MAIL-BAG #7:    July 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. 


       (Received May 18, 2013:)    Attached is a picture of my schefflera.  As you can see I have re-potted it and placed it on a rock with a few roots going into the pot. I held the roots (with some soil) on the rock with Mystic-Magic-Miracle-Tape, then covered them with the sphagnum moss and wrapped more tape. The moss and tape will be removed as more roots grow in the pot and attach to the rock. The schefflera has been outside for a couple of days but I plan to keep in the house where it can get light from two corner windows and I have ordered an LED grow light to put overhead.
       (Received June 29, 2013:)  Attached is the latest photo of the schefflera I received from you this past April, showing the supplemental lighting I have set up.  The schefflera is placed between two windows. The window on the left is facing south, and the one on the right faces west.  The light above is a grow light, and hangs from a ceiling socket on a flexible extension cable which is 23.6 in. long.  These cables can be "strung" together to get closer to the plant.  There are also flexible cables which are 8 in. long.  Light bulbs and cables can be found on at reasonable prices.  Hopefully this setup using an LED grow light provides a good alternative to incandescent or florescent lighting.

       Comments by David:  Ray has a great situation if the shades on the south and west windows were lifted and open to provide exceptional light.   The addition of newer LED light units that are closer for greater effect offers interesting possibilities.  One area of discussion is to have the natural directional daylight countered by the use of flourescent (or LED) lights placed low and facing the windows as night TV lights.  Have connected Ray with our resident light specialist Jerry Meislik and look forward to more information on LED applications in the future.




      On July 4, Paul J of Nebraska sent photos of a tree done at a Fuku-Bonsai workshop a few months before that was drooping.  The close-up photo shows small vertical creases which show the plant is not taking up enough water and is dehydrating.





           Many customers have visited us in Kurtistown since 1996.  But most don't know that we began here in 1973 and the nursery then was neither marked, nor listed in the phone book, and did not allow visitors --- BUT WE WERE ALWAYS "SOLD OUT!"  As Hawaii's first certified export nursery, we lived a quiet, idyllic  country lifestyle selling only by mail order and through our widely scattered area-exclusive Fuku-Bonsai Authorize Retailers.

           In 1985,  Fuku-Bonsai incorporated to become the catalyst to own and operate both the certified export nursery and to build the 17-acre Kona Fuku-Bonsai Center.  It was an exciting time and over 200 stockholders joined us,  we raised over $2 million and the center had a soft opening to critical acclaim in 1990, a grand opening in 1992, and was forced to close in 1994. Unfortunately, we sprayed defective Benlate contaminated with weed killers that caused over $30 million of loses and forced a 24+ year battle for survival. 

           In 1996, we opened a modest Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center & Hawaii State Bonsai Repository in Kurtistown.  We received a congratulatory resolution from the Hawaii County Council and then Mayor Stephen Yamashiro presented a Proclamation naming David Fukumoto as Hawaii County's "Ambassador of Bonsai!." But we got no response from County Public Works to our request to improve the former cane haul road.  Things move slowly on the Big Island and our access road is legendary.  Those in rental cars are afraid of damage and either park a quarter-mile away and walk in,  brave the deep water potholes, or chicken out and don't come in! 

           It took a while,  but as it began to appear that Fuku-Bonsai would actually survive, we got word last year that we were starting to move up the list!  At New Years we were told it could have been done last year but it was there were too many rainy days but now April for sure.  April came with continuing assurances that there really was a list and we were really near the top!  We couldn't be sure because we're the only ones that legally use that quarter-mile road and there are a huge number of former cane haul roads with a lot more residents rumored to be "on the list!"

           So it was a big deal when equipment and crews showed up, did good work, but disappeared. We learned the paving gang was tied up, but they eventually came too!  Now we wait for the asphalt to stiffen and with hard shoulders on both sides, it should be easy for outgoing cars to pass incoming cars without pulling off the trail!  Everyone is so impressed as they dodge potholes coming down Olaa Road and turn into our smooth wide boulevard!  Come check us out!  ~~~David     


         THE START OF A BONSAI ADVENTURE?    At the beginning of July,  we were visited by Burton Flake, on vacation in between deployments to Bahrain and it was an opportunity and a challenge!  Is is possible to grow bonsai in a desert?  Can the plants get there and if so can they be brought back home?  Is it possible to ship some there and can a guy in the service teach the natives bonsai?  Interesting questions and we'll be looking for answers in the coming months.  So special classes created smaller bonsai as a "deployment collection" that can fit in a shoe box!  Stay tuned!
    *** Return to the July issue of Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai
    *** Go to Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation website
    *** Go to Fuku-Bonsai website
                     Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation and Fuku-Bonsai, 2013