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: 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.

2020 Meetings and Events

All meetings are located at the Asheville Botanic Gardens 

unless otherwise stated. 


Jan. 12 Wiring workshop with Rebecca Ayres, a wiring expert from the NC Arboretum.

After Rebecca's  presentation, we divided into small groups to practice and wire trees brought by members. 


Feb. 7 - Jesse McMahon presented principles of bonsai design, based on de Groot's well-known book.


MAR. 8 - Tom Snow, who is a bonsai volunteer at the NC Arboretum, leads a repotting workshop. (Bring your own tree, tools, and potting soil.)



Apr. 19 (not 12th) - Members, please bring one of your trees that is closest to being ready for show. We  will break up into small groups, each led by an experienced member, review each tree and discuss and document its future development. We will also choose trees for our World Bonsai Day Exhibit at the NC Arboretum on May 9 and 10.

The Carolina Bonsai Expo at the NC Arboretum is now being held in June, so this meeting is also our first review for trees that are ready to be included in our exhibit this year at the Bonsai Expo.


May 9 and 10 -  BRBS World Bonsai Day Exhibit at the NC Arboretum. 


June 13-14 - 2020 Carolina Bonsai Expo. Special event at NC            Arboretum. The EXPO HAS BEEN CANCELLED  FOR THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF COVID-19

June 28 (4th Sunday) Kusamono (companion plant) workshop with Young Choe, a professional in this specialized field. See http://kusamonochoe.com for her website. Cancelled

July 12 - Field trip to a local nursery to discuss how to choose beginner trees. Details being arranged. Exact date may change. Cancelled


Aug. 15 and 16: Online tree and pot sale.

Sept. 6 12:30 - 4:30 Meet and greet and BYO tree at the Etowah Valley Golf Club.   

Sunday, Oct. 4 -    Demonstration by Daniel Coffey using nursery stock purchased at Mountain Meadows. Etowah Valley Golf Club. 

Sunday, Oct. 18 - Field trip to Mountain Meadows for those who signed up.

Nov.  8 - No meeting.


Dec.  5-6 2020 Winter Silhouette Bonsai Expo. CANCELLED. 

New Online Opportunities through the NC Arboretum:

You can register for the following two sessions on the Arboretum website: https://www.ncarboretum.org/ or at Adult Education Programs at 828-665-2492 or email AdultEducation@ncarboretum.org.

Sessions will be recorded, so if you are unable to attend the live event, you can view it later, but you must have registered in advance. 

Inspired by a Southern Appalachian Bonsai: A Radical Redesign

Instructor: Ben Kirkland

Thursday, October 22; 3 - 4 p.m.

Free | By Donation


Designer, educator and bonsai artist Ben Kirkland, creator of the popular Appalachian Bonsai YouTube channel, will deliver an informal talk about sources of creative inspiration that infuse his work across different mediums. Looking to trees in nature and using native species in his art, Ben also credits the Arboretum’s Bonsai Curator Arthur Joura and his approach to a Southern Appalachian bonsai with being major influences. Then participants will get the first look at a new Appalachian Bonsai video “A Radical Redesign,” documenting a styling demonstration with Joura filmed this past spring. 

Here is the link to Arthur's "Radical Redesign of the Graveyard Fields landscape" video:

 Click here to watch it:


Sketching Trees: Bonsai, Landscape and Forest Practice

Instructor: Ben Kirkland

Wednesday, October 28; 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

$ 20 Arboretum Member | $ 25 Non-member


Designer, educator and bonsai artist Ben Kirkand guides practice in various sketching methods for seeing trees. This class will cover methods from pen and paper to Photoshop for aid in designing bonsai, producing landscape renderings, or sketching in the field. Some bonsai artists can visualize how to style their bonsai trees with just a single glance. The rest of us could use some pointers: Learning to sketch trees doesn’t take refined skill -- only an open mind and practice.

Ben will also teach a class in November on videography, with a focus on bonsai and the artist as the subjects, covering basic lighting, backgrounds, framing, and audio, along with tips & tricks. That one will open for registration soon. Watch the Arboretum website for news.

The Arboretum also has an online book club. The October book is The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors by biologist David George Haskell. The last chapter is on the 400+ year-old white pine bonsai in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. This tree, which had belonged to the same family for centuries, survived the atom bomb in Hiroshima and was given to the US on our 200th anniversary in 1976.

Here is a link to the book club information:



As of April, our planned meetings for 2020 were cancelled until further notice because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Updates as of October 15:

  • Our meeting place, the  visitors' center at the Asheville Botanical Gardens, has been closed Since April. As of Ocober 1, there is still no news on when it may reopen and be available for  our meetings.

  • All trails and gardens at the the NC Arboretum are now open. The bonsai garden is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

  • Next year's Carolina Bonsai Expo will be held on June 12 & 13, 2021.

  • We have rebooked Young Choe's kusamono workshop  for June 27, 2021.

August--BRBS is active again!


  • BRBS 2020 Online Plant and Pot Sale

On August 15th and 16th, we held our first-ever sale of donated bonsai and pots on our website.

  • Sept. 6th: 12:30 - 4:30 Meeting held at the open Pavilion at the Etowah Valley Golf Club.

  • Oct. 4th: 1:30 - 4:30 at the open Pavilion at the Etowah Valley Golf Club, Daniel Coffey demo.

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!

See Special Notices page for
  • Our election results
  • A special award
  • An interview with Felix
  • A link to more on Yuji Yoshimura by William Valavanis of International Bonsai.
See the Tips, Advice, and More page for
  • New advanced online courses from Bjorn, and a link to a review of these courses by Jonas Dupuich of Bonsai Tonight
See the Photo Gallery page for pictures of three bonsai exhibits taken by our roving photographer, Stuart Rogers:
  • The 2019 Winter Silhouette Show in Kannapolis in December​
  • The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum in Washington, DC
  • Knoxville Bonsai Society's Winter Show in February, 2020
Meeting Times & Location 
Our regular meetings are held on the second Sunday of each month from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the meeting room at the
                    Asheville Botanical Gardens
                    151 W. T. Weaver Blvd    28804
Please go to the About Us page for driving directions and a map.
Membership in the Blue Ridge Bonsai Society is open to anyone interested in the art of bonsai from the totally inexperienced to professionals.
Our annual dues are $30 for single memberships and $35 for families. More information is on the About Us page. Please feel free to attend a meeting or two before deciding to join.