Back to Back Issues Page
A Special Honor, 'Silent Bonsai' & more
October 16, 2017

Thank You for Subscribing

If someone sent you this issue of Bonsai Banter, it's a monthly newsletter. If you like what you see, please sign up!

Subscription Form in Right Column of Home Page

If you wish to remove your name, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

A Special Honor

William Valavanis was recently the third person to be inducted into the U.S. Bonsai Hall of Fame. (Yuji Yoshimura and John Naka preceeded him.)

Shown here with his donation to the U.S. National Bonsai and Penjing Museum collection, a Dwarf Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) grown by Bill for over 45 years.

The first time I met Bill Valavanis he was a teenager, traveling with his mother, and speaking at a bonsai convention in Miami, Florida! His passion has taken him a long way.

He is a bonsai creator, artist, writer, photographer, publisher, teacher ... and I may have missed a few credits. I can't think of anyone who deserves this honor more.

Bill's travels often take us places we may never see otherwise. His recent four part blog about his trip to China for the 4th Zhongguo Feng Penjing Exhibition is amazing and full of photographs. There are tons of pictures and commentary, don't miss any of it.

This photo is just one of many from the Chinese exhibit.

Winter Silhouette Exhibits

North Carolina

Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo

December 2 & 3, 2017
North Carolina Research Campus
150 Research Campus Drive
Kannapolis, NC 28081

Winter in Australia

Here's a heads-up for our Australian friends - with a fun, creative title for their exhibit!

'Bonsai Exposed'

31st AABC National Bonsai Convention
20 –23 July 2018
Mantra Bell City, Melbourne, Australia

In the northern hemisphere, please note the date. It's time to begin making plans.

'Silent Bonsai'

The art of bonsai is approached in many ways. Mark Reed is not a bonsai grower, but he loves bonsai! He is an artist creating "unreal bonsai" in Park Forest, Illinois. Mark's trees (a hobby of 20 years) are artificial and very unique.

"I hope to be blessed to exhibit my bonsai at colleges and universities in an attempt to further the cause of exposing the Art of Bonsai to the greater public".

Mark's recent success toward this goal, is his joint display with Alice Stern's 'Solar Prints' in the art exhibit


Sarratt Gallery at Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
October 2 - 26, 2017

Mark told me "The Chinese style bonsai with reddish/orange soil will become my signature branding identity, along with the accent, representative of creative rock formations of Utah and Arizona."

If you live near Nashville, there's still time to see the exhibit.

If not watch the video on the Facebook.

More Bonsai Art

Many artists have different creative ways to express their passion for bonsai ... in addition to trees. You may recognize some of the names on this page.

Bonsai Art

Finding Bonsai Bargains

I recently discovered bonsai auction sites on Facebook: 'bonsai.auctions' and '99 cent bonsai auction' and 'bonsai pot auctions'

Sometimes items seem expensive, other times you may ask your self "Really? Wow!"

BonsaiMary Gets Mail

(Lots of mail this month - these are just a few)


Elise R - Israel

" Hello! I have 2 bonsai but I don’t know what kind they are? They were a gift and have flat, green almost tree-looking leaves, kind of wide? I’ve been trying to find out so I know how to care for them. Some of the leaves are turning yellow and dropping off and I am afraid they are dying?? please help? Thanks!!"

Response: Let's start at the beginning. Please don't be offended. Many different kinds of plants are used to create plants that look like small old trees. Most people would not classify your plants as bonsai. Sometimes people put plants in bonsai pots and call them bonsai. I then gave her my thoughts on watering and light for these plants.

Elise wrote back "Thanks! That helps a lot:) I was wondering if they were really bonsai because I couldn't find a match to an image of countless varieties! I am not offended in the least. It's great to know what they are not. "

Note to all: When your friends ask about their non-bonsai, please tell it like it is!

Pat G - Ft. Wayne, IN

"I thought it was high time I thanked you for all the articles I’ve read this past year since joining up with Bonsai. It is people like you who have given me tidbits of information that has continued to spur me on with developing my own small collection of trees.

I saw you working with a couple of our Fort Wayne members at MABA recently and wished I’d gotten into your workshop at that time, but was still feeling out how to be involved with this community. I hope you feel happy with all the knowledge you give to others like we feel about you. Thanks again, and hope to one day join one of your classes.

Response: Pat, I'm very glad to hear you enjoy Bonsai Banter articles. Since I retired from bonsai as a business, it gives me great pleasure to share what I've learned in over 40 years of growing bonsai. However, I must tell you ... I no longer travel to share my bonsai knowledge. Mary Madison and I are often confused, please read The Tale of Two Marys AND don't be embarrassed, it happens all the time. Thank you for your kind words.

Pat emailed back LOL Mary? Thank you for clarifying the double Mary’s. Cute story and I doubt if everyone in our club even knows. LOL I think it’s even better, since now there are two wise women to help cultivate a new generation of Bonsai enthusiasts. You brightened my day.

Patricia M. - Vancouver, WA

When my mother, Rose, passed away ... my dear friend in Nashville sent me a wonderful Bonsai. A Ficus. I named her Rose, after my mother. Well, I started propagating babies from the leaves of Rosie and I now have over 30 babies alive and thriving. My mother lived to be over 100 years old. I enjoy your articles very much.

Response: Thank you so much for your lovely note about "Rosie," and may she also have a very long life! It's stories like yours that keep me writing!

Jan L - Gainesville, FL

Mary, I met you back in the mid 1990s and subscribed to your 'Bonsai with Tropicals.; I still have 3 or 4 issues. I was a member of the Gold Coast Bonsai society in the Fort Lauderdale area. I dropped out of that club but kept my collection alive. I have down sized and moved to Gainesville. I was thrilled when a new friend forwarded the information about your publication. All the best to you and I can't wait to begin reading your very informative articles.

Response: It was nice to hear from Jan and I wrote her a personal note, mentioning that I had also joined the 'downsize and move' movement.

Dan M (Bonsai wanna-be)- Beaumont, CA

"Hi Mary and thanks so much for your latest 'Bonsai Banter' issue! Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy getting your emailed "Banter" issues and look forward to reading every one! ...Looking through your latest issue about the BIG and Small Bonsai's I remember when I was still working for AT&T International teaching classes and doing some System Testing over in Oyama, Japan. I had the chance to go to an actual Bonsai Nursery! Wow! They even had Bonsai Gardens/Japanese Gardens scenes all set up in the Nursery that you could buy and the Nursery would bring them to your home & garden and completely set them up for you (definitely NOT cheap to do!! but they were beautiful)

I was able to bring back home (this was in 1985 and I lived in Staten Island, NYC at the time) as many Bonsai Pots and Trays as I could possibly carry and still actually have some left that did not break over the years!

Looking at the photos in your current Newsletter I have to wonder how expensive the MASSIVE pots were that those very large Bonsai's are growing in! (smile) I guess when you deal with trees of that size and weight you need your own hoist or small crane for a lifting system! (BIG smile)

...Well, just wanted to say 'Hi" and thanks again for a wonderful read!"

Response: I sent Dan a thank you and this photo of what eventually does happen when you do deal with super large trees!

Until Next Month

Although the calendar says it's fall, the temperature here in Central Florida is 86 degrees F. and it's pollen season.

Yesterday, I saw two posts online that read "Now's the time to Fertilize," What? Upon further reading it was great information for spring in South Africa!

Be sure you are reading and listening to the weather and get advice about bonsai care in your area. It's a tricky time of year, don't take chances with your bonsai treasures!

I always welcome your questions and comments.


Mary Miller

Contact Bonsai Mary

Leave this issue of BonsaiBanter and go to Home Page

Back to Back Issues Page