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.


Kifu Sierra Juniper 2010-current

This is my Kifu sized Sierra Juniper(Juniperus occidentalis var. australis) that I showed in Oakland at the BIB exhibit.  It was my first time ever showing a tree.   Here's a short history since I've had it up until now. I hope to continue its progression in the future, Thanks for taking a look!


I collected this Juniper back in 2010 with a pretty solid amount of roots from the get go.  This was also one of the easier trees I've ever collected.  It took maybe 10-15 minutes to remove with a large mat of fine roots.  Here's a pic from 2010 of my three favorite that I collected that year.  The middle and right hand side are Sierra Juniper and the lower left is either Utah, California or a hybrid Utah/California.  Lower left now belongs to my good buddy Greg McCleary and was also shown at BIB this year.   The larger tree in the back is doing well and I hope to show it show it sometime down the road.


During the first re-potting, I bare rooted the front half of the root ball and replaced all the pumice with Clay King.  The tree grew well so the following year I wired it for the first time.  That's about as far down as I could bring the key branch because the pot was in the way.  I think I have the correct years on the pictures below, but it's difficult to remember and I need to take better notes:)


The next year I was considering changing the angle to this image below.  The tree was not actually re-potted into the pot below, the pot pictured below was placed in front for visualization purposes.  You can also see the differences in color on the deadwood where we removed a small portion of the live vein that had died back.

2012 or 2013

After this you can see the tree's foliage filling in a bit more.  The apex was kept long in order to increase strength in that area and is covered by a white cloth.

2014-Sorry for poor pic quality

Here's the tree as of last weekend all cleaned up, with the angle changed back to my original plan.  One of my best friends and cousin-Jarett Wright(www.jarettwright.com) took this great shot for me the night before the show.  The tree still has a lot of room for development.  Over time I hope to create a fuller, more compact image by replacing leggy branches and develop tighter and more refined pads.

Jan 2016

Here it is with some different lighting in the yard of my new house.

Deadwood close ups

Thanks for taking a look!


Pictures from the Bay Island Bonsai Exhibit 2013

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the annual Bay Island Bonsai Exhibit.  Overall I believe the show was a great success and I really enjoyed seeing all the wonderful trees on display.  Below are some pictures I took which represent only a small portion of the show.

Above is an incredible Western Juniper with nice deadwood, movement and ramified foliage.  This was originally collected from Idaho and differs slightly from Sierra Juniper. This tree won Members Choice-Large Conifer.


One of the better Chinese Quince I've seen in the U.S.


I love this exposed root, cascade style White Pine.  I feel the tree, pot and stand compliment each other very well.  I'm a huge sucker for root stands and I like this one alot.  This tree won Members Choice-Med Conifer.


Exposed Root Black Pine


A short and stocky Black Pine with nice taper and a strong base.


Awesome Hornbeam owned by Jonas of Bonsaitonight.com.


Beautiful Black Pine in an informal upright style with great bark.  This pot is made of a red colored clay which looked awesome with the patina on it.  Sorry for not getting better/closer shot of the pot.


Unique and interesting Japanese Maple over rock.  I'm not sure what variety of maple this is, but have enjoyed seeing it's progress from the last time it was shown.


Sierra Juniper with some of the most dense foliage I've ever seen on a Sierra.


Japanese Maple with terrific taper, nebari and base.  This tree won Members Choice-Shohin deciduous/broad leaf evergreen.


A beautiful shohin cascading Black Pine.


I believe this is called Squirrel Foot Fern.  Similar to rabbit foot, but not as common at least in the U.S.  Great Specimen.


Boon's field grown Taiwanese Juniper.  Growing material this size must take an insane amount of time to create.  However, that insane amount is nothing compared to what mother nature is use to.  The twist and movement on this tree are fantastic.


Lot's of fruit on this Princess Persimmon.  I was blown away when I recently discovered just how many varieties of Princess Persimmon there actually are.  The fruit come in many different colors, shapes and sizes.


Companion plant on a Japanese roof tile.


Originally a collected Sierra Juniper, the top half was separated and has not been shown yet.  This foliage was grafted, I believe with Kishu.


A cool White Pine rock planting.

This year I helped move most of the trees from their show room display to the photography display and back.  I really enjoyed being able to examine each tree so close up.  It was also fascinating to see the process that Eric uses to photograph the trees.  I was able to get a sneak peak at his pictures and they turned out super nice!


In order to remember where each tree was positioned I took pictures of all the displays.  It would have been especially difficult to remember exactly how this shohin display was set up.

The BIB show included displays, an auction, vendors and demo from Boon and Daisaku Nomoto.  Overall it was a fantastic Bonsai weekend, hope to see you there next year!