Experience Japanese Culture, Gardens & Bonsai In A Small Group

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Have you ever considered to visit the Japan bonsai community and to experience Japanese culture?

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Here is your opportunity to experience the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition, visit private bonsai collections and Kyoto gardens. A visit to Tokoname to purchase bonsai containers at discount pricing is also available too! We will able to return home in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family.

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In November Kora Dalager and I will be leading another one of our popular value-priced trips to Japan. Only a small number of members will be accepted for this tour so we will have ample time to fully appreciate the beauty and culture of Japan.

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Omiya Bonsai Village, the mecca of bonsai, will be experienced, where you will see the top bonsai gardens where many of the famous masterpiece bonsai have been created and are maintained. You will have the opportunity to meet the top bonsai artists and see their trees, both outdoors and in small indoor displays. The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, near the village will be on the tour where formal instructive displays, in English, can be seen as well as formal bonsai alcove displays. You can then stroll through a large outdoor garden with masterpieces displayed throughout. Directly across the street we will experience a delicious traditional Japanese luncheon.

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Bonsai artist Masahiko Kimura will be visited and here you can see many of the top evergreen bonsai in his small, intimate garden. He always has time for us and answers your questions as well.

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A visit to Seiji Morimai’s nearby S-Cube bonsai garden is always a highlight because of friendly hospitality while seeing thousands of bonsai and suiseki. He also accepts credit cards as well…. Bonsai containers, at great prices as well as display tables and art are always popular with our groups.

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Kiunio Kobayashi’s Shunka-en Bonsai Art Museum in Tokyo is a visit you will not forget. Here ten indoor formal bonsai displays will feature some of the finest, and most expensive bonsai in Japan. Outdoors a small koi pond is surrounded with other masterpieces. Having run out of room, another area has been constructed on top of the building holding antique containers and more suiseki. Truly a breathtaking experience!

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A bullet train ride will bring you nearby views of famed Mt. Fuji on our way to Kyoto the ancient capital of Japan. This is the highlight season for visiting Kyoto gardens with brilliant colorful maple foliate. Several of the famous gardens in the temple complexes will be experienced,

 

 

Of course, one of the main highlights of this special tour includes visits to the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition, one of the largest in Japan with nearly 300 bonsai formally displayed with scrolls, accessories and suiseki. The sales area is one of the largest in Japan.

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You can then extend your tour to visit Tokoname, an ancient pottery town. Although most famous for toilet bowls, they are now well known for high quality bonsai containers. You will meet some of the top bonsai potters and also have the opportunity to watch them hand build bonsai containers in their factories. All the containers are offered at special discounted prices for our tour.

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Join Kora Dalager and me for a special tour to experience Japanese culture and bonsai. Please contact Kora at dalagerkora@gmail.com for additional information. She can arrange special visits if you like.

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A tour flyer is available at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/files/1708315/uploaded/2019%20AUTUMN%20JAPAN%20TOUR.pdf

 

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I look forward to exploring the Japanese bonsai world with you!

 

 

Suiseki Collecting Trip

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The Suiseki Study Group of Upstate New York had the annual collecting trip today. Twelve members from the Greater Rochester, NY area along with members from Erie, PA and Ithaca, NY gathered at a favorite stream, which often has dark black stones. The secret stream is in “Upstate New York” and only participants were given directions.

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The weather was perfect; sunny, low 70sF, warm shallow water with a gentle breeze. But the best part were the friendly participants in a quiet beautiful location with a gentle running stream. And, I only tripped and fell into the water once, good thing my iPhone was in the car.

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Brian could have collected more stones, but had the wrong drink…. Sweet Tea is best!

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John Wiessinger collected a beautiful NATURAL Thatched Hut Stone with a flat bottom. He graciously gave it to me.

All twelve members collected some interesting stones and upon returning to the cars, displayed their new stones for others to see. Some will be on display at the upcoming 6thExhibit of the Upstate New York Study Group on September 7-8, 2019 at the Autumn Open House & Sale at the International Bonsai Arboretum. Members will conduct guided tours of the exhibit.

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In addition to the Suiseki Exhibit new bonsai creations and additional pre-bonsai will be available for purchase. Seven formal displays of classical bonsai art and six FREE lecture/demonstrations by award winning artists will be presented. And, that’s in addition to a 20% discount on most items.

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Come; join us to see new suiseki and bonsai while enjoying friendly bonsai fellowship.

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Late Summer Beauty In My Bonsai Garden

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This summer has been quite hot and sunny providing excellent growing weather. But, it’s soon coming to an end. Some of the maples are already beginning to show autumn color, many of the pines have big buds developing for next year’s growth and the fruit on the bonsai is continuing to enlarge and mature.

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My garden is a beautiful sea of different shades of green, with several different textures. Many of the bonsai tables have large leaf Boston Ivy growing on the ground, climbing up the concrete blocks. The bold green shapes provide a prominent contrast to the delicate maple leaves, plus they will soon be turning red and orange. The Boston Ivy hides the concrete blocks and also adds humidity to the area. Additionally, the vining trunks continue to get fat…. Someday they will be in pots.

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Today I was preparing and photographing bonsai for my new program “Bonsai Refinement, Evaluation & Display Preparation.” The world premier of the new program will be at the 42nd Mid-America Bonsai Exhibit on Saturday, August 17th at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Some valuable tips and handy new information on the topics and an insight to bonsai evaluation in America, China and Japan will be presented before working on a large Dwarf Hinoki Cypress bonsai. The photos below were taken last week. I’ve already spent over 10 hours wiring and thinning out the tree. No need to sit through a boring wire demo for the audience. It looks quite a bit different now.

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Diane and a student were washing the fat trunks of my 3 gal. pot Tiger Bark Fig workshop trees. In addition to the professional Japanese pressure washer, Diane got a handy new tool, an electric toothbrush! She purchased it on sale for only $6 including two brush heads, of course I’ve spent considerably more for bonsai tools. The electric toothbrush is great for getting into small areas.

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2019 Midwest Bonsai Exhibition Coming Up Soon

 

 

img_1408.jpgThe 42ndMidwest Bonsai Exhibition will be held on August 16-19, 2019 at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Nearly 100 bonsai from across the Midwest and beyond will be on display.

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This is a judged show so the quality will be there to introduce the public as well as to help experienced hobbyists raise the level of their bonsai. Bonsai from the excellent and extensive permanent Chicago Botanic Garden Collection under the care of curator Chris Baker will be on display in the two outdoor courtyards.

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I’ll be presenting an educational lecture/demonstration on Saturday on Bonsai Refinement & Show Display.Information and techniques for improving the quality of your bonsai will be presented which can be applied to any tree. Next, preparing your bonsai for a club, regional or national exhibition will be discussed. Wiring bonsai for display will be demonstrated. Yes, there is such as technique as “show wiring.” Moss and ground cover application techniques will be shown as well as display tables and companion plantings. Finally, a trained Dwarf hinoki cypress will be transformed into a show ready bonsai using the information presented.

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Demo tree before refinement and display

 

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Soil surface before moss and ground covers

Also, I’ll be conducting two workshops, one on bring your own tree on Saturday morning and the second on Tiger Bark Fig bonsai on Sunday morning. The workshop trees are good size grown in 3 gal. pots. Trees will be pruned, wired and shaped with my assistance. These trees have been pruned for bonsai during their training and exhibit the characteristic striped bark and many are full of ripe red small figs. There will also be 15 other workshops for beginners to advance hobbyists.

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Workshop Tiger Bark Fig before wiring and shaping

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Tiger Bark Fig after initial shaping

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Additionally 23 vendors from across the country will be offering everything you could ever want for sale. I look forward to seeing you there!

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For additional information on the exhibition, workshops, vendors and more contact the Midwest Bonsai Society at: http://www.midwestbonsai.org/august-exhibition

Of course, a complete report with photos will be forthcoming after the exhibition.

 

2019 Open House: Sale, Bonsai & Suiseki Displays, Free Programs & More

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Everyone is invited to visit the Autumn Open House & Sale on Saturday-Sunday, September 7-8, 2019, at the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York. In addition to seeing new bonsai creations and additional pre-bonsai we will have seven formal displays of classical bonsai art, that’s in addition to a 20% discount on most items and free programs.

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To make the event even more special, the Suiseki Study Group of Upstate New York will be holding their 6thExhibit. Suiseki and viewing stones from around the world in member’s collection will be displayed. Most classifications of suiseki will be displayed, both in daiza and water basins. Companion plantings will help to convey seasonality and to tell a story. Members will conduct guided tours of the exhibit.

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Two lectures on suiseki will be held daily at 10am. Ron Maggio, chair of the Suiseki Study Group of Upstate New York will present an introductory program on the fun of collecting and appreciating stones. Marc Arpag, president of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York will continue on Sunday with topics of a deeper understanding to appreciate stones.

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Harvey Carapella, past president of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York will be working on one of his prize bonsai, as will Marc Arpag at 11am daily. On both days at 2pm Wm. N. Valavanis will be presenting two advance demonstrations on his bonsai. All programs are free and the venue provides for easy conversations with the demonstrating artists. Questions are welcome for our award winning bonsai artists who will answer in depth.

 

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Join us for an enjoyable weekend of beautiful bonsai, suiseki and bonsai fellowship. Everyone will receive a free Japanese bonsai magazine, plus an issue of International BONSAI.

2019 2ndUS National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition

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The 2019 2ndUS National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition was held on June 28-30, 2019 at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The unique domed four story venue covered with marble was also home to the 2017 1stUS National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition and six Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expos held during the first weekend in December sponsored by Steve Zeisel. I’ve never seen such a beautiful refined display area for bonsai, and I’ve seen numerous exhibitions throughout the world. The light colored imported marble from Italy is bright and each bonsai could be easily studied. No need for additional lighting.

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The compressed beauty of small size bonsai was featured in the three day event including eight workshops, eleven lecture/demonstrations, a critique, benefit auction and the exhibition featuring 140 individual bonsai. They were displayed by 29 people from Puerto Rico, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Connecticut, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and New York. All of the beautiful shohin and small size bonsai were formally displayed alone, in three point, five point and seven point displays. In addition to a wide variety of species and cultivars it was amazing to see the high quality display tables as well. This type of display is not often seen, except for the US National Bonsai Exhibitions in Rochester, New York. Attention to detail and the love the artists put into presenting their small bonsai and displays is truly shines for the visitors. Additionally three rooms were filled to capacity with vendors offering everything from nursery stock, companion plants, pre-bonsai, established bonsai, soil, tools, supplies, books, suiseki, display tables and containers.

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1900.JPGEight workshops were conducted by skilled artists using Sargent juniper, Dwarf yaupon holly, Chinzan satsuki azalea, Dwarf black olive, Japanese red and black pine as well as a carving workshop creating root stands.

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Ten prominent award winning bonsai artists from Japan, England, Puerto Rico and the United States presented lecture/demonstrations, conducted eight workshops and a critique.

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Minoru Akiyama, Japan

 

 

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Peter Warren, England

 

 

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Marc Arpag, New York

 

 

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Michael Ryan Bell, Mississippi

 

 

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Mark Fields, Indiana

 

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Michael Lebanik, Florida

 

 

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Carlos A. Morales, Puerto Rico

 

 

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David Paris, New York

 

 

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The judges, Minoru Akiyama from Japan, Peter Warren from England and Wm. N. Valavanis took considerable time to select the award winning bonsai and displays, it was a difficult job. They also conducted a 90 minute free educational critique open to the public.

Awards Presented

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Best Overall Bonsai

Adair Martin

 

 

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Mel Goldstein

 

 

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Best Small Bonsai Over 8 Inches

Mark Fields

 

 

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Best Mame Bonsai Under 5 Inches

Louise Leister

 

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Best Tropical Bonsai

Michael & Lunetta Knowlton

 

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Best Shohin Bonsai Composition

Shannon Salyer

 

 

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Troy Schmidt

 

 

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Best Broadleaf Evergreen Bonsai

Judy Barto

 

 

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Best Deciduous Bonsai

Gary Andes

 

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Best Bonsai Companion Combination

Mike Rogers

 

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Best North American Species

Johnson The

 

 

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Marc Arpag

 

 

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Additionally, the American Bonsai Society presented an award for the best native species to Marc Arpag.

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All of the bonsai created during the educational lecture/demonstrations were in the Saturday Benefit Auction as well as unique items donated by generous vendors and friends. Proceeds were used to pay for the expenses. There was no admission fee and hundreds of local and long distance visitors enjoyed the exhibition and shopping in the vendor areas. There was a registration fee to learn from the bonsai artists. Generous sponsors and donors contributed to the great success of the event. One sponsor took the opportunity to officially introduce their new Mini Green-T Turntables designed specifically for shohin and small bonsai in the United States. Most of the demonstrators, when possible, used the new Mini Green-T Turntables during their programs.

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The tremendous success of the 2019 2ndUS National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition is due to the North Carolina Research Campus staff hosting the event and the skilled speakers, non stop volunteers setting up and taking down the exhibition, vendors, sponsors and donors. Everyone enjoyed the well organized event and look forward to the 2021 3rdUS National Shohin Bonsai Exhibition at the same venue in June 2021.

Formal photos by Sam Ogranaja

Award photos by Judy Barto

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2019 46th Upstate New York Bonsai Exhibition & Sale

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The year’s annual bonsai exhibition & sale took place at the Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester, New York, on May 18-19, 2019. Our society of approximately 150 people have members from Erie and Williamsport, PA, Syracuse, Buffalo, Ithaca, NY as well as in the greater Rochester area. Members from these far distances prepared their bonsai and brought them for display for others to enjoy and learn.

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IMG_3766.jpgThere were 76 bonsai on display this year that included 15 Larch, which is approximately 20% of the entire exhibition. Having a single species dominate bonsai exhibitions is quite common and I’ve seen this situation throughout the United States. Exhibitions in California often feature junipers, Southeast areas shows feature bald cypress and buttonwoods, Pacific Northwest society exhibits feature collected junipers. Native species, those easy to grow and are winter hardy in areas frequently dominate exhibitions. Fortunately most have been trained in different styles.

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For the past several years we have a special themed exhibit: such as Satsuki azalea and maple bonsai. This year the society featured forests and rock planting bonsai from our member’s collections.

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Shohin and small size bonsai are well represented in each of our annual bonsai exhibitions from our award winning bonsai artists.

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Additionally, the Suiseki Study Group of the Bonsai Society of Upstate New York had four tables filled with prize suiseki.

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The Rochester Chapter 53 of Ikebana International prepare a special exhibit featuring flower arrangements from their teachers. Additionally, three of their members are also bonsai society members who displayed ikebana flower arrangements as well as bonsai and suiseki. Their teachers also present a demonstration each year in addition to a bonsai demonstration.

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Finally, a popular area of all bonsai exhibitions feature a sales area and educational display, which show videos between demonstrations.

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