4th US National Bonsai Exhibition Report

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The successful 2014 4th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition has come, gone and is now a pleasant memory. Bonsai from around our great country were displayed next to each other showing viewers the diversity of forms and plant material trained for bonsai as well as the high level of refinement we have developed during the past seventy odd years the art has been practiced in the United States.

SET UP 0

 

The “Crew” beginning the set up on Wednesday

The resounding success of the U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition is due to the long hours of hard work of my “crew”, a dedicated group of bonsai hobbyists who want to see the art of bonsai flourish in the United States. In addition to set up and take down, many days were spent preparing, sewing, ironing and fabric cutting. New folding backgrounds were designed, constructed and painted (twice) for the Invitational Suiseki Exhibition and over 100 wooden posts were re stained. A beautiful welcome garden greeted visitors and featured the logo bonsai of Chinese quince, full of large fruit.

GARDEN

SET UP 1

 

SET UP 2

 

SET UP 3

 

IRONING

 

Our new venue, the Total Sports Experience, also served as a spectacular, spacious and clean environment to showcase some of the finest bonsai in our country. The new55,000 square foot building consisted of two full size soccer fields, a community room for hospitality and a wide concourse between the two fields. The padded green artificial grass was a welcome treat to our feet for those of us who stood for five days setting up, answering questions and taking down the Exhibition. The green coloring had a calming and quiet feeling. The tall ceiling and wide open area with tables and chairs offered a friendly location to meet with fellow bonsai hobbyists to discuss the bonsai on display. The wide aisles allowed visitors to easily see and study the bonsai. The wide and open areas wewre appreciated by everyone.

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GUY

Hiroyoshi Yamaji being interviewed for TV broadcast all day on Saturday and Sunday

The publicity committee of Ron and JoAnn Maggio worked their magic to get appearances on all four Rochester TV channels. The “Get Away Guy” on Channel 9 filmed a short segment while we set up the exhibition and was broadcast all day on Saturday and Sunday. At the Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Ron Maggio read proclamations from New York State Governor Cuomo, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Mayor Lovely of Rochester proclaiming National Bonsai Exhibition Day in New York State. This outstanding publicity, plus print coverage brought in the public as well as bonsai hobbyists. The 400 car parking lot was completely filled on Saturday and by Sunday nearly 1,000 people enjoyed the Exhibition. Our vendors were very happy.

VOLUNTEERS

Valued volunteers and crew moments before the ribbon cutting ceremony

 

OPENING

Ribbon cutting opening ceremony

 

OPENING 1

Visitors waiting to enter the exhibition

 

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Equally important to the success of the event was created by the 107 exhibitors from 27 states: California to Virginia and from Florida to Vermont. Plus, we had three special exhibitor groups from two provinces of Canada. The leading botanical gardens and arboreta with significant bonsai collections in the United States also brought trees for special exhibits. One of the earliest bonsai to enter the Untied States in 1935 was on display, which was started from a cutting taken in 1802.

SET UP 4

One of the historic Dwarf hinoki cypress bonsai being moved to a taller display table for better appreciation

 

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The cascade bonsai on the left was originally a branch on the larger Dwarf hinoki cypress on the right. This special exhibit came from the Larz Anderson Bonsai Collection at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, MA

 

EXHIBITOR 4

Robert Neems

 

 

EXHIBITOR

 

Douglas Taylor

 

EXHIBITOR 2

 

Marty Schmalenberg

 

SPECIAL 1 WILLOW

Exhibitors spent decades training their best bonsai for the exhibition and a lot of time refining and preparing for their formal display. This was quite evident in the 175 display areas. In total there were 320 individual bonsai, including 40 shohin bonsai compositions with 120 small size bonsai. Over 125 species and plant cultivars were displayed which is representative of the trees trained for bonsai in our country.

BONDSI

Photos of over 260 bonsai were submitted for the selection process and 180 were accepted. A few dropped out at the last minute because of weather damage or transportation difficulties. Since bonsai are alive and subject to weather this is to be expected. We still needed to add nine more tables at the end of set up. It’s a good thing we have extra backgrounds, skirting as well as table covering. But, we still needed to purchase additional table coverings of a different color during the set up.

VENDOR 2 VENDOR 1

Equally important and of the same size as the Exhibition, the vendor area had more than 100 tables full of everything you could ever want to create and appreciate bonsai. There were seedlings to developed masterpiece bonsai, tools, wire, soil, containers, display tables, suiseki, scrolls, books, magazines, jewelry, clothing, other art and more. There was something for everyone. Vendors came from California, Florida, Vermont, Minnesota, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York as well as Canada came to offer their finest for sale.

DEMO

 

YAMAJI

 

Hiroyoshi Yamaji demonstrates bonsai creation from nursery stock

 

DEMO 2

 

Peter Warren demonstrated how to refine an established bonsai

 

ALICE

Dr. Alice Chen demonstrated Chinese brush painting

 

DEMO 3

Sean Smith lectured on suiseki

 

 

The lecture/demonstration on creating a bonsai, bonsai refinement, ikebana, Chinese brush painting and suiseki were well received and there was standing room only. After setting up the demonstration area on Thursday I called and ordered another 100 chairs for visitors. Harvey Carapella did not thing they would be filled, however there was standing room only for Hiroyoshi Yamaji’s dynamic demonstration on bonsai creation.

STONES 2 STONE 2 STONE 1

SUISEKI 2

EXHIBITOR 3

Larry Ragel brought one of his suiseki from California

NINA

 

Nina Ragel displayed her suiseki

 

For the first time we had an Invitational Suiseki Exhibition were the stones were formally displayed with accessories and bonsai as well. Stones from the United States, Africa, China, Greece, Puerto Rico and Australia were displayed. Fifty suiseki were displayed by 29 exhibitors. The public, as well as the bonsai visitors found the addition of suiseki of interest and will be included in 2016.

VISITORS JAPAN VISITORS JAPAN 3 VISITORS JAPAN 2

 

 

I was especially honored that Japanese dignitaries traveled to the Untied States to see our U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition. Jiro Fukuda, Chairman of the Nippon Bonsai Association and Chairman of the World Bonsai Friendship Federation together with Mrs. Naemi Iwasaki, Vice-chairman of WBFF and Hatsuji Kato an advisor to WBFF came. They were accompanied with Yuji Tamura, editor of Bonsai Shunjyu magazine and their lovely translator Keiko Matsunaga. At the Award Banquet and Benefit Auction Mr. Fukuda presented the Nippon Bonsai Association Award to Brussel Martin for his beautiful Japanese Black pine as the “finest Japanese style bonsai display.” Mr. Fukuda also spoke about the importance of bonsai displays said the Japanese group came expecting to see beautiful bonsai but were surprised to see outstanding bonsai. He invited everyone to the 8th World Bonsai Convention in Saitama City, Japan which will be held in 2017.

JUDGING 4

David Easterbrook from Canada judging a bonsai

JUDGINE 3

Hiroyoshi Yamaji evaluating a Pitch pine bonsai

JUDGINE 2

Peter Warren from England inspecting the ramification of a Mugho pine bonsai

JUDGES

 

 

Judges in the Judges Chamber deciding the winning bonsai

 

The three international judges, Hiroyoshi Yamaji from Japan, Peter Warren from England and David Easterbrook from Canada spent a couple of hours selecting the award winning bonsai. Many of the decisions were difficult because of the high quality, but Suthin Sukolosovist’s American elm was clearly the winner for the National Award for the “finest bonsai.”

 

2014 US NATIONAL BONSAI EXHIBITION AWARDS

MEDIUM

Medium Size Bonsai Award

Finest Medium Size Bonsai

Sargent Juniper

Troy Schmidt

 

NIPPON AWARD

Nippon Bonsai Association Award

Finest Japanese Style Display

Japanese Black Pine

Brussel Martin

 

TROPICAL

Puerto Rico Bonsai Federation Award

Finest Tropical Bonsai

Willow Leaf Fig

Aaron Bucher

 

SHOHIN

Custom Oriental Woodcraft Award– Bonsai Display Tables

Finest Shohin Bonsai Display

Mixed Species

Gary Andes

 

HO YOKU

Ho Yoku Award

Finest Innovative Bonsai Design

Sargent Juniper

Colin Lewis

 

COMPANION AWARD ACCESSORY VIEW

Bonsai Travel Award

Finest Bonsai & Companion Combination

Mixed Species

Marc Arpag

 

 

YOSHIMURA AWARD

Yoshimura Award

Finest Classical Bonsai

Japanese Black Pine

Louise Leister

 

 

 

NORTH AMERICAN

ABS North American Award

Finest North American Native Species Bonsai

Rocky Mountain Juniper

Brian Hollowell

 

ALL AMERICAN

All American Award

Finest American Species in an American Container shown on an American Display Table

Buttonwood

Paul Pikel

 

DECIDUOUS

Deciduous Bonsai Award

Finest Deciduous Bonsai

Sharps Pygmy Japanese Maple

Sergio Cuan

 

EVERGREEN

Evergreen Bonsai Award

Finest Evergreen Bonsai

Wild Olive

Frank Cucchiara

 

 

NATIONAL

The National Award

Finest Bonsai Masterpiece

American Elm

Suthin Sukolosovisit

 

VISISTORS 3

David Easterbrook giving a tour in French to Canadian visitors

 

 

 

VIISTORS

 

 

At the Award Banquet and Benefit Auction two special awards were presented. A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Hideko Metaxas from Larkspur, California, for her leadership, promotion, education & artistry of bonsai, suiseki and ikebana. Kathy Shaner from San Jose, California was presented a Certificate of Recognition for her enthusiastic teaching, promotion & sharing of bonsai artistry- skill-knowledge. Finally the valued volunteers were recognized before the exhibition awards were presented to the winners. At the conclusion of the evening the Benefit Auction was held with Gordon Deeg as the master auctioneer. Vendors and friends donated many items for the auction to help cover the exhibition costs.

 

BUSINESS

The U.S. National Bonsai Exhibitions are good for the economy of the bonsai business in the United States. Businesses offering display tables, hand made containers, wire for refinement as well as professional bonsai artists preparing tree for display all made money before the actual exhibition. Our generous sponsors and vendors provided the funds to subside transporting the trees from long distances as well as preparing an excellent venue with display backgrounds.

 

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The photos include here were taken by me. Joe Noga and his helpers worked for three and a half days photographing every bonsai in the Exhibition. These professional, sharp and color perfect photographs will be used for the Commemorative Album which can now be pre ordered at an attractive discount until December. Every bonsai in the Exhibition will appear in the Commemorative Album as well as general views.

2014-ALBUM-COVER

Pre order your copy of the Commemorative Album at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/page/1442819

 

 

SIGN

 

I’d like to thank my valued volunteers, crew, exhibitors, sponsors, vendors, visitors and especially my family, Diane, Nicholas and Chris for making the 4th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition a success!

 

 

The 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition will be held on September 17-18, 2016. Start preparing your bonsai now. I look forward to welcoming everyone.

 

LABOR DAY FOR BONSAI

 

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Today is Labor Day, and boy did we labor so bonsai from around our country can be beautifully and tastefully displayed!

My entire “Monday Senior Crew” came, (except for Paul Eschmann who went sailing– but he will come on Saturday) today to help prepare for the upcoming US National Bonsai Exhibition on September 13-14th in Rochester, NY.

Today, Doug McDade, Rick Marriott, Bob Pfromm, Tom Friday and Joe Lentner left their families on this “holiday” to help me prepare for the exhibition. Rick started at 8:30 this morning and left at 4:00 in the afternoon. We got a tremendous amount of important work accomplished with only one doughnut break and takeout Chinese lunch. Diane surprised us with a raspberry birthday cake for Doug, Bob and me who all celebrate birthdays within two weeks of each other. Actually, Bob and I were both born on Labor Days, but several years apart.

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The background posts are made of 4×4” pressure treated posts which are 4 and 5 feet tall. They are all kept in the soil poly greenhouse along with the all the other supports and piping for the exhibition. Many of the long items are kept in the rafters and needed to be brought down for cleaning and loading into the trailer. Joe and Tom moved most of the posts and piping because they would not let me up on the ladder… another broken foot is NOT needed, especially at this time. Last week Rick, Bob and Diane began staining a few post which had faded, but they looked so good it was decided to stain all of them.

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The 90 heavy background posts were stained to get a dark quite color, as many have faded during the past eight years. But, first they needed to be cleaned and wiped down. As the Rick, Bob, Diane and Doug were staining Doug made minor adjustments to some of the posts so they would sit flat on the tables without wiggling. Diane helped all day and worked with Rick staining and Doug worked with Bob.

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As they were staining Joe and I were loading the trailer with items, which did not need staining, and then loaded the finished stained posts. It was so hot and humid the crew moved from staining in the display shade house into the cooler garage, out of the sun. That meant that all the posts needed to be carried from out back into the garage, then back to be carefully loaded into the trailer.

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Just as they were finishing Joe and I brought 80 upright thinner posts, which are used as supports for the purple bunting and golden tassels, to be stained. They did not complain and continued to stain. As they were finished I carried them on to the sunny driveway for drying.

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A few weeks ago Gratia Pfromm split 90 feet of fabric, which yielded 180 feet, for skirting which is needed for the Invitational Suiseki Exhibition, a new addition to the US National Bonsai Exhibition. She even hemmed the fabric so it would not unravel.

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There is still room for the 20 some large plastic tote boxes full of curtains, skirting and table coverings. Oh I almost forgot the purple velvet valances and of course the golden tassels and red carpet for the Opening Ceremony.

On Wednesday, September 10th we get into the building to begin setting up. Nearly 300 tables must be exactly set up according to the layout. Then the tables get skirted and the table covering goes on. Once the tables are skirted and covered the background posts are positioned on top of the tables. After the background curtains are installed the supports for the purple velvet bunting must be constructed. Finally the bonsai will be positioned and repositioned again before the exhibition opens. But, there is still a lot of registration and printing for Diane and me to complete before next week.

But, we will be ready to welcome visitors from Asia, Europe, South America and North America so they can see, appreciate and study some of the finest bonsai in the United States and Canada as well.

Join us on September 13-14th in Rochester. Additional information can be seen at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/store/1708315/National_Exhibition/index.html

 

US National Bonsai Exhibition Preparations Continue

POSTS

My family, Monday Senior Crew and friends are all busy preparing everything for the US National Bonsai Exhibition. Actually we have slowly been preparing for several months here in Rochester for the bonsai, suiseki, display backgrounds, posts and more. But now we are in full mode, which means I had six McDonalds Sweet Tea today.

Today we purchased a new water hose so exhibitors can easily water their bonsai before bringing into the building for their “final acceptance.” There is a grassy area where it will be easy to water and do the final detailing. Some green moss will also be available for touch ups if necessary.

BLOOD

Blood, sweat, tears and even a hospital visit have been experienced to get everything perfect for displaying both the bonsai and suiseki in the exhibition. A new design for backgrounds have been designed, constructed and painted with special paint by Doug McDade, Tom Friday and Bob Pfromm. Professional sign painter Alan Adair is working on a 20 foot welcoming banner as well.

SUISEKI BACKGROUNDS

JOE 1

Photographer Joe Noga in North Carolina is testing his new 40 megapixel camera and lighting so he can capture the beauty of each displayed bonsai for the forthcoming Commemorative Album. He has so much photo equipment and two bonsai for display that he must rent a trailer to transport everything to Rochester.

JOE 2

2014 ALBUM COVER

Marc Arpag with Bob Blankfield are designing and constructing items for the welcoming garden. Plants must now be selected from one of our sponsor’s nurseries which specializes in Japanese maples and conifers.

GARDEN

Ron and Jo Anne Maggio, our publicity committee have arranged appearances on all three Rochester TV channels. Additionally, the “Weekend Guy” will be shooting at the exhibition on Friday for his show which will be broadcast all through Saturday and Sunday on TV.

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I’m also busy mossing and doing final detailing on the bonsai for my clients and my trees as well. When finished they are placed next to the studio where I check them several times daily, from different angles to make certain they are at their peak of beauty for display.

HINOKI

Ron Maggio’s Dwarf hinoki cypress bonsai won our Member’s Choice Award at the May Upstate New York Bonsai Exhibition. Joe Noga photographed all the bonsai in the exhibition. After studying the tree’s photo I can see some trimming is necessary so tomorrow out come my special scissors which are extremely sharp. Then more mossing is necessary.

Display tables, accessories and scrolls are also being assembled now. They will be carefully cleaned a few days before the exhibition.

The Invitational Suiseki Exhibition is complete and those displays must also be designed and matched with accessories and a few scrolls. We are quite pleased that three of the top suiseki (and display as well) authorities from California will also be joining us displaying their stones. Hideko Metaxas and Larry and Nina Ragel will bring their suiseki to share with visitors to the US National Bonsai Exhibition.

AUCTION 2

 

Auction items

Selecting the bonsai and other items for the Benefit Auction has begun. Many of my larger bonsai have been selected, including Yuji Yoshimura’s last demonstration bonsai. Containers, books and other art will also be included. Plus, vendors and exhibitors will also be bringing many items for the auction, which will take place after the Award Ceremony where $6,500 cash will be distributed to the winning exhibitors.

AUCTION 1

 

Auction items

Diane is quite busy registering everyone for weekend passes, daily passes and the Award Banquet and Benefit Auction. She often contacts people asking for their partner’s names so the entry badges will have the correct names.

CURTAINS

Approximately 40 valued volunteers have signed up for welcoming visitors, photo assistants, security, admission, set up and take down as well. The US National Bonsai Exhibition would not exist without these special friends who go all out to promote bonsai art. Additionally our sponsors, donors and vendors have provided some of the funds to pay for the exhibition.

MULCH 4  MULCH 2

Today my son Chris, his buddy Ben and Diane moved 10 yards of mulch into my display garden so visitors to our Autumn Open House & Sale can easily walk on a soft surface. Weeding is a never ending task and Rick Marriott and Paul Eschmann are doing a great job trying to remove all the unwanted vegetation.

MULCH 3  MULCH 1A

Of course, there are a few additional tasks: preparing and printing bonsai and suiseki labels, certificates, exhibition guide, name tags, signs, maps, flyers, repainting posts, ironing curtains, tablecloths, skirting and purple bunting (complete with golden tassels). With the help of my good friends, Senior Monday Crew and family everything will be ready and perfect for visitors to the 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition. The bonsai still need watering, but we are keeping up on that as well.

SECURITY

Glenn Morton Security Chairman

 

I look forward to welcoming everyone to a unique exhibition of some of the finest bonsai in the United States.

2014 US National Bonsai Exhibition Awards

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Join us at the exciting US National Bonsai Exhibition on September 13-14, 2014 in Rochester, New York. The Award Banquet & Benefit Auction are one of the highlights of the weekend where $6,500 will be presented to the finest bonsai selected by our three international judges: Hiro Yamaji from Japan, Peter Warren from England and David Easterbrook from Canada.

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Bonsai fellowship abounds with visitors, exhibitors and vendors all enjoying a delicious meal awaiting the award presentations.

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The following awards will be presented:

The National Award

Finest Bonsai Masterpiece

$1,000

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Evergreen Bonsai Award

Finest Evergreen Bonsai

$500

 

Deciduous Bonsai Award

Finest Deciduous Bonsai

$500 Lang Bonsai Container Certificate

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Yoshimura Award

Finest Classical Bonsai

$500

 

Bonsai Travel Award

Finest Bonsai & Companion Plant Combination

$500

 

Nippon Bonsai Association Award

Finest Japanese Style Display

 

Ho Yoku Award

Finest Innovative Bonsai Design

$500

 

Custom Oriental Woodcraft Award

Finest Shohin Bonsai Display

$1,000 Shohin Bonsai Display Stand Set

 

All American Bonsai Award

Finest American Species Bonsai in an American Container on an American Display Table

$1,000

 

ABS North American Bonsai Award

Finest North American Native Species Bonsai

$500

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Puerto Rico Bonsai Federation Award

Finest Tropical Bonsai

$500

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After the award presentation a stimulating Benefit Auction will take place where bonsai, containers, suiseki and other bonsai related items will be auctioned, including many large bonsai from the Valavanis Bonsai Collection.

Join us for the Award Banquet & Benefit Auction at the Holiday Inn Airport. Remaining seating is quite limited, but a few seats remain. The hotel cannot accommodate over 300 people. Weekend passes (until September 1st and Award Banquet & Benefit Auction tickets may be easily ordered from our website at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/page/486741658

Also, be sure to arrive early on Saturday morning at 8:30 am for the Opening Ceremony!

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CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN BONSAI COLLECTION

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The Chicago Botanic Garden has a world class bonsai collection. Several years ago bonsai artist Susumu Nakamua from Yokohama, Japan, presented his finest trees to the Chicago Botanic Garden to supplement their collection.

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Enjoy the bonsai which were on public display in the two courtyards during the 2014 Midwest Bonsai Show.

Three of these beautiful masterpiece will be displayed by the Chicago Botanic Garden in the upcoming 4th US National Bonsai Exhibition which will be held in Rochester, NY, on September 13-14,2014. Come visit the exhibition and see which bonsai the Chicago Botanic Garden will display.

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2014 MIDWEST BONSAI EXHIBIT

TOKONMA

 

The 37th Midwest Bonsai Exhibit is being held at the Chicago Botanic Garden on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 15-17, 2014. Many beautiful bonsai are on display from local members and other bonsai hobbyists from several states. About 15 vendors are selling their trees, containers and other items as well. Enjoy the photos!

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COLLECTION TREES

ROUGH BARK

Rough Bark Japanese Maple by Matt Berenberg received the Best of Show Award

MAPLE

RAF DWARF SCOTS PINE

RAF Dwarf Scots Pine by Wm. N. Valavanis received the 1st Place Award in the Professional Division

PINE

SHOHIN BONSAI

SHOHIN BONSAI 2

SHIMPAKU

SHIMPAKU SHOHIN

SCOTS PINE

SATSUKI

PONDEROSA

METASEQUOIA

MARY KAY

LARCH FOREST

TRUNK POSITIONING

LANTANA

KUSA MONO

 

JUNIPERS

JADE

HINOKI

HEMLOCK

GOYO PINE

FICUS \

CHINESE ELM

BLUE MOSS

YEW

STONES

TREE:STONE

 

2014 AUTUMN JAPAN BONSAI TOUR

 

 

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Have you ever wanted to explore the bonsai and Japanese garden world of Japan in a small limited group? Well, here is your opportunity. In November Kora Dalager, travel agent and bonsai instructor from California and I will be leading another one of our popular bonsai tours to Japan. Bonsai gardens and studios of some of the finest bonsai artists in Japan will be privately visited.

Our tour will first begin in the Tokyo area where we will visit Mr. Kimura’s studio, the new Omiya Bonsai Art Museum and Omiya Bonsai Village. Many of the world’s best bonsai originated or were refined in this small bonsai village of six gardens. Bonsai of all species, sizes and styles can be seen and studied in beautiful garden settings in their autumn glory.Image

Masahiko Kimura’s studio.

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Omiya Bonsai Art Museum.

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Mansei-en Bonsai Garden- Hatsuji Kato.

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Fuyo-en Bonsai Garden- Hiroshi Takeyama.

Next we will visit S-Cube, the garden of Seiji Morimae where you will see several thousands of bonsai and suiseki. A wide variety of bonsai, suiseki, containers, display tables and accessories are reasonably priced. Other than the living bonsai items can be easily purchased to add to your collection.

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S-Cube- Seiji Morimae.

The next day a visit to Kunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Museum in Tokyo will be guided by graduate apprentice and bonsai artist fom England, Peter Warren. His command and understanding of Japanese aesthetics and language will surely we  everyone and all questions will be answered. Here you can appreciate fine quality refined bonsai masterpieces distinctively displayed in indoor alcoves as well as in the garden.

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Shunka-en Bonsai Museum- Kunio Kobayashi.

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Display alcove with Gardenia bonsai.

Japanese maple.

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Kunio Kobayashi teaching our group.

After the visit we will take the famous bullet train to Kyoto. Mt. Fuji can usually be seen from the fast moving train. Our visit to Kyoto is on the busiest weekend of the year because of “maple viewing” when thousands of old Japanese maples turn into brilliant autumn beauty. There are actually charts in each hotel indicating daily peak viewing of the largest gardens. A private full day bus tour to many of the most beautiful and famous gardens and temples will be led by our native guide, a retired schoolteacher has a wealth of knowledge, excellent command of the English language, humor and freely shares with everyone. Many small details often missed by visitors are quickly pointed out and explained.

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Mt. Fuji taken from bullet train.

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Maple viewing in Japanese gardens.

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Tour member mediating in Ryoanji Temple garden.

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We unexpectedly caught a camera shoot for a kimono shop.

We will then watch the opening ceremony of the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition, the largest exhibition in western Japan. Over 200 beautiful bonsai will be displayed. Unlike the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition, each bonsai is effectively displayed with appropriate companions and is usually accompanied with scrolls and suiseki. It is rare to see suiseki displayed with bonsai in Japanese bonsai exhibitions. The prize winning bonsai from the last Kokufu and Sakufu Bonsai Exhibitions are displayed along with special exhibits. During the past two year photos were allowed by everyone!

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Taikan ten view.

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Taikan ten view.

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Taikan ten bonsai view.

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Bonsai and suiseki display.

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Large size bonsai being positioned on display table.

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Chinese quince bonsai.

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Satsuki bonsai display.

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Kora Dalager and Bill studying shohin bonsai composition.

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A simple companion of moss.

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Japanese five-needle pine bonsai rock planting.

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Beautyberry shohin bonsai.

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Award winning Sargent juniper bonsai.

A large sales area completes the exhibition and everything you always wanted to add to your collection will be on sale. Bonsai and items from the finest bonsai gardens will be available.  Photos were allowed, which is not normally the custom in Japan.

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Sales area.

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Trident maple bonsai, sold during the first hour.

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Joe Noga looking at all the great bonsai which can’t be brought back.

Usually during the same time Seiji Morimae hosts a private suiseki show in a nearby 800 year old temple. The beautiful suiseki are displayed in several rooms.

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Alcove display of suiseki.

During the following free days tour participants usually return to the exhibition or continue on to explore Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Every time I return to the exhibition I see things I missed the previous times. Perhaps I’m a slow learner, but it takes me many visits to study all the displays.

We will then leave Kyoto and travel to Nagoya where will visit the bonsai garden of Toru Suzuki, the third generation artist of Daiju-en Bonsai Garden. Many of the techniques for training pine bonsai originated with his father and grandfather.

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Daiju-en Bonsai Garden- Toru Suzuki.

A private visit to Shinpuku-ji Temple and museum will complete the day were we will see a small, but excellent bonsai collection in beautiful surroundings. The curator of this museum loves Princess persimmon bonsai and often has beautiful displays. We will be having lunch in their compound.

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A forest of Cryptomeria and Bamboo on the way to the Shinpukuji temple.

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A few stairs leaving the temple.

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Bonsai on display outdoors.

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Japanese five-needle pine bonsai outdoors.

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Indoor display of Princess persimmon bonsai.

Finally, a visit to Tokoname, one of the ancient kilns of Japan will conclude our tour. Here you can often see potters create their ware. Containers of all sizes, shapes, color and designs can be purchased for your bonsai. We will depart Japan the following day returning home in time to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with your family.

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Lots of bonsai containers everywhere.

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Master potter demonstrating slab making a container.

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“Gyozan”, one of the top bonsai container artists.

The deadline is rapidly coming for registering for this exciting one-in-a-lifetime tour. The tour flyer can be easily downloaded from my website at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/page/1449251

Please check out my tour report from last October:

http://valavanisbonsaiblog.com/2013/11/

The exchange rate has been improving and frequent flyer miles can often be used for transportation. Please contact Kora Dalager (kora@ca.astound.net  or phone 510-610-9064) for questions or additional information.

I look forward to sharing the beauty of the Japanese garden and bonsai world with you. Please don’t delay, you will not be disappointed with our distinctive, comprehensive, value packed and fun bonsai tours!