MAIL-BAG #6: June 2013
The Mail-Bag is a catch-all feature to include news, tips,
notices, and odds and ends. This month there's news of Fuku-Bonsai
Center improvements as well as our bonsai activities in the greater
international bonsai community.
- NAKA GOES HAWAIIAN! PART III by
David Fukumoto (Hawaii)
In the late 1970's four high-potential trees were collected and
the late great John Naka honored us when he led the training of
three extraordinary Hawaiian Christmas Berry trees first in Hilo
in 1984, and again at the International Bonsai Congress in
Honolulu, Hawaii in 1990. Then, Hawaii had just begun to collect
these trees and it was a learning experience for all of us.
The two initial major public training sessions were covered in
"Part I: 1984," and "Part II: 1990."
Between his training sessions and since, the trees are part of
the the Hawaii State Bonsai Repository at the Fuku-Bonsai
Cultural Center. In the 23 years since John last worked on
the trees, they have evolved and developed in unexpected
ways although we stayed as close as possible to the long-term
development plan that he established.
Faster growth requires adjustments by those who are used to
growing slower developing temperate climate bonsai and the
latest article will provide valuable updated information for
those who aspire to train collected tropical bonsai. The
first of a three-part series of articles was published in
Bonsai Clubs International's BONSAI & STONE APPRECIATION
magazine's April-May-June 2013 issue. Articles about
the other two trees will follow.
We have been associated with BCI for many years and BCI and the
Fukumotos recently celebrated 50 year of bonsai and we were
featured. In the 1970's to 1990's, Hawaii played a major
role in creating International Bonsai that we enjoy today and BCI
has taken the lead in covering significant international bonsai news
A BCI 1-year (US) membership is $45 and
includes 4 issues. BCI Magazine is also available in digital
format on the BCI website
www.bonsai-bci.com at a special discount email membership of
$19.00. For more information, please contact BCI Business Manager
Carole Roske at
email@example.com or call 400-871-4797.
- WORK BEGINS ON FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL
CENTER ACCESS ROAD!
Those who have visited Fuku-Bonsai a number of times don't
notice it any more, but first time visitors are shocked to find
us at the end of a gravel road with large potholes that appear
to be impassable during rainy seasons. Visitors have been
known to not take the risk, turn around, and cancel their visit.
We moved here in 1973 at a time when most of the area was in
sugar cane and the sugar company scraped and graded the cane
haul roads every two years just before they began harvesting the
area. That worked fine as we were the only ones who lived
on this road and Fuku-Bonsai initially was not open to visitors.
In 1996, two years after closing the Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center,
the Kurtistown center opened to visitors who assisted us in
rebuilding and reinventing the company. They wanted to
learn and we developed potted bonsai and bonsai workshops and we
ended up in all of the Big Island travel guides. May
remarked that we really are: "off the beaten trail,"
"part of unknown Hawaii," and "part of the spirit of
Hawaii!". Many learned of us from our Big Island
Authorized Retailers who distribute our rack cards and our Big
Island Promotional Partners. As we reestablished ties in
the Kurtistown community, they learned of our battle for
survival and provided steady support towards improving our
As visitors known, things move slowly on the Big Island
and several years ago, Olaa Road was slightly widened and
paved. Now 17 years after opening the Kurtistown
Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center and Hawaii State Bonsai Repository,
our access road has reached the top of Hawaii County's "To-Do"
list and work has begun. We hope to have a report in the
next Journal issue and thank those who contacted our
elected officials to steadily moved us up that list!
RON KALT REPORTS FIRST AERIAL ROOTS DEVELOPING! Ron's
story appeared in the April 2013 Journal issue:
RON KALT'S ROOTS TO
RAINFOREST BANYAN CONVERSION
of his repotting an 8LS8-Roots into a #17 Conversion Kit and efforts
to develop aerial roots. In an email on June 9, 2013, he sent
this photo of his first success. The challenge is to now
extend it to the ground and Ron will be taking notes and make
further reports in the future. The goal is to get as many as
possible so you can choose the ones in the ideal locations! Stay
RECOMMENDED FIRST AID FOR A PLANT THAT IS DRYING UP! We
are not sure what is happening. The plant has green leaves but
the trunk is severely dehydrated with tiny vertical creases.
Even the roots are shriveling up! Owner claims it is watered
weekly by soaking for thirty minutes, drain, and placed on dry
gravel in the display dish! SO WHAT'S HAPPENING? My
recommendation was to place a bowl of water into a polybag and place
the rock planting in the water, blow up the polybag like a balloon,
tie the top so bag will not collapse onto the plant and tie it to
something above. Keep in warm place with bright but indirect
light. Check in 3-4 days if the plant's trunk and branches
have rehydrated. Keeping it in the polybag will increase the
humidity to take the load of the roots and hopefully there's enough
surviving roots to rehydrate the plant. In the past, we
intentionally dried out plants and it took us over a month of no
watering at all in Kurtistown to get this type of dehydration.
After 4 days of soaking in a bowl, most leaves dropped off but plant
fully recovered when placed back on: "water once per week for 30
minutes, drain until it almost stops dripping, and place in on
DRY gravel." Request everyone to check their plants and if
yours have similar creases, please email me at
*** Return to the June issue of Journal of
Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai
*** Go to
Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation website
*** Go to Fuku-Bonsai
© Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation and Fuku-Bonsai, 2013