On Wednesday I was released from the hospital after a five day visit having “Acute Heart Failure.” I’m feeling good now after being told my left heart bundle is only pumping 14% rather than 55%. Against recommendations I’m making the road trip to Portland for the Artisan’s Cup exhibition. But, I’m not driving the 3,000 miles this time. Good friends Marc Arpag from Rochester and Les Allen from Erie, PA, are doing all the driving. I’m sitting in the back seat “resting” and working on the magazine and articles for my magazine on my MacPro Laptop.

Both Marc and I have two bonsai each accepted for the Artisan’s Cup exhibition. We have been preparing and grooming the bonsai for several months. Many different companion plantings have been created, adjusted and finalized, hoping the best looks good when we set up on Thursday.

The exhibition bonsai are in the car, while the trailer is full of bonsai, containers, suiseki, magazines and books for sale at the vending area.


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On the way across this great country we stopped briefly in Cleveland, OH, to pick up Mel Goldstein’s shohin bonsai display composition. I’ve seen his fine bonsai for years at the US National Bonsai Exhibition (award winner), my symposia exhibits as well as other displays at regional bonsai exhibits.

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I knew he had good bonsai, but was not prepared to see the vast number of beautiful, well cared for and so well displayed in his garden. His home and garden are right on Lake Erie, a beautiful setting for his bonsai. All of his trees are tied down because of the strong lake winds.

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Mel is an anthropologist and director for the research on Tibet for Case Western University. He travels extensively to Tibet and China and was fortunate to import several bonsai during his visits.


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Satsuki bonsai are his favorite species and he has a large collection of Japanese masterpieces in many styles and different cultivars. Most of his Satsuki masterpieces are in unglazed containers to highlight the quiet beauty of the species. Bright, glazed containers are not used for his Satsuki.


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In addition to satsuki bonsai he has other species such as pines, elms, maples and more.

Recently Mel obtained a very old Satsuki masterpiece from Japan and is now growing in a wooden box the same size as it was in Japan. The number one bonsai potter in Japan, Gyozan, lives in Tokoname City and has just finished a custom made container for the Satsuki. This is the largest bonsai container Gyozan can make and it’s a beauty. I look forward to seeing it in next year’s 2016 5th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition.

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After our Cleveland stop we continued to Iowa City, Iowa for the evening. Marc Arpag did the entire 850 mile drve!

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