The East Bay Bonsai Society hosted their 50th Anniversary Bonsai Show at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, California, on October 8th and 9th. The show featured a workshop, demonstration and critique by Kathy Shaner, sales and vendor areas, and plenty of bonsai and suiseki. The show program included a history of “The First 50 Years of the East Bay Bonsai Society.” I’ve reproduced it here as it recognizes the considerable effort its members have made over the years to the organization and to the larger bonsai community.
“The East Bay Bonsai Society (EBBS) traces its origins to 1961 when Jack Dutro, seeking people interested in bonsai, placed a guest book at the bonsai display of the California Spring Garden and Home Show. Over a hundred and twenty-five people signed the book and ultimately met with Jack, Harvey and Grace Suzuki, Nelson and Lillian Dennis at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland on Wednesday, October 11, 1961. Jack Dutro’s interest in bonsai began in 1939 when he visited the Japanese Pavilion at the San Francisco and Golden Gate International Exhibition at Treasure Island. Jack served as the first president of EBBS, sharing his knowledge, expertise and love of bonsai with others. Other early pioneers include Harvey Suzuki, who gave the very first bonsai demonstration, Mas Imazumi, John Castle, Jack Weeks, Gene Kremer and William Penn Mott.
Coast live oak
“EBBS membership grew to over 140 during the 1960s and 1970s when its members won numerous awards for design and horticultural excellence at the Garden Show at Oakland’s Dunsmuir House. In 1996, when Jack Dutro was age eighty-seven, the Society lost one of its most cherished members.
“The Society sponsored monthly meetings with presentations, demonstrations and workshops lead by experts from the US and abroad, providing education geared to beginners as well as more advanced bonsai enthusiasts, and mentoring by more experienced members, including Ruben G., Bob G., Dennis V., Tim K., Bill C., Randall L., Jim G., Tom C., Chuck G., Alex C. and Inge W. The personal sharing of knowledge was reinforced by publication of a monthly newsletter, edited for many years by Bob C.
San Jose juniper
“EBBS continues to sponsor a yearly bonsai exhibit, featuring display of members’ trees, offers an extensive lending library, periodic field trips, a yearly auction in July, a picnic in August and a holiday party in December. Following a decades-old tradition, members decorate bonsai trees for the holiday season and bring them to the holiday party.
Japanese black pine
Dwarf Asian pear ‘Maminashi’
“The East Bay Bonsai Society is a founding member of the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) which now includes over sixty bonsai clubs. Jack W. and Ron R. represented EBBS at the formative meeting of GSBF in Santa Maria in February 1978, and helped organize the first GSBF convention in November 1978 in Berkeley.
Satsuki azalea – kazan
“The East Bay Bonsai Society meets at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland on the second Wednesday of each month (except August). The nearby Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is the premier bonsai display garden in northern California, and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many EBBS members helped fund, build and operate the Garden, notably John N. and Steve F. who were instrumental in the construction phase; Bob and Polly G., Ron R. and Karl Y. who contributed to the docent program; Marie R. and Kay H. who coordinated docent scheduling; Janice D., Linda S. and Rick T. who help maintain the trees; John N., JD L. and many others who serve as docents and support the educational program.
“EBBS members continue to play prominent roles in planning and organizing annual conventions of GSBF, devoting many volunteer hours, and displaying bonsai trees which have won widespread acclaim. None of this would have been possible without the collective efforts of those who initially formed the Society and who contributed so much over the years.”
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