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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 June 4:

Because of the comfortable weather, it’s not too late to set out tomato and pepper seedlings as well as squash and melon plants. They’ll appreciate this not-too-hot weather. Just remember to water.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes.

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the wee hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

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