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Fortworth Bonsai Society Members Emeritus Award
The board has announced that two long-time members were selected to be "Members Emeritus" as recognition for their many years of service to the club.
Joining Estella Flather and John Miller for this honor are Joe Andrews and Stephen Hendricks.
Members Emeritas Award
Congratulations to Joe and Stephen !
2020 Event Calendar
(Saturday meetings start at 09am)
*** Mark your calendars. Some dates for 2020 meetings have been reserved ***
*** Dates NOT reserved are marked with TBD (to be determined) ***
> January 11th Club meeting. Preparation of starter Juniper trees for sale at Japanese Garden Spring Festival.
> February 08th Club meeting. Continued Preparation of starter Juniper trees.
> February 19th Annual Business meeting. (At 7PM in the Orchid Room - not mandatory) but open to all members.
> March 14th Club meeting. Bonsai Smith's Repotting Workshop.
> April 04th Club meeting. Will Baddeley presentation(TBD) and workshop.
> May 09th Program TBD.
> May 14th thru 17th Thursday thru Sunday - Lone Star Bonsai Federation Convention in San Antonio.
> May 14th thru 17th Thursday thru Sunday - Fort Worth Bonsai Society Exhibit in the Rose Room.
> June 13th Program TBD.
> July 11th Club meeting. Our Annual Auction & Raffle.
> August 08th Program TBD.
> September 12th TBD - Nomination Committee appointed.
> October 10th TBD - New officer slate presented. TBD - Japanese Garden Fall Festival.
> November 14th TBD - Vote on club officers for 2021-2022.
> December 12th Club meeting. Annual Christmas Party.
FWBS Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote knowledge of and interest in bonsai and to serve as a focal point for bonsai fanciers in and around the Fort Worth area. We provide a variety of educational and support services to the bonsai community. The Officers and Directors of FWBS are unpaid volunteers who are dedicated to spreading the word about this wonderful, satisfying and challenging hobby.

FWBS Club History

The Fort Worth Bonsai Society was founded on April 25, 1985. The instigator and founding member was Estella Flather who is still an integral member of the club. We are a fairly young club with many beginners to the art. Meetings range from talks on various aspects of bonsai, to demonstrations by nationally recognized bonsai artists, to member workshops.

The Society holds its monthly meeting on the second Saturday of most months at 9am at the:

Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory
3220 Botanic Garden Drive North (off University Dr)
Fort Worth, Texas 76107.


We have two yearly shows held in conjunction with the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens at "Springfest" in April and "Fallfest" in November in the Japanese Gardens. In addition, we have one yearly "Show & Sale" at the Conservatory of the Botanic Gardens at which vendors sell bonsai and bonsai-related items. The Fort Worth Bonsai Society is a member of the Lone Star Bonsai Federation an organization encompassing all of the bonsai clubs of Texas.



Bonsai Club Meeting Location
Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory
3220 Botanic Garden Drive North (off University Dr)
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Club Artist Workshop Program

Our Club Artists Program:



This program is designed to improve the quality of bonsai art in FWBS through a comprehensive, regular, and long term engagement of a 'Club Artist'. The thought is that seasonal work on the same tree over a period of years with the same teacher is a better bonsai education than occasional visiting artists and expensive workshops.

Three times a year, we will hold the 'Club Artist Workshop' as our regular monthly meeting on the second Saturday of most months. We will still meet in the regular room. Every member is invited to bring in 1 or 2 trees that they would like to work on for the next several years with the 'Club Artists'. Though not a fast rule, the idea is to bring in the same trees to each workshop, thereby continually improving those trees.

The Club Artists:



The Club Artists are Howard & Sylvia Smith, both members of FWBS. They are graduates of Boon Manakitivipart's, intensive training program and continue to work with Boon each year. Their bonsai trees have been featured in many publications and on internet sites in this country and abroad. They both displayed trees in the USA National Exhibitions in Rochester, NY. Howard has a tree featured in the gallery area of the Jan-Feb, 2011 issue of Bonsai Focus magazine. Well known in the local area, FWBS has awarded Sylvia the 'Members Choice Award' in 2009, and Howard was awarded 'Best of Show' at the 2010 LSBF Bonsai Convention in Fort Worth. Owners of 'Bonsai Smiths' bonsai sales and services company, they have conducted workshops for many years. They are skilled in deciduous trees, tropicals, conifers & pines, as well as bonsai display. We are fortunate they accepted the position of 'Club Artists' for FWBS.

Benefits of our 'Club Artist Workshop':

Every member now has an opportunity to take a tree and develop it with professional help into a nice bonsai. There is no question that you will have a better tree every year.

  • Any type of tree or bonsai style is acceptable material.

  • Your confidence in your bonsai skills will improve.

  • Your new found confidence will translate over to your entire bonsai collection.
This program should appeal to all members of FWBS, beginners as well as more experienced bonsai enthusiasts. The workshop setting allows you to learn from the other participants with a large variety of trees and styles. Watch everyone's trees develop over the years and you will advance beyond your own collection.

This is an entirely free program to FWBS members. The bonsai art in Fort Worth should improve dramatically. Our public shows will improve as our trees improve.

We should increase our membership with this program.

The Best Trees For Bonsai
( Credit: Balcony Garden Web )
1. Japanese Maple


Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) is chosen for bonsai primarily due to its lobed leaves, color, and its adaptability to become a bonsai. Also, there are countless varieties and the bonsai tree can be formed in a variety of styles.
Position: The Japanese Maple prefers a sunny, airy position but during great midday heat it should be placed in the light shade to prevent damaged leaves. The Japanese Maple is frost hardy even when trained as a bonsai, but it should be protected from strong frost (below -10° C / 14° F).
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Broom, Cascade.

2. Bodhi tree (Ficus Religiosa)


Did you know the Ficus Religiosa was the tree under which Buddha received enlightenment? Due to this, it is commonly known as sacred fig, peepal tree, and Bo-tree. It makes an excellent bonsai. The bodhi is a tough plant that grows fast and forms aerial roots. It has attractive shiny heart-shaped foliage that appears in bronze color, which later turns into glossy green as the leaves mature. Also, the leaves can be easily reduced in bonsai culture.
Position: As it is a tropical tree that loves the sun and heat. Place it in a position that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily (the more the better) and provide protection from freezing temperatures.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Slanting, Twin-trunk, Literati and Banyan style.

3. Cotoneaster horizontalis


Cotoneaster horizontalis is often formed in the cascade style or planted on the rock, thus called rock cotoneaster. It is a deciduous shrub that is suitable for bonsai culture because of its forgiving nature (very suitable for beginners), it looks great due to its long-lasting color, grows best in temperate regions.
Position: It can be grown in full sun or part shade, but flowers best in full sun positions. Protection from frost is required if long cold spells are expected.
Styles: Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Literati, Group planting, Saikei.

4. Baobab


Tall, gigantic and fabled African tree, the great baobab is truly adaptable to become a bonsai. Easy to care and maintain in warm climates, the baobab tree bonsai requires some care in winter in cooler zones. Learn everything about growing this amazing tree here.
Position: If you live in a warm climate just keep it in the sun, this, largest succulent in our world will thrive. However, if you live in a temperate zone, place the pot indoors in winter.
Styles: Broom, Informal upright, Baobab style.

5. Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica)


This tall stately tree becomes large to medium sized bonsai specimen and best presented in the style of an upright plant. Young shoots can be easily formed and the leaves in autumn turn to golden yellow color. Keep in mind, the beech tree is a slow grower and takes time.
Position: Keep your beech tree bonsai in semi-shade to full sun position, providing a space that is sheltered from the intense afternoon sun, especially in summer.
Styles: *Group planting, Formal upright, Informal upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade.

6. Boxwood


Not only for hedging, boxwood can also become a bonsai. Super adaptable to containers, any species of this genus is easy to care for and maintain and becomes a handsome bonsai. If you are in making your first bonsai, try boxwood.
Position: The boxwood is an outdoor plant that is tough and resilient and withstands the sun as well as shade, however, in its natural environment it grows under the canopy of trees so it is better if you place the plant in partial sun. As boxwoods don't tolerate severely cold temperatures protect the plant in winter.
Styles: Informal upright, Formal upright, Slanting.

7. Pomegranate


Pomegranate is one of the nicest fruit trees and easiest one to make into a bonsai. Because it has shallow root system it adapts well to bonsai culture. This robust plant with eye-catching bark, stunning red flowers, and gorgeous fruits looks magnificent.
Position: It should be kept outside in full sun for the whole year except when the temperature drops below 41 F (5 C) bring the tree indoors, in a bright position.
Styles: Informal Upright, Semi-cascade, Multi-trunks, Slanting, Deadwood and twisted trunk.

8. Juniper


Junipers are one of the most popular trees for bonsai. It is a genus of 50+ species of evergreen coniferous shrubs of which Juniper Procumbens Nana is very popular among beginners who are just starting out to make a bonsai tree. All junipers are easy to train and care and makes very appealing bonsai.
Position: Junipers cannot live indoors. Best to place them in a sunny spot with shade from afternoon sun. Protect the tree once temperatures drop below 14 F in winter.
Styles: Junipers can be made into a variety of styles, including informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, full-cascade, driftwood, twin and triple trunk.

9. Ficus Retusa


It is probably one of the most attractive trees among the tropical bonsai growers. Easy to style, resistant to negligence and mistakes and probably the best plant for both beginners and advanced level bonsai growers. You can learn the basics of bonsai making by doing experiments on it and forming it in different styles.
Position: If growing in warm climate keep it in partial sun. You can also keep it indoors, especially in cool temperate climate, in a well-lit position but out of direct sunlight.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Sinuous, Straight Line, Group planting, Saikei.

10. Ficus Benjamina


Benjamin Ficus (Ficus Benjamina) is one more popular plant you should consider. It is a beautiful evergreen tree that makes a wide canopy of fine branches that cascade down towards the ground giving it the name weeping fig.
Position: It can be grown either outdoors or indoors on a windowsill that gets bright light.
Styles: Formal upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Broom, Rock-over-root, Informal Upright, Slanting, Twin-trunk, Clump and Group planting.

11. Jade


Jade tree (Crassula ovata) is a succulent plant with thick fleshy stems and leaves. Jade is an easy-care evergreen bonsai. Its hardiness and thick trunk give it mature look quickly.
Position: Jade tree can be grown indoors, although it enjoys sunny positions and high temperatures. Keep temperatures above 41 F (5 C) or all the times.
Styles: It can be trained into many styles including informal upright, clump, slanting and root over rock.

12. Crape Myrtle


Crape myrtle is one pf the best trees for bonsai. Its key features are exquisite branch formation, showy flowers of pink, white or purple and more over it shed outer layers of bark from time to time and the color of the underlying bark can vary from gray, rusty brown to almost pink.
Position: Crepe Myrtle enjoys the full sun for the formation of flowers. Although it can be kept indoors on a sunny windowsill. In winter maintain the temperature of 45-54 F and low light to stimulate dormancy. Move it to good light again in spring when buds begins to swell.
Styles: Cascade, slanting, root over rock, informal upright, curved trunk can be made with this tree.

13. Fukien Tea (Carmona retusa)


One of the best plants, Fukien Tea is a great addition to any bonsai collection that makes great small indoor bonsai. Its small dark-green shiny leaves have tiny white dots on them. Small white flowers bloom all year round and sometimes produce tiny red berries.
Position: Fukien Tea is an indoor bonsai but can be kept outside all year round in warm climates. It needs bright sunny position in the house. The perfect temperature is around 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Styles: It is well suited for the informal upright, broom and literati.

14. Chinese Elm


One of the most splendid elms, this east Asian native becomes a spectacular bonsai easily. This ideal plant is really forgiving and doesn't mind regular pruning and styling.
Position: Keep the plant in a spot that receives the sun in the morning and in the evening if possible. Chinese elm can tolerate the wide range of temperatures but doesn't like cold drafts.
Styles: Broom, Informal upright, Cascade, Semi Cascade.

15. Bougainvillea


Bougainvillea is one of the best bonsai plants. So colorful and pretty, its beautiful papery flowers of many colors make an attractive display, appear incessantly, especially in favorable climates. Bougainvillea grows fast, its branches are easy to wire and it can be made into almost any style.
Position: Place it in a spot that receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight. Protect it from freezing temperatures.
Styles: Bougainvillea is suitable for any traditional style of bonsai except formal upright.

16. Dwarf Schefflera


Dwarf Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola) is one of the most popular indoor bonsai trees. It is easy to grow, drought resistant and difficult to kill which makes it a perfect bonsai plant for beginners. It is easy to train too and forms aerial roots, it is very good for making a dramatic banyan style bonsai.
Position: Position your dwarf Schefflera bonsai in bright, indirect light and protect from direct sun. It can also survive in low light conditions.
Styles: Banyan, Informal Upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Clump, Group planting.

17. Indian Banyan (Ficus benghalensis)


Banyan tree, which is also called Bargad/Bar in the local language is the national tree of India. It is one of the largest tree species. The tree releases its aerial roots and once these roots reach the ground they grow into the woody trunk. The tree naturally looks old and becomes an amazing bonsai specimen.
Position: The tree requires warm humid climate to thrive. If you live in a cool climate you can try to grow it with care in winter. Place the plant in a spot that receives all day long sun but shade in the afternoon.
Styles: Banyan style, Informal upright, Cascade, Semi-cascade.

18. Adenium


Thick bulbous trunk, vibrant blooms, and glossy foliage makes the Adenium an ideal tree for bonsai. This flowering tree creates fast and natural looking bonsai with minimal efforts.
Position: It needs a sunny position sheltered from the wind. If growing in non-tropical climate, in winter, bring the tree inside and maintain the temperature around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Styles: Informal Upright, Twin Trunk, Slanting, Cascade, Baobab style.

19. Olive


Olive bonsai is easy to care for and very strong so it is a suitable choice for use as bonsai. Their smooth trunk and good branch structure make them a spectacular bonsai.
Position: Hardy in zone 9, an olive tree can be successfully grown as an indoor plant, but it is best to keep it outdoors in full sun.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Straight Line, Group planting, Saikei.

20. Azalea


Azalea is a must-have Bonsai and looks unbelievably stunning. It is popular for its growth habit and bountiful blooms that come in many different colors, shapes, sizes and patterns. It requires plenty of care and acidic soil to thrive well.
Position: Azalea needs to be outdoors in a sunny spot that gets afternoon shade to produce its beautiful blooms.
Styles: Root-over-rock, Informal Upright, Slanting, Semi Cascade, Windswept, Multiple Trunks.

21. Guava


Not very popular but guava tree becomes an excellent bonsai and doesn't require too much care or maintenance. It is even possible to make it produce fruits that make an amazing display.
Position: The guava is a tropical plant and therefore, it should be placed outdoors on a location that is sunny. If you live in a temperate region keep your guava bonsai indoors in winter.
Styles: Informal Upright, Formal Upright, Slanting, Semi-cascade, Broom.

22. Pine


Pines make a wonderful bonsai. However, they are not ideal for beginners. Pines are a classic bonsai species and their rugged, rough bark and trunk make them appear old.
Position: Place the pine outdoors in full sun, where it will get good air circulation.
Styles: Formal upright, Informal Upright, Slanting, Cascade, Semi-cascade, Literate, Rock-over-root, Clasped-to-rock, Twin-trunk, Clump, Group planting, Saikei.

This questionnaire and comment section concerns the Bonsai Exhibit at the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens sponsored by the Fort Worth Bonsai Society. The exhibit contains 3 trees and is located on the east deck of the Treasure Tree Gift Shop. If you have seen it, please give us your feedback. If you have not seen it, go and take a look and come back to our website and give us your feedback.



Take Our Bonsai Exhibit Survey
Articles

Using Principles of Growth to Manipulate Plants for Bonsai

Growing plants for bonsai means developing a nursery plant to the point of final styling and placing it in a pot. These plants have a variety of names, i.e. pre- trained or pre-bonsai, etc. The idea is to grow a plant specifically for bonsai rather than landscape. Since our ends are very much different than landscapers the techniques are also very much different. Some plants, such as pines need special attention from the very beginning to become good bonsai, others such as most deciduous trees are much more forgiving and may still be used after achieving some size, but without any previous bonsai training. The approach that I would like to take is that of explaining and applying plant growth principles so that you may apply these principles and concepts to your particular situation. Once understood, these principles are a very powerful tool for manipulating plant growth. And bonsai is probably the epitome of plant growth manipulation.

Principle 1: Leaves (needles) increase the size of the woody parts of the plant and the size of the roots. Well, that seems obvious. But most of us fail to use this concept to its maximum advantage. If you want a really large trunk, don't prune your plant. The removal of leaves will only slow it down. This is of course over- simplified but nonetheless true. If you root prune a plant, leave as many leaves as the roots can support to generate new roots as quickly as possible. If you do this while a deciduous plant has its leaves, you must reduce the foliage comparably to prevent overtaxing the root's ability to supply water. It is imperative to keep the plant cool while new roots are being regenerated. Leaving the entire stem of deciduous plants works particularly well for bare-root plants or severely root-pruned dormant deciduous plants. The remaining roots will only stimulate as many buds as they can support, so do not top prune the plant. (See the article "Root Pruning Bare Root Seedlings")

Principle 2: Leaves manufacture plant food, roots store plant food. OK, obvious again, but what are the ramifications? Top pruning a plant at the end of the season (fall or winter) leaves all of the food intact to stimulate new growth in the spring. A full complement of food with no where to go will stimulate new buds and the new growth will be explosive and coarse, some deciduous plants may send out an eight foot sprout one inch thick in a single season (or more!). Severely top pruning a plant just after it leafs out in the spring uses up most of the stored food because the roots must send out a second burst of food to stimulate even more buds. This depletion will cause very weak new growth and will slow the plant down. Not pruning a plant in winter or spring leaves the maximum number of buds to be stimulated into flowers and leaves and twigs, this taxes the roots to the fullest and will produce the smallest leaves, and the closest internodes (spaces between the leaves) on the new stems. Confining roots, as in a bonsai pot, limits their ability to store food, which in turn will diminish the leaves and internodes even further. This is the basic mechanism for dwarfing a plant in bonsai.

Principle 3: Small twiggy growth will always remain small and twiggy. This principle is not so obvious and is in fact frequently overlooked by bonsai folk. What I mean is that, when a small twiggy branch appears as the result of restricted growing conditions it will always keep this character, even if the plant is rejuvenated by repotting or planting in the earth. New growth will be coarse and vigorous with long internodes and large leaves, but the twiggy branch will be unaffected. Thus you can grow a bunch of nice small branches low on the tree, plant it in the ground and grow a sacrifice branch or leader to increase trunk size enormously, come back and cut off the sacrifice branch and have a big trunked tree with nice small branches. However this will only work if you do not allow buds from the small branches to break into a water sprout or coarse growth. The branch will remain twiggy but its diameter will increase until it is unusable.

And finally: These few principles may sound simplistic, but they are the entire basis for manipulating plant growth in bonsai. You will need to think about them carefully to be able to apply them effectively. To see how their application can work for leaf and stem reduction see the article ("How to Reduce the Size of Leaves")

Article Credit: Brent Walston

administrator 11/18/2019 282 reads Print
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