Newsletters · February 2016

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Roots, Shoots & Tips


Let’s start out with a round of applause to all who attended our January calendar planning session. The weather cooperated and the turnout was impressive. Diane Stebbins stopped in before heading out of town for a family event. Stalwarts in attendance included president Art Doremus, secretary/treasurer Tom Martin, club librarian Nancy Knapp, Fran Hnat, Doug Whitfield, Yasuko Brunner, and Carl Hoffner. Newer members included Deverie Hunt (with Tyler, Christian and Julian), and Kristen Kratzert along with a guest Tom Martin. Yes – another Thomas A. Martin. I just had to work that in. WELCOME Tom. We hope you will come back for some of our more interesting programs, and perhaps join the fun.

A little news from members – Bill Jones is recovering well and is home from the Saratoga Hospital. Wife Alyson reports that Bill “is being bossy around the house and must be feeling better.” We all wish Bill a restful recovery. Cathy Brown has returned from her winter bonsai tour in Japan with bonsai superstar Bjorn Bjorholm and a group of 19. She is now trying to get her body and mind back in shape. We’ll hear more about this in the near future. 

OK – now down to business.We had asked our members to suggest ideas for 2016 programs and suggest they did. Carl Hoffner took a leadership role and we will be using his work as a blueprint along with some additional offerings. Here is our calendar of programs and events. Some are tentative and further details will emerge as time goes by.


March 12 – workshop on Clump Style Bonsai using seedlings from William Valavanis. We have chosen European Beech. A good quantity has been ordered so that participants can choose to use 3, 5, 7, 9 (or 11) in their project. These seedlings cost $4 each but the club will pay $2 and the members the other half of the cost. More specific info on soil requirements and recommended container size and style will be provided in the March newsletter. Club wire and mesh for the drainage holes will be provided. Any seedlings left over will be available for purchase ($2 each). They might be nice to have for replacement for any that might die off in your clump bonsai.

April 9 – Root pruning and re-potting workshop. Club soil, wire and mesh provided.

May 14 – Demonstration on air-layering. Watch for details.

June 11 – All day shohin bonsai demo and workshop with Mark Arpag from Rochester and the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York. A morning demonstration on creating shohin with an afternoon workshop with trees for sale by Mark or you can bring your own appropriate trees for Mark to assist you with. Shohin are those no more than 10 inches in height. Carl Hoffner has proposed that all club members create one or more shohin over the next few years in order that the whole group can soon participate in an exhibition in future shows. We hope that Mark will also have some time to talk to us about shohin display. Much more detailed information on the special program (costs and participation limitations) will soon follow.

July 2-3 – our club show at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. More info will follow.

July 9 – annual club picnic and auction – AND work on trees.

August 13 – Bill Jones will lead a workshop on windswept style bonsai using Shimpaku juniper. Bill will provide the trees at a cost of $20 each. Watch for more info.

September 10 – Field-trip to the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester. We are planning to get our group to attend together in order to get a ‘tour guide’ who will provide a private critique on the main display. Admission is $15. There is a vast vendor area and plenty to see and inspire. The exhibit is open on Sunday as well. Mark Arpag has offered our club his critique services if we can provide specific times when he is available. He is a very busy worker at this event. More info will follow.

October 8 and November 12 will be set aside for Open Workshops. We cannot neglect to set aside time for working on our trees. Throughout the year we want to consider taking time, perhaps for an additional hour after other programs, to work on trees, practice the art of wiring, pruning and styling our trees. And we need to keep ‘business time’ and socializing to a minimum so as to devote as much time as we can to the trees.

December 10 – annual holiday luncheon and auction.


New member Matt VanDeusen has requested that we do a tree collecting hunt. This is a springtime event that can be conducted extra-curricular and is limited to youthful hardy souls. We will try to help arrange with interested parties.

Kristen Kratzert would like to have some kind of bonsai program for her friend at a local assisted living facility. We will find a way!!