Imagine you’re a sculptor with a medium that’s alive, and it’s critical that it thrives as you s-l-o-w-l-y bend it to your will.
No, we are not talking about parenting. This is the exquisitely painstaking world of bonsai, “which just means `tree in a pot,’” says Tom Culton of the Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai (Number One Bonsai Club) in Gardena, one of more than 20 bonsai clubs in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.
Bonsai is both art and gardening. Branches and roots are trimmed or wired into a certain shape, in the hope that the tree will agree to grow in that direction, Culton says.
“You’re sculpting a live tree,” he said. “It may look good today, but it’s always changing.”
Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai (“kai” means “club” in Japanese) offers free demonstrations at its monthly meetings, such as a July 20 presentation by noted instructor Lindsay Shiba, past president of the California Bonsai Society and former owner of the Mt. Fuji Garden Center in Upland.
Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai (Number One Bonsai Club)
What: Monthly bonsai demonstrations and meetings
When: 7 p.m. July 20 for the demo. Club meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Friday of every month, except May and December.
Where: Ken Nakaoka Community Center, 1670 W. 162nd St., Gardena
Cost: Free. (Annual membership $25 individuals, $35 families)