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Bonsai Banter is a companion newsletter to BonsaiMary. Once a month, I send out bonsai news, comments, stories and a little about ‘What’s New’ on my site.

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Spring, Black Olives and Bonsai Opportunities

Spring is the time for repotting … or is it? If you are new to bonsai, be especially careful about general instructions for bonsai care. Individual trees need individual instructions.

Pines and bald cypress should be repotted by now and some trees such as dwarf black olives (Bucida spinosa) need to wait a little longer.

Speaking of black olives...

As a child, black olives were always and only served at Christmas dinner. Fruit or vegetable? was often became a topic of debate. Black olives are a fruit, unless you’re talking bonsai.

The dwarf black olive used in bonsai is a non-fruiting tropical tree- no olives! (Bucida spinosa) is native to the Bahamas. For many years it was only popular in Florida and the Caribbean. Today many others have learned the assets of the varied Bucida species as bonsai. They have also learned how to care for them outside the tropics.

This large Bucida was part of my personal bonsai collection. It began as a landscape tree in the ground. Over several years Joe Samuels and I pruned it, took it out of the ground and eventually placed it in a bonsai container.

It is now in the good hands of Eric Wigert.

I’m looking forward to seeing its (re)development.

Recently, I realized this fabulous species was missing from my site. Check out the new Black Olive Bonsai page.

Bonsai Opportunities

Don’t Miss Ryan Neil!

You’ve probably heard of this talented young bonsai artist (he spent six years in Japan studying with Kimura.) Now you have an opportunity to see him this summer in Orlando, Florida. For more about Ryan and the convention see

Bonsai Societies of Florida convention June 10-12

Some Difficult Changes Bring Opportunity

As we age, things change. Our ideas of what we want, where we want to live and what is most important often adjust. I know they have in my life.

A recent email from Jan and Bill Choat (American Bonsai Nursery, Van Buren, Arkansas) expressed those very thoughts. Unfortunately Bill’s health has a big influence on their needs for change.

Bill’s hope is that a retiree will find their five acre facility in rural Arkansas perfect to continue the existing bonsai business. After reviewing his site and description of the location, I feel there is a much greater opportunity than retirement. See the bottom of the home page at American Bonsai. for more details.

Until Next Month

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Thanks to everyone who sends me notes, stories and photos I do appreciate hearing from you.

See you here next month.