It Started with an Idea
The concept of this garden emerged during a conversation between Toichi Domoto and Bill Hashimoto sometime after 1974. Toichi was interested in preserving bonsai produced in northern California. Bill kept this thought alive through his friend Gloria Clementson. Early in the 1990′s, when Gloria died, her heirs dedicated the proceeds from sale of her bonsai as seed money for a bonsai garden to preserve special trees. Shortly thereafter, Hideko Metaxas, president of the Golden State Bonsai Federation (GSBF), presented the concept of this garden to the GSBF board of trustees. The GSBF, the state-wide association of bonsai clubs, agreed to create two collections – one in southern California at Huntington Gardens Museum and one in northern California. Through 1994, Bill Hashimoto and his associates continued raising funds and explored many locations for this northern Garden. Seiji Shiba took over as chairman and in 1996, with the assistance of John North, came to an agreement with the City of Oakland to locate the garden at Lake Merritt. Then fundraising accelerated, and through much donated time and only one paid contractor, Steve Faulk, the dreamed of garden was built and finally opened in November, 1999.
In many cases I have included a shot of the name plate. These plates give information about the tree and the orignal owner and who it was donated by. Most of this is just personal for me, but is educational for others so I have included them.
Enjoy the collection…
This large tree is just outside the entrance to the collection.
This tree styled by Harry Hirao in 2003 at the Fresno GSBF Convention. The tree was donated by Ray Thieme.
Here my wife is checking out a large weeping cedar grafted onto Deodar cedar. She wants to see how large the trunk is, nevermind all the signs around to “Stay on the paths”.
This California Juniper is on top of the large outdoor display with the cedar off to the left.
This is a large cork pine in the ground inside of the display area.
This display of Shohin size trees is new, for me at least. Some close ups follow.
A tree donated by my teacher several years ago.
This large Atlas Cedar came from Grove Way Nursery and Johnny Uchida.
This large elm is also outside the display area in the ground. It stands about three feet tall.