bonsai show in 2024!

The exhibit trees were photographed by David Campbell and George Haas early Saturday morning using what light was available in the exhibit hall. All exhibit tree photos have been posted to the REBS website under the menu title GALLERY 2023 REBS Bonsai Show for your viewing.

San Jose Juniper exhibited by Bob Shimon

Kathy Shaner, Sensei

On August 20, 2022, Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) members said thank you and farewell best wishes to Kathy Shaner, our beloved club Sensei of more than 20 years. Kathy is in the process of moving to a home waiting for her in Alabama.

Kathy is internationally known as a Master Bonsai professional, who apprenticed under the contemporary Bonsai Master Yasuo Mitsuya in Japan and became the first non-Japanese citizen and the first woman to be certified as a professional Bonsai artist and instructor by the Nippon Bonsai Association of Japan. She has been a devoted Bonsai practitioner for over 30 years.

She is leaving behind an era of Bonsai teaching and community service. She was the club’s Sensei to REBS members and the driving force in making the club well known for its August Annual Bonsai Show. Once an exhibition of more than 200 bonsai displays and the largest club show in the US for many years. Kathy with the help of REBS members ensured we had quality Bonsai displays. There were large, medium and small Shohin Bonsai trees all artfully displayed. For years the August Annual Show at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building was the single Bonsai event, and Bonsai enthusiasts from around the country came to take part in the activities; see large Bonsai displays, shop in the major vendor area and member sales, see Kathy’s demonstrations with demo tree raffles, bid on silent auctions, and enjoy Bonsai Café refreshments.

Kathy performed expert demonstrations and taught REBS members advanced techniques six to seven times a year. She also served as the curator for the Golden State Bonsai Federation Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. She trained associate curator volunteers who care for and maintain the collection trees. In addition, Kathy performed demonstrations and advanced workshops for other clubs  and individuals located in the greater San Francisco, South, East, and North Bay Areas. She has travelled throughout the US providing Bonsai instruction to individuals and clubs. Kathy often performed as a headliner to regional conventions and seminars.

Kathy is kind and generous in welcoming new students of Bonsai. She teaches all levels of Bonsai – beginning, intermediate and advanced. It is well acknowledged that the best way to learn Bonsai is to join a local Bonsai club. In 2004, a dear friend introduced me to Bonsai to take up as a hobby in retirement. I visited REBS in September of that year and observed Kathy perform a demonstration. I was so impressed with her passion and confidence in teaching Bonsai skills, I decided to join REBS that evening. She has been my top-tier instructor ever since.

And, so REBS members thought it was most appropriate to take part in a “thank you” dinner and wish her well, hoping she will find the time to return to Northern California, her second home, for a visit.

George Haas

2020 REBS (Virtual) Show

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on in person gatherings, the REBS annual August 2020 Show was cancelled. The following back yard images are member bonsai. These bonsai are representative of the trees that would have been shown in the annual show.

Tiger Bark Ficus
Ficus microcarpa 
In training: 15 years
Olea europaea
In training: 5 years
Korean Hornbeam
Carpinus coreana
In training: 25 years
Ginkgo biloba 
10 years in training
10 years in training
California pepper
Schinus molle
60 years in training
Corkbark Elm
Ulmus parvifolia ‘Cork Bark’
20 years in training
5 years in training
Garden Juniper
Juniperus procumbens nana
20 years in training
Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum
20 years in training
5 years in training
Coastal Redwood Grove
Sequoia sempervirens
20 Years in training

Trident maple
Acer buergerianum
12 years in training
Crab Apple
Kusamono Accent Plant

Trident Maple
Acer buergeranum
22 years in training
Dwarf Pomegranate
Punica granatum nana
5 years in training
Coastal Redwood
Sequoia sempervirens
25 years in training
Contorted Hawthorn
Crataegus monogyna ‘Snakethorn’
4 years in training
Fern Accent Plant
Chinese Elm
Ulmus chinensis parvifolia
9 years in training
San Jose Juniper
Juniperus chinensis ‘San Jose’
25 years in training
Pygmy Cypress
Cupressus pygmaea
10 years in training
Cork Bark Oak
Quercus suber
In training for 36 years
San Jose Juniper
Juniperus chinensis ‘San Jose’
In training 27 years
In training 32 years
Utah Juniper
Juniperus osteosperma
In training 36 years
Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum
In training 47 years
Sierra Juniper
Juniperus occidentalis
In training 31 years
Grass Accent Plant
Japanese Black Pine
Pinus thunbergiana
40 years
Japanese Maple Kiyo Hime
Acer palmatum ‘Kiyo Hime’
40 years
Olea europaea
8 years in training
California Coast Live Oak
Quercus agrifolia
Burning Bush
10 years in training
Japanese Maple Laceleaf
Acer palmatum var. dissectum
12 years in training

A special thank you to the REBS members who contributed their bonsai images above.

Craig Thompson
Michael Murtaugh
Bob Shimon
Gene Lynch
Garth Gordon Hoka
Nancy Schramm
Ivan Luckrich
Alan Murakami
George Haas

Next year’s annual show hopefully will be the fourth weekend, 28 & 29 August 2021 at the Veteran’s Memorial Building, Santa Rosa, California.

Blast from the past!

The Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS) created its first Annual Bonsai Show at the Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Rosa, California on October 21, 1984, featuring a then Club Sensei Mas Imazumi demonstration, raffle, door prizes, and no admission fee.

That first bonsai exhibition may have been displaying a small quantity of bonsai and lasting only six hours in duration. By the next year, the annual show was expanded to seven hours and featured a similar demonstration, general raffle, special raffle, plants for sale, and refreshments.

Ever since that very first bonsai show, there have been other features added, including the additional day, Sunday. A large vendors area is well stocked, where one can buy bonsai, pre-bonsai, pots, stands, suiseki, books, tools, and other bonsai related items, plus accent plants. The large members sale area offers a wide variety of bonsai, pre-bonsai, stands, pots, and more. There is the Bonsai Café that offers refreshments. There are quality bonsai, bonsai related items, wine, and other donated gifts for silent auction or “Buy It Now”.

As the club membership grew, so did the annual show. Now in its 34th year, the annual show has expanded to become the largest, single club sponsored bonsai exhibition in the US.

The 34th REBS Annual Show will take place on August 26 and 27, 2017 and features the renown, certified Master Bonsai Artist and Instructor Kathy Shaner, as Club Sensei and demonstrator. The Veterans Memorial Building main hall currently exhibits more than 200 bonsai. There are additional Shohin (bonsai less than eight inches tall) on display, as well as Suiseki (viewing stones).

Kathy Shaner will demonstrate bonsai advanced techniques on quality material, both days, from 1-3pm. Demonstration material will be raffled upon completion of each demonstration.