At the back of the Safari Park bonsai pavilion is a curtain which hides the work area. This is where club members collect donated trees and prepare them for display. Here is your chance to get a peek behind that curtain and learn a little about the trees and how they are maintained.
Shaping and sculpting
Steve Valentine donated a San Jose juniper to the Bonsai Pavilion and Roy Nagatoshi approach grafted shimpaku at several points on the trunk. After about 3 years, Roy brought the tree to a San Diego Bonsai Club meeting (Jan 2013) and styled the tree as a demonstration. The jins were refined by John Jackson and the tree was repotted from a growing container into a bonsai pot.
Here is the tree in January of 2013 when it arrived at the pavilion.
The tree was subsequently wired and trained at the Safari Park Bonsai Pavilion.
Here is the tree as in now displayed in 2020.
The cloud makers
Harry Hirao used this California juniper for a demonstration at SDBC in March 2012 then donated the tree to SDBC Safari Park Pavilion. The tree was wired during his demonstration.
Harry’s vision for the tree was to show the foliage pads as little clouds scattered over the tree. The tree was repotted at Safari Park into its present bonsai pot in December 2012.
These trees are not yet ready for display but instead are here for shaping or recovery. The foemina juniper is one of the two trees that were stolen a couple of years ago and now recovered. It is being carefully tended so that it will regain its former glory. Note how the pot has been tillted to make it grow upright again. At some point it will be repotted in this new, erect position.
Clearly the volunteers have not yet begun working. These areas are much too tidy.
Setting of the stones
And here they come! The new display pedestals are being financed by the club, donations from individual club members, and a grant from Qualcom, a company headquartered in San Diego. All labor is volunteered by club members.
The textured, cemented pathways and stone pedestals and table tops are all newly initiated renovations which demonstrate the club's continuing enthusiastic support for the pavilion.
Thank you for taking this look behind-the-curtain at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Bonsai Pavilion. Be sure to visit the pavilion next time you are at the park. Our club members are proud to provide this exhibit and the exhibit in the Friendship Garden at Balboa Park. It is our passion and we hope it becomes yours as well.