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
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Ah yes, and the trained yardtrees have even more scope. They can be admired from a distance, the bark even denser and the foliage more consistent with the size. As we saw with the Artisan’s Cup…bigger is best.