2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition Update


“The Show Is On”

These past couple of years have been difficult for everyone, many had to adjust and make changes to continue. Fortunately people had an extra year to prepare their bonsai, and looking at the photo submissions they look superb!

The 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition will take place on September 11-12, 2021 in Rochester, New York in the same venue as the past exhibitions. Two indoor soccer fields will be transformed into a refined bonsai exhibition and the largest sales area from quality vendors from across the country.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic two of our foreign judges cannot enter the country. Koji Hiramatsu, Japan, and Gerald Rainville, Canada were scheduled to judge and demonstrate, but they will join us in two years at the 2023 8thUS National Bonsai Exhibition. It was extremely difficult to get other foreign judges at this late date to evaluate some of the best bonsai in the United States, but we have two substitute very qualified judges.

Enrique Castano

Enrique Castano from Mexico will join the two other judges and will also do a demonstration. He grew up in a bonsai household where his father, a noted sculptor, introduced him to the art. Interested I living things led him to many degrees in biology, biochemistry and biophysics. Currently he conducts plants research in Mexico and shares his knowledge with the bonsai community around the world. He actively collects and trains trees from his native Mexico.

Enrique was one of the judges and demonstrators at the 2016 5th US National Bonsai Exhibition.

Kathy Shaner

Kathy Shaner from California/Alabama is a very knowledgeable and skilled bonsai artist. She studied several years in Japan where she was awarded a Professional Bonsai Certificate by the Nippon Bonsai Association. She was the first woman and foreigner to receive the distinction. Kathy travels across the country freely sharing her skills to bonsai organizations as well as her private clients. Although she travels extensively, she still makes time to be the curator of the California Golden State Bonsai Federation’s Bonsai Garden in Oakland, California. Her wonderful smile and personality shine when she teaches and we are fortunate to welcome her.

Marco Invernizzi

Marco Invernizzi, one of our original judges, from Italy is able to join us for judging and demonstrating. He became interested in bonsai at an early age and studied extensively in Italy before traveling to Japan to apprentice with Masahiko Kimura. Marco travels extensively to work with with private clients in the United States, Spain and other European countries. He leads tours to Japan and is a broker for masterpiece bonsai. His engaging personality is great for introducing young people to the art and is entertaining during his demonstrations.

Kusamono Exhibit

New this year we are introducing the art of kusamono. Young Choe is a Kusamono artist who studied traditional art-ink painting and calligraphy in her native Korea before moving to the United States.  While volunteering at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, she was able to bring her artistic talent together with her knowledge of horticulture to create Kusamono.  As her interest in Kusamono developed, Young traveled to Japan to study. Young currently works at the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository (WLPGR) that belongs to the U.S. National Arboretum. She also presents workshops and lectures about Kusamono throughout the United States as well as around the world. She will have a large display of her kusamono in addition to demonstrating.

Suiseki Exhibit

Again this year we will be hosting an invitational suiseki exhibit of scenic viewing stones. Although a view stone might look “just like a rock” (which it actually is) there is much more to explore with your imagination to recall a favorite scene. Noted suiseki authority and daiza carver, Sean Smith will be presenting a lecture on Suiseki and also a couple of critiques. Here you can ask Sean the deep imaginative meaning of some stones.

We are indeed fortunate to have three distinguished judges who will also demonstrate their skills. In addition to six demonstrations there will be twenty critiques of the bonsai and suiseki. All the demonstrations and critiques are free and included with admission. Weekend passes are $50 before August 1st and daily admission is $30, space permitting. Tickets can be ordered:



I look forward to welcoming you to Rochester!

Spring 2021 Open House

Our Spring 2021 Open House & Sale will be held in a few days on Saturday and Sunday in Rochester, New York. Although the Wisteria have finished blossoming the dwarf Japanese dogwood and golden smoke tree are in full flower. The growing season, so far, has been great for producing bushy pre-bonsai, ready for training into your own bonsai.

There is a great selection of potted bonsai ready for refining or developing into your own style.

Last summer, and also a few months ago, Joe Noga from North Carolina brought up over 100 bonsai for sale. Many of the bonsai he has been training for over 30 years in containers. His large Satsuki azalea, with a 10 inch trunk is now flowering with white and pink flowers. There are also several Korean hornbeam bonsai imported over 25 years. He has a wide variety of fine bonsai for sale.

The main bonsai display area is looking great with the deciduous species showing a fresh crop of new foliage. I will be presenting two different programs on both Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. A 20% discount is offered on most items.


Come, join us for a delightful weekend among beautiful bonsai, excellent pre-bonsai and bonsai fellowship. I look forward to welcoming you soon.PS: Don’t forget the upcoming 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition coming up in September in East Rochester. It looks like we will have record crowds from across the country. 

The Four Seasons Of Rochester, New York


Contrary to popular belief, Rochester, New York, has more than the two seasons of snow and construction. We do actually have four distinct seasons, and very often can “enjoy” two seasons a couple of days apart. It was over 70F last week and yesterday we got three inches of snow. Next week 80F temperatures are forecast. That is not unusual for Rochester, but does necessitate more work for those of us who enjoy the pleasure of growing and training bonsai.

We have been “dancing with the bonsai” five times this past month and right now most of the deciduous bonsai are back in the garage for a few more days. Moving bonsai outdoors in the morning and protecting in the evenings is common. Hopefully, we can return bonsai to their growing tables until late autumn soon.

International BONSAI OnLine

The third issue of my new FREE digital magazine, International BONSAI OnLine has just released and more than 1,000 people in less than 24 hours have enjoyed the educational and well photographed articles. Soon Wisteria will be blossoming in the northern areas, while the flowers have been long gone in California. This issue contains several articles on growing and training Wisteria bonsai as well as a comprehensive article on our native Red maple training for bonsai. Check out my new FREE issue, check out four other digital copies and subscribe to be informed of additional releases.


2021 Spring Open House

The dates for our Spring Open House have been changed to June 19-20, 2021. Fine formal bonsai exhibits will welcome visitors, as well as the distinctive garden. I’ll be presenting two demonstrations during the weekend. Come visit and see bonsai from the propagation bench to developed masterpiece bonsai. You can see how the bonsai are placed in the garden, which might give you ideas of how to display your own trees. Nursery stock in training for bonsai can also be seen, and purchased too! A 20% discount on bonsai, pre-bonsai, containers and tools will be applied to your purchases.


Joe Noga Bonsai Collection

As an extra bonus over 100 bonsai from the famous bonsai photographer and bonsai grower, Joe Noga, will be for sale at the Spring Open House. He has a beautiful bonsai garden in North Carolina and will soon be moving. Over 500 nursery stock specimens arrived last summer and he is now bringing more of the larger, and heavier, bonsai for sale. Come see them. Unfortunately the 20% discount does not apply to Joe’s bonsai.

2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition

Last but certainly not least is the exciting US National Bonsai Exhibition. Now is the time to submit photos of your finest bonsai for the selection process. The deadline has been extended to July 1, 2021. Visit the Exhibition and over 250 bonsai, suiseki as well as kusamono. This is an event not to miss and what the bonsai community is anxiously waiting for. Plus vendors from across the country will be bringing everything you need to grow, train and appreciate bonsai. Enjoy fellowship with friends and other enthusiasts who share your love of bonsai.


The unfortunate lack of live bonsai exhibitions and gatherings due to the COVID-19 of last year will probably increase our attendance. All ten critiques and five demonstrations are FREE with the paid admission of $30 daily or $50 for a weekend pass. The award banquet is $50 and will be held in the new official host venue, Woodcliff Hotel & Spa, which is near to the US National Bonsai Exhibition. The informative flyer is nearly finished. If you would like to distribute some to your bonsai friends, kindly let me know how many you would like. Be sure to register early as attendance might be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our web sites will soon be updated soon so you can order your weekend passes and Award Banquet tickets.

Corin Tomlinson’s YouTube Channel


Over 30 years ago Corin Tomlinson became my first (and only) formal bonsai apprentice. His father, Harry, established Greenwood Gardens Bonsai Studio in Nottingham, England 40 years ago, and became an accomplished bonsai artist, author and demonstrator. 

I first met Corin when I was teaching in England and he helped with my demo in 1985 when he was only a youngster. On one of his visits to Rochester Harry brought his first born son Corin with him to “check us out.” Things clicked and he wanted to return to live with my family and study with me. 

After high school Corin went to Merrist Wood Horticultural College in England. As part of his training he had to do a formal apprenticeship. So he applied to Ohio State University and said he wanted to apprentice in a small family operated bonsai nursery. At the same time I wrote to Ohio State University and requested a student apprentice with a background in bonsai. Well, they matched us up! The formal apprenticeship required examinations and written reports. It was also necessary to pay him a salary and provide insurance for him. I did not have a salary (and still don’t) but Corin had a modest steady income.

As was the custom in Japan at the time, Corin lived with Diane and me and became a member of our family. During his stay with us Nicholas was born in 1989 and later on Chris in 1991. Yes, Corin also helped raise our two boys, but never had to change a diaper. As most know, bonsai is more than a 9-5 job five days a week. So, in order to fully understand, appreciate and train bonsai an apprentice must really live at the bonsai garden. Weather can change, especially in Rochester, New York, during the night and spring which required 24 hour attention to the bonsai.

Greenwood Bonsai Studio

Harry never trained Corin in bonsai but wanted him to continue in his business and asked me to train him. It’s interesting that he grew up in a bonsai nursery but was never taught how to wire. I had to teach him and needed to decide to teach him with the proper annealed copper wire or sissy (aluminum) wire, which is commonly used throughout the world. Copper was used because it was a bit more difficult and precision is necessary in application for the holding and shaping. I figured if Corin learned with copper it would be easy for him in his future bonsai career to switch to the easy bending sissy wire. But, if I had taught him with sissy wire and one of his students had copper wire, it would be a bit difficult and embarrassing for him to work the copper.

Greenwood Bonsai Studio

During his study here he had to write regular reports for college and also a few research papers. Well, they ended up being a regular column in International BONSAI titled “Corin’s Study Notes.” While here my teacher, Yuji Yoshimura, visited on several occasions and Corin was able to also study with him. Corin was a quick learner and had an artistic graphic art flair which be brought to his bonsai art. He worked on many of my masterpiece bonsai and also created many new specimens. He was good!

Corin went back and forth from England to New York and also spent a bit of time with Chase Rosade and Jim Doyle. He traveled with me around the country assisting me with my demonstrations and workshops. When I demonstrated at the Noelanders Cup, and the Ginkgo Award in Belgium Corin traveled from England to help me and translate my American English to “proper” English.

Corin finally returned to England and eventually took over Greenwood Bonsai Studio with his brother Paul who primarily takes care of the business, mail orders but also knows about bonsai and assists when necessary. It’s great friendly team and has become of the finest educational bonsai centers, and provider of fine material in England. He has taught in the United States on several occasions and also in Europe and throughout England. He has joined one of my Japan Tours to see the Japanese bonsai community first-hand for his background on the understanding of Japanese bonsai.

Paul and Corin Tomlinson proprietors of Greenwood Bonsai Studio

Many years ago I traveled to England for Corin’s wedding and saw the impressive changes to Greenwood Garden Bonsai Studio Corin and Paul had implemented. In 2018 he invited me to present a weekend full of programs for his nursery’s 40th year celebration. The nursery had even developed more and began a mail order service for trees, supplies and books (and magazines as well, guess which one.)

Recently Corin has begun a regular Free YouTube Channel with demos and detailed information on many different bonsai topics such as restyling a tree, Japanese maples, forests and more. I was particularly impressed with his last presentation on Koto Hime Japanese maple. He did everything perfect! In fact one of his research papers was on the propagation and training of Koto Hime maples which became a feature article in my magazine. I’m so proud of this young gentlemen who lives in the bonsai world and is sharing his knowledge and skill with others throughout the community. I highly recommend watching and subscribing to his free new YouTube channel:

Great Work Corin! I’m proud of you and your accomplishments and look forward to watching your long successful bonsai career.

Winter Snow…..

Snow, I hate snow, and cold weather

I Like snow on postcards and on Xmas eve. So far this season Rochester, New York has only experienced 57 inches of snow, while normal season to date is over 70 inches. Yesterday we were under a Winter Storm Warning predicting 7-14 inches of snow, only about 5 inches fell. Snow has actually fallen every month of the year here. OK, it’s going to snow, so let’s get all of it now and have it end in April so we can get back to bonsai. I remember once during a “Spring” open house on May 15th, Mother’s Day, standing outside my studio watching visitors go through three inches of snow trying to find plants to buy.

My body goes dormant at 70F. My overwintering facility is maintained at 27F to keep the bonsai dormant. Several of my maple buds are already beginning to enlarge, which is NOT good. That means that “Dancing with the Bonsai” will soon begin.

APRIL, not winter

The cold and snowy weather has allowed me the time to work on my new popular FREE International Bonsai OnLinemagazine. The second March/April issue has just been released. Note, early, rather than late…… In fact the May/June issue is nearly completed too!  There are a couple of comprehensive informative articles on Chojubai Japanese flowering quince, a popular flowering variety trained for bonsai in this issue along with other spring flowering species. You can easily subscribe free at www.internationalbonsaionline.com  Please patronize our advertisers who provide the financial support for the free magazine. The low advertising rates of $50 (half page) and $100 (full page) make it ideal for small businesses, clubs and show to advertise their events. Issued bi-monthly is perfect for bonsai events coming up soon, especially having been delayed or rescheduled from last season.

Currently I’m teaching using Zoom Presentations to clubs around the world. Each presentation begins with a PowerPoint program followed by an indoor bonsai display and a tour of my garden or overwintering facility. Demonstrations are often part of the program. You would think that a Zoom Presentation would be easy, just show some slides. However, I’ve realized that preparing for one of my Zoom Presentations requires much more work and time than simply visiting a club. Since all my bonsai and display material are I try my best to present a comprehensive lesson on a specific topic or species.  Although no travel is involved, and my PowerPoint program are prepared, they are always customized and updated for the sponsoring organization. But, since bonsai displays are part of the programs, many bonsai need to be groomed, tables and accessories must be selected and cleaned as well as getting trees ready for demonstrations. I’m fortunate to have many friends helping me to prepare for my educational programs. Although It’s a lot of work and time, I love sharing my knowledge and skill so others can enjoy and learn more about bonsai, training and creating techniques and appreciation.

The 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition WILL be held on September 11-12, 2021. Now is the time to submit photos of your bonsai for the selection process. Just send me a photo of your best bonsai to wnv@internationalbonsai.com. Check our official website for current information www.usnationalbonsai.com

The 2021 95th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition ends tomorrow. Thanks to friends there will be many photos to share with you here in my blog and in International Bonsai OnLine. But, in the meantime, here is a sneak preview of the exhibition… only the fourth one I’m missed in about 40 years because of the COVID 19 closing of Japan’s borders.

Catalog orders for seedlings and pre-bonsai are beginning to ship. Although we are sold out of a few species, we have plenty of great plants. Shipping has already begun, so get your orders in now, we can hold until its planting time for your area. www.internationalbonsai.com/seedling%20list


Our new Spring 2021 Seedling & Pre-Bonsai catalog is now available with many great, new and rare plants. Here are a few featured plants:

Dwarf Cork-Bark Japanese Black Pine

Pinus thunbergii var. corticosa ‘Hakuro’

The Hakuro Dwarf Cork-Bark Japanese black pine forms thick corky bark that look like “wings, it is also in the ‘Yatsubusa’ grouping of dwarf plants which have multiple buds, short internodes, ability to maintain inner branching and sometimes root easily. The Cork-Bark Japanese black pine Hakuro is one of the most vigorous and easy to grow. Unlike commercially produced grafted plants, these have been carefully low grafted so the graft union is not ugly. When the corky bark develops in the lower trunk sections it will actually extend downward presenting a thicker trunk, very unusual. Corky bark is already developing on the trunks, which adds to the appearance of age. These healthy grafted plants have been grown and trimmed for bonsai. These are gnarly bushy pre-bonsai plants from 3 gal pots and 14-16” tall. The trunks are 1.5 to 2” in diameter.

$265 Free shipping, US only

Ezo Spruce

Picea glehnii

This is the most famous spruce trained for bonsai in Japan and extremely difficult to find in the United States. Unfortunately, Picea jezoensis is often available and called “Ezo” spruce. It is actually Black Ezo spruce and is NOT trained for bonsai in Japan because it is too coarse in plant character. The true Ezo spruce here are young seedlings which can easily be shaped, trained as a forest or just allowed to grow to a larger size. They have been grown in a 4”pot and are 8-12” in height. Very limited in number so order early.

$25 each or 3/$60 Free shipping, US only


Trident Maple

Acer buergerianum

These two year seedlings are excellent for thread grafting new branches or to improve a surface root system display. They are pliable and can be used to create a fused trunk bonsai. They were field grown and are 10-18” in height. Or, simply wired and shaped into a bonsai. There are four different sizes available in the catalog.

10 Bareroot seedlings $60 Free shipping, US only.

European Beech

Fagus sylvatica

These have been difficult to find and are superb for forests. The leaves can easily be reduced and the trunks become white in about six year. Each bundle of 5 have three different sizes for creating a forest. Grown in 4” pots and 8-12” in height.

5 Tree bundle $50 Free shipping, US only

Also available:

Korean Hornbeam

Noga Crabapple

Dwarf Stewartia

Itoigawa Sargent Juniper

Kazan Satsuki Azalea

Valavanis Cypress

Rough Bark Japanese Maple Seedlings

And 11 more choice plants

Plants can easily be ordered online here:


The catalog can be downloaded here:


Also, join over 10,000 viewers and over 1,000 subscribers for my FREE bi-monthly International BONSAI OnLine magazine at:


Good luck with your bonsai during the new 2021 growing season!

Happy New Year 2021!!

New Year’s day is a special holiday for our family and religion for many reasons. Most important is to welcome in the New Year, a fresh new yearly beginning especially after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Everyone gets another opportunity to enjoy and improve their lives for another year. This also applies to our bonsai as well as we have plans to change and improve their design.

Also January 1st commemorates the feast of the circumcision of Jesus in the Orthodox Church. Jesus was Jewish and according to tradition baby boys were circumcised on the eighth day after birth. Our church celebrates this event during the first Divine Liturgy of the New Year celebrated on January 1st for St. Basil The Great.

More importantly January 1st is also St. Basil’s day in the Orthodox Church. St. Basil The Great was a forefather of the Greek Orthodox Church and is remembered for his kindness and generosity to the poor. He was also the first to establish hospitals, which I’m personally thankful for.

Since my baptismal name is Vasilios (Basil), January 1st is my names day, a holiday often celebrated more than birthdays. Sometimes the family of the person named Basil hosts an open house and friends are invited to visit. A couple of years ago Diane had New Year Open House and many of our friends were invited to help celebrate my names day. Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic gatherings are not allowed, but hopefully next year we can get together with family and friends to welcome in the new year. When we did celebrate a few years ago I had to come up with a special alcove display in the studio featuring bonsai and the special events celebrated this day.

There are many reasons to display bonsai and all of them are centered on creating a display atmosphere for enjoyment of the viewers. The main tree for this special display is a Chinese quince bonsai, loaded with fruit, I did not add any. It was selected to show the prosperity of the year. A Pomegranate would have been better, also a Pine showing longevity. But, I wanted to show prosperity. An icon of St. Basil The Great was made into an insert for a scroll to celebrate the feast day of the saint. Finally, Chinese quince fruit, along with a sharp, large root pruning bonsai knife was used for the accessory, with the knife commemorating the circumcision. This was a rather unusual, unorthodox display, but was created for my visitors which they enjoyed and we had many discussions. 

The celebration continues with the cutting of a Vasilopita, a traditional sweet bread/cake served once a year at the New Year. It honors Saint Basil the Great, the saint for whom the cake gets its name.

A coin is baked into the cake and the person receiving the coin is to have good luck for the New Year. St. Basil The Great began this tradition by returning jewelry to people by placing one in each cake. There is a specific order of cutting the cake. First piece is for St. Basil The Great, next one for the house and the following for members of the family by seniority. Following pieces are cut for friends. Diane makes delicious Vasilopitas we all enjoy. A few years ago we went through the cutting ritual and nobody found the coin… yet. So we started another round of cutting. I took a peek and saw the outline of the coin, which will be found by the next person who cuts a piece. It was my turn for a piece, so I cut a piece from the opposite side and let another member of our family find the coin. Let’s see who gets the good luck tomorrow….. we all need it!

When I was a youngster my grandmother had a couple of customs she brought from Greece for the New Year holiday. It was important that the first visitor who sets foot into the home was ideally a young child with pure heart which would bring a good omen and luck for the remaining of the year. We always hoped for a youngster, not an elderly person…

The Pomegranate is a fruit with a long history going back to ancient times. It is widely revered as a symbol of fertility, prosperity, regeneration and the inseparable marriage of life and death. One of my tasks for my grandmother was to take a large, plump, ripe Pomegranate and smash it on the doorstep for good luck. The blessed luck was proportional to how far the seeds were spread. I also had to clean up the red mess which stains. We do not follow this tradition for obvious reasons, but I might start next year, with a piece of plastic on the floor.

Wishing everyone the best of good luck, health, prosperity in a safe New Year 2021. I look forward to a better new year where we can all get back to family, friends and bonsai activities.

Musings On Publishing International BONSAI.

Beginning in the late 1960s when at college on Long Island I became an active member of the Bonsai Society of Greater New York. In 1978 as a director I became editor of their quarterly magazine The Bonsai Bulletin. At that time there were three large bonsai organizations in the United States; The American Bonsai Society, Bonsai Clubs International and The Bonsai Society of Greater New York, each publishing their own magazines.

Returning to Rochester and beginning to publish The Bonsai Bulletin, a visitor stopped at my table at a local bonsai show and we began chatting. He owned Great Lakes Press, one of Rochester’s premier printing companies and offered to help design and print the organization’s magazine. He eventually became a friend, student and business partner distributing bonsai pots for over 30 years. Together with Yuji Yoshimura we began producing a premier bonsai magazine, unlike all other English language bonsai periodicals. It took a tremendous amount of work on our part, all on a volunteer basis. Through Mr. Yoshimura’s contacts in Japan arrangements were made to translate, edit and publish articles into English.

 I began to think about the magazine and thought why not combine all three publications into one higher quality issue and have a page or two for each organization’s news. I wanted to improve both the quality of information as well as presentation to a larger audience. The idea was presented to all three groups and I just about got crucified. Each organization wanted control. 

 So after some thought, I decided to publish International BONSAI magazine in1979 with the assistance of Mr. Yoshimura with color covers, a first for English language bonsai magazines. With the guidance of Great Lakes Press and graphic artist, Harvey Carapella we proceeded and have continued to publish. Harvey Carapella is still the art director and has designed every issue. When the first issue was published another friend, Joe Noga, professor of color reproduction at Rochester Institute of Technology, saw the covers and could not stand their poor color quality of the covers. He volunteered to work on the color images and has continued for 41 years to improve the quality; unmatched by other English language bonsai magazines.

Now after publishing The Bonsai Bulletin for a year then International BONSAI for 42 years we have used several different printers, changing when each company sold out to larger organizations or closing because of digital printing.

 We started printing with Great Lakes Press. Printing the first color covers was an experience. Since the company was in Rochester I always did press proofing by making trips to check over the printing while on press, an activity still do today, only it now requires six different trips for each issue. As the press was running on the first issue I suddenly noticed that the word “Masakuni” on the back cover ad was misspelled. The presses stopped and the error was corrected and covers reprinted. At Great Lakes Press one of the pre-press “strippers” who actually cut and pasted four different films for each color plate, became interested in bonsai and became a student. He attended my annual symposia and was introduced to some of the finest bonsai artists from around the world. In one issue Harvey and I mislabeled a photo of John Naka and Mikio Oshima at a symposium demonstration. My student, the pre-press stripper caught the error and changed their names to match the photograph. 

When Great Lakes Press was bought out, my friend in pre-press changed to Upstate Litho and I followed him to the smaller, but high quality press. I carefully approved the proofs and watched the start of printing for each issue. When the final copies were delivered I discovered that an image of a Zelkova bonsai was printed upside down with the twigs pointed down and pot pointed up. Apparently during the printing a pressman noticed a scratch on a photo. So he stopped printing, made a new plate and restriped the image, upside down! Upstate Litho had to reprint the entire issue to correct the problem.

 Throughout our long and pioneering history of publishing International BONSAI a few errors and typos have slipped through. We quickly learned that some readers only look for errors… And we try to print something for everyone.

When we started publishing each article had to be typed, edited, typeset, then cut and pasted with wax guns on to boards to be photographed then made into printing plates. A lot of work. Soon electronic publishing was introduced with Adobe PageMaker and we slowly began with the new technology. Once the owner of Upstate Litho mentioned that another client produced their project but failed to consult with them about software compatibility and they had to start their project all over. So each time new technology was introduced I was professionally guided to the latest software so we were compatible.

 After publishing International BONSAI for 42 years and producing 164 issues, in order to advance classical bonsai art to a broader world-wide audience I have decided to suspend the printed edition and expand my educational offerings with the introduction of International BONSAI OnLine which is a FREE digital bi-monthly magazine.

International BONSAI OnLine will continue with the high standards of quality we have introduced to English language bonsai magazines, only more frequent and for FREE for all bonsai enthusiasts around the world. It still remains the first and only professional bonsai magazine published in the United States. 

 With the introduction of the magazine in a digital edition, I feel we can reach more people and International BONSAI OnLine has the potential of having the largest circulation making it ideal for advertisers to offer their products and services; as well as to promote bonsai exhibitions, conventions and other gatherings.

The last printed issue of International BONSAI came off the press last week, and although sad, and with a tear in my eye, I look forward to an exciting new platform to inspire and provide valuable authorative bonsai information for everyone. The first issue of International BONSAI OnLine is nearly completed and I invite everyone to check it out and add their names for their FREE subscription and to recommend it to their friends, club members and clients.


50th Anniversary Bonsai Exhibition

Suruga Branch of Nippon Bonsai Association

I feel sad and disappointed that the 40th Nippon Bonsai Taikan Exhibition in Kyoto, Japan was cancelled. Even more so because most foreigners are not allowed into Japan at this time so I can’t share the beauty of Japanese bonsai with friends through this blog and International BONSAI.

A couple of days ago I discovered a special one day bonsai exhibition held in Japan which was outstanding; the bonsai, displays and photographs were all beautiful and well presented. They photos are shared here with you through the courtesy of the Nippon Bonsai Association. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did.

I look forward to returning to Japan to see more bonsai and share them with you here.

50th Anniversary Bonsai Exhibition

Suruga Branch of Nippon Bonsai Association

Adzuma Bonsai Garden, Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka

November 28, 2020

This bonsai garden has been in business for 50 years

Photos courtesy of Nippon Bonsai Association

2020 Autumn Open House- Sales, Displays & Free Programs


Our Autumn Open House is normally not an expanded event during years hosting the US National Bonsai Exhibition. This is not a “normal” year with nearly all bonsai events throughout the world being cancelled. So this year’s Autumn Open House will feature displays, sales and free programs on Saturday-Sunday, September 12-13, 2020. There are two special highlights this year, a Suiseki Exhibit and sales from the Joe Noga Bonsai Collection.



The 2020 growing season has been great! Together with the weather and not being able to travel has provided the opportunity to spend more time creating new bonsai as well as refining several developed specimens. Additionally, after an absence of many years, we set up a mist system to propagate some rare varieties used for bonsai training.





Fine quality bonsai will be formally and informally displayed in the studio. Four formal bonsai displayed in our outdoor workshop where the FREE Bonsai Demonstrations will take place. Finally, bonsai will be artistically displayed in the garden featuring a formal outdoor alcove.





In addition to beautiful developed bonsai a large selection of developing bonsai will be on sale. Nursery stock, grown and propagated here specifically for bonsai are in large numbers. Many newly created bonsai are now ready to be added to your collection. A selection of containers, tools and supplies are always available for purchase. A good number of established indoor bonsai are available this year. The bonsai, pre-bonsai, containers and tools and wire will be discounted 20% during the Autumn Open House.






FREE Bonsai Demonstrations

Mark Arpag- Shohin Bonsai, Saturday 10 am

Mark will share his knowledge, skill and love of shohin bonsai with visitors to the Open House. He is an award winning bonsai artist and also the current President of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York. Special displays will highlight the program which will also feature the creation of a shohin bonsai. The completed bonsai will be auctioned at the conclusion of the program.



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Wm. N. Valavanis- Kusamono Creation & Display With Bonsai, Saturday pm

Bill will explain how kusamono and companion plantings are created and also used to enhance the presentation of bonsai. Several formal bonsai displays, featuring different seasons will be explained and how the companion plantings were selected and created. Following a demonstration the companion planting will be auction.










Ron Maggio- Suiseki Introduction & Appreciation, Sunday 10 am

Ron will share the beauty of some of his vast collection of suiseki from around the world. He is an award winning suiseki collector who has displayed his stones in Japan and the United States. Emphasis will be on how to appreciate suiseki and what to look for when selecting stones. At the conclusion of the program a suiseki will be auctioned.



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Wm. N. Valavanis- Fruiting & Flowering Bonsai Creation & Care, Sunday 2pm

There are many developed flowering and fruiting bonsai in the Valavanis Bonsai Collection and Bill will explain how some of them have been created and how to develop a bonsai from common nursery stock, cuttings and seedlings. A flowering/fruiting bonsai will be created and auctioned at the end of the program.




Joe Noga Bonsai Collection

Over 580 pre-bonsai and some developed bonsai from the famous Joe Noga Bonsai Collection in North Carolina will be available for sale. He has been propagating thousands of select plants for us during the past 15 years and is running out of room. A large selection of Noga Crabapples, Dwarf Mulberry, Chinese Quince, Kingsville Box, Seiju Elm, Koto Hime maples and more are available, while a small collection of developed bonsai are here for sale. Be on the lookout for developed masterpiece bonsai for sale at next year’s 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition on September 11-12, 2021. All of his trees are winter hardy.








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7th Upstate New York Suiseki Exhibit

The Suiseki Study Group of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York will be presenting an exhibit of member’s suiseki during the Open House. Our greenhouse has been transformed into areas where our members can share their stones. Recently the group had a stone collecting field trip where 12 members each collected some very good and interesting stones from a stream. A few will be displayed along with other famous suiseki. Photos are from last year’s exhibit.







All events are FREE and open to everyone who appreciates bonsai and would like to add to their collection. Please be safe and remember to bring and wear a mask and social distance. If you have health concerns about attending this exciting event, make an appointment for a visit. The 20% discount will be extended to you for a week. Looking forward to welcoming visitors and friends to this special event.