As I mentioned in my previous message, we are in the process of revitalizing the Bonsai Garden. We decided to initially focus on the irrigation system, since that is the most important component of our plan and one area that will produce the most benefit for the bonsai. It will also save at least half of our water usage when it is fully implemented. We have begun the process of reworking the irrigation system by replacing the outdated controller and replacing the overhead sprinklers in the reserve area. This first phase of the project is complete. The dozens of previous overhead sprinklers distributed 25 gallons per hour (GPH) each. The new misters distribute 3 GPH. It’s not that we run them for an hour, but you get the idea that they were wasting a lot of water that flowed down the drain. We will test this new form of water distribution and determine if we can eliminate the surface watering due to the superior saturation of the new misters.
We have made a number of small but significant improvements to the Bonsai Garden in the past few years including the following:
- added name tags to all of the displays to enhance the visitor experience,
- installed shade cloths to protect the bonsai from the sun,
- established a Bonsai School to train our assistant curators and others,
- developed a database to track all of the bonsai in the collection and the care we provide them,
- joined museum associations to improve our management strategy and procedures,
- added a video surveillance system to monitor our visitors,
- started a Museum Shop to increase revenue from each visitor,
- participated in Autumn Lights Festival to present the Garden in a whole new light,
- created a shohin display area, and
- coming soon an accent plant display.
Yesterday I spent a few hours at the garden….my first visit since mid-January. For those who don’t follow my activities (not that anyone should) ….I was hospitalized for a few days at that time.
I am one of those fortunate enough to
be a docent at the garden. I mean that sincerely. In these days of uncertainty and a worrisome world atmosphere; it is a marvelous thing…for myself, at least…to have these precious trees and even more precious fellow volunteers to be with.
My visit reminded me of that in no uncertain terms. It is difficult for me to exercise patience and wait until I am physically able to return to my regular duties at BGLM. That will be a good day.
Went above and beyond for family, friends and the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Gianfranco Teodoro Bardella, died on Sunday, March 13, 2016 at the age of 79. Frank was born August 3, 1936 in Tientsin, China and lived there until age 12, before escaping to Italy from the war. His family lived in Italy for a few years before they were able to come to the United States through Ellis Island and eventually, made it to San Francisco. It was at the International Institute for Foreign Students that Frank met Barbara, his lifelong love and partner. Over the course of the next 58 years they were married and had three children; Liz, Matt and Vanessa, five grandchildren; Ashley, Brittany, Andie, Lexi and Travis, and three great-grandchildren; Maysin, Lane and Nick. Anyone who knew him understands the amount of pride he took in the work he did- whether it be his family-run tax preparation business, his bonsai trees, or his time spent with the Rotary Club. He began working at PG&E in San Francisco before transitioning to the tax business. Frank and his wife have been operating the business since 1958, with three generations of their family working alongside him. He always went above and beyond for his clients and that was reflected in the many long time clients who became his friends. Frank had an astonishing collection of bonsai trees on which he spent countless hours. In his last years, Frank donated his prized bonsai tree to the Golden State Bonsai Federation. He was always more than happy to teach any willing learner about the ins and outs of bonsai. Frank always made an effort to participate in any Rotary event, whether it be sponsoring an event or participating at the weekly meetings. Frank will be missed by his family and the community alike. The family will be holding a memorial celebration at St. Sebastian Church in Sebastopol. The celebration will not take place until tax time is completed. Please contact Bardella & Associates after April 18 for service date and time. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to Redwood Empire Bonsai Society, Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise, or the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt.
Sonoma West Times newspaper, 3/16/2016
On Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, California, it was the year’s biggest fund raiser for the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM). It is referred to as the Mammoth Auction & Sale. The auction of 124 bonsai and bonsai related items took place on Saturday with the preview beginning at Noon and the auction starting at 1:00 PM. The auctioneer, Gordon Deeg, BGLM Garden Master, kept the auction moving along and wrapped business up by 4:00 PM. High bidding went towards bonsai (No. 122 – San Jose Juniper semi-cascade) from the collection of Frank Bardella of Sebastopol, California.
Mammoth Auction & Sale continued the next day with a full agenda, including club showcases, vendor and plant sales, demonstrations led by Kathy Shaner, Curator for BGLM, and the drawing and club showcase award. This year food was for sale to all attendees on both days, something that is likely to continue at future fund raisers, since it is difficult for attendees to leave the Garden Center in search of lunch.
The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt (BGLM) in Oakland, California, is one of the largest and finest collections of bonsai on the West Coast. Approximately 90 bonsai and suisuki viewing stones are on display at any given time. Bonsai lovers come from all over the world to the garden to view our world-class collection.
Docents may point out the historic Daimyo Oak that was presented by the newly opened Japanese government to the U.S. Minister to China Anson Burlingame in 1863 during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. You can view our oldest tree in the collection – estimated to be over 1,600 years old – or see a pine tree featured at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The bonsai exhibit is in constant rotation so you can return to see new and different bonsai. READ MORE.
Mammoth Auction Saturday February 27, 2016
The Annual Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt Mammoth Auction & Sale will be held on Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, 28, 2016 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA. Auction items are now available for viewing by clicking here and on the photo of the item you are interested in for more information and a larger photo. Identify the items you are interested and plan to be at the largest Bonsai Auction anywhere.
The Annual Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt Mammoth Sale will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA from 10:00AM – 4:00PM. The vendor area will be open from 9:00AM – 4:00PM. You can bring your trees and pots to the Sale well as pre-and-developing bonsai. Items may be donated or submitted on consignment.
Any bonsai material, pots, etc. will be accepted as sale material. Consignment items for the Sunday Sale will have a 25% fee. Donations are appreciated and tax-deductible. Contact Mike Mello, 510-886-1568 or Dennis Hawkins, 510-657-8229 IDHAWK@comcast.net for more Sale information.
Saturday, Feb 27
Auction Preview: begins at NOON
Auction: begins at 1:00PM
Sunday, Feb 28
Club Showcase 9:00-3:00PM
Vendor Sales: 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Plant Sales: 10:00AM to 4:00PM
Demo by Kathy Shaner:
Noon to 3:00PM
Raffle Drawing & Club Showcase Award at 2:00PM
by Joe Byrd, Chairman
Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt
Visitors often ask how we succeed as an all-volunteer non-profit museum. My answer is “through the kindness of our friends.” Let me give you three examples out of the many that support us on an annual basis – one from an individual, one from a single club, and another from an event put on by four clubs to support the Garden.
Don White, a long-time member of the Watsonville Club seen here in the back row wearing a hat, recently contacted me to say he needed to sell some of his prize bonsai as he can no longer care for them. Many of the senior members of the bonsai community face a similar situation, but few have Don’s foresight. He asked for our help to sell some of his collection at our Mammoth Auction & Sale on February 27 & 28, 2016. We picked up over 60 bonsai from Don’s home in Watsonville and will have them available as part of California’s biggest Auction & Sale at the Lake Merritt Garden Center. This event, thanks to the support of folks like Don, is our biggest annual fundraising event that helps provide the money we need to keep the Garden open and thriving throughout the year. For more information on the Mammoth Auction & Sale visit us at http://gsbf-lakemerritt.org/?page_id=1350. Continue reading
One of my first teachers, John Boyce, a founding member of the Bonsai Society of San Francisco in 1960, approaches bonsai from a seemingly unique direction. Incorporating elements of minimalism, Japanese Literati aesthetics and one other strong influence… John has always had a strong preference for bunjin trees – and he likes his bunjin on the sparse end of the spectrum. His trees have a delicate feeling but are simultaneously rugged and aged. John has been making bonsai since he was 28 years old and he’s now in his 80’s. Continue reading