Ezo Spruce Now Available!

Ezo Spruce collected, trained and donated to the US National Bonsai Museum by Saburo Kato

There are six spruce species native to the northern and high mountain regions of Japan. The “Ezo spruce,” Picea glehnii, is the best and most commonly trained spruce for bonsai in Japan. The correct botanical name for this spruce is Red Ezo spruce, Aka Ezo matsu in Japanese, because of the opening reddish new growth. In the bonsai community it is commonly called “Ezo spruce.” Ezo is the old name for Hokkaido. A common name for this species is Sakhalin spruce in the horticultural community. 

Ezo Spruce, Picea glehnii

Another similarly named spruce, the Yeddo spruce, Picea jezoensis, is commonly mistaken for the Ezo spruce, especially outside Japan. The correct name for this spruce is Black Ezo spruce, Kuro Ezo matsu, in Japanese because of the dark bark. This species is NOT trained for bonsai in Japan because of the large coarse needles which are about twice the size of the Red Ezo spruce. I asked Mr. Kato, whose father was a pioneer and collector of Ezo spruce in northern Japan, about the difference between Red and Black Ezo spruce and he told me, we never use Black Ezo spruce because it is too large with coarse foliage. This species is often named Ezo spruce in the horticultural world, however it is not the species trained for bonsai in Japan.

Yeddo Spruce, Picea jezoensis

About 50 years ago there was an Ezo spruce boom in Japan and the dwarf cultivars became quite popular, and expensive too. Most originated as bud mutations or witch’s brooms and are grouped together and called “yatsubusa” which means multiple buds and are dwarf in plant character. There are several dozen named dwarf cultivars of Ezo spruce and mostly now used for rock planting style bonsai.

Daruma Dwarf Ezo Spruce, Picea glehnii ‘Daruma’

The Ezo spruce offered in my new catalog are vigorous, healthy, two year old container grown seedlings. Potted and established with an excellent root system they are 8-12” tall. Low branches can be used to develop into shohin bonsai. The needles are short, straight and branches full of buds for spring new growth. Young trunks are now flexible and can easily be shaped into stunning bonsai with movement. Ezo spruce are most commonly trained in the forest style for bonsai. Young seedlings allow for trunk placement close together for an interesting design. Limited quantities. Trees are ready for shipping now. US orders only.

Next season we will be offering larger 1 gal. size Ezo spuce. So order these smaller specimens for different trunk diameters if you plan to make a forest bonsai.

Seedlings established in 4” pots, 8-12” tall

1-2 Seedlings $25 each Free Shipping

3 or more Seedlings $20 each Free Shipping

You can easily order on line here:

www.internationalbonsai.com/page/1442817

Be sure to check out the new catalog which also offers 20 different species and cultivars including Red Chojubai Flowering Quince and Twisted Trunk Pomegranates.

9TH Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo 2021

Well, Steve Zeisel, sponsor of the exhibition did it again! Every displayed bonsai was of much better quality than in the first eight expos featuring naked trees. He holds the event to promote bonsai and allows exhibitors to express their beautiful bonsai and creative displays. Although fewer bonsai this year, all were better designed and exquisitely displayed.

The highly regarded and anticipated Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo was again held at the North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis, outside Charlotte, NC. 

In addition to the bonsai on display in a magnificent five story rotunda which is covered in imported Italian marble. Steve has had an excellent track record of hosting the elegant display which also had three rooms of vendors combined with demonstrations.

Rob’s “tinker toy” display

You will never guess this species, a new one for me too!

Several demonstrations and a wide variety of vendors completed the exhibition as well as critique on Sunday morning for exhibitors. On Saturday afternoon, there was a benefit auction to help defray the costs to produce this fine exhibition. It’s one of my favorite shows of the year which I look forward to.

A well deserved thank you to Steve Zeisel for the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo and also to Joe Noga for professionally photographing the show.

Be sure to add next year’s Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo on December 3-4, 2022.

Award Winners:

Best Evergreen–

Rocky Mountain Juniper, Brad Russel

Best Deciduous–

Japanese Zelkova, Adair Martin

Best Tropical–

Cuban Laurel Fig, Robert Kempinski

Best Fruiting–

Beautyberry & Firethorn, Joe Noga

Best Display–

Winged Elm, American Hackberry & Japanese Flowering Apricot, Gary Clark

2021 Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo

ery soon people will travel to North Carolina for Steve Zeisel’s annual Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo on December 4-5, 2021. Kindly wear a mask.

The beautiful North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis is the venue for the Bonsai Expo.

I look forward to welcoming you and getting together with long-time and new friends

THE SHOW SCHEDULE IS:

OPEN TO PUBLIC 10 AM-3 PM

SETUP – EXHIBITORS AND VENDORS

FRIDAY DECEMBER 3, 2021 5 PM – 7PM

SATURDAY DECEMBER 4, 2021

OPEN TO PUBLIC 10 AM-5 PM

BONSAI DEMOS

10 AM-12 PM WILLIAM VALAVANIS. AND 1-3 PM TYLER SHERROD

5:30 PM BONSAI AUCTION AT DEMO AREA

5:30

5:30 PM WINE & BEER AVAILABLE – BARTENDER WILL BE IN FRONT OF ELEVATOR ON 2ND FLOOR. BECAUSE

OF LIQUOR LICENSE TERMS YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO USE CASH AT THE BARTENDER. DRINK TICKETS WILL BE

AVAILABLE DURING THE DAY FOR $5 EACH. SEE SUSAN AT THE QUILT TABLE.

7 PM DINNER BANQUET ON 2ND FLOOR EXHIBIT SITE BY RESERVATION ONLY. IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A

BANQUET PASS, IT IS SOLD OUT! SEE SUSAN AT THE QUILT TABLE IN THE VENDING AREA TO ASK IF ANYONE

WANTS TO SELL THEIR PASSES.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 5, 2021

8:30 AM -10 AM BONSAI CRITIQUE BY WILLIAM VALAVANIS

OPEN TO PUBLIC 10 AM-3 PM

BONSAI DEMOS

11 -1 PM RODNEY CLEMONS AND 1- 3 PM PAULINE MUTH

3 PM SHOW CLOSES

PLEASE

Autumn 2021 at the International Bonsai Arboretum

The bright autumn colors of my maple bonsai arrived about two weeks late this season. But I think the short delay was worth the wait. The colors are not always as vibrant, note few damaged leaves. The bonsai have been especially well cared for this spring/summer, last time I watered was in early May. A special thanks to Diane, Alan and my Monday Senior Crew for their dedication and attention to detail!

Shishigashira Japanese Maple

Burning Bush

Koto Hime Japanese Maple. This forest has never been so bright with orange foliage.

Enjoy! I’m already thinking of spring….

2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition

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This year’s exhibition was held on September 11-12, 2021 in the Total Sports Experience in East Rochester, New York. The 55,000 square foot facility is composed of two indoor fields. One field was used to display over 200 bonsai while the other field, surrounded by plexiglass had over 45 vendors. There were more than 90 shohin bonsai this year. Although the total number of displayed bonsai was a bit lower than in the past, it was clear to many the beauty and quality of bonsai is rapidly rising in the United States. This was the first bonsai gathering of over 400 visitors in about three years and provided for meeting long time friends and fellowship.

I have organized 31 successful symposia, regional displays and seven US National Bonsai Exhibitions. To say that this year was the most difficult is an understatement. We followed COVID protocals and had to limit the number of visitors. We had threats to close us down. Additionally, exhibitors were cancelling their bonsai displays up to a few days before the event because of raising COVID problems. traveling and attending during the pandemic. Unfortunately, we lost over 20 beautiful and large bonsai from four different study groups in Canada because they could not enter the United States. Even Canadian visitors could not attend. The US National Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden could not contribute bonsai because of government prohibited travel. Although not apparent, I was a wreck, as COVID restrictions could change at any time. And, on top of all these problems I had serious health issues and had a difficult time moving around.

However, we DID IT! We have a very strong bonsai community in Rochester, New York, who always helps to promote bonsai. In addition to my Monday Senior Crew of ten men and women, there was a total of about 40 volunteers who constructed, hosted and took down the exhibition. The Bonsai Society of Upstate New York was a major sponsor of the successful event and provided plenty of hands to work. Out of town exhibitors also came early to help set up.

During the entire exhibition Joe Noga was in his studio capturing the beauty of each bonsai for the Commemorative Album which will be released in early spring. Professional studio photos need to get the best exposure, shadow and highlights for each bonsai. Some took 20 minutes to photograph. When you enjoy and study the photos you can easily see in the results. You can easily get the pre-publishing price and order the Commemorative Albu­m at: 

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

If you would like to support the US National Bonsai Exhibitions and help spread and raise the level of beauty in the United States, please purchase a copy. Each of the seven Commemorative Albumsfeature approximately 200 different photo masterpieces.

Kusamono artist and authority, Young Choe, had a large display of plantings from across the country. She provided a black background which really made the kusamono stand out. In addition to her 40 foot display, she also presented two lecture demos and created several kusamono which were auctioned.

Approximately 40 suiseki from around the world were displayed.

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On Friday afternoon the three judges, Enrique Castano (Mexico), Marco Invernizzi (Italy) and Kathy Shaner (USA) carefully examined over 200 bonsai to select the 12 award winning bonsai categorized by: size, style, native origin and display elements. All three judges unanimously selected Suthin Sukolosvisit’s large Sargent juniper for The National Award for the finest bonsai in the exhibition.

All 12 award winning bonsai will be illustrated in the next new issue:

https://internationalbonsaionline.com

Each of the three judges also presented well attended lecture demonstrations. Suiseki authority Sean Smith shared his knowledge of suiseki. During the day free 30 minute critiques were given by Bjorn Bjorholm, Kathy Shaner, David DeGroot, Boon Manikitivipart Sean Smith, Kora Dalager and Suthin Sukolosvisit who volunteered their time and knowledge.

Apple Transcendent Crabapple

Jason Henderberg, a local club member is now producing 3D Virtual Tours of bonsai exhibitions, gardens, real estate and products. His business Virtually is the leader in 3D Virtual Tours. These well produced and photographed Virtual Tours really cool! To begin with, click on “play” and you can almost touch each bonsai as you travel down each aisle. Check it out, having this virtual 3D Virtual Tour makes the exhibition even more special:

https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=Xy3gi73A8YZ

The 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition is now a pleasant and rewarding memory which happened because of volunteers and exhibitors who want to see bonsai expand in the United States. More photos in the next issue of InternationalBONSAIonline. A hearty thank you to everyone who helped, displayed their bonsai and joined us for a magical weekend, which we all deserved.

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US National Bonsai Exhibition- Sold Out!

Thank you for your interest in the 2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition. Unfortunately, due to facility limitations and covid protocals, all weekend passes and daily tickets are sold out. We would like to accommodate everyone, but cannot. During the past few days, an overwhelming multitude of entrance tickets and banquet tickets requests came in and we have now reached the limit. People should have purchased tickets earlier, before making hotel and plane reservations. We have and will continue to observe all NYS and County COVID regulations. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door (none available!) if you did not purchase an admission ticket you will not be allowed in the building and sales area. We must carefully monitor the number of people in the facility which includes the sales area.

Everything has been changing since the COVID pandemic. Although I feel bad limiting attendance, I’m thrilled that we can EVEN hold the event. I don’t want to be shut down during the exhibition so must follow regulations. For those who missed their opportunity to attend this year’s exhibition, a 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition commemorative album, featuring all the displayed bonsai, will be published.

SUNDAY SPECIAL TICKETS

People are invited to visit my International Bonsai Arboretum on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, and then spend a pleasant afternoon at the exhibition. A special ½ price half day pass for the Sunday afternoon exhibition from 12Noon to 4pm, will be available for $15. Bonsai and supplies in the large vendor area featuring over 40 vendors from across the country and participate in critiques. Plus, at 4pm we will have a demonstration bonsai auction.

NOGA COLLECTION

There are two are new private bonsai collections for sale from my students in my garden. Both have been growing bonsai for 20-40 years. Trees from the Noga collection features many deciduous bonsai including imported Korean hornbeams, a large Yaupon holly, Ginkgo forest and a large (8” trunk!) imported Satsuki azalea. Pine bonsai are also featured as well as a large indoor Brush Cherry and Olive bonsai. The Seiju elm stock plants used for decades to make cuttings are for sale with heavy rough bark. The tops can easily be air layered and the bottom retrained for bonsai.

GREG COLLECTION

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to purchase the entire bonsai collection of over 100 trees from a student who took my classes in 1984 and will be moving. The Greg collection includes some pretty spectacular unique well developed specimens, several unusual, like Buckthorn and White Birch. Many large size developed Pine and Spruce bonsai are featured and a few specimens from both collections will be for sale at the exhibition.

VALAVANIS COLLECTION

While you are in Rochester, consider visiting my International Bonsai Arboretum to see fine quality bonsai from the Valavanis Bonsai Collection. This unique bonsai garden is framed by sculptured trees with the bonsai as focal points. Bonsai from the propagation bench to developed masterpieces. The art of bonsai display can be enjoined in six different areas. Come visit my garden and see how a professional bonsai artist studio and garden is set up to allow me to create new bonsai. My Open House will be on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Ask for a map.

The overwhelming positive response to the US National Bonsai Exhibitions is proof that the American bonsai community is alive, active and loves bonsai and wants to see more higher quality refined specimens. I look forward to welcoming you to the 8th US National Bonsai Exhibition in September 2023. And remember to get your tickets early! 

Save Your Pennies… & Dollars Too!

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SALES AREA

Come join us on September 11-12, 2021 for the 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester, New York.

In addition to over 200 museum quality bonsai, suiseki and kusamono there will be an indoor soccer field packed full of vendors from throughout the United States. Over 40 select vendors have been carefully picked to offer visitors an extensive selection of bonsai, pre-bonsai, collected trees, containers, tools, suiseki as well as other items to add to your bonsai collection and to enhance your appreciation of the art.

Plus, six demonstrations by top bonsai artists as well as 20 critiques. Watch and learn from skilled artists sharing their techniques during the demonstrations. The critiques are held twice daily so you can attend more than one artist’s opinions of the bonsai and suiseki. All FREE with paid admission. Weekend Passes $50 by August 15th, Daily admission $30. 

The doors open on Saturday, September 11th at 9am, NOT on Friday, so please don’t come early for best selection. The general public will not be permitted entrance until Saturday morning. Only vendors will be allowed in the building after 12 noon on Friday after the exhibitors set up their displays. Don’t worry there will be plenty of good items for sale on Saturday and Sunday.

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On Saturday afternoon we will have a Benefit Bonsai Auction including some of the demonstration trees. People often contribute extra bonsai and items to this fun auction. Following the auction the Award Banquet will take place at the official exhibition hotel where exhibitors anxiously await the announcement of the prize winning bonsai and presentation of cash awards.

Make your travel and hotel accommodations now. Meet long-time bonsai friends and make new friends during the exhibition. With the lack of bonsai gatherings in 2020, this year promises to have large turnout. 

Additional information at:

www.nationalbonsai.com

2021 7th US National Bonsai Exhibition Update

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“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:

www.internationalbonsai.com/page/492051586

http://www.usnationalbonsai.com

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.

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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.