GSBS Logo    Great Swamp Bonsai Society
   Newsletter for May 2005  
Next meeting: 7:00 PM Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - Frelinghuysen Arboretum, E. Hanover Avenue, Morristown, NJ          

April Highlights:

Congratulations to Bart Thomas, who was selected to be the Curator of the Bonsai Collection at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ. We’re really proud of Bart for this accomplishment and wish him all the best.

April was a very busy month at Great Swamp. We held our repotting workshop on the 12th and I think those who attended came away with lots of pointers, thanks to some of our more experienced members.

The Following weekend, April 15-17, was the MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies Spring Festival and it was definitely a great showing. We were treated to demonstrations by Andrew Smith (SD), Hatsuji Kato (Japan), David Prescott (UK) and Cheryl Manning (CA). Mark has some additional info of interest about this show in his President’s Corner message on page 2. We had a good showing for Great Swamp with about 1/3 of our regular members in attendance at one time or another during the presentations as well as for the banquet and auction. Thanks to all members who did attend. It shows great enthusiasm for our hobby, and helps the club, as well...

On the 19th we held a special meeting where Andy Smith (fresh from MidAtlantic) treated us to a slide presentation showing his collecting areas in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He then proceeded to style a Rocky Mt. Juniper. A fine job. The tree was raffled at the close of the meeting and won by Steve Guyette. Congrats, Steve.

Here are some photographic highlights of the past month’s activities…

Repotting Workshop:

Andy Smith Demo:

MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies Spring Festival:


Andrew Smith,
South Dakota, USA

David Prescott,
Manchester, UK


Hatsuji Kato, Japan

Cheryl Manning, California, USA 

The Vendor Area:


Some of the Display Trees:




Our Raffle Winners:

Fred Aufshläger with David Prescott

Bill Muldowney with Cheryl Manning 

The President's Corner

Mark Mark Schmuck Hi Gang !

Well April’s almost over and what a month! If you didn’t get a chance to stop in at the MidAtlantic Festival, you missed a great time. From high caliber demonstrators to quality vendor materials, and the tree exhibit… Just Fantastic!

Congratulations are in order for Peter Michienzi who was presented with the Rosade Award for Design Excelence!!! For his stunning Juniper. Way to go Peter!!

And, it doesn’t stop there… Fred Aufschläger and Bill Muldowney both won raffle trees. Later, at our special meeting on the 19th, Andy Smith styled a Rocky Mountain Juniper and our most esteemed web person Steve Guyette won the raffle tree that night. Applause is in order for all…

If that’s not enough excitement, coming up at our May 10th meeting, Horst Krekeler returns for a lecture demo. You may recall his last visit with us in May of 2003. He is a renowned bonsai lecturer, teacher and author from Heidleberg, Germany.

We still need participants for the workshop with Horst on Tuesday afternoon before our regular meeting. 12:30 to 5 at the Arboretum. $50 per person, bring your own tree. Call me at (973) 625-4632 for details.


Dues, Dues, Dues...

Also, in case you've forgotten, annual DUES are DUE and some members are in arrears. It's still $30 for an individual membership, $40 for family. See Fred to settle your account...

May Meeting Preview:

Horst Krekeler Lecture Demo
Our May meeting will feature Horst Krekeler, presenting a lecture demo.

You may remember him from May of 2003 when he was a guest lecturer at Great Swamp. Horst lectures extensively throughout Europe and we are fortunate to have him visiting with us again this year.

Here is a picture of Horst from 2003 with his “assistant”.

Plan to attend this presentation, as Horst is a very interesting speaker who mixes humor with his serious presentation and love of Bonsai.

Upcoming Events:

(Dates in Red denote Workshops)

May 10: Horst Krekeler - Bring your own tree. There is room for approximately 6 to 8 members at approx. $50 per attendee. This will be an afternoon workshop that will be a prelude to our regular meeting; at which Horst will conduct a lecture demo. The demo tree will be raffled.

May 28 thru 31 - 5th World Bonsai Convention - Hilton Washington Hotel, Washington, DC. Go to for additional information. This event will include many lectures and demonstrations by artists from 6 continents. There will also be special tributes to Saburo Kato and John Naka. This may be the only time that you can see a show of this magnitude in our area for many years.
June 4 - Great Swamp Annual Open House at the Arboretum - Members: 9:00am to 4:00pm - Open to the public: 10:00am and 3:00pm. All club members are invited to display trees for public viewing, regardless of your level of expertise. As in past years, Jim Gillespie of Sho-Fu-En Bonsai will be vending essential and various bonsai related items: Tools, books, magazines, etc.

June 11 & 12 - Nick Lenz and Frank Mihalic - Pauline Muth (pfm bonsai studio) will be presenting the 15th Aniversary Open House Weekend at her studio in West Charlton, NY. Workshops are being offered on both days with these artists. For further information, contact Pauline by e-mail at or by phone @ 518.882.1039.

June 14 - Regular meeting & Club Auction - Members are invited to bring items for auction. Several large size Tropical trees from the Henry Freud collection will be auctioned. Be prepared to bid!

July 12: George LeBolt from Bergen Bonsai will conduct a workshop with tropical trees from 1 to 5 pm. This has been changed to a "BYOT" event for tropicals. However, George will have several Portulacaria (Dwarf Jade) trees available for purchase. These trees have solid trunks with good movement and will range in price between $35 and $75. George will also conduct a lecture/demo at our meeting that same evening..

August 9: No Meeting
August 14: Sunday. Club Picnic at Stillwater Studio, Stillwater, NJ. There will be an open discussion on the topic; “The state of Bonsai today…” Additional picnic details will follow…
September 20. Third Tuesday. There will be an afternoon workshop with Roy Nagatoshi from California. Members Only, $50 per person. Bring your own tree. Details will be provided. In the evening, Roy will conduct a lecture/demo on an as yet unpicked tree, to be raffled at the conclusion of the meeting. Roy’s trees were prominently featured in the Karate Kid films.
Unless otherwise specified, all of the Great Swamp afternoon workshops are held at the Arboretum, in Classroom “A” from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm., members only, 6 to 8 people, $50 per person, bring your own tree.

Other News:

You may be interested to know that International Bonsai's magazine for the 4th quarter of 2004 and the 1st quarter of 2005 feature parts 1 and 2 of and in-depth article on the styling, care and feeding of Pinus Rigida by our own Martin Schmalenberg. Part 2 shows "virtual styling" of this species of tree for anticipating the future of the tree's design. For those who are interested in obtaining the articles, a subscription to International Bonsai is available from William Valvanis, PO Box 23894, Rochester, NY 14692-3894. A subscription costs $26 /year and back issues are $7.50 /copy.

Fred Aufschläger's paper, Bonsai Containers as Ceramic Art, will continue to be available here on the web-site for those members who may not have received it via e-mail. The links have been fixed. We appologize to members who were initially unable to access the documents. I'm investigating the Acrobat Reader link for those of you who don't already have it. In the event that the link below is not working, cut and paste the following URL into your browser to access Adobe's website.

Word Version PDF Version Get AdobeAcrobat Reader

For those who are unable to access the paper in these formats, we will still have several printed copies available for paid-up members at the February meeting.

May Plant Care Tips:

Your pines are now beginning to show their “candles”. Spruce and Larch buds are opening up nicely and deciduous material comes into full leaf. Spring, as it were, has sprung…

Repotting chores should be over by the 10th. The exception would be Chinese Junipers which can be repotted through early summer. Only repot other species if they show signs of distress, such as root rot.

Established trees can be fed at regular intervals. A granular organic-based fertilizer such as blood meal, Bonemeal, or fish/seaweed products should be provided once per month. Late developing varieties can be given a bit more Nitrogen now, while others require a balanced diet. Don’t feed anything that has not “leafed out”, but spray mist them daily.

Watering becomes a primary concern as trees develop and the weather turns warmer. Trees should be watered at least once/day and possibly twice as required. Hot dry spells will dictate a more rigorous regime. Early evening or early morning seem best, unless, of course it has been raining heavily..

Evergreen cuttings can be taken, but seeds sown now have a minimum chance of survival. Air-layering of deciduous material can be started and continued through July. Air-layering of conifers may continue.

Pinch back long shoots of deciduous using thumb and fore-finger. Late spring frost can damage tender new leaves on deciduous, especially Red maples. If frost is predicted, place your susceptible material in a protected place, such as a greenhouse or in an un-headed garage or shed for protection.

Trees in training can be pruned now but deciduous display material should already be completed. It’s too soon to prune pine and spruce, However, dead branches should be removed. Pinch expanding pine candles as they grow. Start with the small ones and finish with the larger a week later. Spruce and Juniper may be ready for their first pinchings. Trim back new growth on deciduous to 2 or 3 buds, and rub off any buds growing where they shouldn’t be.

Insects are getting active so inspect regularly and treat at the first sign of attack. Do not use systemic insecticides or fungicides on Chinese Elm. Place sun-sensitive species in light shade. Weeding now will save lots of time later. Be especially diligent about liverwort and pearlwort. Their long roots can clog drainage holes.

Conifers can be wired now but take care not to damage new growth. Deciduous branches can be lightly wired if branches need “teasing” into place. If large branches were not already wired, it’s ok to do them now, but watch carefully so as not to damage any new foliage.

This is an exciting time of year...

Tips are developed from the following sources: Bonsai, the Art of Growing and Keeping Miniature Trees by Peter Chan and from The Step by Step Art of Growing and Displaying Bonsai by Colin Lewis and Neil Sutherland

Contact Information:

 President:  Mark Schmuck  973.625.4632
 VP:  Michael Markoff  973.895.6207
 Treasurer:  Fred Aufschläger  17 Lakeview Drive
 Bernardsville, NJ 07924
 Secretary:  Ken Olander  
 Newsletter:  Dan Boehmke  973.627.1318

Ideas and offers of assistance for events, or scheduling questions, can be addressed to any of the officers. Don’t be shy. All help is appreciated.