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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ft. Wayne Bonsai Club Spring Show

    Yesterday, May 12th, the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club held our annual Spring Show, at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. Yes, the venue's name is a mouthful, but the good thing is that the Conservatory is as well-designed and appealing as its name is intimidating.

"Show" may not quite convey how informal this event is. There is no judging, except that each visitor is asked to leave a little square of pink paper beside the composition he or she likes the most. (Tallying the slips at the end of the day also gives us a pretty good idea of how many people came thru.) Club members also vote, separately and anonymously, for "best tree." There are no prizes, just congratulations to the winners. We ask that entries be in bonsai pots (please, no plastic) or on slabs, and that members clean up their trees and pots beforehand. And that's it. So maybe it would be better to call it a "display" than a "show." But whatever you call it, we had a great time. Maybe more important, the visitors appeared to find it all interesting.

Between conversations with visitors, I snapped a few pictures.

Dick's red laceleaf Japanese maple (table center) won the "people's choice" honors.
Ed's Japanese maple "fist planting" forest on a slab, foreground.
A number of families with children came thru. I'm always glad to see interested kids: who knows which of them might eventually become a well-known bonsai master?

Usually when I'm explaining the idea of bonsai to children, I'll first make sure they're familiar with binoculars. Then I'll say something like, "You know how, when you look thru binoculars the wrong way, everything looks smaller? Well, if you look at a bonsai, and it's like you're seeing a regular tree thru the wrong end of binoculars -- that's a good bonsai." That seems to get the concept across pretty effectively.

Annoyingly, most of my pictures of individual bonsai didn't come out well. Here are a few that did.

This Japanese maple belongs to the club, and is cared for by Ed Hake.
I think the colors of this pot complement the bougainvillea's foliage quite well.

In an earlier post (see here) I said that I would show my little veldt fig (Ficus burtt-davyi) if it seemed ready. Just two weeks after repotting, it was doing very nicely -- even trying to throw an aerial root -- so I brought it along.

First public display in its new Sara Rayner pot.

Serissa foetida 'Snow Rose'; scoop pot by Dave Lowman, DaSu Bonsai Studios.

One demonstration or another is usually in progress, and visitors are welcome to observe and ask questions.

A visitor watches intently as Cat Nelson styles a shimpaku juniper.
Let me leave you with a picture from the Conservatory's Tropical House. This is the sort of vegetation I was familiar with as I was growing up.

:-)  :-)  :-)

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