The Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida will hold its annual auction on April 16 | News, Sports, Jobs

A bonsai created by William Smith. PHOTO PROVIDED

The community is invited to attend the Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida’s April auction, which includes both plants and accessories.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 16 at the Bern Davis Botanical Garden Center, 2166 Virginia Ave. In addition to members of the Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida, other Florida bonsai clubs will be auctioning off their prized trees, as well as handmade pots and stands, books, starter supplies, and more. goods at auction.

“We open it to the public. We hope we will have a good turnout,” Martha Goff, Lehigh resident and society member.

Those who might be interested in the art of bonsai or would like to see the trees are encouraged to attend.

“By participating, they have a little more idea of ​​what is going on. Sometimes they step in and bid too. We pick up new members from these type of events. We love for people to come and learn more about bonsai,” said Goff.

Gateway resident and society member Judy Giandelone said the auction was a good place to get gear, new trees at relatively reasonable prices, and to freshen up their tree collection with something new. She said it’s also a great event for people who are interested and want to try their hand at bonsai.

“It’s a good place to see trees in the process and maybe pick up a reasonably priced tree that’s had some initial work done,” she says.

Goff said it’s one of their main fundraisers that helps the society run year-round, including offering classes and having special speakers.

“The auction takes place in two separate activities that take place at the same time”, she says.

The first is a silent auction where members can donate or sell items themselves with an 80/20 split, with the company receiving the latter.

There will also be a live auction, again using donations or items that the club has specifically raised over the years.

“It’s a lot of fun. There’s a big picnic. We’re inviting all the clubs in the state. Clubs across our coast support each other,” said Goff.

Both women love the art of bonsai.

Goff started bonsai 25 years ago and has been a member of the Bonsai Society of Southwest Florida for 21 years.

“You absolutely fall in love with the whole creative aspect of it. All living art is what we call it,” she says. “We are the only small tropical area in all of the United States. What we do is unique to South Florida. North Florida crosses into the other southern states with the type of trees. We get material from Puerto Rico and Mexico. It was a wonderful learning experience. We get to grow all year round.

Goff uses button wood, which comes from the Florida Keys and up the east and west coast, which is what she likes to use.

“He loves water” she says. “If you know what you’re doing, it’s not hard to work with. It takes patience and time, but that’s the case with all bonsai trees. We start with almost nothing and three to five years it turns into something like a tree in nature.

Three years ago, she took her largest bonsai tree to a nursery and swapped it for a smaller tree because it was becoming too difficult to move. She now has 35 medium bonsai trees up to 25 inches and a few small ones.

“I think calm. The whole world crumbles when you’re in your backyard. You go out and sit with your tree and think about keeping it healthy and alive. I am doing something that makes a difference and is productive,” Goff said of what she likes the most. “Everything is calm with nature. It keeps you sane.

The art first caught Giandelone after he first encountered society 20 years ago, when they had a booth at the Alliance for the Arts Farmers Market.

“I like taking care of plants” she says. “The essence of bonsai is to make a tree in miniature, so you can look at that tree and imagine yourself sitting under it and having a picnic. That’s the goal for me.”

Currently, Giandelone has about 15 to 20 bonsai trees. Her eldest, who received the nickname Lollipop, she got it in 1993.

“I guess he’s at least 30,” she says.

When Giandelone first gets a new shaft, she sits down and studies it for sometimes more than a few weeks as she finds where the best front is, as well as the best line.

“I can take it to a teacher to help me style it. Then let it grow, style it a little more, let it grow,” she says. “They require almost daily attention. This is not a houseplant that you sit on the windowsill and water it once a week. They are kept outside.

Giandelone said she needed to make sure there was enough water, fertilizer and that it was free of insects.

“I sometimes think it’s the same as having a pet,” she says.

The tree of choice is any type of ficus, as they grow quickly and are relatively forgiving.

“When you make bonsai, the work you have done will not be apparent for weeks or even months,” Giandelone said, adding that his favorite part is pulling weeds because it’s insane work. “I can sit there and step into a place of mindfulness. What I’m thinking about is pulling the weeds. It’s a relaxing thing to do.

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