What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing miniature, or ornamental-shaped trees or shrubs in small, shallow pots. The literal translation of bonsai is “tray planting” (bon – pot; sai – planting). A common misconception is that bonsai specimens are hereditary dwarfs; however, they are in fact, ordinary trees and shrubs. They are ‘dwarfed’ by a system of pruning roots and branches, and training branches by tying them with wire. The art originated in China but has been pursued and developed primarily by the Japanese. The direct inspiration for bonsai is found in nature – in trees that grow in harsh, rocky places that are dwarfed and gnarled throughout their existence. Prized characteristics are an aged-looking trunk and branches, and weathered-looking exposed upper roots. Bonsai may live for a century or more and are handed down from one generation to another as valued family possessions. Bonsai pots, usually earthenware and of variable shape, are carefully chosen to harmonize in color and proportion with the tree. A sizable bonsai industry exists as part of the nursery industry in Japan; California is home to a small-scale bonsai industry.


Who Cares for Our Collection?

The San Diego Bonsai Club takes care of our wonderful collection. To learn more about the SDBC visit their website at sandiegobonsaiclub.com and/or stop by the Garden on Fridays where you’ll find club members pruning our bonsai under the Wisteria Arbor near the office.

Pictured at Left, Our friends from the SDBC:
Barbara French-Lee, VP of Education, Former Club President, Big Dave, and Trisha


Learn About our Bonsai

1. California Juniper
Juniperus californica
Style: Literati (Bunjingi)
Native to: Southwestern North America
Propagated from: Seed, collected from the desert
Age in training: 20 years
Age: 300 years
Donated by Sherwin Amimoto

2. Japanese Black Pine
Pinus thunbergii
Style: Miniature landscape (Sai-kei)
Native to: Japan & South Korea
Propagated from: Seed
Age in training: 45 years
Donated by Allen Silverman

3. Suiseki (viewing stone)
California Jadite
Style: “Island Stone”
Native to: Eel River, Northern California
Donated by Ko Tsushima

4. Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea glabra
Style: Informal upright (Moyogi)
Native to: South America
Propagated from: cutting
Age in training: 85 years
Donated by Frank Schrosk

5. Dwarf Japanese Garden Juniper
Juniperus procumbens “Nana”
Style: Informal upright (Moyogi)
Native to: Japan & Korea
Propagated from: Cutting (1980)
Age in training: 33 years
Donated by Crystal Zook

6. Foemina Juniper
Juniperus chinensis “Foemina”
Style: Formal upright (Chokkan)
Native to: Northeast Asia & Southeast Russia
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 40 years
Donated by Jane Goodbody

 

7. Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea glabra
Style: Twin-trunk, Wind-swept (Sokan, Fukinagashi)
Native to: South America
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 25 years
Age: 45 years
Donated by Dr. Herb Markowitz

8. Willow Leaf Ficus
Ficus nerifolia
Style: Clump (Kabudachi)
Native to: Southwest Asia & Mediterranean
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 35 years
Donated by Denny Roche

9. Japanese Black Pine
Pinus thunbergii
Style: Informal upright
(Moyogi)
Native to: Japan & South Korea
Propagated from: Seed
Age in training: 35 years
Age: 65 years
Donated by Dr. Frank Dixon

10. Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea glabra
Style: Slant (Shakkan)
Native to: Brazil
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 25 years
Donated by Frank Schrosk

11. Algerian Ivy
Hedera canariensis
Style: Semi cascade (Han
Kengai)
Native to: North African coast
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 30 years
Donated by Fred Miyahara

12. Japanese Black Pine
Pinus thunbergii
Style: Informal upright (Moyogi)
Native to: Japan & South Korea
Propagated from: Seed
Age in training: 20 years
Age: 25 years
Trained by: Dave Rochester
Donated by San Diego Bonsai Club Board

13. California Juniper
Juniperus californica
Style: Literati (Bunjingi)
Native to: Southwestern North America
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 25 years
Age: 350 years
Donated by Dr. Frank Dixon

14. Foemina Juniper
Juniperus chinensis “Foemina”
Style: Formal upright (Chokkan)
Native to: Northeast Asia &
Southeast Russia
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 40 years
Donated by Jane Goodbody

15. Foemina Juniper
Juniperus chinensis “Foemina”
Style: Formal upright (Chokkan)
Native to: Northeast Asia &
Southeast Russia
Propagated from: Cutting
Age in training: 45 years
Donated by Jim Barrett

16. Fruiting Olive
Olea europaea
Style: Informal upright (Moyogi)
Native to: Mediterranean
Propagated from: cutting
Age in training: 15 years
Donated by Bob Meyer

 
Banner Photo Credit: Dominic Nepomuceno