BONSAI SHOW COMING MAY 5, by Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent

Fort Walton Beach Bonsai Society will host the annual Tri-City Bonsai Show on Saturday at Westwood Retirement Resort. Bonsai enthusiasts from across the Gulf Coast region will gather to show, their finest trees, and you are invited to join us for the day.

Lynn Fabian, Okaloosa County Master Gardener and member of the Fort Walton Beach Bonsai Society, invites you to enjoy the art of bonsai in today’s article.

At some point, someone thought their surroundings could be improved by planting a few flowers. From that small beginning, the world has seen the Hanging gardens of Babylon, Monet’s gardens in France, botanical gardens in almost every corner of the world and the garden you call your own.

A garden may range from hundreds of acres of highly manicured grounds to large and small rooftop gardens in urban settings. Many an office desk has a vining philodendron adding a bit of green and violets bloom in profusion on windowsills. Even small spaces can hold a plant to nurture our love of growing things. It might be a terrarium on a shelf or an enclosed patio or courtyard filled with container gardens of delightful sights and scents.

Evidence of plants in pots goes back several thousand years. About 1,000 years ago, records begin to show that people were turning plants in pots into an art form, and this art form, called bonsai in Japan or penjing in China, became popular across many regions of the Far East.

Today the art of bonsai is practiced worldwide and enjoyed by many people. Trees and shrubs you can find in your own yard are potted, trimmed and cared for to allow the plant to flourish in a pot for many years. This is the art of bonsai. In the Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, there is a pine tree that is 400 years old.

In addition to bonsai trees, suiseki (viewing stones) the Japanese dolls will be on display at Westwood, Exhibitors from Pensacola Gulf Coast Bonsai Society, Azalea City Bonsai Society of Mobile, Mississippi Gulf Coast Bonsai Society and the Fort Walton Beach Bonsai Society will be on hand to share their knowledge and enthusiasm about this art called bonsai.

There is no admission charge. The exhibit is open from 9am to 4pm. Come enjoy the art of bonsai. Westwood Retirement Resort is located at 1001 Mar Walt Drive in Fort Walton Beach, across the corner from Fort Walton beach Medical Center.

For more information, contact Lynn Fabian at 897-2622 or elfabian@cox.net; or Lee Vanderpool at 862-7592 or llev4@cox.net

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