RIP Harry Hirao


Harry “Mr. California Juniper” Hirao

Services for Harry Hirao Tuesday, August 4th at 4PM Orange County Buddhist Church at 909 S. Dale Avenue (corner of Ball and Dale) Anaheim, CA. Their phone number is (714) 827-9590.

In case some members were concerned about having to deal with rush hour traffic after Harry’s service on the 4th, there will be a buffet dinner following the service, in the building next door. Perhaps you will avoid the worst of the traffic.

Harry’s family hopes to see you there.

Condolences may be sent to the Hirao family:
c/o Gene Hirao
15 Posada
Irvine, California 92614-5380


California Juniper by Harry Hirao



Convention 38 Preview: Guest Artist David Nguy

convention2015To some in the bonsai community, David Nguy is becoming known as Mr. California Juniper II. David’s first teacher was Harry Hirao (“Mr. California Juniper”), so it is no wonder that he is known for his work on California junipers. David also studied under bonsai master Masahiko Kimura in Japan at the same time as Ryan Neil. Visit David’s website and watch David work on a collected California juniper in this article posted on the California Bonsai Art website. (more…)

Convention 38 Preview: Headliner John Wang

convention2015Convention 38 Headliner, John Wang took his first bonsai class at age 6, and at 15 had a newspaper route to support his hobby. He studied with various teachers in California and apprenticed with Seiji Sakurai in Koshigaya, Japan. He now directs maintenance at the two largest private collections in Southern California, and is building a new bonsai garden in El Monte. He performs styling, maintenance, and boarding for various clients, and teaches on occasion. He has one of the largest collections of old Chinese pots and stands in the country, and his favorite tree to play with is yamadori juniper. (more…)

Convention 38 Preview: Headliner Bjorn Bjorholm

convention2015Convention 38 Headliner, Bjorn Bjorholm, owner of Bjorvala Bonsai Studio and former apprentice of contemporary Japanese bonsai master Keiichi Fujikawa, spent nearly six years working at Mr. Fujikawa’s nursery, Kouka- en (located in Ikeda City just north of Osaka). In 2015, he completed his formal apprenticeship and became a certified bonsai professional by the Japanese Bonsai Association. Bjorn’s experiences working with Fujikawa-san have shaped his approach to bonsai and furthered his never ceasing desire to improve the quality of western bonsai art. (more…)

Bonsai in a Drought-Stricken California

150_Image281My wife and I are relatively new to Bonsai and have only been at it for five years. We are members of the Sansui-Kai Bonsai Club of Encino, California. Jack Reynolds is the President of the Club, and we have been students of his for those five years at a monthly class he so generously presents in Bakersfield, California. “Bonsai in a Drought-Stricken California” with emphasis on how to conserve water as well as keeping the trees healthy. To that end, I have built 8 feet x 2 feet “tables with side boards” 2 x 4’s and some with 2 x 6’s, spacing on bottom 2 x 4’s with hardware cloth across the spacing for drainage. Filled the cavity with calcined clay (Pro’s Choice Infield Conditioner) and buried the pots most of the way to their top edge. Last year was the first year I have used the structures and it works rather well in summer and winter, insulating the pots and trees from both temperature extremes. (more…)

Katsumi Kinoshita Teaches Bonsai Techniques

150_Image261The Monterey Bonsai Club meetings are typically hands on workshops. Members bring their trees to work on and our sensei, Mr. Katsumi Kinoshita, makes the rounds giving advice and personal assistance in shaping our own bonsai trees. It recently came to me that our club bonsai experience is changing. Historically, our membership has been a good mix of experienced members and new members. Over the last couple of years, we have been fortunate to have an influx of members who are new to the art of bonsai. This was the genesis of changing our normal meeting workshop routine to an educational bonsai demonstration and asking Mr. Kinoshita to share bonsai techniques that he has garnered during his 50 years of developing bonsai. (more…)

REBS Advanced Bonsai Workshop with Kathy Shaner

150_Image309A regularly scheduled advanced bonsai workshop with Bonsai Master and club sensei Kathy Shaner, hosted by the Redwood Empire Bonsai Society (REBS), took placed on June 27, 2015, in Sebastopol, California. Six workshop club members and one guest club member joined Kathy in advanced bonsai techniques. Some brought their trees for fine-tuning for the upcoming REBS Annual Show on August 22 and 23, 2015. Another brought in new acquisitions to his collection. Kathy leads them through the steps of advanced bonsai techniques covering styling, refinement, wound post care, leaf cutting, wiring, and much more. I observed and took some photographs of them working on their respective trees. In some cases, members gathered around a single tree that Kathy was working on in order to see her work. If she found there were any problems with the tree, Kathy would find the solutions! (more…)

The Next Generation

150Image326I’m still recovering from our clubs event on Saturday. We were looking to promote bonsai to the public and seek new members but also give our current members a good day out. We sought funding from Belfast City Council and their Parks department. If you hold a stand alone event in one of their parks, they will offer grants to fund this. We applied and were successful. We called the event ‘The Bonsai Experience 2015′. (more…)

Notice of Stolen Bonsai – San Gabriel Nursery & Florist

bell2On June 17, 2015, person(s) unknown stole numerous expensive, high quality bonsai, valued at $1,000 to $10,000 each, by breaking into the San Gabriel Nursery & Florist retail nursery at 632 South San Gabriel Boulevard. Some 20 bonsai were stolen. According to Mr. Saburo Ishiara (Ishi), eight prized bonsai, including a juniper and a black pine, were stolen by cutting the wire locks. Ishi is VP of the company and in charge of the bonsai pricing. There is a limited market for this type of mature bonsai and their prices. Please contact your local police if you are approached by anyone trying to sell questionable bonsai. San Gabriel Nursery & Florist is one of Southern California’s largest and most complete garden centers. They have been family-owned and operated since the nursery was founded in 1923. (more…)

Bay Area Bonsai Associates Meeting

150_imageThe BABA monthly meeting was held at the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM), Oakland, California, on June 13, 2015. The agenda called for club members to critique their pines and other conifers. Bill Castellon led the session. Craig Thompson brought in a beautiful old cork bark pine. Bill noted that it was time to cut candles on black pines, but cork bark and red pines are weaker than black pines and should have been candle pruned about a month before. Bill liked the consistency and size of the needles on the cork bark pine. He suggested that next year Craig cut the candles around May 15. Both Bill and Craig liked the idea of raising the trunk up a bit during the next repotting. (more…)