Bonsai School opens registraton

Fig1. In this case, the root ball was rotated and the side roots became topside. This required heavy pruning of the roots and reshaping of the root ball.

By George Haas,
School Coordinator

The Bonsai School 2017 offered at the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF) Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) just completed its third year of classes in bonsai. The last two sessions were held December 9 and 10, 2017, and led by the Bonsai Garden’s Curator, Kathy Shaner, on styling and repotting. Now is the season for repotting and the students were given the opportunity for hands-on repotting of mature, quality bonsai from the Bonsai Garden’s collection. Assistant Curators were on hand to assist. Continue reading

Free Bonsai Beginners’ Classes

One goal of the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) is to educate people in the art and science of Bonsai. In an effort towards achieving that goal, the BGLM has teamed with the East Bay Bonsai Society (EBBS) to help interested students get started in the study of bonsai. Highly trained EBBS members volunteer as teachers for the Bonsai Beginners’ Classes held at the BGLM Workshop on the fourth Sunday of each month (except February and December).

Continue reading

Bonsai School at Lake Merritt

Applications OPEN for the 2018 Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt Bonsai School

The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) offers a four-year bonsai school taught by Garden Curator Kathy Shaner, Garden Master Gordon Deeg, guest instructors, and Assistant Curators.

The purpose of the bonsai school is to identify and instruct potential students to become Assistant Curators for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt who will take an active part in the care and maintenance of the Bonsai Garden’s historic and legacy bonsai.

Visit our Bonsai School Overview and let us know if you are interested in applying.

Garden reopened on Tuesday, November 21

Fundraising for Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s GRO Project

The Bonsai Garden has been closed since the end of the Autumn Lights Festival, October 19-21, to install pavers on the pathways. If the rain cooperates, we will reopen the gates to the public at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, November 21. Stop by and watch us GRO.

The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) has been raising funds for its Garden Revitalization Project (GRO) for months. To date, over 50% of the $100,000 goal has

 

been contributed to revitalizing our Bonsai Garden museum. But, there is more to do. This project aims to upgrade the display benches and stands, watering system, pathways, add windows and much more, in order to meet the challenges of caring for and maintaining the historic and legacy bonsai collection in a professional and museum quality manner.

BGLM has recently initiated a commemorative brick fundraising drive in which individuals, clubs and businesses can purchase a variety of laser engraved bricks for $150, $250 or $500, and the proceeds will help fund the GRO Project. The engraved bricks will last a lifetime and rest in a place of honor at the entrance to the Bonsai Garden. For information on the bric

ks click here: Commemorative Bricks.

Another method of contributing funds to the GRO Project is to simply donate any amount through the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt’s crowd funding website – YouCaring.

Thanks for your patience while we were closed for the construction. Drop by soon. I’m sure you will feel it has been worth the wait.

The Mammoth is coming soon

The Annual Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt Mammoth Auction & Sale will be held on Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, 18, 2018 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA.  This is an official appeal for materials for the Auction of quality bonsai on Saturday and the Sale of bonsai and pre-and-developing bonsai on Sunday.  Items may be donated or submitted on consignment.

Bonsai for the Auction will need to be submitted by December 30, 2017. Material for the Sunday Sale will be accepted at the Garden Center on Saturday, February 17th, 9am – 4pm and Sunday, February 18th, between 8am – 9am. Any bonsai material, pots, etc. will be accepted as sale material.  Consignment items for the Saturday Auction will have a 30% charge and for the Sunday Sale will have a 25% charge.  Again, full donations are appreciated and tax-deductible. Contact Mike Mello, 510-886-1568 or Dennis Hawkins, 510-657-8229 IDHAWK@comcast.net for more sale information. If you wish to place a reserve price on your item in the Auction, you will be charged a fee of 10% of that reserve if the item does not sell. This fee goes to help defray the cost of the auction.

For complete Mammoth Fundraiser details visit HERE.

Watering the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt

By George Haas

Watering by hand nearly 200 bonsai and accent plants is undertaken by volunteers for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, when all systems fail. The task is challenging and in the summer months necessary two to three times in a single day.

The new overhead watering system in operatio

The timed watering system in existence for many years utilized Drip Irrigation and Low Volume Watering products, including water connection kits, distribution tubing, drip lines, fittings, drip emitters, filters, and more.
Bonsai experts all agree watering bonsai is critical in the care and maintenance of bonsai. Overwatering and inadequate watering can be the death of bonsai. We generally do not worry much about overwatering. Although, watering too frequently can be harmful to the bonsai. Because we use special bonsai soil mixes in the potting of bonsai, over watering just drains through the bottom holes of the pot. On the other hand, inadequate watering or drying out the roots of bonsai results are usually fatal to the tree. Continue reading

Word is getting out about our GRO Program

The word is getting out about our GRO (Garden Revitalization Opportunity) Program which is helping our donations to exceed $46,000. The Oakland Tribune and some of the other East Bay Times publications carried a story recently about the Bonsai Garden and its GRO fundraiser. You can read about it by clicking here.

David Thompson, the gentleman who donated the cedar from the Pan Pacific Exposition earlier this year, passed away recently. In his obituary, his family asked that donations be given to the Bonsai Garden in lieu of flowers. His friends have been very generous in their donations to the Garden. You can read about his life here.

We have recently expanded our donations drive to include Commemorative engraved bricks that individuals, clubs or businesses can purchase. The bricks will be installed as part of the new Garden pathway paving project that will begin immediately after the Autumn Lights Festival on Monday, October 23, 2017. For more information about the Brick Fundraiser Drive, please click here.

Speaking of the Autumn Lights Festival, this year will have even more lights to engage our vast audience of visitors which numbered nearly 10,000 last year despite the rain. Our theme this year is butterflies in support of the Park at Lake Merritt’s program to support butterflies and keep them from becoming an endangered species. If you are interested in finding out more about the Autumn Lights Festival, please visit http://www.autumnlightsoakland.com/ULaQZ/. If you haven’t seen the Bonsai Garden lit for this Festival, you are in for a treat. You can see our progress with the GRO project at the same time.

West Coast Zen Garden Inspiration

by Sally Writes

There are so many different types of gardens in the world that just about anyone can find the one that is the perfect match for them. When you have weather like we do in the West Coast, creating and maintaining a flourishing garden becomes all the more achievable.

One type of garden that is gaining in popularity recently, is a Zen garden. You can chalk

it up to people leading busier lives, dealing with increased stress, being surrounded by too much technology, or just not having enough alone time, but the fact still remains: people are looking for more ways to conveniently contemplate, reflect and meditate. That’s where a Zen garden comes in. Consider it a way to create your own personal utopia that you have constant access to. While the beauty of any type of garden is that you can personalize it to your own liking, here are three standard features to consider including in your own Zen garden, for optimal results:

Plants

Use nature itself to decorate your beautiful and relaxing Zen garden and soon enough achieving inner peace will come naturally and effortlessly. You can use plants native to California for a local touch, or expand and incorporate multiple different varieties. You can use plants as a utilitarian way of creating a border or fence for your Zen garden, or simply to keep the area inside green and full of life. Whatever options you choose, just make sure to include some luscious plants.

Water

A source of life, so it should have a spot in your Zen garden, right? Not only does water symbolize life, purity, resilience and even love, the actual sound of it is calming, relaxing, and absolutely vital for some outdoor meditation practice. Choose a beautiful fountain in the size that best makes sense and make it the focal point of your garden. Soon, peaceful thoughts will begin to flow effortlessly.

Statues

Many Zen gardens feature multiple statues, and you can opt for as many or as few as you like. If certain animals, people, or images hold a special meaning for you, incorporate their statues throughout your garden for some extra inspiration. You can even opt for a 2-in-1 idea and choose a water fountain that doubles as a statue, meaning you get the relaxing and calming effect of flowing water, coupled with inspiring imagery.

So, while no two people are identical, neither are gardens. That is the beauty of it. Personalize your own Zen garden to make it a place of fulfilment, contemplation, meditation, and peace. You’ll never want to leave!