OAKLAND -- On the weekend of Oct. 12-13, the members of the East Bay Bonsai Society will put "their best plants forward," exhibiting them in the society's 52nd annual East Bay Bonsai Show at Lakeside Garden Center at Lake Merritt.

The show will feature more than 50 trees and bushes of various ages, as well as a featured demonstration by well-known bonsai master Peter Tea, a raffle and plant sale. The show is an excellent way to share the art of bonsai with the public and for society members to show off the results of their often intensive labors. It also serves as a fundraiser for the society with sales of raffle tickets and items from the plant sale.

"Our show is a way to display the art of bonsai and for members to dress up their plants and show off these really magnificent specimens," said board member Bob Gould. "We are trying to show something in miniature that actually resembles nature."

The bonsai on exhibit have been selected by society members. All members are encouraged to participate, even those that have been with the club two or three years. The bonsai will be displayed formally, each on a stand with a backdrop and accompanied by companion plants displaying seasonal touches such as fall color.

Labels will give both common and scientific names as well as the estimated number of years the plant has been in bonsai training, which is anywhere from one to more than 30 years. Most of the exhibits will be trees, anywhere from 90 percent to 95 percent, and these include pine, maple and oak, all trees that thrive in East Bay climates.

"We try to have oak trees because we are in Oakland," Gould said. "We have a huge variety of material because East Bay is a marvelous growing area; you can grow almost anything here."

One of the highlights will be an Oct. 13 demonstration by Peter Tea, who has been studying in Japan for 2½ years with an accredited bonsai master. bringing a different approach to the art of bonsai. Tea will be addressing the unseen potential of a virgin tree, working with a California juniper collected from the Tehachapi Mountains in Southern California.

While he works, Tea will talk about the health of the tree, how to make sure it stays healthy, what the future care of the tree, as a bonsai, should be and other styling work that could be done.

After Tea's two- to three-hour workshop, the demonstration tree will be raffled off, the grand bonsai after a buildup of the raffling of five or six other bonsai of less significance.

New to the show this year will be the services of a bonsai doctor who will give advice regarding bonsai purchased at the show or brought from home.

The plant sale promises to be a big draw this year as society members have been bringing in finished bonsai and other tree stock or plant materials that could become bonsai. Small bonsai are always popular and the plant sale will feature 40 eight-inch finished bonsai.

The East Bay Bonsai Society welcomes new members and Gould suggests that the best way to learn more about the art of bonsai is to attend the society's monthly meetings, listen to demonstrations and talks or attend beginners' classes.

"Bonsai can appeal to all people of all ages, especially to those who enjoy three-dimensional art or are into horticulture," he said.

IF YOU GO
What: 52nd annual East Bay Bonsai Show
Where: Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave., Oakland
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Oct. 13; Peter Tea demonstration from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 13.
Information: East Bay Bonsai Society meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month except August and October at Lakeside Garden Center (www.eastbaybonsai.org).