Our first San Diego Bonsai Club meeting

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Koi pond in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, USA

We are thrilled to say we’ve been to our first meeting as members of the world famous San Diego Bonsai Club (SDBC) in Balboa Park. Oh wait, it’s the San Diego Zoo that’s world famous. Anyway, Balboa Park is a favorite family spot; A took Chinese brush art classes in the artisan’s square for awhile and the kids and I would hit up the zoo, museums and both gardens. We’ve had lots of day trips to Balboa Park, but it’s actually been awhile since we’d been.

img_7848We got there early – not sure where the meeting room was and hoping to get into the already-full beginner’s class. We were even early enough to take some pics in an unusually empty park and by 8 AM  we were standing in front of the classroom door.

Quick back note here…a few weeks earlier we attended a free bonsai class at City Farmers Nursery. At that class, we met a couple who had  also just joined the SDBC and said that they had dropped in unannounced at a first class and were lucky enough to fill an empty spot. So we were hopeful the same would happen for us.

Right away the instructor told us even if the class didn’t have open spots, we were welcome to observe and learn. AND….there were two unconfirmed students so we had hope.of getting our own trees. Yes! So we sat down with big grins on our faces.

Not long after we got there, another unregistered couple came in, looking as lost as we did, and made their way to the two seats next to us.

Each class is a once-a-month, three class session. Each session focuses on a different type of tree. This session is focusing on the Chinese Elm. We were quietly jealous as we watched the students come in, pick from a handful of amazing 1 gal Chinese Elm “potensai”, as the instructor calls potential bonsai, and sit down at the “u” table.

As luck would have it, those two unconfirmed students didn’t show up, so A and I were offered trees. We decided to share one tree so the other unregistered couple could also have a tree. So we made new friends and got into beginning Bonsai class. We picked out a fantastic tree, even though only a few remained.

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Our Chinese Elm from begginning Bonsai class at SDBC

Our tree has clearly been worked on before as there was aluminum wrapped around two sections on the main trunk. No one could tell us what it was for, so we left it wrapped and we’ll just wait and see. The character this tree has is my favorite part. I cannot wait to watch this beauty grow.

We also received trimmers, a class syllabus, chopsticks, and apparently we are getting a “Bonsai for Beginners” book as well. Needless to say we are stoked to be an active part of this class. Our first lesson was how to identify the front of the tree. We’ll write about that next, also planning to show some mistakes we made with potensai we pruned before we took the class.

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