Newsletters · May 2017

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Roots, Shoots & Tips

Please join us, Saturday, May 13, 1-3 p.m., for a Shohin Roundup

We had previously discussed having a shohin show. To start preparations bring in your best hopes for our shohin project. There will be a group discussion on trees, pots and display possibilities. Shohin means “a small thing” and trees are considered to be shohin when under 25 cm (10’’) tall.


Last Month

Repotting Session - This was a great session for teaching new members to properly repot a tree. We repotted numerous trees and really appreciated all the cleanup help!


Welcome (back) New Member

Jerry Stelma, from Westernville. Jerry is a former member of MVBC, a ‘personal gardener’, and a friend to bonsai who rejoined at our April repotting class.


Treasurer's Report

April income: $60 ($50 member dues, $10 donation)

Expenses: $40 (International  Bonsai magazine renewal)

Current club balance: $1201.73


Reminder - Please return all borrowed club library books and magazines and sign out new ones to enjoy!


An Earth Day Essay
by Tom Martin

About 15 years ago, at an Earth Day plant sale, held at a local library, I purchased 2 small saplings which were labeled 'Japanese birch trees'. At the time I had little or no knowledge of bonsai or even trees for that matter. So, in the Earth Day spirit I dutifully planted my new mini trees in front of our house.

They grew, as birch trees do, very, very rapidly. With no exaggeration, I would guess about 2 feet each year, until they soon towered over the house! My 2 birch trees were beautiful, stately, and oh, how they shined. Pure white! They offered welcomed shade to the front patio. 

But they also had a down side. They were messy. Unsightly tiny flowers and seed required a seasonal cleanup and as the trees matured they began to draw insects which hollowed into the snowy trunks and rot quickly set in. This past winter the birches became a burden. The danger to the house, patio, and even the nearby driveway and road told us that we had to take them down. A sad day indeed. We cut the 2 trees down and stacked the white-barked logs alongside the house.

But the silver lining was that I discovered, in a pair of otherwise empty nursery pots which were inadvertently left on the front patio, dozens of tiny seedlings had taken root. I noticed them and decided to leave them there just as a memorial to the beautiful birch trees, those 2 for $5 saplings that we enjoyed for so long. All through the winter months I waited and wondered - will they survive?

They did! They were just fine and as Earth Day rolled near I decided to do something with them. Rather than just leaving them clumped together in ugly black pots I thought 'BONSAI'! I just happened to have a wonderful 'forest-style' oval bonsai pot measuring just 10"x8"x2" deep. I very meticulously plucked them by hand and tweezers and set 37 tiny seedlings into their new home. Most were an inch or less tall and had only a single thread of root. One, however, was very robust, being more than 3 inches high, with several roots and 10 leaves, soon to become branches! It must have been given Super-Thrive when no one was looking. Towering above all the others it appears to be the guardian in the forest.

I intend to bring my little birch plantings to our May meeting provided it stays healthy - just for fun. Now, what to call it - just plain '37 birches' or the more sophisticated 'Thirty-seven White Birch Terrace'? You can help me decide. And if my Spring repotting was a mistake you can all tell me that I should have simply left them alone!!! HAPPY EARTH DAY and ARBOR DAY everyone.


Other Meetings & Events

May 13-14  – Mauro Stemberger: workshop and demo

All day Saturday & Sunday starting at 9 a.m., Fee is $60

Contact Pauline Muth 518-882-1039

Mohawk Hudson Bonsai


May 26-29  – ABS / BSF Learning Seminars

ABS 50th Anniversary in Orlando, FL. Pauline Muth is co-chairing this event


May 27-28  – 44th Bonsai Exhibition & Sale

Monroe Community Hospital, Rochester, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; demos at 2 p.m. both days

Special Masterpiece Azalea Exhibit from the Goldstein Collection, Cleveland, Ohio

Suiseki display, ikebana display, large sales area,

Bonsai Society of Upstate NY   


July 8-9 Bonsai Summer Camp!

This a fun weekend that will give you time to work on present bonsai in your collection or start a new one or two.  Work in the presence of like-minded bonsai friends during the day and relax and share good times Saturday evening.

Camp works 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day with dinner & evening camp fire Saturday night

Registration is $120, which includes food (2 lunches and 1 dinner, plus simple breakfasts if camping overnight) and the camp shirt. 

PFM Bonsai 7 Western Ave, West Charlton, NY 12010  Pauline Muth 518-882-1039


Our upcoming meetings

June 10 - Wiring trees 101: Always needed for the new members and everyone else. Also, we will discuss preparation for club exhibition.

Full schedule >>