April 2018 Newsletter



April 2018 Newsletter

Richmond Bonsai Society 2016 – 2018 Officers
President: Ron Edwards  Vice President: Jon Warkentin Treasurer: Jack Frye  Secretary: Thomas Sones
Board Members At Large: Betty Lou Lages

Regular Meetings, unless otherwise noted, are held the 4th Monday of every month at 7 pm in the Community Room at St. Mary’s Woods, 1257 Marywood Ln., Richmond VA, 23229.

Contact us at info@richmondbonsaisociety.org  or visit us at www.richmondbonsaisociety.org or on Facebook.

Bonsai information, common questions and answers, monthly growing advice, and bonsai links can be found on our website.

RBS 2018 dues are $25 per person or $30 per family, which includes PBA membership. Membership and registration for workshops and other events can now be made via our webpage.

In this issue…

Secretary’s Message by Thomas Sones

Spring. It comes. It goes. It comes again. Then some snow… who knows what’s next. Welcome to Virginia. It has been interesting watching how things reacted to the very warm February and then the cold March and April. My early trees were really early, and I am still waiting on some of my late trees. Last year, my wisteria blossoms froze off. This year, it was my ginkgo blossoms that froze off. Other than that, and some seedlings that didn’t make it through the winter, my trees seem to be taking this weather in stride better than I am.

RBS is off to a great start this spring with a string of events and we have even more planned. Please see the calendar below and the descriptions, and we hope to see you soon. Don’t forget that we will have our Annual Picnic and Auction, and Bi-Annual Officer election in May, so don’t miss that.

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Calendar of Bonsai Events:

Richmond Bonsai Society Events
Apr. 23         Regular Meeting- Re-potting Workshop
Apr. 28         RBS at Maymont’s Herbs Galore & More
May 15         Intermeidate/ Advanced BYOT Workshop with Mauro Stemberger
May 20         RBS Picnic and Auction, and Officer Election. BYRD PARK
June 8-10     PBA Spring Bonsai Festival

Other Organizations:

April 13-22      Ikebaba Exhibit: National Arboretum
April 28-28     Bonsai Basics with Junipers- FONA/NBF,  National Arboretum
May 5-6           Bonsai Basics with Junipers- FONA/NBF,  National Arboretum
May 12-13       World Bonsai Day Celebration with guest Juan Andrade, National Arboretum
May 25-27       Brussel’s Bonsai Rendez-Vous
June 16            Maryland Bonisai Society Auciton, Behnke’s Nursery

PBA Study Groups at the Arboretum
The Potomac Bonsai Association (member through RBS) is planning 2018 study groups led by Owen Reich and Jack Sustic. If you are interested in taking advantage of one of these study groups, contact LeAnn Duling, PBA President, at ellaroo2@gmail.com.

Owen Reich’s Group A : April 7, May 26, July 7, September 22, and November 3
Owen Reich’s Group B: March 17, June 2, July 28, September 29, and November 17
Jack Sustic’s Group A: March 18, June 3, July 29, September 30, and November 18 
Jack Sustic’s Group B: March 17, June 2, July28, September 29, and November 17

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Recent Activity Reports

In the past month, RBS has had many successful activities including our February meeting to finish landscape plantings, a beginner workshop with 30 new friends, and a workshop and March meeting styling demo with Frank Mahalic. Everything has been a lot of fun and we than everyone for participating.


Upcoming Event Details

April 23- Regular Meeting- Re-potting Workshop, 7 pm 

Come learn the how, when, why, and what of re-potting bonsai trees and bring something to re-pot or help others while learning to do it yourself. Members should bring their own materials and tools, as well as soil to re-pot trees as needed, in addition to containers and cleaning materials. Experienced members will be around to assist as needed. This meeting will be at 7:00 P. M. in the Community Room at St Mary’s Woods, 1257 Marywood LaneRichmond,VA 23229.

April 28 RBS at Maymont’s Herbs Galore & More

In an effort to attract new members, RBS will have a display table and will selling starter trees at Maymont’s Herbs, Galore & More event. There will be 65 vendors there selling plants, farm produce and other items. Entry into the event is $5. Please stop by our table if you are interested in bonsai or have questions. A few RBS members will be needed as volunteers throughout the day. If you can volunteer for part or all of the event, please let Thomas know.

May 15 Intermediate/Advanced BYOT Workshop with Mauro Stemberger, 9 AM to 4 PM

This workshop is for intermediate and advanced practitioners. Limited participants (8-10). Beginners are welcome to watch for free, but should not register as a participant. The workshop will take place at the Great Big Green House. You will need to bring your own trees to work on with Mauro. Registration is $85 via our membership and registration page. NOTE: Stemberger’s Web site is http://www.italianbonsaidream.com/ and FB page is https://www.facebook.com/Mauro-Stemberger-Italian-Bonsai-Dream-305593162806954/ 

May 20 RBS Picnic, Auction, and officer Election. 3 PM BYRD PARK

This event is a great way to find bonsai plants, pots, tools, and other supplies for a great price. RBS will supply the main dish (BBQ Sandwiches), ice, drinks, paper goods, and utensils. Members should bring a side dish or dessert to share. The picnic and auction will be held at the BYRD PARK Carillon Shelter , which is near Barker Field and the Toll Booth.

You must be a current RBS or PBA member to sell or bid on items at the auction (but you can join that day). Auction items should arrive from 2-3 pm, we’ll eat at 3 pm, and the auction will begin about 3:30.  A minimum 20% from each sale is donated automatically to the club, but you keep the rest of the sales. Typically, members bring 3-5 items each to sell. If you have more than that, consider grouping them into lots.

Please note, this event will serve as our regular meeting for the month of May. There will be no meeting on May 28.

2018-2020 RBS Officer Elections.

In addition to our picnic and auction, we will be electing RBS officers for the 2018-2020 term. Anyone interested in running for office (President, Vice-President, Secretary, or Treasurer) or Board of Director Member at Large should contact Ron or Randi ASAP.

June 8-10       PBA Spring Bonsai Festival 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Join RBS and our Sister Clubs in the Potomac Bonsai Association us for our annual bonsai festival which features something for everyone.  Activities include workshops, demonstrations, special exhibits, and vendors. Members can enter trees in the Member Bonsai Show. Please see Thomas if you are interested. The festival is at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Washington, D.C.  

In addition, PBA is looking for Volunteers. Volunteer Sign-Up is on the RBS Website Event page here.

Article: Beaver Beech Bonsai  by Aaron Stratten

This article reproduced with permission from Bonsai Iterate~ Adventures of a 20 Year Bonsai Beginner , Sunday, April 15, 2018.

Triple B!

“What the heck is beaver beech bonsai?” you ask. It’s the tree I collected this morning!

That tangle of gray branches in the center of the image, above, is an American beech tree, Fagus grandifolia, that has been prepared for me by the friendly neighborhood beaver. At some point a number of years ago, beaver cut down a young beech tree, and that tree sent out new shoots in all directions. By the looks of it, the beaver have returned a few times to do some maintenance pruning. Wait til you get a better look!

You can already see, in the photo at top, the ring I cut around the tree. When I am unable to cut through with my shovel, I dig around with a big root hook to remove stones and expose large roots that need to be cut with loppers.

In all, it didn’t take very long to remove this tree, no doubt because part of the circumference — the part facing the water — was already free.

Back at home, I prepared a box that would hold the root mass, cleaned off the native soil, and got it secured in the box with a fast draining soil mix.

Not a bad design, considering it was designed by a rodent!

I will do nothing to this but encourage recovery and growth for at least a year. I am excited to see what I can make of it in the future!


Aaron Stratten is a Member of the Northern Virginia Bonsai Society and his blog is called Bonsai Iterate~ Adventures of a 20-Year Bonsai Beginner. 

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Other Announcements and information

Donate a Book or Magazine: RBS maintains a lending library available to members. The lending selection includes many magazines, books, and some videos. If you have books or magazines that you no longer enjoy, please donate them to the club.

For sale:

Mixed Bonsai Soil -regular and shohin soil (fine) 5 gal bags. Call Lee (804-869-1257) to place a special order.

Pumice (as a planting medium). Randi has pumice in two sizes, 3/8 and 5/16. Both sizes are priced the same, a 79 pound bag is $93 otherwise the pumice is sold at $1.25 per pound. Contact her for orders. randiheise@yahoo.com

Notice: RBS mails printed newsletters upon request. We encourage members to update their member records and switch to electronic versions of the newsletter when possible. If you receive a printed version, but would prefer electronic, please inform the club secretary or reply to this mailing.

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