This past weekend the Bay Area Bonsai Associates – better known as BABA – held their 32nd annual exhibit at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, California. The exhibit opened on Saturday evening with dinner and a demonstration by satsuki expert Suishou Nakayama. Nakayama worked on several large azaleas that were raffled off while describing his approach to azalea styling and maintenance.
The exhibit itself was great, featuring a variety of bonsai providing evidence that spring is nigh. Of particular note were the exhibit’s many shohin bonsai.
San Jose Juniper
A friend at the event asked which trees in the exhibit stuck out to me. I answered by pointing to a small black pine nearby. The tree was grown from seedling cutting made 23 years ago. Through the owner’s skill, the tree has developed into one of the better home-grown shohin pines I’ve seen.
23-year old black pine
Another of the owner’s pines sat atop a second shohin stand.
Black pine – what a tiny pot!
Satsuki azalea – Akemi no tsuki
Many of the small and medium sized bonsai in the exhibit lined the walls of the hall.
Small and medium-sized bonsai
Contorted quince – tree and pot by Jim Gremel
The exhibit also included a number of suiseki, including a box display featuring small stones.
Figure stone – what do you see?
One of my favorites was a new addition to Kora Dalager’s collection – a stone with two fronts.
Pointing to the left
Pointing to the right
As for the demonstration, Carl Morimoto did an admirable job translating the oftentimes humorous Nakayama. In response to a question about fertilizer, Nakayama answered that he feeds his trees meat, pork bellies and tofu skin. A mix of organic compounds, in other words – a summation made clear by Rick Garcia who helped with the demonstration.
Suishou Nakayama and Carl Morimoto
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Dave Martin says
Jonas, thank you for posting these pictures of the BABA exhibit. It is a show I alway look forward to seeing pictures from. The trees are always good quality.
Is this a new trend using red pots for bonsais? I noticed at the show that 2 of the bonsais were shown in red pots.
Jonas Dupuich says
@Maria – good question about the red pots. I don’t know that I’ve noticed a trend – maybe you’re on to something. I’ll pay more attention to this going forward.
Great show! Thanks for sharing!
Love it !
I love a tiny pot!
I quite like the look of trees in very small pots, similar to the pine above.
Do you have any recommendations about tree and pot sizes? Are there any rules of thumb?
Jonas Dupuich says
Super practical question Timothy, thanks. The best guide is a good exhibit book – the Kokufu-ten book, for instance. Show pots tend to be a bit smaller that the pots we want to grow trees in year-round, but it’s a good starting point. I’ll think about whether there are any obvious rules of thumb and keep this in mind for a future topic.