2019 Midwest Bonsai Exhibition Coming Up Soon

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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.



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.


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…

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Appreciating a massive, and ancient, Sierra juniper

Embrace Serendipity

I was only about 14 or 15 when I first discovered the world of bonsai.  You know, those “little” Japanese trees that look (and sometimes are) quite ancient!  You can even buy them for a paltry sum and pretend that you’re really a bonsai master without realizing that the sprout you are tending is really quite young, and will probably die long before it achieves any majesty or form.  It hurts to realize realize how many “bonsai” last a few months or a year and then get abandoned like a too-quickly-bought-Christmas-puppy.  Sigh.

I follow a few bonsai blogs and we visit bonsai gardens whenever we happen to travel into areas where we know about them.  Visits on the West Coast where there is a stronger oriental population have seen us visiting wonderful collections like the Weyerhauser collection in Tacoma and Ellendan Gardens in Bremerton Washington. Even the Chicago Botanic Gardens…

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Tie Down Ring

Bonsai Iterate

This crepe myrtle is very early in its development, and I need to bring some branches down along with a little mid summer trimming. Crepe myrtle has such smooth delicate bark though, and I hate the idea of wire marks on the branches.

Fortunately, this ceramic training pot is just right for a tie down ring. A long piece of wire with a few twisted loops can be secured just below the lip of the pot Allowing me to use guy wires with plastic tubing to protect the bark.

The ring is prepped – better to make more twists that you think you will need!

I positioned the tie down points in the places where I thought I would need them and secured the ring with a twist. Since this pot is round, it was easy to rotate the ring to adjust the position of the tie down points slightly…

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