Tag Archives: bonsai

29th Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai Exhibit

Once Upon a Time in a place not so far away a group of kids gathered to learn about the art of bonsai. This group of home-schooled kids gather weekly at the old Redwood Elementary School in Boulder Creek on “outdoor day” to hike, craft and learn about nature.

Chris Howe shows kids how to start styling their junipers

On this day, after returning from a morning hike, everyone was ready to get started creating their own bonsai. With the 29th Annual Exhibit of Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club fast approaching on Saturday and Sunday April 8th & 9th at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, there was no time to lose and most of the kids wanted their newly created bonsai to be included in the show.

Former president of the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai, Chris Howe, has been a long time bonsai aficionado dating back to the days when we used to work together at a local nursery. His daughter Gloria is in this class along with 12 of her 3rd to 5th grade classmates. Chris had an attentive audience as he related a short history of bonsai and gave a few tips for the kids to get started styling their own dwarf Japanese garden junipers.

If you’ve ever tried your hand at creating a bonsai yourself but didn’t know where to start, Chris gave us all the perfect “rule” that the sensei masters use. “Imagine you are a tiny bird trying to land in a tree. Make some spaces among the branches and leaves so the little bird can land.”

Gloria Howe adds moss to her bonsai

With this advice the kids got started on their one gallon junipers. All the plants and pots were donated for the class by the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club. Each child also received a free bonsai coloring book showing the different styles and techniques which was also donated to the class by the club.

The word bonsai comes from two Japanese words that provide the most basic definition of this living art form. “Bon” means tray or pot, while “sai” means to plant. One of the reasons we all admire bonsai is how old they look -appearing to be veterans of years of struggle against natural forces. Some are actually hundreds of years old and handed down in families while others just look very old and some techniques help further this illusion.

There is a technique called Jin which causes weathered-looking dieback on a branch and is created by stripping a branch of bark. When asked by Chris nearly all the kids wanted to have a branch tip or two crushed by pliers so they could peal off the bark. In nature, deadwood is created when a tree is hit by lightning, exposed to sustained periods of drought or when branches snap due to ice stress, wind or weight of snow. The wood dies off and is bleached by intense sunlight.

Gloria with her finished bonsai and others from classmates.

As living things, bonsai are always growing, leaves and stems being pinched, the branches wired into natural looking shapes, the trunks thickening. Chris showed the class one of his prized bonsai specimens and explained which techniques he used to style it.

Don’t miss the upcoming 29h Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai show Saturday and Sunday, April 8th & 9th at the Museum of Art and History at 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz from 10am -5pm each day. Entry fee is $5 per person to the museum and the show. Kids 12 and under get in free so it’s a great way to spend the day.

Every plant sold or raffled at the show comes with an invitation to the monthly Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club meetings where new enthusiasts are welcomed and nurtured.

Besides taking in the beautiful bonsai on display you can purchase finished bonsai and starter plants as well as get experienced help with trees purchased. There will be door prizes and refreshments. You might even win the raffle for the demonstration specimen created each day at 2:00 pm by Bonsai Master, Eric Shrader on Saturday or if you come to the show on Sunday created by Sensei Katsumi Kinoshita.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club’s 28th Annual Show

Driving up Love Creek in Ben Lomond it’s hard to imagine the magnitude of the famous slide in 1982 that caused such devastation and loss of life. The ferns are lush now bordering the creek which flows to the San Lorenzo river. I’m on my way to visit an old friend, Chris Howe who is getting his bonsai collection ready for the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai Club’s 28th Annual show coming up on the first weekend of April. We used to work together at a local nursery and I’m looking forward to seeing his plants.

ilex-crenata_bonsai
Ilex crenata bonsai

Chris first became interested in the art of bonsai about 15 years ago. Working in a nursery he could see the potential of overlooked, overgrown specimens with interesting trunks begging to to be styled into trees that look much older than their size suggests. To further his knowledge of this ancient craft he joined the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai Club and was their president for four years.

Chris lives with his family, two dogs and some chickens on 14 acres so there is plenty of space to shelter his prized bonsai specimens as well as those in early training or waiting to attain that most sought after illusion of age. “They’re never finished”, Chris laughed. He says his kids, Gloria, Ruby and Frederick, all show some interest in his hobby although the youngest is more apt to toss the ornamental rocks around than marvel at how old the bonsai look.

Chris_trims_Chinese-elm
Chris trims Chines elm bonsai

The word bonsai comes from two Japanese words that provide the most basic definition of this living art form. “Bon” means tray or pot, while “sai” means to plant. One of the reasons we all admire bonsai is how old they look -appearing to be veterans of years of struggle against natural forces. Some are actually hundreds of years old and handed down in families while others just look very old and some techniques help further this illusion.

Among his collection, Chris has an impressive Liquidambar orientalis he is hoping to enter into the show this year. Slow growing and native to the eastern Mediterranean regions of Turkey and the Greek island of Rhodes where large stands still grow, Chris methodically pinched every large leaf leaving the smaller ones. This technique will cause the tree to eventually produce only small leaves making the tree look older.

boxwood_bonsai-with-Jin_Shari
Boxwood exhibiting Jin and Shari

The boxwood is a shrub that lends itself to training. In addition to a couple boxwood that date back to his nursery days, Chris has a large specimen that was in the show last year and has been in his care for 10 years. it’s actual age is unknown. A technique called Jin which causes weathered-looking dieback on a branch and is created by stripping a branch of bark had already been initiated as was Shari which removes bark on part of the trunk. In nature, deadwood is created when a tree is hit by lightning, exposed to sustained periods of drought or when branches snap due to ice stress, wind or weight of snow. The wood dies off and is bleached by intense sunlight. This technique is almost exclusively used on evergreen trees, as creating Jin of Shari on deciduous trees often looks unrealistic

As living things, bonsai are always growing, leaves and stems being pinched, the branches wired into natural looking shapes, the trunks thickening and sometimes developing nebari or that most sought after look when the surface roots of the tree or root flare are visible above the growing medium. Included in Chris’s collection are a dramatic California buckeye, many Japanese maple, Chinese elm, ilex crenata and a tilia which is called a lime tree in the British Isles. He found the tilia many years ago thrown in some bushes behind an apartment complex in Santa Cruz. Chris speculates that the original owner bought the tilia as a finished bonsai but thought it was dead as it’s deciduous. You can never tell where a good bonsai will originate.

raffle_worthy_juniper
“Raffle-worthy” juniper

All the members of the club are busy getting ready for their annual show. Each decides which of their specimens they will offer for sale, contribute to the raffle or to enter into the show. Moss needs to be collected and placed over the soil and around the rocks in the pot, the correct base chosen to complement each specimen, training wires removed, pots cleaned and polished. Some members have styled and trained one of 20 small junipers the club bought last fall to sell in the raffle as a fundraiser. I thought Chris’s specimen turned out especially well and hope I’m the one who wins it at the upcoming show.

Don’t miss the upcoming 28th Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai show Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday, April 3rd at the Museum of Art and History at 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz from 10am -5pm each day. Entry fee is $5 per person to the museum and the show.

Be inspired and have all your questions answered about growing bonsai from the experts. At 2:00 pm both days there will be a demonstration by the bonsai artist, Mike Pistello (Saturday )and bonsai sensei, Katsumi Kinoshita (Sunday). In the demonstrations, each will show where and how much to trim an ordinary piece of plant material, how to wire the branches to set their growth in the desired shape and how to pot the tree. The completed bonsai will be raffled afterwards.

Also at 1:00 pm both days, Carolyn Fitz, a SCBK member and Sumi-e brush painting artist, will present an “Exclusive behind-the-scene: Japanese Bonsai Ink Painting.”

Come and enjoy an amazing exhibit of bonsai. For sale will be finished bonsai, pre-bonsai trees, pots and more. Door prizes, special entertainment and complimentary tea and cookies will be available as well as free advice from experienced members.

Every plant sold or raffled at the show comes with an invitation to the monthly Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club meetings where new enthusiasts are welcomed and nurtured.

The Continuing Saga of my Raffle-Winning Bonsai

Jan_bonsaiIt all started several years ago at the annual bonsai show presented by the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai Club. I was sitting in the front row watching the sensei (meaning teacher) finish styling an overgrown 5 gallon juniper into a breathtaking specimen. It was truly impressive with the branches suggesting a tree growing on a windswept hill. The raffle started which is one of the main fund raisers for the club. Of the many prizes offered the large specimen created by the sensei is the the most coveted. I sat and sat and sat as dozens of numbers other than mine were called and eager winners walked away with smaller finished bonsai, starter plants, pots and tools. But then the last number was drawn with much fanfare as this was for the giant creation. I heard my number. I was beside overjoyed not only because I never win anything but because this prize was so exquisite.

Fast forward to the present. With the 27th Annual Bonsai Show coming Ed_instructs_Janup I knew I would be asked how my specimen was doing. I hate to admit but I hadn’t repotted it as I should have and how do I prune the darn thing? So I sought out an expert in the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club to help me. Although it’s not difficult repotting a bonsai is quite different than repotting an ornamental shrub on your patio. I didn’t want to mess up.

Fellow Bonny Dooner and longtime member of the club, Ed Lambing was more than happy to show me his collection and help me with the repotting of my juniper. He even shared with me his recipe for the mix he uses which is usually a highly guarded secret by bonsai enthusiasts-on the same scale with “if I told you I’d have to kill you”.

Ed and Nancy Lambing have created a beautifully landscaped garden Ed_bonsai-collectionthat just keeps getting better with time. From the koi pond to the naturalistic rock swimming pool to the wisteria pergola everything looks like it has always been just so. At every turn Ed has displayed his larger bonsai on tree trunks and flat rocks. He also has a greenhouse for repotting and nurturing cuttings, a bonsai nursery where specimens are in training and a bonsai display area for his prized specimens that gets the best morning sun and afternoon shade.

The word bonsai comes from two Japanese words that provide the most bonsai_collection-Edbasic definition of the living art form. “Bon” means tray or pot while “sai” means to plant. Ed’s interest in this art form first started 30 years ago. He now has more bonsai than I could count. He has a California juniper bonsai that is estimated to be 400 years old based on It’s trunk diameter. It takes 100 years for this plant to grow 3/4” trunk thickness. Other trees in his collection include several very old and gnarled olive trees, citrus, shefflera, maples and elms to name just a few.

Back in the greenhouse we started to repot my juniper. Ed wired some small branches to create a more wind-blown look, eased my root-bound dwarf Japanese garden juniper from it’s pot and proceeded to tease the roots. Other steps ranged from wiring screen over the holes in the bottom of the pot to root pruning 2/3 of the root hairs- yikes- and then placing the trunk over gravel at the side of the new pot to mimic the effects of wind on the tree. Ed advised me that my tree was a good prospect for a root over rock or “Sekijoju” specimen in the future. I’ll need to find just the right rock for the upper roots to grip and look like they were exposed by erosion over a period of time.

After wiring the top heavy juniper into the pot. Ed added his special bonsai IMG_0967potting mix and then used a chopstick to wiggle the mix down into the root ball to eliminate air pockets and compact the mix over the entire pot. Bonsai in America has thankfully evolved into it’s own style. I love the look oJan_bonsai2f the glazed pot I used when repotting my tree but traditional Japanese style would have used a plain unglazed one.

All the members of the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club are busy getting ready for their annual show. Each decides which of their specimens will be entered in the show, offered for sale or contributed to the raffle. Moss needs to be collected, the correct base chosen to complement each specimen, training wires removed, pots cleaned and polished.

Ed has a 20 year old Japanese Maple that he plans to show. It started life before he got it as a 5 gallon plant and has been in training ever since. Unfortunately, a beautiful wisteria which was just starting to bloom at the time of my visit will be mostly finished by the time of the annual bonsai show so won’t be there.

One of the reasons we all admire bonsai is how old they look. While some are actually hundreds of years old and handed down in families others just look very old and some techniques help further this allusion. Ed plans to show another California Juniper, this one 200 yrs old and originally styled by famed bonsai sensei “Mr California Juniper”, Harry Hirao. Using the “Jin” technique it has the illusion of even more age due to the weathered dieback of some branches.

Every plant sold or raffled at the show comes with an invitation to the monthly Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club meetings where new enthusiasts are welcomed and nurtured. You can find out more by attending the 27th Annual Bonsai Show which takes place from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on both Saturday, March 28th and Sunday, March 29th at the Museum of Art and History at 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz. Entry fee is $5 per person for the Bonsai Show and Museum.

Besides taking in the beautiful bonsai on display you can purchase breathtaking finished bonsai and starter plants as well as get experienced help with trees purchased. There will be door prizes and refreshments. You might even win the raffle for the demonstration specimen created each day at 2:00 pm by Bonsai Artist, Mike Pistello.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 26th Annual Show

Pete_bonsai_collectionFor the last few years before the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club has their annual show I’m honored to visit one of the members for a personal tour of their bonsai collection. Last year I viewed Marc Shaw’s collection in Ben Lomond. Marc is currently serving as president of the club. The year before it was former president, Ron Anderson’s home in Boulder Creek. Both wowed me with their talent creating such awesome specimens.

This year I was most happy to be invited to visit the collection of another member, Pete Logan, at his home in Felton. Over a decade ago I met Pete as he used to come into the nursery where I worked to scour the stock of plants for interesting branching structure. You never know what you might find in the far reaches of a nursery and Pete had a good eye for potential specimens.  Over the years he has honed his skills in creating and nurturing his bonsai collection.

In the back of his home on the San Lorenzo River, Pete has built a pergola to shade his bonsai maple_bonsaicollection of over 100 specimens from afternoon sun. Each tree has a story as interesting as Pete’s own. After returning from combat duty in Vietman, Pete found himself suffering from anxiety but at the time no one knew about post traumatic stress disorder.  “Medication worked for awhile”, Pete said, “but it never went away,”  Developing a passion for bonsai has been a way for him to relieve stress and forget everything as he immerses himself in his art.

His interest in bonsai started after watching the 1984 movie, The Karate Kid. He was always interested in landscaping and plants, he told me, and one day picked up a Sunset magazine that had an article about bonsai. He was hooked. Pete describes his skills in styling bonsai as “self-taught”  but that “being involved with the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club for almost 9 years has been very rewarding as far as the knowledge I’ve acquired and the wonderful friends I’ve made”.  He says he would recommend the club to anyone interested in learning the art of bonsai.

boxwood_bonsaiAll the members of the club are busy getting ready for their annual show. Each decides which of their specimens they will offer for sale, to contribute to the raffle or to enter into the show. Moss needs to be collected to be placed over the soil and around the rocks in the pot, the correct base chosen to complement each specimen, training wires removed, pots cleaned and polished. Like many bonsai enthusiasts, Pete’s garage is brimming with shelves of beautiful pots, driftwood, rocks of every color, polished redwood burl slices to be used for bases, soil mix ingredients, tools, wire and soil sieves. He loves all things Asian and has a large collection of artifacts including Chinese cork carvings. I was thrilled when he handed me a tiny cork carving encased in glass to take home.

Pete doesn’t know which of his collection he will take to the bonsai show. Some, like a 15 year old boxwood_bonsai2liquidambar tree, haven’t leafed out yet but might in time for the show. He is training it in the bunjin style. He is also proud of a 2 foot redwood tree in the “root over rock'” or Sekijoju style. The leading branch of the tree died off and from it has created the illusion of age and the struggle to survive or “jin” as the technique is called.

Other favorite bonsai of this remarkable bonsai enthusiast include a Chinese elm and a boxwood, both in the root over rock style. He has three different types of oaks, seven olive specimens, blooming plums, spruce, pomegranate, grapes, yaupon holly, Japanese maples and cotoneaster all in training.

Pete is happy to share his love of bonsai with others and teaches workshops with another enthusiast monthly starting in spring at Scarborough Gardens in Scotts Valley. His next workshop is coming up on the last Sunday of April and will cover creating bonsai from nursery plants.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club meets monthly. You can find out more by attending the 26th Annual Show of Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai which takes place from 10:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, March 22nd and Sunday March 23rd at the Museum of Art and History at 705 Front Street in Santa Cruz. You might even win the coveted specimen created on each day by sensei master, John Thompson. I still have my large dwarf Japanese garden juniper that I won a few years ago and it’s doing well, thank you very much.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai 25th Anniversary Show

hawthorn_bonsai 2Last year I was introduced to the world of bonsai. Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai president Ron Anderson, gave me a private tour of his personal bonsai collection at his home in Boulder Creek. Shortly afterwards I attended the club's yearly show held then in Scotts Valley. I arrived a bit late and the afternoon demonstration had already started. The sensei, meaning teacher, was in the process of turning a large 5 gallon overgrown juniper into a finished bonsai. The wiring had been done initiating the training of the branches to form a more pleasing shape and the root pruning was about to begin. All of us in the audience were mesmerized by the seemingly brutal treatment of the plant but the results spoke for themselves. A beautiful, graceful juniper specimen displayed in a large, brown tray did all the talking.

Then the raffle began. Small finished bonsai specimens, starter plants and bonsai trays donated by club members to raise money all went to happy recipients as their ticket numbers were called. The final drawing was for the beautiful, graceful juniper just created by the sensei master. I could not believe my eyes when the winning number was announced. I was the winner. My specimen still lives happily displayed atop a large flat rock in my garden.

The show spans both a Saturday and a Sunday. On the Sunday afternoon last year, the sensei created another large bonsai of  junipers tucked into pockets on a piece of lava rock. As luck would have it, a member of the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club, Marc Shaw, won the prize. Recently I had the opportunity to see how it's doing along with the rest of his collection at his home. What a treat.

Marc has been interested in bonsai for 30 years. While working his way through college he found a job at a nursery in Southern California. His father had been a nurseryman so the love of plants runs in his family. He took a bonsai class with the owner of the nursery from John Naka, widely thought to be one of the first people in California to bring the ancient art form of bonsai to the U.S. Since then Marc has increased his collection and knowledge but admits he has learned the most since joining the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai club 10 years ago.

One of the reasons we all admire bonsai is how they old they look. Some actually are hundreds of years old and handed down in families. Others just look very old and some techniques help further this illusion. Marc shared his method for increasing the size of the trunk of a plants. A thick, twisted trunk is usually only found on an old tree. Marc  has a small plot of land in his garden devoted to growing his future specimens. Underlaid with flooring material buried 6" deep he grows a plant for about 2 years in the ground. This way the roots can grow wide but not deep and helps the future tree trunk to increase in girth.  He has even knocked out a bonsai plant already growing in a shallow pot and transplanted it into the ground for a couple of years to change the look of the trunk.

Marc is especially drawn to developing bonsai that is called "root over rock" or Sekijoju. This simple but time consuming technique mimics the way the upper roots of a tree grip a rock tightly and then are exposed by erosion over a period of years. He has many specimens in training starting them out by teasing the roots and spreading them over a beautiful rock. Collecting interesting rocks is part of the fun and Marc has a spot the family visits in Lake Nacimiento where he finds jaspar.

His oldest bonsai, a mugho pine, is 30 years old. Maybe someday it will rival he oldest bonsai specimens that are estimated to be about 800 years old as I found out on this website –  http://www.bonsaitreegardener.net/5-oldest-bonsai-trees. In the meantime, he will continue to graft and air layer and train his specimens to perfection.

The 25th Anniversary Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai show is March 23rd the 24th at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz. Don't miss it.

The World of Bonsai

I walked through an Asian inspired bamboo gate and entered another world- the world of bonsai.  Some trees were blooming, others just leafing out and some had trunks thick and gnarled like they've been alive 200 years- and they have. Here at the garden of the Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai  president, Ron Anderson, I was treated to a tour of 100 specimens in his personal bonsai collection.

The word bonsai comes from two Japanese words that provide the most basic definition of this living art form. "Bon" is a tray or pot , while "sai' means to plant.

At each turn, I marveled at yet another tree in training. Some already in classic bonsai pots while others were still in cut down nursery pots awaiting their day to be root pruned and given a shallow tray.  As living things, they are always growing, leaves and stems being pinched, the branches wired into natural looking shapes, the trunks thickening and sometimes developing nebari or that most sought after look when the surface roots of the tree or root flare are visible above the growing medium

 

Ron told me he has always been interested in Asian and Japanese gardening. It was only 5 years ago, however,  that his father-in-law took him to a bonsai show. He was hooked. His first bonsai? A boxwood that someone was going to throw out. He gets a lot of his plant material that way. Craig's List has been a great source of old, gnarled  plants. A giant rosemary shrub awaits dividing in a wooden box. A huge Tam juniper was on it's way to the dump. He also has many old, overgrown boxwoods in various stages of training that have much potential.Although many people new to the art of bonsai start with a little finished juniper or buy starter plants, collecting wild trees ( yamadori ) is one of the best ways of acquiring new material for bonsai. Ron found a Sierra juniper in a crevice in the Lake Tahoe area that is probably about 200 years old from the looks of the trunk. Care was taken to get most of the root system, otherwise the tree would have been doomed. A tree collected from the wild must be treated to the highest standard of care. But the reward or a unique yamadori bonsai is a worthwhile prize for spending days, months or years searching for potential material.

Ron also finds potential bonsai specimens in nurseries, looking mainly for 5 gallon or larger plants with an interesting trunk. That way the tree looks more like one found in nature. The oaks on Hwy 152, are good models for bonsai design, he says. Bonsai enthusiasts strive to evoke the ravages of nature in their trees. Except for young bonsai-in-training, most specimens seem much older than their small size suggests. And they may also appear to be veterans of years of struggle against natural forces. Actual age is of less importance in bonsai than the illusion of age. To that end, Ron will shave, cut and sometimes burn a trunk or branch to create the look of a lightning strike.

In Ron's collection are flowering quince, pear, elm, boxwood, juniper, azalea ( picky, he says ), cotoneaster, crabapple, olive, persimmon, dawn redwood, coast redwood, strawberry guava, Korean hornbeam, peach and "the cadillac" of bonsai- the black pine. Ron has two of these now.

Most bonsai live outdoors like they do in nature. There are very few that thrive inside. For his wife, Ron is training an olive tree that will eventually live indoors. Starting with a 7 ft tree, it's now 6 " tall. He is forcing new limbs to grow out from the trunk and it now has three branches.

What conditions do bonsai like? Ron keeps all of his collection outside year round. Some are under trees while others are out in the open even on frosty nights. During the summer they get morning sun and afternoon shade. He waters all of them every other day during the growing season but cautions that he knows his plants and their requirements and someone else may have to fine tune their own individual watering schedule. There is no soil in his soil mix, preferring a mix of small pumice, red lava and a few other things he's learned about but "can't give his secrets away". The most important thing is for the mix to have perfect drainage or the tree roots will rot.

Ron transplants his deciduous trees every year as they grow so fast. Evergreen trees are repotted every 3 years. A rootbound tree, with circling roots in the pot, won't be healthy and growing new root hairs. This will inhibit the growth of the trunk and it won't be able to increase in girth.

Deciduous bonsai, Ron explained, are grown in unglazed trays usually in soft, dark colors. Colored glazed containers are reserved mainly for shows although flowering and fruiting plants are sometimes grown in them also.

Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai meets every 3rd Saturday at 9am at the Live Oak Grange hall on 17th Ave in Santa Cruz. Workshops are held on the 2nd Wed of each month at 7pm at the Aptos Grange hall. Ron said that the club has increased its membership by 30 due to its presence on Facebook which is good as without new members, the knowledge won't be passed on.
Visit their website at http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/santacruzbonsaikai/

And don't miss the upcoming Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai show Saturday, March 24th and Sunday, March 25th to be inspired and have all your questions answered about growing bonsai from the experts. Both days will feature a demonstration at 2 pm by the famous bonsai sensei, Katsumi Kinoshita.  In the demonstration, Kinoshita will show where and how much to trim an ordinary piece of plant material, how to wire the branches to set their growth in the desired shape and how to pot the tiny tree. The completed bonsai will be the prize in the raffle afterwards.

At the show every plant sold comes with an invitation to Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai meetings, where new enthusiasts are welcomed and nurtured.