Patience, enjoyment are key for local bonsai group

Robert Fowlkes, 75, has been an Alaska resident since 1975 and is a member and past president of the Anchorage Bonsai Study Group. Fowlkes has some 20 trees he maintains. It can take years to create a successful bonsai tree, he says.

With 18 years of leadership, past club president Paul Marmora says people have been doing bonsai in Alaska for many years. The bonsai group became a club in 1998, and membership exploded since that time. Anchorage resident Tim Pack is in his second year as current club president.

"We have displayed at the Alaska State Fair, the Midtown Mall Spring Garden Show, the Botanical Garden Fair, the Palmer Garden and Art Festival, and have had workshops at various schools and assisted living homes over the years," Marmora says.

He offers the following advice: The word bonsai means "tree in a tray." In Alaska there are two types of bonsai, hardy and tropical trees. One cannot keep a hardy tree in the house, nor a tropical tree outdoors, which is one of the mistakes many people make. Bonsai is an exercise in patience. The main key is to enjoy oneself, he says.

The club meets monthly at the Dimond Greenhouse at 1050 W Dimond Blvd. Contact them via their Facebook page "Cook Inlet Bonsai Study Group" or email or to find out more.

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