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. 
We can be contacted at blueridgebonsaisociety@gmail.com.

Goal: To help each member gain in knowledge of how to develop a show-quality bonsai.

 Members are encouraged to create a written plan describing the future development of each tree. (This is useful for tracking what works and what does not.)

In July 2023, we plan to have another meeting on "How to Judge a Bonsai Show," which will also help you to judge the stage of development of your own trees. (See below for details.)

2022 Meetings and Events

Starting in June, 2022,  we resumed meeting at the Asheville Botanical Gardens Visitors' Center. If we meet elsewhere or need to use Zoom, you will receive an email before the meeting.

December 3 & 4: Everyone is encouraged to go to the Winter Silhouette exhibit in Kannapolis, NC.

No regular club meeting this month.

November 13: Annual pot luck dinner and auction.

October 9: Jennifer Price offered a workshop for a limited number of people in the morning and did a presentation for our regular meeting. Both events were held at the NC Arboretum.

Click this link to see an interview with Jennifer from last year. https://www.bonsai-nbf.org/blog-archive/2021/7/16/future-of-bonsai-jennifer-price 

September 11: Practice Bonsai Show: Members only. All members judged all members' trees to practice what we learned from Tyler Sherrod in July.

August 14: Bring a tree for wiring or other styling work. (No repotting.) 

This session was led by Rebecca Ayres, who is a BRBS member and also teaches bonsai courses at the NC Arboretum. Members supplied their own tools and wire.

Rebecca's slides illustrating good wiring can be downloaded from the Tips, Advice, and More page.

This meeting was held in the Etowah Golf Club pavilion. 


July 10: Tyler Sherrod discussed "How to Judge a Bonsai Show" with an enthusiastic group of members. We are all looking forward to our practice judging at our private club show in September.

See the Special Notices / Recent Events page for some pictures and Tyler's presentation.

You can find Tyler under Artists on our Resources page to see his resume and website. Tyler completed a 5-year apprenticeship in Japan and styled trees for the Kokufu exhibit. He now has a studio in Hickory. 

Also on July 10th: Silent auction.

The club made $1,399 from this auction. We will have another in November.

June 12th - Workshop on initial styling at the Asheville Botanical Gardens. Bring a tree, wire, and your tools,

Advice and initial styling on our field trip trees from May and June.

In May & June, groups of members went on field trips to various local nurseries, including Mountain Meadows, Reems Creek, and Raymonds.

May 14 & 15: Our World Bonsai Day exhibit and activities at the NC Arboretum on both days. 

April 10 - Three activities at the Etowah Golf Club Pavilion

  • In May, we held a club exhibit and demonstrations in the Bonsai Pavilion at the NC Arboretum for World Bonsai Day.  At the April meeting, members brought trees in various stages of development for possible inclusion in our World Bonsai Day display.

  • Rob Wallace, a professional ceramicist, did a special presentation at this meeting on how to choose the best pot for a particular bonsai. See the Special Notices /Recent Events page for Rob's presentation and pictures.

  • Sage Smith provided seedlings and young trees for sale and both Sage and Rob had pots for sale. A few other members also had bonsai for sale.

Mar 13 - Repotting workshop (Bring one tree.)

We met at the  Etowah Golf Club Pavilion. Members discussed and repotted their trees. We started inside the Pavillion wearing masks, but moved outside into the sun and removed our masks.

See the Special Notices / Recent Events page for some pictures. 

Feb 13 - Professional horticulturist and BRBS member Sage Smith, discussed propagation of young trees for future bonsai. 

This was a ZOOM Meeting. The recording is on the Special Notices / Recent Events page.

Jan 9 2:00 - 4:00 pm - Jonas Johnson, a talented wood-worker and a BRBS member, discussed building grow-boxes and stands of various styles.

This was a ZOOM Meeting. The recording is on the Special Notices / Recent Events page.

Note: During the Jan. 9 meeting, we also voted to adopt the revised club by-laws presented to the membership by the Board of Directors. 

BRBS Dues for 2023

Individual membership: $35 or family membership $40.  Dues for 2023 must be paid by the end of February, 2023.

After many years with no dues increase, we are increasing them slightly. All income to the club goes to member activities.


Please give cash or check to Treasurer Rebecca Ayers.

Details are on the About Us page of this website. 

Bonsi in hand (free).jpg


See the Tips, Advice, and More page for a new source--VSANA: devoted to suiseki--viewing stones.

VSANA logo.jpg





Our exhibit at Blue Spiral 1: Preparation

In June, 2023, members of our club, the BRBS, and five bonsai professionals will contribute trees to an exhibit of bonsai as fine art at the Blue Spiral 1 gallery in Asheville. 


Members' trees are now being selected for this exhibit. Please see Chris Pazoles' email on 9/28/2022 for all the details, but here is a summary.

  • Ten trees belonging to BRBS members will be included in the exhibit. The bonsai professionals will contribute 10 more trees. Each BRBS member can exhibit at most two trees.

  • Members needed to send pictures of their proposed trees to Chris. Pictures must be a minimum of 300 dpi resolution and against a white backdrop. Feel free to send pictures of more than two trees. Include the pot dimensions for each tree.


  • The deadline for sending pictures to Chris was October 31, but members were asked to send pictures of dedicduous trees as soon as possible, before their leaves fall. We need to know what the trees will look like in June when they will have leaves. 


  • Selection of club members’ trees for display in the exhibition will be based on input from Arthur Joura, the Bonsai Curator at the NC Arboretum, and from the BRBS Board of Directors, and from the Blue Spiral 1 gallery.

Blue Spiral 1 logo.jpg

Winter Silhouette 2022

Click the following link to see photos and commentsfrom Bill Valavanis's blog:


2022-12-04_Winter Silhouette live.jpg
New!!    BRBS Monthly Bonsai Tips

On our last member survey, the most requested addition to our club information  was a short, clear statement of what each of us should be doing for our bonsai each month, correct for our geography.

A small committee of our most experienced members--Felix Laughlin, Peggy Snow, and Troy Schmidt--has volunteered for this task, and the first three Monthly Bonsai Tips--for June, July, and August--are now found on the Tips, Advice, and More page.

Also, thanks to Bjorn Byorholm, for sharing with us his excellent summary on "Pesticides and Insecticides."

New:  "Shag Rug" method of creating a bonsai forest on a rock.

See the Tips, Advice, and More page for a PPt presentation by Danny Coffey on creating a forest on a rock: "Shag Rug" method. 

American Bonsai Association Sacramento

62nd Annual Exhibit

Click the link below to see Jonas Dupuich' photos of some very beautiful trees from this exhibit.

From there, you can also hear his audio recording of the critique at this show.


Jonas is responsible for the Bonsai Tonight newsletter and Bonsai Wire podcast.


News on the Stewartia Forest

IMG_1032 - Stewartia forest 1.jpg
At the November, 2019 meeting, Felix Laughlin discussed the design of forests, and then--with some help from other members--constructed a Stewartia forest.

See the
Photo Gallery page for an update on this forest at 2 years old.

Bonsai at the NC Arboretum

A new bonsai opportunity for 2022:

2022-03-03_NC Arbortum - Curators Jrnal Desc.jpg
2022-03-03_Arthur Joura.jpg

Click the first link below to see three free previews.
Click the second link to register for either the entire year or the first six months of the Journal.

Preview The Curator's Journal site.


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:

NC Aboretum bird 4-2021.png

For more information, feel free to call NC Arboretum Adult Education Programs at 828-665-2492 or email 


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 Activities

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!