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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World Bonsai Day 2019

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Each year the second Saturday of May has been designated as World Bonsai Day. This is an internationally celebrated event dedicated to furthering bonsai awareness and appreciation. World Bonsai Day was initiated by the World Bonsai Friendship Federation to honor the memory of Saburo Kato, renowned bonsai master and founder of the WBFF. Clubs, organizations, arboretum collections, businesses and individuals plan special events to celebrate World Bonsai Day. Exhibitions, demonstrations, displays as well as people donating their bonsai to collections are some of the events that happened today. However, perhaps the most popular activity celebrated on World Bonsai Day is the actually working on bonsai, which happened all over the world. That’s what bonsai is all about, the trees.

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Originally, I was planning a Maple Bonsai Exhibit in my studio, garden and garage display area. But, as I was selecting the bonsai I realized that all were Japanese maples, and Trident maples were not represented. So, the name was simply changed to a “Japanese Maple Bonsai Exhibit.” Only Japanese maples and their cultivars were displayed. OK, I included a couple of Full-moon maples as well. Most people can’t tell the difference, but I frequently explained the difference.

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Each visitor received an excellent DVD by Canadian bonsai artist Arthur Skolnik and a copy of Kinbon Japanese bonsai magazine. Yes, the articles are entirely in Japanese, but the excellent color photos and illustrations are an inspiration and also educational if one looks closely.

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In addition to the Japanese Maple Bonsai Exhibit I held a morning and afternoon workshop for advance students. Paul Tuttle traveled from Syracuse for both the morning and afternoon sessions and Rick Marriott, who assists me teaching and a member of the Monday Senior Crew also worked all day on his bonsai.

 

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We had quite a few visitors from across the area and one gentleman from North Carolina also dropped in. He was within a couple of hundred miles from Rochester and read about World Bonsai Day and my Japanese Maple Bonsai Exhibit and decided to attend, he stayed for most of the afternoon too. I met him at the Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo held last December, in Kannapolis, NC. Unfortunately, I’m bad at remembering people’s names, but good at remembering the common, botanical as well as the Japanese names of plants.

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Many of the visitors were past students, members of our local Bonsai Society of Upstate New York as well as all of my Monday Senior Crew. This is a special select group of friends who come every Monday to assist me in any way they can to help me promote bonsai. All of them are quite familiar with the Japanese maples on display, having trimmed, mossed, bud pinched, transplanting, wiring and watering. They know my plants, however they are familiar with these bonsai in my garden, where they must live. The bonsai are not often formally displayed in my studio, garden and garage display area. I felt very honored that they took time from their busy schedules to stop by to appreciate the beauty of the Japanese Maple Bonsai Exhibit.

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Bonsai are kept outdoors for their health. Here they are watered daily, sprayed, trimmed and sometimes wired and shaped. Containers get soiled, moss becomes messy with organic fertilizer balls and sometimes a vigorous shoot or two get missed when trimming. This is how the bonsai are actually created and cared for. To fully appreciate the true beauty of a bonsai they are isolated from distractions, cleaned up and formally displayed. It’s like when you want to make a good first impression to someone or are preparing for a formal event or party. One changes from street clothes, gets cleaned up and tries to look their best for visitors and friends.

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This special Japanese Maple Bonsai Display included 13 different cultivars of Japanese maples. There were several duplicates for a special shohin bonsai box display. All the display tables were different, in addition to their accessories and the flat slab underneath. No duplications were displayed, including container colors; and the trunk direction of each bonsai led the eyes to the center of the exhibit area. This took considerable time on Friday to plan out in addition to cleaning up the studio after hundreds of students created bonsai during the past few months. Friends came to help and I was on my hands and knees (don’t tell my doctor) washing the floor and scrapping up small bits of cut paste which students dropped. Unfortunately, a few of the bonsai that were recently transplanted did not have green moss, only chopped up long-fiber sphagnum moss.

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I struggled and enjoyed creating an unusual shohin Japanese maple box display. Usually there are no duplicate species, container colors and styles, which creates interest. Also the trunk direction of each shohin bonsai leads the eye to the center of the composition. Since I introduced Koto Hime Japanese maple to the American bonsai community 37 years ago, I have many specimens in a variety of styles and sizes as well. All the bonsai in this special shohin box display were Koto Hime Japanese maples. Included were slanting and informal upright styles as well as a rock planting and forest. To date I have not successfully created a cascade style Koto Hime Japanese maple bonsai because of their strong upright growth characteristic. But, perhaps in the future I’ll be lucky.

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Enjoy the images of the Japanese maples in the formal exhibit, as well as a few studio shots taken earlier this spring when some of the maples were in full bloom. Also a couple of photos of how Japanese maples were featured in outdoor displays.

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Asia-Pacific American Heritage Family Fun Day

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The Bonsai Society of Upstate New York Inc, also celebrated World Bonsai Day by participating in the one day Memorial Art Gallery Asia-Pacific American Heritage Family Fun Day. Several members showed five bonsai, two suiseki and one accessory planting on a small three table display. They answered many questions on bonsai and promoted our upcoming 46thUpstate New York Bonsai Exhibition & Sale that will be held next weekend. Of course these volunteers also encouraged people to join our very active society of about 150 members from greater Rochester as well as from Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca and Pennsylvania (Erie and Williamsport.)

I hope everyone, all around the globe, enjoyed World Bonsai Day 2019 and remembered all the pioneers, both past and present, who sacrificed to establish the bonsai organizations, collections, exhibitions and businesses our bonsai community now enjoy. Look for more bonsai activities next year for World Bonsai Day 2020, and most importantly, please enjoy your bonsai!

Look how the following people enjoy their bonsai!

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World Bonsai Day!

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Each year the second Saturday of May has been designated as World Bonsai Day. This is an internationally celebrated event dedicated to furthering bonsai awareness and appreciation. World Bonsai Day was initiated by the World Bonsai Friendship Federation to honor the memory of Saburo Kato, renowned bonsai master and founder of the WBFF. Clubs, organizations, arboretum collections, businesses and individuals plan special events to celebrate World Bonsai Day. Be sure to visit a World Bonsai Day event nearby, or travel to attend.

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This year I’m pleased to personally participate in a World Bonsai Day celebration by having six special Maple Bonsai Displays in my studio complex. These bonsai maples will be formally presented for people to appreciate and study the design, container & accessory selection and how they have been combined to celebrate the spring beauty of bonsai.

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This spring has been quite busy for us with 30 additional new students each week, in addition to others for the Open Bonsai Workshops. Since spring arrived late this year I’m having three unscheduledspecial Open Bonsai Workshops on Friday, May 10 (1-4pm) and Saturday, May 11 (9-12pm & 1-4pm).JN:WNV.jpg

I enjoy helping and guiding students with their bonsai development and refinement. It’s great to see some of the bonsai we have been working on together for the past 30 and 40 years return to the studio for consultation. New students, just starting out also learn from watching advanced students working on their masterpiece bonsai during the Open Workshops.

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Each student participating in one of these special Open Bonsai workshops will be given a gift to commemorate the World Bonsai Day celebration. Each Open Bonsai Workshop is $40, while an all day session on Saturday is $75. These will be the last Open Bonsai Workshops for the spring 2019 season. Please contact me to reserve your space.

 

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Everyone is welcome to join us on both Friday, May 10 (10-4pm) and Saturday, May 11 (9-4pm) to enjoy the special Maple Bonsai Displays.We will also be preparing for the following week’s 2019 Spring Open House & Sale,which is on May 18-19th, during the same weekend as our 46thUpstate New York Bonsai Exhibition & Saleat the Monroe Community Hospital in Rochester.

wnv@internationalbonsai.com

2019 MidAtlantic Bonsai Festival Demo Tree

 

 

DEAD WOOD.JPGLast week at the MidAtlantic Bonsai Festival Taiga Urushibata from Japan created a bonsai Ponderosa pine. It was originally collected by Andy Smith and quite healthy. It was a difficult tree to design. Robert Mahler was the translator for Mr. Urushibata. Not knowing the condition of the roots made the recommended future transplanting more difficult One of my students, John Caulwell from Pennsylvania was the lucky winner of this unique collected bonsai.

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Today he and his wife drove three hours from Pennsylvania to attend an open workshop with me and brought his new bonsai. We examined the roots and to my surprise, they were beautiful, healthy and full of fibrous small roots. It was safe for transplanting and we only removed one section of an awkward large root. Fortunately I just happen to have four containers suitable for John’s Ponderosa pine. A deep cascade was selected but needed the help of my assistant Alan Adair to grasp, pull and twist the tie-down wire to prevent movement in the new container. He even had to stand on the container to get the 4mm aluminum wire to stabilize the tree.
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This Ponderosa pine is unique, as are most collected specimens. Rather than just looking at the design of the unusual trunk formation; its important to stop and appreciate the hundred or so years the tree grew on a cliff somewhere and still had the will and persistence to survive. Taiga Urushibata worked several hours to bring out the beauty of the collected tree. The lucky owner, John Caulwell and I examined the tree, prepared the roots, added mycorrhizae to the soil mix and potted the tree for the next step in the development of a new bonsai. Although the design is not complete at this time, the beauty of this bonsai can still be appreciated.