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Wee Trees!

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Nov 18, 2008:

Very soon after I moved away from Oakland, an excellent Saturday Farmer’s Market opened up in my old neighborhood. The Lakeshore/Grand Lake area has really changed over the years – I would argue for the better. Anyway, I was visiting this weekend and playing tour guide to an out-of-towner so we walked down to the Farmer’s Market, on the shore of Lake Merritt – a little man-made lake in the middle of Oakland pictured here in a photo I took last year:

Lake Merritt, Dec 2007

Lake Merritt, Dec 2007

The weather in the Bay Area was AMAZING this weekend so we decided to walk around the Lake a bit. There’s a neat little bird sanctuary not too far from the Farmer’s Market where the wild birds of Oakland like to hang out:

Lake Merritt 2

On this particular walk, we discovered a Bonsai Garden hidden among the trees in the park area surrounding the Lake. This is not a new garden but I had no idea it existed. According to the website, it’s the only public Bonsai garden in Northern California. The collection is pretty spectacular – this tree was brought to the US during Lincoln’s presidency:

This 4′ Redwood was originally 12′ – the guy who found it in a landslide slowly pruned it down over several years to look like a fully grown tree:

And more:

There is a whole art to balancing the roots so a tree as tall and thing as this one can be freestanding in a little pot:

Juniper maybe?:

Quince! very disproportioned but still cool:

Japanese Maple (I think):


I am by no means a Bonsai expert – each tree style and pot shape have meanings and the whole thing is very ritualized. They rotate the trees on display so I’m looking forward to visiting again soon. Make sure if you go to have a nice long chat with the docents – ours were a super sweet elderly married couple who were extremely knowledgable and loved talking about Bonsai.


Written by juuulia

December 4, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Travelin'

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