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HANDBOOK Published by Kawa bonsai Society, PO Box 11861, Daytona Beach, FL 32120

A Letter to a Member2
KBS, A Time Line (History)4
Regular Meeting Program Topics6
Basic Bonsai Design Considerations7
What Makes a Good Bonsai8
Bonsai Terminology9
Plants Which Don’t Do Well in the Daytona Area10
Bonsai Cold Hardiness1
Plant Salt Tolerance12
Bonsai Annual Care Calendar13
Bonsai Information on the Internet15

INDEX Copyright' Kawa Bonsai Society Daytona Beach, FL 1999

BONSAI SOCIETY A Letter to a Member

Dear Member,

Kawa Bonsai Society is pleased to have you as a member. We have been a club since 1980, and with your involvement, we look forward to a healthy future. Whether you attend one meeting a year, or several, we hope that you will learn something about the art of bonsai and that you will enjoy yourself while doing so.

During the year the society offers various benefits to its members:

Our Regular Meetings are held on the third Friday evening of each month,

September through May. Our December meeting is usually a pot luck supper and gift exchange often hosted at a member’s home. The June meeting has traditionally been an end-of-the-year picnic. There are no regular meetings held during July and August. Business is held to a minimum, and then a program on some facet of bonsai is presented. A list of programs conducted in the past is included in this Handbook. Members may bring their prides and problems for show and for help.

Study Group Meetings usually are conducted in the afternoon on the first Sunday of each month, year round. These are unstructured workshops to which members bring plants on which they want to work. There are always plenty of other members willing to offer advice.

Membership in Bonsai Societies of Florida (BSF). A portion of the dues you pay to

Kawa each year is forwarded to BSF along with your name and address. This makes you a member of BSF as well as of Kawa. One of the principal benefits of this membership is that you receive a copy of the BSF quarterly bonsai journal, Florida Bonsai.

The Kawa Library offers a wide variety of books, periodicals and video tapes which are lent free of charge to members. All that is asked is that they be returned at the next meeting. There is a list of the library holding available in the library.

Public Exhibits of Bonsai are staged by our membership. The purpose of the exhibit is to inform the public about this horticultural art form and about our society. Our largest annual exhibit is staged in conjunction with Everybody’s Flower Show held at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach in the spring.

Two Auctions are held each year in which bonsai, pre-bonsai and bonsai related items are sold to the highest bidder. Members may donate items to be auctioned or offer items on consignment. Consignment items net 20% to KBS and 80% to the owner.

Field Trips are conducted either to nurseries or to field locations to educate members on native plant material, endangered species, land rights, field safety, sanitation, ecology and selection and harvesting of cultivated as well as native plant material for bonsai. Educational programs are conducted at regular meetings before trips, orientations are conducted in the field prior to visiting the site, and field locations are inspected after collecting to insure they are in no less favorable a condition than before the collections were made. Field trips are usually held twice a year.

Visiting Teachers come to Kawa several times a year to provide expert, professional bonsai instruction and demonstrations. Often they will conduct a workshop at which members bring a tree to be styled, leaving with an excellent bonsai-in-training. Those who do not want to work on a tree may come as observers. A modest fee is charged for these events.

A News Letter is published ten times a year by the society to inform and educate its members. It summarizes the activities at the past meeting, presents the topics for the next, lists a calendar of future activities, gives tips on plant care, and provides other information to the membership on a timely basis.

Educational Programs are a continuing public service by the society for the general public. The first public program was conducted on Apr 15, 1981 during which a program on bonsai was presented to the Arlington Garden Club in Daytona Beach. Such public awareness programs usually cover the history of bonsai, tools used, styling considerations, pruning techniques, wiring techniques, pot selection, potting procedures, aftercare requirements of the newly potted bonsai-in-training. Often a slide show on bonsai will accompany the talk. In addition, a few bonsai are taken for show-and-tell.

Society members enjoy their meetings and workshops, use the ever increasing library of bonsai related written and video materials, read their expanded newsletter with its helpful hints for better bonsai, travel to State conventions, participate in field trips, use audio-visual resources available on the state and national level, learn in depth from visiting artists’ visits, and relish the companionship of those who share this common interest.

None of these programs and activities are the sole property or activity of any one member. It takes involvement of many members for the organization to be successful. Don’t hesitate to become involved. If you’re not asked, volunteer. We learn by doing, and all of us have much to learn about plants in general and bonsai in particular.

We are pleased you are a member of our society.


Kawa Bonsai Society was formed in 1980 as a natural progression from Daytona native Tom Zane’s basic bonsai classes. Tom had been stationed in Japan from 1972-75 where he studied this Oriental art and realized the satisfaction it could bring to others. After retirement from the Army and permanently settling in the Halifax area, he obtained a certificate in Horticulture from Daytona Beach Community College to become familiar with Florida's plants and to help prepare himself to teach the techniques of basic bonsai. After a year of teaching, his students wished for a greater involvement in bonsai outside of the classroom.

Therefore in November of 1980, 14 students and 6 enthusiasts informally met to form a Bonsai Society for the Halifax area. Nick Carter, and Al and Gerry Lake, longtime practitioners of the art lent their expertise and their enthusiasm. The name, Kawa, was suggested by John Naka, American Bonsai's most prominent Master. Kawa," river" in Japanese, was the commonality of the Halifax area.

The Society was formed with many purposes in mind. The original members felt strongly about their art; they emphasized their reasons for formalizing their involvement in the by-laws of the organization. Briefly, their purpose was to advance the education of club members in the aesthetic, historical, scientific, business and social features of the art of bonsai, to promote the knowledge, interest, appreciation and enjoyment of the art on the part of the general public, and to engage in all activities to further these aims. The activities of the Society have always reflected these purposes. In addition to creating a set of bylaws, the members felt strongly that Kawa should be incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Florida. Kawa has been a nonprofit corporation in Florida since 1980.

During the first eight years of its existence, Kawa met in the Horticultural Building at

DBCC where members participated in their bonsai society and where bonsai lesson continued to be taught through the College's Continuing Education Program.

Kawa's minutes and newsletters indicate that the first exhibit it presented was in conjunction with the Hibiscus Society's competition and exhibition in August of 1980. Since then Kawa has exhibited in various places in the community as well as presented numerous programs to organized groups of horticultural, social and civic nature in the Halifax area.

Society members realized at the inception of their group that resources in bonsai existed on a State level. Bonsai Societies of Florida had been organized in 1973. Its purposes and aims were a reflection of then-existing local societies, and it served as a model for subsequent societies. Kawa joined Florida's state organization and tapped its educational assets.

With Bonsai Societies of Florida as the sponsoring umbrella, a paramount asset was that recognized international and national masters of the art were able to travel to local societies to present workshops and demonstrations to further the art in ways which a local club with limited resources could not do.

Local and State involvement reward Kawa members, but the Society has made an effort on a National level also. Kawa has contributed to the North American Bonsai Collection housed in the John Naka pavilion located at the U. S. National Arboretum in Washington, D. C. There national trees will endure with time and dedicated care.

Bonsai takes years, as any involved student knows, and years also precipitate change.

In 1987 basic bonsai lessons became a Kawa function, not the function of an individual. Various club members assist in conducting the class. Kawa realizes that it is through instruction that interested area residents become aware of as well as a part of the art.

Monthly meetings have been supplemented by monthly Sunday afternoon club workshops. These workshops are devoted to styling trees and to discussing topics strictly related to the art itself; business is left to regular meetings. Now Kawa members may chose to join others on second Sunday afternoons all year for a workshop as well as on third Friday evenings for the regular meeting and program from September to June.

A vital change which more deeply involved Kawa's commitment to the Halifax area occurred in 1989 when DBCC dropped its horticultural program. The Society needed an anchor, and it happily became a member of the Council of Garden Clubs. The Society meets in the Council's Garden Center and uses the facilities for its classroom and workshops. It participates in the annual "Everybody's Flower Show" and cooperates in the Council's joint ventures.

In May of 1993, Kawa’s presence as workers was quite apparent at the World Bonsai

Congress in Orlando hosted by the Bonsai Societies of Florida. Then, a year later, during the Memorial Day weekend 1994, Kawa Bonsai Society, with BONSAI, SUN, AND FUN as the theme, hosted the Bonsai Societies of Florida State Convention at the Ramada Beach Resort in Daytona Beach.

During the summer of 1993 Kawa Bonsai Society become a tax exempt (501 (c)(3) organization. This means that most income is tax exempt and that contributions made to the society may be deductible from Federal income taxes.

Kawa was begun simply because people in the Halifax and surrounding areas enjoyed bonsai and wished to involve others in the appreciation of their chosen horticultural adventure. At times the quietest of motives can result in projects, activities, involvements, and pleasures original organizers did not imagine.

Regular Meeting Program Topics

Following is a list of program topics which have been presented at regular meetings of the Kawa Bonsai Society:

Accent plants Art and esthetics of bonsai Auctions Azaleas as bonsai Bending dead wood Buttonwood as bonsai Carving dead wood Chinese bonsai Chrysanthemum bonsai “Claft” planting Collecting bald and pond cypress Collecting bonsai in the wild Companion plantings Critique of members’ trees Dead wood on bonsai Display bench construction Display stand construction Displaying bonsai and making stands Exhibiting bonsai Fertilizing Flat-top style bald cypress bonsai Gardens, Japanese Grafting Group plantings Harmony in bonsai Ikebana

Indoor bonsai Judging bonsai Literati style bonsai Mamé (miniature) bonsai National Bonsai Collection Native trees as bonsai North American Bonsai Collection Pest and disease management Photographing bonsai Power tools and bonsai Propagation (general) techniques Root-on-rock style bonsai Root-over-rock style bonsai Rosemary as bonsai Selecting pots and repotting Selecting a bonsai container Soil and container preparation Soil for bonsai Summer care of bonsai Tool sharpening and maintenance Tropical bonsai Weeping style bonsai Winter care of bonsai Wiring techniques

Basic Bonsai Design Considerations

A well designed, artistically pleasing bonsai is the result of careful planning, shaping and controlled growth. While the art of bonsai allows for tremendous artistic freedom, there are some basic guidelines which are commonly followed. A person new in bonsai should keep the following artistic objectives in mind:

1. Bonsai should capture a natural look which recreates nature in miniature. Bonsai replicates the stately upright, the casual informal upright, the cascading trunk, forest plantings, landscape plantings, trees displaying dead wood and other trees which may be seen in nature. Keep in mind that nature is often harsh on her trees.

2. The ideal bonsai should look old. An ancient Oriental philosophy states that age creates wisdom and character. The look of age adds strength and dignity to a bonsai, and it is the artist’s techniques and horticultural knowledge which present the illusion of age.

3. The scalene triangle is the ideal shape. In Japanese culture the triangle symbolizes heaven, man and earth. The triangle achieves oriental artistic beauty by having no two sides equal in length.

4. A bonsai, to achieve artistic beauty, should not be symmetrical. Nature is seldom symmetrical. There is beauty in asymmetry.

5. Bonsai may have an interesting accent piece in the design; a rock which adds to the artistic value of the overall composition. Figurines or other decorations are seldom used except in penjing (Chinese rock plantings).

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