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Bonsai shows celebrate spring in 'City of Little Trees'

Two historic clubs host Sacramento events devoted to ancient tradition

This is just an example of the beautifully tended bonsai that will be on display this weekend at the Shepard Garden and Art Center.

This is just an example of the beautifully tended bonsai that will be on display this weekend at the Shepard Garden and Art Center. Photo courtesy American Bonsai Association, Sacramento

Do you love bonsai? You’re in the right place. Sacramento is home to two of the nation’s oldest bonsai clubs, each hosting a spring show and sale. That makes Sacramento the City of Little Trees.

Our seasonal salute to bonsai starts this weekend, April 8 and 9, with the 63rd annual spring show of the American Bonsai Association, Sacramento. A forest of little trees will fill the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, with demonstrations by Colorado bonsai expert Todd Schlafer at 1:30 p.m. both days. Admission and parking are free.

A large sales area will be packed with little trees and plants appropriate for this hobby plus supplies such as appropriate containers, potting mix and gardening tools scaled to work on miniatures. Among the vendors will be Janette Bautista, Geoff Campbell, David Chimpky, Danny Power, Phil Richardson and Rick Savell. A consignment table features member-grown trees for sale as well as unique items for bonsai lovers.

Just starting bonsai? As part of this event, ABAS members will conduct a beginners workshop at 10 a.m. Sunday, April 10. For more information or to reserve a space, email

Shepard Center is located at 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Details:

More than six decades ago, ABAS formed as an English-speaking offshoot of the original Sacramento Bonsai Club, the oldest bonsai club in the United States. With its early meetings conducted in Japanese, the Sacramento Bonsai Club was founded in 1946 by formerly interned Japanese Americans as a celebration of their culture. Nearly eight decades later, that original club is still going strong and still celebrating.

On May 6, the Sacramento Bonsai Club will host its 77th annual spring show at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, 2401 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

This one-day show also features a plant and pot sale plus a raffle and refreshments. Learn the finer skills of bonsai during a 1:30 p.m. demonstration.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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