On January 14-15, 2023, the Bay Area Bonsai Associates held their 41st bonsai exhibition at the Lake Merritt Garden Center in Oakland, California. Here are some of the highlights, starting with the Best Conifer award winner from the Pacific Bonsai Expo.
Another tree you might recognize from the Expo is a large Coast redwood.
Coast redwood (see more pics here)
One of the displays that stuck out to me was a California juniper. Here’s the note that accompanied it.
In Memory of Seiji Shiba. A pillar of the California bonsai community and one of the founding members of the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt.
Seiji collected this California juniper in the Mohave desert in the early 1990s and it has been under his care since his recent passing in December, 2022.
The Bay Area owes a lot to Seiji. He supplied the community with imported tools and containers through a business, Shibui Bonsai, that he ran with friends, was one of the key forces behind the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, and managed a prodigious collection including many trees he collected and developed over the years.
My favorite memory of Seiji was when we shared a bowl of udon at the Kokubunji Bonsai Center outside Takamatsu in Shikoku, Japan.
Seiji, his wife Della, and I, were in Japan to visit the 11th ASPAC Convention. We had been touring bonsai growers on a cold and rainy day when we found a small food stand at the Bonsai Center. Seiji lit up upon tasting the warm, yummy noodles. Seeing that smile was one of the highlights of the trip!
Corkbark black pine
In addition to featuring large and medium sized displays, the BABA show included several shohin displays.
Six-tree shohin display
Four-tree shohin display
Six-tree shohin display featuring multiple bunjin bonsai
Speaking of shohin, this weekend is the Shohin School Winter Seminar in Portland, Oregon. The following weekend will be the California Shohin Seminar in Santa Nella, California. Clearly it’s shohin season!
I’ll be at both events so please say hi if you plan to attend.
Pacific Bonsai Expo Show Book Update
For those who have pre-ordered the Pacific Bonsai Expo Commemorative Album, we’re wrapping up the editing and preparing to send the book to the printers. Although it’s too early to have an exact timeline, it looks like the books will be ready to go out in March. We’ll share details when we know more about the timing.
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