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2017 Autumn Open House & Sale Report

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


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…

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2017 4th Zhongguo Fen Penjing Exhibition– Part 1 Shohin Bonsai

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The 2017 4th Zhongguo Fen Penjing Exhibition is being held on September 28-30, 2017 at the International Garden City in Rugao, China, a long three hour bus trip from the Shanghai Airport. This is the largest penjing exhibition in China with 150,000 members. There are well over 200 exhibit areas and a countless number of individual bonsai because of the large presence of shohin bonsai.

This blog part will cover some of the shohin bonsai which rather impressed me. Larger bonsai, demonstrations and more during the next parts.

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Autumn is the time of the year pomegranates begin to ripen and I like the small fruit, especially when displayed on SMALL size bonsai. Actually, I’m working on a new pomegranate program, and exposed root style program as well, but I guess you can tell that from these photos….

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August Working – Boxwood


This month all my tropical bonsai have been thinned and cut back in anticipation of the next growth spurt. The tropical collection is substantially deduced in foliage, removing old larger leaves so that we can get smaller leaves and more ramification. Olives have been worked much in the same way this month. Best to remove old hardened leaves and let new growth use the energy from fertilizers and create more branches.

August is typically a time I refine boxwood as well since in our growing season, new leaves will form into the early Fall. My boxwood is cleaned about twice a year, allowing for branch refinement and wiring activities. I was asked why I would so severely reduce the foliage this way. The answer is this; no natural mechanism will remove old leaves in a bonsai culture except for disease, lack of light, and pests. None of those options are…

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Photos of San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition.

Cool San Diego Sights!

Many beautiful works of bonsai art could be viewed today in the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park. Many beautiful works of bonsai art could be viewed today in Balboa Park.

Here are more photos that you might enjoy! I took them this afternoon at the San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition, which was held inside the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park.

The art of bonsai has always fascinated me. A tiny, carefully tended tree can speak so much about life. About time and human struggle, about balance and poise.

It’s funny how artists can create a profound feeling of untamed natural beauty using orderly, controlled methods. It is absolutely contradictory. But there is much in art–as in life–that is hard to explain.

A sign outside the Casa del Prado directs visitors to an exhibition by the San Diego Bonsai Club. A sign outside the Casa del Prado directs visitors to an exhibition by the San Diego Bonsai Club.

Demonstrations were part of the event. These friendly people were patiently working on their bonsai trees and explaining the process. Demonstrations were part of the event. These friendly people in the Casa del Prado’s inner courtyard were patiently working on their bonsai trees and explaining the process…

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The delight of tiny trees

The Flourishing Tree

While I was visiting Raleigh a few weeks ago, the art museum held an annual exhibit called Art in Bloom. I was thrilled the four-day exhibit coincided with my trip, and my mom and I met at the art museum one overcast, chilly morning to enjoy the extravaganza.

Most of it was indoors (more on that part of the exhibit in a future post). Crowds meandered through the museum, clumping around floral exhibits. There was an outdoor part of the exhibit, though, and I’m so happy my mom and I decided to step outside, despite the coolness, to see what was in store.

What awaited us was a collection of bonsai trees.

The Triangle Bonsai Society brought several of these tiny trees to the museum, and members hovered around, happy to chat about the trees, whether theirs or someone else’s.

While I had been fine with just my cell…

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