2017 Autumn Open House & Sale Report


The 2017 Autumn House & Sale was held on September 2-3, 2017 at the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York. In addition to my garden and bonsai collection we hosted the Upstate New York Suiseki Exhibit.





Two programs on suiseki and four bonsai demonstrations were scheduled during the two day event. Despite the cool and occasional wet weather we had a good turn out and were able to welcome visitors from New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Canada, Ohio as well as China and other states. Jason Henderberg brought his drone and camera and was able to take some aerial photos as well as video clips included in this report.




The first program was presented by Les Allen from Erie, Pennsylvania, who recently returned from China where he also presented a program on American suiseki. He brought several examples from his collection to share with the audience as well as a map of the United States indicating famous collecting areas.





His teacher, Zhou Yishan from Shanghai came with Les and spoke about Chinese stone appreciation for a while. He is one of the top authorities on stones in China and has lived in Japan for many years. He recognized me from visits many years ago in Japan and we enjoyed memories.




Alan Adair, my assistant and Larch authority presented a program and demonstration on how to train Larch for bonsai. He brought several of his specimens to illustrate his training techniques and how the bonsai should be developed.







My first demonstration was held outdoors because of the large size of the Dwarf Alberta spruce bonsai. I created it 43 years ago and it needed trimming and the perspective was changed from a distant view forest to a near view forest.


Sunday began with Marc Arpag, President of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York and suiseki leader speaking on Japanese suiseki. A large number of fine suiseki from his collection was explained and shared. At the end he took a some of the audience into the suiseki exhibit and explained fine points of stone appreciation.


Next Harvey Carapella, past president of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York brought one of his older collected Eastern white cedar bonsai to show how strong the growth has developed. He continued to thin out the foliage then wired the bonsai. He also brought a developed Eastern white cedar bonsai he developed from another collected tree for several decades.


I concluded the two day event with a demonstration on a Colorado blue spruce which Todd Schfaler, First Branch Bonsai, in Denver, Colorado, collected several years ago. He had it well established so it was safe to prune, wire and shape into a classical bonsai form. Actually the demo began the day before when I explained what I was attempting to show and did some wiring with my assistant Alan Adair.



The second day was necessary to complete the demonstration because the tree was exceptional and I did not want to rush the shaping into a short time period. Some pretty heavy annealed copper wire was used to move the large heavy branches. Actually not too many branches were removed from the tree, most were only rearranged to fit into my classical bonsai form ideals.




After the demonstration the tree was photographed and then restudied. Its best to photograph a bonsai, ideally in black and white, to actually see how the bonsai looks. Photographs do not lie. Several branch adjustment were made and the tree was rephotographed. Two virtuals were made in Photoshop to illustrate how the bonsai will be developed during the next few years. A vintage red glazed container was used at first to emphasize the height of the bonsai. Next an unglazed modified oval Chinese was used which added balance and stability to the presented form. The bonsai will be transplanted next spring when the new growth emerges. Although both the glazed red and unglazed brown containers are suitable, my taste, today is for the unglazed modified oval. However, the final decision will be made next year.



Many of my friends and students came and helped to host the event. Some cooked and served hot dogs, some acted as guides for the suiseki exhibit as well as my personal bonsai collection. And, a few friends were on hand to direct visitors to where the bonsai and containers were for sale. Everyone had a wonderful experience to learn and to appreciate bonsai as well as suiseki.


Even one of our cats, Zeus, liked my suiseki display!