The Blue Ridge Bonsai Society supports and promotes the art of bonsai in the region around Asheville, NC. We meet together monthly, providing companionship, education, and workshops from beginner to advanced level and we exhibit in various shows during the year.
Goal for 2020-2021: To help each member gain in knowledge of how to develop a show-quality bonsai.
- Members will be encouraged to create a written plan describing the future development of each tree. (This is useful for tracking what works and what does not.)
- Meeting activities in February, April, July, and August contribute to these goals.
2021 Meetings and Events
Our regular meeting place, the Visitors' Center at the Asheville Botanical Gardens will reopen in time for our August meeting. Because the Visitors' Center will now close at 3:00 instead of 4:00 pm, we will change our meeting times starting with the July meeting to 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
(We can change back to 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm later if the Botanical Gardens agrees.)
Jan. 11 - No meeting
Feb. 21 - Felix Laughlin led a group discussion of wintering conditions for different kinds of bonsai. This was a ZOOM Meeting.
MAR. 14 - No meeting..
April 11 - Jesse McMahon discussed different styles of display stands and how to use stands effectively at bonsai shows.
This was a ZOOM Meeting.
May 16 - Felix Laughlin discussed several often overlooked topics relating to bonsai design:
Growth or collection of moss and its use with bonsai
How to successfully propagate cuttings.
This was a ZOOM Meeting.
See the Special Notices / Recent Events page for Felix's PowerPoint.
There will be no regular meeting in June.
June 27, 2021 - 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.
Young Choe's kusamono workshop. For those who have signed up in advance. We will meet at the covered Pavilion at the Etowah Golf Club at 11:45..
July 18, 2021
The meeting originally announced for this date at the Asheville Botanical Gardens has been replaced by a Bonsai, kusamono, and pot sale at Peggy and Tom Snow's house from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
Please note, this sale is open only to current BRBS members. A copy of Peggy's email with details of the sale can be downloaded here:
Meeting dates and times:
The meeting originally planned for August 8th is being replaced by the following special opportunity:
August 22, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Visit the studio and bonsai garden of BRBS member and bonsai pot maker Rob Wallace at
74 Hague Dr., Columbus, NC 28722
Rob will discuss bonsai pots and do a demo. Feel free to bring friends.
See Peggy's email for more details.
Aug. 28 & 29 - We exhibited at the Knoxville Bonsai Society's 20th Anniversary show.
DATE AND CONTENT OF THIS PLANNED 9/12 MEETING ARE BOTH CHANGED. PLEASE SEE BELOW. Originally: September 12, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Basics of kusamono. Everyone constructs a kusamono during the meeting. (You need to bring a small pot. Watch your email for more details.)
Apologies for changing so much, but we need to change the September meeting to:
September 19, 2021. The time and place are still from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Ashville Botanic Gardens. To comply with the current ABG rules, we will need to wear masks during our meeting.
Bring a tree for advice or just because it is strange or interesting or beautiful.
Let's enjoy seeing each other in person again!
Just to help plan space for this meeting, please click the following link and send an email saying whether you are bringing a tree for advice and discussion:
More changes: BRBS had been invited to put on a club exhibit in the Education Building at the NC Arboretum on October 9-10. This exhibit would have replaced our regular October meeting, but we were informed on September 14th that because of rising COVID rates, the Arboretum was closing the Education Building and canceling indoor classes and activities until further notice.
Too bad, but we have found a worthy replacement for our October activity:
October 10, AT 12:00 noon, Our club met at The Bonsai Learning Center in Statesville, NC. Lunch provided at 12:00, followed by a presentation by Brad Russell on bonsai development. The Center gives classes, but also sells supplies, tools, and trees.
Watch for an email from Peggy with more details.
November 14, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00pm.
Election of officers for the next two years was held at 12:30 pm. See Peggy's email for the slate of candidates.
At 1:00 pm, Danny Coffey demonstrated an advanced topic: creating deadwood features of various kinds on bonsai with a detailed discussion of the condition of the tree and useful tools.
December, 2021 No regular meeting. Please go to the Winter Silhouette exhibit in Kannapolis on Dec. 45th and 5th if you can.
Opportunity to get a new book Growing Pines for Bonsai from a bonsai master and expert on pines, Julian Adams:
Quote from the author:
"For fifty years, I have been fascinated by pine bonsai. For much of that time, I have been frustrated by confusing and conflicting "rules" for properly growing pine bonsai. Much research coupled with trial and error has finally made the process clear to me. . . . I feel compelled to make the knowledge I have gathered on this subject available in clear English to all who may be interested . . .."
Clicking the following link will take you to Adams website and information on ordering this book.
Winter Silhouette Bonsai Exhibition
is on for 2021!
in Kannapolis, NC on December 4th & 5th
Demos by world-class bonsai artists
William Valavanis, Rodney Clemons, Pauline Muth and Tyler Sherrod
Bonsai at the NC Arboretum
A National Bonsai Foundation Profile of Arthur Joura, the Bonsai Curator at the NC Arboretum, can be seen at the following link:
Appalachian Bonsai video of Arthur's "A Radical Redesign" demo
Last year, Arthur gave a live demo at the Arboretum of the radical redesign of a shimpaku bonsai. Ben Kirkland has condensed it to 24 minutes for his YouTube channel, Appalachian Bonsai. Enjoy.
Other Adult Education Opportunities
at the NC Arboretum
In addition to events related to bonsai, the NC Arboretum offers a wide range of classes in horticulture, landscape design, plants and animals, photography, contemplation and wellness taught by expert instructors. All classes--online, onsite, and outdoors--are open to the public with discounts for Arboretum members.
Nature walks and field experiences follow COVID protocols for all participants regardless of their vaccination status.
Click the link below to go
directly to the description of Adult Education courses on the Arboretum website:
For more information, feel free to call NC Arboretum Adult Education Programs at 828-665-2492 or email
November and December, 2021
Bonsai Crossing Borders: Four sessions online.
"Awakening Wabi-Sabi" Thursday, October 28 4:00 - 5:30: Arthur Joura and Felix Laughlin
"Bonsai of Japan / Punjae of Korea /Penjing of China" Tuesday & Thursday, November 9 & 11, 6:30 - 8:30 pm David de Groot
"Women in Bonsai" Tuesday, December 14 6:30 - 8:30 pm Jennifer Price (Postponed from November)
These are all well-known bonsai professionals:
Felix Laughlin is the retired President of the National Bonsai Foundation in Washington, DC and a member of our club and its Board of Trustees.
David de Groot was the long-time Curator of the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection near Seattle and is the author of the classic Principles of Bonsai Design.
Jennifer Price is a bonsai professional from Chicago. Here is the link to an interview with her as part of the National Bonsai Foundation's series on "The Future of Bonsai.:
Note: the October and November sessions were recorded. For information viewing the recordings, contact
NC Arboretum Adult Education Programs at 828-665-2492 or email
You can register for any individual session or the whole set of four at
New: International BONSAI Online
In 1979, William Valavanis and Yuji Yoshimura launched International BONSAI magazine type-set with state-of-the-art four-color film photographs.
42 years and 164 issues later, Bill Valavanis has decided to retire this beautiful printed version and replace it with a free digital bimonthly magazine; International BONSAI OnLine:
Here is the link to sign up:
New: Bonsai Podcast
Jonas Dupuich, the author of the wonderful website and illustrated blog "Bonsai Tonight", and Michael Hagadorn, author of the new book Bonsai Heresy, and some of their friends are now recording podcasts of conversations with bonsai experts.
Both the blog and the podcasts are available from:
More Suggested Activities:
The Washington Post has a really beautiful article on Young Choe. Click here to read it:
Take care of your trees and write their histories!
Some of our most experienced members got together and designed a document to help you do this. Download a copy here. You an use the Word version of the document if you want to add pictures of your trees.
Learn more! (Have you looked at all the best known references?) Go to the Library page of this website to download our new one-page bonsai reference list. One-page map to wisdom!