2019 MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies Spring Festival

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The 36thannual Spring Festival of the MidAtlantic Bonsai Societies was held on April 11-14, 2019 in Harrisburg/Hershey, Pennsylvania. Featured speakers were Taiga Urushibata from Japan, Marc Noelanders from Belgium and Jennifer Price from the United States.


Enjoy a few photos from the exhibit:


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2019 MidAtlantic Bonsai Festival Demo Tree

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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.

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…

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World Bonsai Day!

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


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.


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.


This spring has been quite busy for us with 30 additional new…

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Pelagic Birds come to Hermanus

Hermanus Bird Club

Lester reported yesterday,

“With the chilly wind and passing cold front, there was a nice selection of Sea Birds this morning at the New Harbour. Top of the list were two Southern Giant Petrels, and we had nice views of Brown (Sub-Antarctic) Skua, Sooty Shearwater, White-chinned Petrel, some Jaegers and lots of Gannets.”

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Outing to Vrolijkheid Reserve

Hermanus Bird Club

There will be a full day outing to Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve on 2nd May 2019.

Meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 06:30 (we need to get away early as it is about a 2 hour drive).

We will spend 3 to 4 hours birding the Reserve. There is a lovely picnic site near the entrance so bring whatever you need to enhance your experience!!

Birds: The special birds to look out for: Fairy Flycatcher, Grey Tit, Layards Tit-babler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Aghulas Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Long-billed Crombec and many others!

There are two options to return to Hermanus (Each party to decide for themselves):

Go back via Robertson, Worcester, Villiersdorp (ie returning the way we arrived)

Take the back (dirt) roads to the R317 and on to Stormsvlei, and Riviersonderend.

Both options have potentially good birding opportunities along the way.

Directions from Hermanus: (Probably a…

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