February 2014 Tips & Techniques by Scott Chadd

February is always the busiest month of the year for us here at the nursery. The month begins with the California Shohin Seminar which is held the last weekend in January in Santa Nella on the even numbered years. This event draws bonsai persons from all over the country. Shohin bonsai are those that are quite small (usually less than 8″ tall) and the display is truly breathtaking. There are workshops, demonstrations, seminars, great companionship during the social hours, and a large area for vendors. Prices for the work- shops are very reasonable because all the talent donate their time to the Shohin Society. This year there were over 250 people attending the Saturday night dinner and auction. Try not to miss this event as it is one of the best in the US.

Next comes our annual dig at the growing grounds in Oroville. For the last 12 years we have been taking material started here at Lotus and planting it into the ground at the rear of a large industrial nursery next to the Feather River in Oroville. The nursery is not open to the public but the person who manages it is one of our students and we have partnered up to bring our small material to highly advanced bonsai rapidly. The soil is 20′-50′ deep and a sandy silty loam that the trees love. They grow 5 times as fast in the ground up there as they do in pots here. There are about 400 trees planted in the acre of ground. They include Japanese Maples, Mikawa Black Pines, Shimpaku Junipers, Trident Maples, Ume and Crab Apples. Once a year, usually the second weekend of February, we open up the growing grounds to our students and they lift material. Some of our club members have attended this event and enjoyed themselves while ac- quiring great bonsai futures.

Finally, is the Mammoth Bazaar fund raiser held at the Garden Center at Lake Merritt in Oakland. This event is the 3rd weekend of the month so this year it is February 22-23. There is an auction of bonsai held on Saturday and the material at this auction is some of the best on the west coast. Sunday there is a large member sales area where bonsai club members from the Bay Area bring material to sell; there is a vendor section and demonstrations are held in the audito- rium. This raises money to support the GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt which is one of the two major bonsai collec- tions created by the Golden State Bonsai Federation. The other resides at Huntington Gardens in Southern California.

We are on the run this month and enjoying the opportunity to share this hobby that we love.

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