Each time I visit the Golden State Bonsai Federation’s Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, different trees catch my attention. The last time I stopped by, some of the larger trees struck me as looking good. Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but larger-sized bonsai do have a few advantages. For example, it’s easier for the trunk of a large black pine to develop the deep-furrowed bark that we prize in pine bonsai. There’s more room for juniper deadwood to twist and turn, and more opportunity for us to appreciate the character of the deadwood itself with it’s time-worn fissures that convey exposure to harsh environments.
I also like that I have to move my head around to take in all of a large tree. It’s great to hold a small tree in your hand and inspect it, but it’s a different feeling when you have to move around to fully appreciate a larger specimen.
Here, then, are a few of the larger trees on display at the Bonsai Garden this fall.
Shimpaku grafted on Sierra juniper
This year’s Golden State Bonsai Federation Convention consisted of two exhibits – a general exhibit and a judged exhibit in which entries are subject to judging and eligible for cash prizes. From the convention website:
Any member of a bonsai club that is in good membership standing with the Golden State Bonsai Federation may enter a bonsai in this competition (this includes contiguous state affiliated clubs). Entries are limited to one per person in any of four categories. Cash awards will be made in the amount of $200 in each of the categories (Conifer, Deciduous, Broad-leaved evergreen, Shohin) and $200 for a People’s Choice Award and $500 for Best of Show to be chosen from the winners of the other categories. Winners shall be determined by a panel of judges that shall be the headliners of the Convention Program [Peter Tea, David DeGroot and Kathy Shaner], and the People’s Choice Award shall be determined by popular vote of the attendees to the Convention. The decision of the judges and the popular vote shall be final.
I’m very happy to see GSBF sponsoring a judged event and hope that over time more and more enthusiasts will participate. Here are some highlights from the judged exhibit, first among them, a tree that won Best Conifer, the People’s Choice Award and Best in Show – wow! Congratulations go to Rick Trumm – who also took home the ABS John Y. Naka Award, Hobbyist Division – for his work on this beautiful Sierra juniper.
Sierra juniper by Rick Trumm
Other highlights from the judged exhibit below.
Olive – Best Broadleaf Evergreen
The Golden State Bonsai Federation’s exhibit at its 37th convention included a great mix of conifers, particularly the pines and junipers.
Great trunk and roots
Atlas cedar – is that what I think it is atop the tree?
Yep – Mantodea
I’ve guessed at several of the names below – feel free to chime in if you now the varieties.
Some of the more interesting deadwood in the exhibit appeared on a Sierra juniper.
Root over rock black pine
Shimpaku grafted on Sierra juniper
Last week the Golden State Bonsai Federation hosted its 37th Convention in Sacramento, California – Bonsai Visions of the West. Headliners included Peter Tea, Kathy Shaner and David De Groot. The event featured a great selection of vendors, workshops, demonstrations, auctions and bonsai on display.
A visitor photographing a trident maple
This year’s exhibit was split between judged entries and general entries. Greg McDonald was responsible for the general exhibit. To select trees, Greg and his brother Jay toured the state looking for impressive specimens. Thanks to their effort and to the generous owners who provided trees, the exhibit turned out great. The timing was especially good for some of the deciduous varieties already in fall color making for a very seasonal experience. Here are some of the deciduous varieties and broadleaf evergreens on display.
Cascade bonsai – Bursera microphylla(?)
Close-up of foliage
Japanese flowering quince ‘chojubai’
Root over rock trident maple
The exhibit also included several shohin displays.
Shohin bonsai display