American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  yamasuri on Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:05 am

Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  bwaynef on Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:49 pm

bingregory wrote:Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing.  Is the bare tree trunk in the second to last photo of real wood or is it sculpture?  I couldn't quite tell if it was just placed between the two shohin for effect or whether it was holding them up. Lovely either way.
It is holding them up. I may have another picture somewhere, but having spent way too much time looking for THIS one, I don't have time to find another. If you're interested, you can see the stand here: http://bonsaistudygroup.com/bonsai-shows-competitions-and-displays/carolina-bonsai-expo-2009/msg3270/#msg3270 It seems like every other year I've only taken pictures of the trees displayed on the stand rather than taking in the stand as a whole.

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  JimLewis on Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:02 pm

It is an old tree branch with shelves for smaller bonsai or Kusamono.


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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  bingregory on Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:23 am

Ah, I see it clearly there now.  Thanks Jim and bwaynef.

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Unusual Display Stand

Post  Arthur Joura on Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:41 am

Thank you yamasuri and bingregory for your comments, and thanks to bwaynef and Jim for providing some information while I was otherwise occupied. What I have been occupied with, of course, are preparations for the 18th Carolina Bonsai Expo which happens in just 3 days! I am hoping to give a good accounting of the weekend here on this thread, but we will see how that goes. In the meantime, before the Expo overtakes everything else in my little world, I want to tell the story of the unusual display stand that prompted bingregory's questions.

For security reasons, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden is surrounded by a wall with gates that can be closed and locked during off hours. The topography of the garden is sloped, with the grade within the walls not altogether the same as that outside, and so there is one area where the wall is quite high as you look at it from inside. This was one of those instances where looking at a one dimensional representation on paper in no way prepared a person for the real life experience of the thing. The first time I saw this high wall I knew we would need to take measures to soften its effect. The display stand in question, which is over 6' (1.82 m) in height, was conceived for that very purpose:



The stand was built by a talented local woodworker who was the husband of a woman who worked at the Arboretum at that time. He and I walked around in a wild area on the Arboretum property looking for a distinctive branch or small tree that might be suitable for the purpose we had in mind, and we came across a dying, old Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) that had the qualities we were after. So, the upright central part of the stand is the trunk of that tree, with 2 branches coming off of it on either side. Mountain Laurel grows slowly, so this tree was easily 50 years old and more, and exhibits the gnarly, twisted habit that is common to older members of its species.

The woodworker took home the harvested tree and out of respect for his talent I left him mostly to his own devices as to how to make the stand. He decided to mount it on a large platform for a base and have 2 shelves cantilevered off the trunk on opposite sides. The base and shelves were made out of white oak. All of the wood was finished with a natural oil, and the first year we used the stand (2005) it looked fresh and new:



The display stand was exceptionally well made, and yet there was an aspect of its design that I did not altogether like, and this made it a little difficult for me to use. I tried numerous combinations of plants in different seasons over the years, but was never fully satisfied with the results. This was in 2008:



This was in 2009, the same year as the photograph Jim posted, only his was taken earlier in the year:



Here are a couple of images from 2011:





Note how the wood has weathered. Well, no surprise - this display stand remains in place throughout the year, subjected to sun and rain, summer heat and winter freeze. One year, I think it was '07, the woodworker refinished the piece, this time using a product that combined natural oil with polyurethane. This held up a little better, but any wood finish will succumb to weathering eventually when fully exposed outdoors.

Here is how the stand looked this past May:



By this time I knew something had to be done, not only because the stand was starting to look shabby, but because weathering of wood left unchecked eventually leads to rot. The man who built the piece had moved out of the area a few years back and I lost contact with him, so I was obliged to find someone else to do the work. Earlier this summer the right person for the job just happened to show up.

The NC Arboretum benefits greatly from a large volunteer workforce - we have several times more volunteers than we do employees! Many (although not all) of these people are retirees, who bring a multitude of skills and a lifetime of experience to the table and give all this freely because they believe in the value of the Arboretum. I have had the good fortune of being helped in my work by a number of the very best of these generous people, the latest being a man named Werner Bonitz. Werner is one of those people who combines a clever mind with capable hands, and seems to be able to build, or fix, anything.

I asked Werner to take on the job of restoring the display stand, and he agreed. Cleaning the wood and refinishing it was the primary task, and work enough, but I was looking for more than that. Remember I alluded to being unhappy with a certain aspect of the stand's design? What bothered me was the attitude of the trunk as it was mounted on the base - it stood too upright. In my view, that posture was awkward and unbalanced, and in turn it made it difficult for me to find a combination of plants that produced a harmonious display. To my eye, the trunk needed to slant more to the right.

We deal with issues like this when we design a bonsai. When we repot, we take care to get the trunk set at the correct angle, and then the branch structure is organized in accordance with the attitude of the trunk line. Changing the trunk line on this display stand was tricky business! The bottom of the piece of Mountain Laurel needed to be recut at the precise angle necessary to achieve the desired slant of everything above it, and then the 2 cantilevered shelves needed to be adjusted so as to remain level. Werner spent hours figuring out how to do these things correctly... once. Here he is making the money cut on the bottom of the trunk, using a custom made miter guide:



Werner opted to refinish the piece with an oil-based stain. He and I considered a couple of different color options, and finally went with a very light grey on the platform base and the shelves, and a near white finish for the trunk. I thought that white color evoked the look of driftwood, or deadwood on a bonsai, and I was pleased with the appearance of it when the stand was finally reinstalled in the garden. The next day it rained. I went to the garden at the end of the day to close it up, and I was walking through distracted, thinking about something else. Then I turned a corner and saw the stand, bold and ghostly, its sinewy shape in stark contrast to the dark gray of the wet walls. I thought it looked positively striking:



Thank you Werner, for a job well done!

I will end this post with 2 pictures contrasting the stand as it was and how it is now, and you can judge for yourself if it is improved:




Arthur Joura
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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Dave Murphy on Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:24 pm

Great story...I'll be sure to spend a little extra time examining that stand this coming weekend;) .

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2013 Carolina Bonsai Expo

Post  Arthur Joura on Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:30 pm

Dave - Thank you for your reply, and I hope you enjoyed the show!

The 18th annual Carolina Bonsai Expo has come and gone, and was by any measure another great success! The time leading up to the weekend was a crush, the weekend itself was a blur, and now the aftermath of it is a slog. There is so much to do, putting things back to normal and handling the followup paperwork that normally accompanies an enterprise of this scale. One good thing I can say about the "mop up" phase in which I currently find myself is that it is less pressurized than the phases that preceded it. Of course, people like to be paid, so I cannot drag my feet too much...

By now readers of this forum and other Internet bonsai sites have seen numerous photographs from the event. These images seem to focus mainly on trees and I am thankful for that, because I have very few bonsai images to offer. Typically I do a poor job of recording the Expo in photographs, because in the rush of tending to the maintenance of the event I often forget to take any, or I take only a few. This year I tried to be more conscious of capturing images, but my interest was strongly toward depicting what was happening, and the people involved. This should not be surprising. My main concern during the weekend is managing the smooth operation of the event, and much of that comes down to working with the people who are my partners in producing the show and making sure the visitors are enjoying their experience. In this context, the bonsai on display are secondary, even though they are the subject around which the whole event is organized.

So, I am glad that others took pictures of the displays and have posted them here and elsewhere. One of the people at the show toting a nice camera and seemingly doing a good job of documenting the trees and exhibits was IBC-regular, Sam Ogranaja. I have asked him to add his images to this thread as a counterbalance to what I will post, so that together we may offer a comprehensive picture of the 2013 Carolina Bonsai Expo weekend. I hope Sam will include images of the various club displays in their entirety, because the Expo is rightly known as a place where bonsai display takes on a decidedly contemporary, creative and non-Asian appearance. Getting good images of these displays is difficult, however, for a number of reasons. Hopefully Sam was able to do that and we will see if they accurately convey at least some of the effect the several fine club displays offered in this year's show.

What follows records the view I had of the weekend.

Expo exhibitors and vendors set up on Friday, beginning at 9:00 AM, so everything must be in place for them before I leave work on Thursday night. Here is a view of one part of the Bonsai Marketplace, set up and waiting to be filled:



Here are 2 different views of the Main Exhibit area:





The vendors and exhibitors arrive throughout the day on Friday and get themselves situated in their proper locations. It is an amazingly process and I wish I could show you a few pictures of them doing it, but I am nowhere near that scene most of the day, and when I do pass through I try to keep moving so that no one can catch me! Really, it is most impressive the way the show comes together and the willing spirit of cooperation employed by all involved. There is ample opportunity for aggression and unpleasant behavior, but the people involved do a remarkable job of regulating themselves and acting in harmony.

On Friday night we have a Social event, exclusively for all those people who haul in and set up the club displays and the vendors' booths. It is not a big deal, just an opportunity for the people most responsible for the show to relax after a busy day and get to know one another a little better:  



We provide a little light food and drink and a bit of entertainment. In previous years the entertainment took the form of live music, but this year we featured a digital slide presentation by Randy Clark, who recounted tales of his recent trip to China to be a demonstrator at the 7th World Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention:



After everyone else leaves to go get some sleep, I get to stick around and put the finishing touches on the show in advance of the next day's opening. I should hasten to point out that I am not alone in doing this. My good friend, Cindy Blankenship, who is the Arboretum's Special Events Coordinator, devotes as much time and energy to the Expo as I do and is there late every night of the show. I also had the help of my assistant, Joshua Dunnagan, and the 3 of us were there until midnight putting together the plant list we make available to Expo attendees. I have no pictures to show of this, which is just as well because it is no fun at all.

Saturday morning at 9:00 we had a workshop with PA bonsai professional Jim Doyle, from Nature's Way Nursery. Jim is a great guy and a longtime friend to me and to the NC Arboretum. He was an Expo guest artist in 2001 and has returned each year, participating as an exhibitor (with the Susquehanna Bonsai Society), a vendor, a presenter and a teacher. Here he is, on the far right, with his students (don't ask):



Meanwhile, in a different building we were offering a free demonstration in ikebana. Since 2002 the Expo has included a wonderful ikebana display provided by the Asheville Chapter of Ikebana International, and we coordinate with that same group to have an ikebana expert provide an educational demonstration. This year's ikebana artist was Susan Cano, seen here at work on one of several pieces she created during her program:



Not long after the ikebana demonstration finished we had our Expo Main Event program, which is provided each year by our Carolina Bonsai Expo guest artist. This year's guest artist was Rodney Clemons of Stone Mountain, GA. Rodney is a talented, well-traveled bonsai professional with an easy going and very agreeable personality. He is a fine and patient teacher and gives an excellent demonstration. Rodney is an expert in the design of Littleleaf Boxwood, which he usually styles into forms representing the Live Oak trees he grew up admiring. It just so happened that we had an outstanding piece of old boxwood material for Rodney to work on, and he went to town:









Rodney's decision to allow this specimen to have 2 apexes provoked an interesting discussion and a certain level of disagreement. It should be understood by all that he made this choice quite knowingly, and provoking discussion was not the least of his reasons for doing so. Even though the demonstration was more than 4 hours in duration the tree was brought only to a partial level of completion (as all demonstration trees are!) Rodney intends to return in a month or so to continue to refine the design. The new bonsai is planted in a Dale Cochoy pot:



While all this was taking place, in another building the vendors were enjoying brisk traffic in the Bonsai Marketplace:



The Marketplace provides a valuable service to our visitors and the members of participating clubs by offering a wide range of essential bonsai goods at competitive prices, all in one place. Quality bonsai materials are not so easily available in this part of the country, but for one weekend every year we have an excellent assortment from which to choose! A new vendor at the Expo this year was Julian Adams (Adams' Bonsai) out of Lynchburg, VA:


     
Roger Lehman (Meco Bonsai) from Lancaster, PA is a regular vendor at the Expo and a true supporter of bonsai at the NC Arboretum:



After a long day demonstrating, Rodney was right back to work in the evening, conducting a walk-through critique of the bonsai on display:



This critique program is only for the members of clubs participating in the Expo and is not available to the general public. I think it is one of the best educational components of the Expo in that it allows people to get direct, specific information about their plants and displays from artists of national and international reputation. Over the years Expo exhibitors have been exposed to a wide range of ideas and opinions from many different artists, which I think is an excellent way to learn. Here Rodney gives his opinion on the display presented by the Black Creek Bonsai Study Group of Columbia, SC, which he chose to award as "Best In Show, Group Display":



The critique closes out the Saturday activities, but we are right back at it 9:00 Sunday morning. Here is Rodney Clemons again, this time leading a "bring your own" workshop:



Simultaneous to the workshop, there were 2 more free educational programs offered on Sunday. The first was "The Art of Bonsai Display" by Owen Reich, proprietor of Bonsai Unearthed. Owen is an up and coming bonsai professional from Nashville, TN, who has apprenticed in Japan. Owen tends to follow the Japanese way of bonsai, which is not surprising considering his apprenticeship, but he is not closed off to other interpretations. He gave a very thorough and well illustrated lecture on bonsai display, beginning with the traditional Japanese example and then branching out to other forms:



Early Sunday afternoon I took part in the second free program of the day, joining my good friends John Geanangel and Ken Duncan, both of the Black Creek Study Group to do a tray landscape presentation entitled "Forty Acre Rock". (John G. is the one wearing a sling on his arm, which he damaged fending off an avid admirer who was driven into a frenzy upon hearing the mellow tones of his distinctive voice, so familiar to the many fans of his video productions - "Hey, this is John..." ) This was a very enjoyable experience, as it always is when I get to work with them, and I think what we created is a unique and effective piece. I will post separately about this later, but here is an image of the 3 of us at work on the project:



The concluding program of the Expo is always the live auction, and it is a favorite part of the event for many attendees. Throughout the year generous people make donations to the bonsai program at the Arboretum of items such as plants, pots, stands and the like, and I stash them away for the Expo auction. The money generated by this activity is an important part of the financial structure that supports the event. We are extremely fortunate in having 2 of the most animated and entertaining auctioneers you are ever likely to find at a bonsai event, and they know what they are doing, too. This year's auction, like all of its predecessors, was quite successful. Here is Jim Doyle and Randy Clark, in action (the head gear is a "thing" of theirs, and changes year to year):



After the auction concludes we have a raffle and hand out the "People's Choice" award, then I say a few words of thanks and invite everyone to come back and do it all again next year. The only picture I have of any of that is this one, which shows John Geanangel standing by his big Baldcypress, which was this year's "People's Choice" winner:



I do not have any images of the show being taken down, which probably is not anything anybody wants to see anyway, but that part of the event is no less amazing than any other. All those displays and all the vending booths get taken apart and brought out to waiting cars, vans and trucks in about an hour and a half, and the whole process is conducted with the greatest patience and cooperation imaginable. The Expo is the product of a remarkably harmonious collaboration between many individuals and organizations, in consort with the NC Arboretum, and the result is a truly unique and enjoyable bonsai experience. I am proud to be a part of it.

Just so no one thinks I ignored the show trees altogether, here is a picture of a couple from the display provided by the Knoxville Bonsai Society from TN:



The ribbon designates the Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) as the "Best In Show, Individual", as selected by guest artist Rodney Clemons. That tree belongs to Shannon Sayler, who has been coming to the Expo since he was a teenager. He missed this one, however, because he was off on his honeymoon! It was a good weekend for Shannon - he got lucky twice.

Have at it, Sam...

Arthur Joura
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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:11 pm

THANK YOU !!! VERY MUCH !!

Loved the noses, and wished we had box wood of that age and quality.
Awaiting Sam.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Dave Murphy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:11 am

Arthur, it was my third time attending the Expo, and the second time participating as a member of the Atlanta Bonsai Society.  You and your staff do an AWESOME job putting on a great show, and I want to let you know how much it is appreciated.  See you next year!

Dave Murphy
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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  JimLewis on Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:24 am

Just thanks, Arthur.

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  John Quinn on Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:19 am

Thanks for the photos and for hosting the Expo! Great job, as usual. Congrats to John G and Ken D as well!

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:07 am

At Arthur's request here are some of my photos.

There was quite a few Lego sculptures throughout the grounds





Here are the full displays and I'll throw in a few details that caught my eye. I made a real noob photographer mistake in that I took detail shots first thing in the morning and decided to wait to get the full display shots when more people showed up. You know, to practice my patience. I had to wait 12 minutes for people to clear the Nashville Bonsai Society display. I thought about asking them to move but took the moments to calm down and wait Smile

Atlanta Bonsai Society:


Black Creek Study Group: Awesome group of guys


Blue Ridge Bonsai Society:


Bonsai Society of the Carolinas:


Cape Fear Bonsai Society:


Hinoki Bonsai Club:


Knoxville Bonsai Society:


Mid-Appalachian Bonsai Kai:


Mountain Empire Bonsai Society "front: view:


Mountain Empire Bonsai Society "back" view:


Nashville Bonsai Society:


Piedmont NC Bonsai Association:


Susquehanna Bonsai Club:


Triangle Bonsai Society - my club display:


Virginia Bonsai Society:


Some detail shots:

Jim Lewis's unCrape Crape Myrtle:


Smashing Juniper in Blue Ridge Bonsai Society display:


John Genangel's amazing Bald Cypress:


Chunky Azalea:


I really liked this little tree:


Detail on a Rocky Mountain Juniper collected by Randy Knight:


Ponderosa Pine ?: It was with the Nashville Bonsai Society.


Owen Reich told me, but I can't remember this species. Amazing tree nonetheless:


This was on Susquehanna Bonsai Club display: Hinoki?


The finest Arakawa bonsai I've laid eyes on. This side of the pond anyway:


Additional detail:


Additional detail: Can you tell I REALLY REALLY liked this tree?


Also with Susquehanna Bonsai. I'm pretty sure whoever was carrying this guy went to the chiropractor the next day. This was a HOSS of a tree:


Sweet little Trident at the Mountain Empire bonsai display:


I'm not good with plant names but Hornbeam? Beautiful tree:


Again, unsure. Elm?


That's it friends.

Once again, big THANKS to Arthur for putting this Expo on for 18 years now. Of course it requires effort on many people but without Arthurs vision and extremely detailed emails that he sends out, it wouldn't go as smoothly or as awesomely. What, it's a word!!!!
Have a great weekend!!!
Sam

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:32 am

Thank you very much, Sam!!!!!!!
Khaimraj

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  prestontolbert on Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:43 am

Well done Arthur! The expo was excellent! I was in Rodney's BYO workshop, and it was tons of fun and I learned a huge amount. I was writing notes like crazy after the workshop just to try to retain it. This year I got a membership to the Arboretum and you can bet I will use it.
-PT

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  DougB on Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:40 pm

Great job, as always, Arthur. The Expo and handicapped accommodations were exceptional.

And Sam thanks for the great pictures. Would make a great presentation at a TBS meeting. See you there.

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Jesse McMahon on Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:52 pm

I'm with everyone else here...thank you for an excellent weekend! It's become one of my yearly high points to attend and be a part of such an amazing gathering. Thanks again to both Arthur and Sam for taking the time to document and share with the rest of us here. I never seem to have time to get pictures of everything I intend to capture.

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Dale Cochoy on Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:31 am

Arthur, Wonderful photography throughout this entire thread!!!

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Stephen Krall on Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks Arthur and Sam for posting about the expo this year. While my society (VBS) was able to attend this year I was unable to attend. It is one of the highlights of my year and I will be making every effort to make it back next year.

Thanks again,

Steve

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Autumn Review, part 1

Post  Arthur Joura on Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:01 pm

Thank you to Khaimraj, Dave, Jim, John Q., Preston, Doug, Jesse, Dale and Stephen for reading and commenting about the Carolina Bonsai Expo! Special thanks to my friend Sam Ogranaja for sharing all his pictures of the group displays and individual trees - I appreciate it Sam.

I spend the time immediately following the Expo more or less decompressing from all the effort expended leading up to the big weekend. It is a favorite time of year because the Expo is big hurdle to clear and everything typically goes well with it, the trees in the collection have ceased growing so maintenance is greatly reduced, and to top it all off the great and beautiful rush of autumn coloration comes along and washes everything with the ephemeral glow of seasonal change. For me, it is a time for slowing down, getting out on as many walks into nature as possible, and taking lots and lots of photographs.

Autumn was a mixed bag this year in this part of the world, which I will explain by and by. The leaf coloration was not as good as it has been in recent years, but it was still wonderful, and if you are careful where you point your camera the photographic record can be made to tell picturesque lies to share and enjoy for years to come.

Here is a sampling of images made in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden over the last 4 weeks:


































Arthur Joura
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Autumn Review, part 2

Post  Arthur Joura on Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:45 pm

Learning to walk is a big milestone in a person's life. It is one of the earliest things we are taught to do, and at least for awhile everyone around you makes a big fuss about you being able to do it, even if you are not very good at it and fall down a lot. But then, by the time you develop any proficiency at walking no one seems to care anymore, and being ambulatory is more or less taken for granted (unless you are one of the unfortunate people who is not.) Then in your mid to late teens you learn how to drive and with that the idea of walking anywhere takes a back seat, so to speak. In the culture in which I live, there are many people who walk no further than they absolutely have to, and depend on machines to take them everywhere else they need to go.

I love to walk. In city, town or country, day or night, I find that walking lets me take in the world at an understandable pace. And for relaxation and refreshment, a chance to release stress and clear my mind, nothing is better than walking in nature. When I am out walking in the forests that blanket the mountains here in this part of the world, my spirit is revived. Being in nature is a multi-sensory experience, with things to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Out of this experience comes a feeling, and born of this feeling is the desire to communicate its meaning to others. It was for this very purpose that humans invented art, in all its varied forms.

It is only my opinion, but I think bonsai at its roots is an attempt by humans to express to other humans an experience of nature. That was how it began. A great deal of other stuff has been added to the equation over the years, so that now there are a good many people who do bonsai that has little or nothing to do with the natural example, and if this pleases them it is all well and good. For me, however, the connection to a personal experience of nature is what makes bonsai worthwhile.

When I go walking in the forest I always have my bonsai eyes open. Everywhere there are lessons to be learned - in the way trees are shaped by environmental forces, the way that old trees differ from the younger of their kind, the way trees in a group relate to each other, the way a certain tree and a nearby shrub make a compelling combination, the movement of a branch, the power of roots clutching the earth, the folds in a rock, the shadow of a fern on the soft surface of a patch of moss...

The following selection of photographs were made on several mountain walks I took in the last few weeks. Some are just pretty scenes or compositions with pleasing colors, but others are reminders to me of details to be remembered, and lessons worth learning:


































Arthur Joura
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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:38 pm

Arthur,

very refreshing!
Presently we are just rain, and it is very cool as the temperature goes, so I am loving it.
In a few weeks our Immortelles will drop all of their leaves and go into bloom, a vivid orange
and a mild yellow. Then many other trees will follow.

It was amazing to see the maple leaves with the stone.

Thank you very much.
Khaimraj

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  JimLewis on Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:05 am

Loved the mossy rocks!

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  dorothy7774 on Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:02 am

Arthur Joura wrote:..
Here is a sampling of images made in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden over the last 4 weeks..
What a beautiful place! So well kept. Thanks for the pictures.

Best,
Dorothy

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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

Post  Jkd2572 on Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:58 am

I'm going there next week. Can't wait.

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Autumn Review, part 3

Post  Arthur Joura on Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:56 pm

Kaimraj, Jim, Dorothy and Jeremy - Thank you for continuing to follow this thread and posting your responses!

I mentioned earlier that this autumn season was not as brilliant as some others of recent years in this part of the world, and such is the truth. I hesitate to make that comment because there have been some years where the leaf color seemed wonderful to me, but I would encounter individuals who held that it was less so, and they would use the same language to express their disappointment - "The colors are not as good this year..."

Certainly, to some extent every thing we look at we see subjectively, so our moods and expectations and the natural enhancements of our memories may color the scene before our eyes every bit as much as does the change of the season. We are also, I think, prejudiced in our perceptions of such effects as autumn coloration by the influence of photography, and to a lesser extent, other pictorial representations. These manipulated images give us an idealized view that reality is usually hard pressed to equal. Still, there are years when the scenery is more colorful and years when it is less so, and this year was not outstanding.

I have read some opinions that years of abundant or excessive rainfall can adversely affect autumnal leaf coloration, and North Carolina experienced abnormally wet conditions through most of the year, so perhaps that was at play. There was also a sudden and dramatic drop in temperature a couple of nights late in October, where temperatures went from being in the upper 40's and low 50's (Fahrenheit) to the low 30's and upper 20's, and this had a noticeably detrimental effect on many plants just on the verge of changing colors. Several bonsai in the Arboretum's collection were high profile examples of this.

Our Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), which usually spends a week showing off like this:



instead this year had this appearance:



And our Natchez Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia X 'Natchez'), which usually shines like this:



turned up one morning sulking like this:



Hard to argue that these trees did not show better last year than this! Even among those specimens that were not directly zapped by the freeze and heavy frost, the overall coloration was duller, largely favoring muted yellows over the more showy reds. Comparisons aside, however, we still had an overall attractive autumn season. Here are some selections of pieces as they appeared on display in the Bonsai Exhibition Garden during the last part of October and the early part of November:















Worth noting, 2 specimens in particular had outstanding color this year, as good as they ever have had. The first is a Tamarack (Larix laricina) and the second is Amur Maple (Acer ginnala):





Is it merely a coincidence that both these species originated in parts of the world much colder than we typically experience in western NC?

The Arboretum's collection includes many more specimens than we have room to exhibit in the garden, and some of these other bonsai presented respectfully this autumn.

Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis):



Winged Elm (Ulmus alata):



Witch Alder (Fothergilla major):



To conclude this autumn rumination, I offer this image of a Mountain Dwarfdandelion (Krigia montana) and a few accompanying thoughts:



Autumn, like spring, is a transitional season, a bridge between the two other, more substantial seasons, and all four together make up a full rotation around the sun in the temperate places on earth. The two transitional seasons spend a fair amount of their allotted time mimicking the seasons that precede and follow them, so that the beginning of autumn feels very much like summer and the last part of autumn can be as bitter as winter. In our idealized vision of "Autumn", the deciduous trees are ablaze in the glories of that spectrum of the rainbow that covers everything from the coolest of yellows to the warmest of reds, and the air is a pleasing combination of the best attributes of both warm and cool. Yet the bulk of the time in that particular season is otherwise. The brightest colors show themselves for only a few weeks before continuing inexorably to the dullness of decay, and the mildest of days occupy only a short path between an expanse of heat on one side and an expanse of cold on the other. It is the ephemeral nature of autumn and spring that endears them to those of us who experience them. They come, and then before you know it, they are gone.

At the end of spring, a person looks ahead to the promise of a long season of growth and life.

At the end of autumn, there is not so much to which we look forward as there is that which we look back upon.

As such, a person in autumn is well served to remember that life is cyclical, and is forever going around!

Arthur Joura
Member


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Re: American Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

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