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  • Writer's pictureTom Lau

Bonsai-a-thon XXI Review

Its just amazing how quickly the biggest and busiest event for Bonsai in Southern California comes and goes. With all the planning and setting up the Bonsai-A-Thon weekend at the Huntington Library is still just a blur.

On Saturday the day started a beginner bonsai workshop. The public was able to shape and pot their new bonsai with a talented bonsai artist in a one on one experience.

Here is Jason Saito helping this lovely lady trim off the unnecessary foliage of this juniper.

Doyle Saito setting up the tools and wire for all students for this morning activities. Events like this can never be successfully without unsung heroes like Doyle that works in the background.

In the back green house tons of new bonsai artist are excited about their treasure they about to bring home.

This is the crazy Huntington's sales area. Over 1000 plants donated by San Gabriel Nursery to benefit the bonsai and related items at the Huntington.

Lots of old growth stuff that you probably will not see again in our lifetime.

It was slim pickings when we finally got around shopping on Sunday. But, there were still deals to be had.

Of course Steve, Liz and Cary are the gatekeepers of the Huntington shopping area.

Of course there is this merry band of men on Saturday cook crew. As they say the army moves on their beat of their stomach. Have to give a shout out to these guys. Big Joe started the day around 6:00am and ended each day around 2:00pm after cleaning. The rest of the lunch crew started around 10:00am and ended each day also around 2:00pm. All of them spent most of their day either prepping, cooking or cleaning on either or both days. Go COOK CREW! Sorry Sunday COOK CREW I forgot to take a photo 8(

Of course we had all the demonstrators at the event. From some seasoned warrior like Mel Ikeda above.

To new kid on the demonstration block Al Rivera and friend working on Prostrata Juniper.

Bob Hilvers from Central Collections working on a Pygmy Cypress.

Tom Vuong on a California Juniper.

Al Nelson and crew working on several Saikai.

Bob Pressler work on a Bottle Bush tree.

Roy Nagatoshi working on a Shimpaku Juniper. This is not Roy this is Alex. Roy ran off as I made my rotations for photos.

Fred Miyhara and Michael Sykes working on some evergreens.

Kathy Benson making an awesome forest from some elms donated by San Gabriel Nursery.

Ceasero Perez on a San Jose Juniper?

Frank Goya and Robert King finish up a Saikei.

Some of the trees from Viet Bonsai Today Association.

Ken Nguyen - California Juniper.

Tony Nguyen - Shimpaku Juniper

Cung Nguyen - Bougainvillea

Thai Xuan - Cork Bark Pine

Dinh Nguyen - Prostrata Juniper

Tom Vuong - Olive

Thuan Dinh - California Juniper

Si Nguyen - Chinese Elm Root Over Rock

On the way back to the main floor; Jim Barrett has donated this Chinese Elm forest to the Bonsai Collection at the Huntington Library. This is one of his fist clump style. Story goes he was repotting several hundred seedlings and these 7 trees were the last of its batch. Jim was just too tired to repot each individually, so ended grabbing the rest in this fist and quickly planted them. 30 years later this is the result!

Not to be out done, another Southern California legend also donated a tree. This one belonged to Al Nelson. Before Al got into Saikei he was interested into Oaks and other naturally styled trees from the Southern California region. This massive oak was collected on the Bisbee Ranch in Lompoc California. These was long before Edward AFB wanted to expand its location. To make a long story short, this is one of the last trees collected in that protected area. It also is styled as naturalistic as possible and does not adhere to the traditional bonsai rules.

Of course its not a Bonsai-A-Thon without the vendor area. And this one is no exception. There were at least 2x the amount of vendors than in other years. I hope they would expand the vendor area again the following year. I know I did not get everybody so if I missed you I apologize. Above we have Barry with some of his oaks and other trees.

Nathan and his army of pots. If you cant find a pot here you have to look at Japan.

Gary and Dung shared a table this year. Some of the trees and plants I wanted from Gary already went by the time I arrived on Saturday morning. Dung has some killer deal on some imported akadama.

New vendor this year is Ed and Linda Clark from Lindsay, California. If you do not know them yet look them up on this website.

This is Mel's table but he was out and about doing a demo so Fred stood instead.

Vicki from House of Bonsai was present with a well represented collection of plants.

Frank in his usual located, I tried to pick up a cork jade plant from him this year. But, every single time I walked by the tree I wanted sold before I arrived on both days!

Freeman and his rock collection! If you a stone and can't find it; he could help you locate it.

Of course last but not least on my list is Javier with his collection of trees for sale.

I have to highlight the next two ladies. Without their help and dedication to this event, things would not run so smoothly. Marge Blasingame has been working in the background at of most clubs in the Southern California for years. Her organizational skills are totally unmatched.

Helen Barrett is the not so quiet and energetic partner of Jim Barrett. She also one of those background people that really supports bonsai event all over Southern California.

No event is complete without having the benefit raffle!

Or the end of the day auction!

I like to highlight several people in this photo. Ted Matson raffle and auction MC. Bill W. for his past work at the Bonsai-A-Thon and Keith Martin for totally rocking the Bonsai-A-Thon this year as the lead person.

We also get a final words of encouragement and thank you from Jim G. for the support our Bonsai Community has built for the bonsai collection and court at the Huntington.

I leave you with "Thank You" to all that came out and support the 2017 Bonsai-A-Thon. Until the next post.


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