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The meeting originally announced for this date at the Asheville Botanical Gardens has been replaced by a Bonsai, kusamono, and pot sale at Peggy and Tom Snow's house from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.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:
Meetings for the rest of year, starting with the August meeting, are expected to be at the Asheville Botanical Gardens, probably from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. Some meeting content is still being arranged, including:
Presentation by Danny Coffey, bonsai professional, on an advanced technique, perhaps carving.
Election of officers for the next two years in November
Pot luck dinner and auction in November or December.
Meeting dates and times:
August 8, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Bring Your Own Tree (BYOT) to share, admire, work on, and
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.
September 19th Activities: We had serious doubts about being able to get good kusamono materials so late in the year and we must choose trees for our October club exhibit at the NC Arboretum, so please do the following on Sept. 19th: Either
Bring a tree that might be ready for our October club exhibit. (It does not have to be perfect or completely developed.)
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 possible exhibit tree or or a tree for discussion or both:
October 9-10, 2021 Our club exhibit at the NC Arboretum. No regular meeting.
November 14, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Election of officers for the next two years. Other content still being arranged.
December 12, 2021 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Content still being arranged.
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.
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
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
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!