2017 Bay Island Bonsai Show

I had a really great time at last weekends 18th annual Bay Island Bonsai Show. It's very impressive that Boon and his club have been putting this show on for 18 years now!   Props to Boon, Paul Kellum, Matt Reel, Tyler Sherrod and the club for planning and executing on a great show.   I've included a few pictures from some of my favorites from the weekend and a before and after of my entry below.

On first glance, I assumed this was a Japanese Maple, but the owner Paul Kellum explained that it's a Trident.  I love the nebari and the fact that the second smaller trunk originates directly out of the nebari to create a true double trunk tree.  The white bark extends throughout the trunk and main branches which is a sign of age.


This Chojubai a variety of Japanese Quince is owned by club member Kenny Lamm. You can see a few red blossoms just about ready to open.  This clump style tree has ramified nicely and makes a fantastic addition to this shohin box display.


Adair's Olive was the heaviest tree out off all.  The wide base, rapid trunk taper and overall size make this tree very impressive in person.  My nickname for it is Jaba the Olive:)


I know almost nothing about Suiseki, but I know what I like and I like what I see here.  The overall presentation gives me a calming feeling,  it's the type of thing that makes you slowly take in a deep breath.  You could get lost looking into the painting which I believe was created using spray paint forming a picture that's both simple and complex at the same time.


Here's John Kirby's California Juniper which I believe many years ago was initially styled by Shinji Suzuki during a demo and since then worked on primarily by John, Daisaku and Boon.  My favorite Junipers tend to show both power and grace which are two characteristics of this tree.  The height and and trunk diameter almost give this a Bunjin feel, but the tree also exhibits power and strength.  You can't beat the candy cane twist of the live vein and wonder how mother nature made it wrap around the trunk like that.


Next to the California was this small Crape Myrtle.  All I can say about this is, "Baby got Back!"


I'm not sure who's Ume this is, but I really like it and wish it was part of my collection.  It sure is hard to find good ume in the US!  The crackly bark and deadwood on this tree lead me to believe it's pretty old, at least as far as Ume go in the US.  Did you know ume is closely related to both the Plum and Apricot? The delicate flowers contrast beautiful with the rugged trunk.


During our show, everyone picks a task or job to ensure everything flows smoothly during the show.  My job was to bring all the trees to the photographer, then set them back up at their display.  Here's Sam Ogranaja a fantastic photographer getting set up with this twin trunk Stewartia.


As always I appreciate the opportunity to get up close and personal with each tree.  This Kokonoe White pine which also belongs to John Kirby is the best I've seen in the US.  The tree was originally grafted to a Black Pine base, however Kokonoe being one of stronger varieties, was able to ground layer it self from just above the graft line.  Now this tree has a high quality nebari and is on it's own root base.   John has done a phenomenal job with it.

Break time!  Shout out to my new friend Sam Ogranaja, who took us to Firebrand Artisan Breads for a quick snack.  Very tasty coffee and cream puff.


This was the second time I showed a tree.  A Sierra Juniper which still has a long way to go. Currently it needs to be shifted over to the viewers right hand side and the foliage pads need to fill in and develop a lot more.  I collected it in either 2011 or 2012-can't remember exactly.  There's a piece of granite embedded in the lower right hand side.  This is just a pic I took with my phone, Sams pics looked much better.


Not the best shot below, but here's the same tree just after collection from a different angle.  It's fun to look back and see how our tree change over time.


That's all for now, but please stay tuned for a podcast where I got to sit down and chat with Matt Reel, Tyler Sherrod and Paul Kellum.


One thought on “2017 Bay Island Bonsai Show”

  1. Thanks…This was an excellent message…and, I read it thoroughly start to finish. I also saw the simple beauty in the Suiseki….stunning presentation…fabulous composition. Thanks for taking the time to write this up, tackle the photo selection and inclusion, and adding the quiet humor. Well done!

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