2013 Midwest Bonsai Show Bonsai Preparation

The preparation of my RAF Dwarf Scots pine bonsai for exhibiting this year began earlier this spring with trimming and a complete wiring of all the smaller branching. It takes considerable time to correctly prepare a bonsai for display, so I try to use the tree often.

This bonsai was displayed in the 40th Upstate New York Bonsai exhibition in May, my 50th Anniversary Display at the International Bonsai Colloquium in June and will be displayed next week at the Midwest Bonsai Show. Additionally the bonsai will be shown at the ABS Learning Symposium in Saratoga, New York, next month.

This tree has a long history, starting from a select young, pencil size seedling in the early 1970s and is the topic for my next story.Image


The Midwest Bonsai Show has quite a history going back 36 years. Originally Tony Mihalic, Keith Scott and I were the only vendors for several years and the society actually PAID us to participate. Times have changed and we now pay well over $1,000 to make our select products available to the show attendees. I’ve been fortunate to participate in all 35 of the shows, except for two when my home/office burned down.



2012 International Bonsai Arboretum sales area.


2012 Valavanis bonsai entry, Rock cotoneaster.


2012 Valavanis bonsai entry- Korean hornbeam.

The Midwest Bonsai Show is held at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Many of their excellent bonsai masterpieces are on display in two courtyards. Bonsai hobbyists and professionals from five or more states travel to show their best trees. Anyone may exhibit and there is no registration fee.



One of the two bonsai courtyards.


Blue moss cypress forest from the Chicago Botanic Garden Collection.



Award winning bonsai are displayed in two alcoves.

This year Bjorn Bjorholm is the guest judge who will also present a free demonstration and a few workshops. There are several other free demonstrations and lots of interesting workshops.


Additional information on this excellent show can be found at:


If you are in the area, or even if not, try to visit the show, you will not be disappointed. And, while there, stop and say hello to me in my sales area. I should be there since my travel is limited with my broken foot.

Midwest Bonsai Show

August 16-18, 2013

Chicago Botanic Garden- Glencoe, IL