Story and photos provided by The Botanic Garden at OSU

BonsaiGrandparent University is a unique program that brings OSU Alumni Association members and their grandchildren, ages 7 to 13 together for a three-day summer camp on the OSU-Stillwater campus.  The OSU Alumni Association started this program in 2003, and the number of participants has grown every year. The activities planned during the summer camp are designed to engage the kids in majors they have an interest in learning more about while creating lifelong memories with their grandparents.  

One of the activities presented this year at The Botanic Garden at OSU was 10 Minute Bonsai by Dr. Lou Anella.  Lou is a professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and the Director of The Botanic Garden at OSU.  

The kids and their grandparents started the 10 Minute Bonsai workshop by making their own concrete bonsai containers using a mold created by Lou Anella.  They carefully mixed the concrete in a bucket and spooned it into the mold.  After letting the mold set overnight, the concrete was carefully removed from the mold leaving behind a handmade container for them to take home.

To sculpt a bonsai, the grandparents and kids took a one gallon juniper and pruned off about one-half to two-thirds of the root system.  Then the real creativity started when they began to prune the juniper to make it look like a very old tree.  Taking off a little at a time and then reassessing the tree is very crucial because once you cut the limb, it’s gone!  The activity was very hands-on and educational for both grandparents and kids.

To learn more about Grandparent University please call the Alumni Association at 405.744.5368.

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