I have returned to Daijuen and will be continuing my training for another 3 months here in Japan. I am looking forward to learning as much as possible and taking my bonsai skills and understanding to a new level.
It was an eventful few months back in Maryland since I left Daijuen last April. The Potomac Bonsai Association kicked things off with its annual Spring Festival in early May. This festival is held at the National Arboretum in Washington D.C..The Arboretum is a great venue and is home to the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. The museum has three amazing pavilions, with bonsai from Japan, China and North America. This tremendous collection is truly a national treasure!
In early June I went up to the National Bonsai Exhibition in Rochester New York for the first time. I was very impressed with the quality of the trees in the show. There were tree entries from all across the country with a wide range of trees species and styles. There was a vending area and Marc Noelanders did a demo the afternoon I was there. It was a great time, Bill Valvanis and his staff put on a first class event. We also got a chance to visit Bill’s nursery, which was a real treat.
Shortly after the National Show I had the opportunity to give a talk/demo on tropical bonsai at Valley View Farms Nursery in Maryland. The talk went well, and the crowd was eager to learn. After discussing the tropical bonsai that Valley View Farms sells and how to care for each of them I created a 13 tree forest using Ficus solicifolia trees. The forest turned out nicely, everyone seemed to learn a lot and had a fun doing it. Thanks to Valley View for the opportunity to teach there.
In late June I attended the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Convention in Denver Colorado, one of my favorite places. I was there not only to attend the conference but to compete in the Joshua Roth New Talent Competition. This completion is for people with 10years or less experience in bonsai. You are given a piece of stock material and 8hrs to complete your tree. It was a great event, with nice material. Though I did not win the completion I was very pleased with the tree a created and received some good feedback from the judges. The conference had some fantastic speakers and amazing collected Rocky Mountain material for the workshops. It was great to see a mix of International bonsai artists Ryan Neal and Marc Noelanders, as well as prominent local bonsai figures Harold Sasaki and Larry Jackel teaching. John Kirby also had a great workshop/lecture on black pines, his specialty. It was one of the best conferences I have ever attended.
While I was there the Denver Botanic Gardens also had a grand opening of its new bonsai collection. Done in true Colorado fashion the display is a great combination of the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the amazing art of bonsai. Larry Jackel, curator of the collection and the team at the botanic gardens had the collection and the grounds looking awesome for the event.
In addition to these events there was still plenty of bonsai learning to be done. I continued my training with my weekly trips to the National Arboretum bonsai collection to volunteer as well as many Baltimore Bonsai Club events, and my study group. I even had some time to work on my own trees.
Please follow along with me the next three months as I share my experiences and what I’m learning here in Japan. Thanks for reading.