About the club

The Marin Bonsai Club is dedicated to promoting, teaching, and enjoying the living ancient art of bonsai. The word is Japanese for “tree in a pot,” but the art of bonsai, like all great art forms, has a complex history and array of techniques, with limitless possibilities to satisfy the beginner and expert alike.

Connecting to a broad spectrum of bonsai enthusiasts, from hobbyists to professionals, is one of the most immediate and lasting benefits of belonging to a club like Marin Bonsai. Our club strives to provide this and other resources to members and the community at large. With regular postings to our website, monthly meetings and workshops, and public exhibitions, the Marin Bonsai Club seeks to keep this vibrant art form alive and accessible for the Marin County community and beyond.

Activities and Exhibitions

The Marin Bonsai Club holds two separate, primarily educational activities in a typical month: the general meeting and the informal workshop. These meetings are held every first and third Tuesday from 7pm-9:30pm at the Terra Linda Community Center, San Rafael. The meetings often feature a prominent guest expert giving a demonstration, and the workshops provide an opportunity for the members to receive help developing their bonsai skills and trees.

Exhibitions include the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown every spring, an event that wouldn’t be complete without the stunning bonsai provided by local clubs like Marin Bonsai, and the Club’s Annual Marin County Fair Show, featuring more than 50 member trees.

Another popular Marin Bonsai Club event is the Annual Auction and Plant Sale in August, which gives the members another incentive for improving their trees, furthers public bonsai education and access, and a percentage of all sales benefit future club activities.

History Of The Club

Started in 1958 by a few garden enthusiasts enamored with “little trees”, the Marin Bonsai Club has grown to be one of the largest and most respected bonsai clubs in the Bay Area. In the early days, there was little information about how to develop bonsai in the U.S. and, in particular, for the Bay Area microclimate. Over the years, mentors and teachers, including famous names like John Naka and Dennis Makashima, added to a growing wealth of knowledge that helped club members develop to be more expert bonsai practitioners.

PT0026This education continues with the recent influx of Japanese-trained American instructors sharing their best techniques and practices from Japan. Members participate in lectures and workshops to increase their skills and member trees reflect the sustained interest and commitment to the art and practice of bonsai in the Bay Area. “What makes the Marin Bonsai Club special is its members. The good attitude and depth of knowledge at meetings makes diving into this ancient art unintimidating and fun.”

2024 Officers & Board Members:

President : Tung X. Dao
Secretary : Nadine Zimmerman
Treasurer : Susan Stapp
Membership : Daniel Keller
Programs: Gwynessa Aetherwyn
Programs: Susan Sullivan
Social Media: Julius Caldo


BGLM Docent Coordinator : Art Wasserman
Workshop Instructors : John Doig, Daniel Keller, Chris Ross
Newsletter : Tung X. Dao
Program Chair/Board Member at Large : Candace Key
Webmaster : Sharon Bone