The California Kusamura Bonsai Club’s 51st Annual Show

A couple of weeks ago, at the invite of Vern Smith, Michele and I went to a Bonsai Show. I love plants and I love plant shows, but I have never been to a Bonsai show. My only exposure has been through wandering around a couple of Bonsai nurseries and what I have gathered from the zeitgeist. Most plant shows feature rows or groups of plants, usually lined up in some sort of contest mode – at a cactus show for example, all the Mammillarias will be together –

but, at a Bonsai Show, each plant is displayed separately as an individual. And the entire display is important. The plant, the pot, the top dressing – which is often some sort of moss – and the background. Even the entry to the show is given special attention with a display called a tokanoma – I think. To me it felt very Japanesey but when I talked to various hall monitors at the show, they didn’t think so.

As an aside, I think of Bonsais as being only Japanese and was shocked to find a very old Bonsai at the Guangzhou Airport when we were in China. End aside.

It seems that each Bonsai Club has a different character – on purpose – as part of their charter. For example, the Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai (“Number One” Bonsai Club) – Serenity through Bonsai – says that they take  great pride in its family-oriented character. The California Kusamura Bonsai Club, according to its website, specializes in teaching. Because of that, there were several first time entries at this show which I found very attractive but Vern found somewhat wanting. I can hardly wait for a show from a club that specializes in only experts. In the meanwhile, this very fun show will do.

One thought on “The California Kusamura Bonsai Club’s 51st Annual Show

  1. It is amazing what these people can do with plants. That last one was cut from the side of a larger plant, and then the branches trained to look like a stand of trees. They call this a raft.

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