Walter Pall is coming back to Chicago!!!

More trees and Bonsai Academy in Chicago area!

More good news for the Chicago area

A second shipment brought more than 80 new trees to Hidden Gardens in Willowbrook, IL. These trees are collected Engelman spruce, Rocky Mountain junipers, Ponderosa pines, Lodgepole pines and others. Many of outstanding quality for reasonable prices. In addition many Japanese Black Pines, beeches and other broadleaved material arrived. By now there are more than 150 very good trees available in the Chicago area. This is the biggest offer in the Midwest.

International Bonsai Academy in Chicago area in October!

Tuesday, October 6 from 6:00 to 10:00 pm at Hidden gardens we will have a lot of fun together with trees that are there and with threes that you bring
It will be the full Bonsai Academy very similar to what we doing three times a year in Harrisburg, Pa at Nature’s Way Nursery.

Call Jeff for information: 630.655.8283

Hidden Gardens
16W658 Frontage Rd.
Willowbrook, IL 60527


Midwest Bonsai Society Spring Show

Here are some highlights from our spring show and a few shots of the permanent collection at the Chicago Botanical Garden. This show is all about teaching and learning so there were many more trees in various stages of development and undergoing some radical techniques. Please excuse some of the photo quality, I’m no photographer and some of the lighting was difficult.

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Spring Watering Tip-

michael hagedorn

There are a lot of things we might say about watering bonsai. I’ve tried a few times on this blog to mention some of them. Some are hard to make sense of in words, but as ever I’m willing to try. This one is about watering recently repotted trees.

At post-repotting time we need to be awake to one change-up, and that is that the interior soil mass (the part that was returned to the pot) may dry out much faster than you’d think.

  • If that interior area is full of fine roots, it will dry out fast after repotting.

DSC_1145 This pine is beginning to develop a solid mass of soil and roots, and this is the area that we’ll take our moisture ‘read’ from when deciding when to water. When dry, it will look very light colored compared to the surrounding new soil.

If you cut all the fine…

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2015 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition– Part 2

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


Part 2 of Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition was held on February 10-13, 2015 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, following a day closed where 181 bonsai displays were replaced with all new bonsai, except for the four special displays. The Japan Suiseki Exhibition opened on the closed day and the Ueno Green Club sales area was also open for visitors.



These two views may quickly seem similar to Part 1, however all the trees are new. However under close examination a few of the companion plantings were identical, but slightly rotated. I’m not certain because my personal study of Part 2 has not been completed yet, but I think I remember seeing a few display tables from Part 1.


Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora


Gardenia, Gardenia jasmoindes


Zuisho Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora ‘Zuisjo.’ Perhaps the reason for the increased number of this choice cultivar is because most…

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2015 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition– Part 1

Valavanis Bonsai Blog


The 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition is being held in two parts this year in order to display more bonsai in an area which is slightly smaller than in previous years. Part 1, February 5-8, 2015 and Part 2, February 10-13 2015.
On February 9th all 181 bonsai displays will be switched in Part 1. Although there are 181 displays, there are perhaps 250 individual bonsai displayed as there are generally six trees in each shohin bonsai display and two or three trees in the medium exhibits. There are only five shohin bonsai exhibits in Part 1. There are six bonsai displayed by foreigners including three Americans. More on those and the shohin bonsai displays later.
Needle juniper, Juniperus rigida
Japanese flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa
Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora
Sinuous style, all root connected
Part 1 of the exhibition is excellent, lots of good trees. Even for me, a bit of…

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Photos from The 37th Annual Mid America Bonsai Exhibit

Another great show this year. Hopefully you were able to get there and see the trees yourself, if not here’s some photos to show you what you missed. This is an open show for bonsai artists of all levels from around the Midwest and even further. There are also great vendors to meet your bonsai needs. If you’re nearby jump in your car and head over. Enjoy the Photos!!!


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37th ANNUAL MID-AMERICA BONSAI EXHIBIT (August 15 – 17, 2014)

Guest Artist:

Rodney Clemons

Rodney Clemons spent his formative years in the Florida panhandle, moving to Atlanta, GA when he was thirteen. He was captivated by bonsai in 1973 when he saw a Trident maple forest that struck chords in his heart and artistic nature. Bonsai has been his passion since that time. Rodney is a bonsai artist an instructor, specializing in Japanese gardens and natural water features. His work has developed his sensitive eye and skill with rock and plant placement which adds realism to his bonsai creations. He studied with E. Felton Jones and enjoyed workshops with many visiting artists like John Naka and Yugi Yoshimura. His style has been formed by studying nature, drawing heavily on childhood memories of coastal Florida. Rodney excels in capturing the tension in nature and stranslating it into bonsai. He is best known for his unique “rock plantings” and his love of “Kingsville” boxwood. When teaching his remarks are delivered with a liberal dose of humor. He has been an invited speaker to numerous Bonsai societies meetings and conventions. A few of the highlights are: 1987 BSF Convention, Fort Walton Beach, FL; 1989-1997 Southeast Bonsai Conferences, Atlanta, GA; 1993 World Bonsai Convention, Orlando, FL; 1996 ABS Convention, Hershey, PA; 1197 International Bonsai Convention, England; 1998 International Bonsai Symposium, Rochester, NY; 2001 Mid Atlantic Convention, Newark NJ; 2002, 2205 and 2009 Brussel’s Rendezvous, Memphis, TN; Expo 2005, Ashville, NC; He has spoken at four BSF Conventions, the last one was Gainesville, FL in 2006. Rodney has been President of the Atlanta Bonsai Society three times since joining the organization in 1973. He was President of Phoenix Bonsai Federation in 1999. Phoenix hosted a convention with Masahiko Kimura as the exclusive speaker. Rodney continues traveling, teaching, judging shows and critiquing collections. He leads a study group at Smith Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw GA, where he is the curator of their collection. He also is the curator of the collection at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers GA. At present he is applying his talents at his nursery, Allgood Bonsai, designing trees and teaching advanced workshops. Rodney enjoys the opportunity to share and express his love of nature and bonsai with people in the hops that he can influence them in a positive way.