The Wild Atlantic Way

A few snaps taken on my Donegal trip.

 

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Donegal Visit

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, how can retirement make you busier?!

Anyway, I was up in County Donegal a few weeks back with family checking out the scenery and I managed to make time to call in with John Dickie. This was a first time visiting John and I’m sure it’s not the last. John was  previously a chairman of the North East Lincolnshire Bonsai Society, and now is enjoying his retirement in the stunning countryside of Donegal.

The main reason for my visit was to sound him out in supporting the creation of a club in the Northwest based in Omagh to begin with. John was quick to offer his help. We are still doing a round up of anyone interested in Donegal, Tyrone and Fermanagh. Please get in touch.

It was a flying visit with both of us trying to get to know where we stood in our approach to bonsai. I was able to grab a quick walk around his garden and see some of the trees he’s brought over with him from the UK. Hope to see you again soon John.

 

Nice to find a fellow mini hosta lover.

Bonsai Inspirations at Lake Tahoe

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Like a kid in a candy store I was drooling in awe of the scenery and especially the trees during this recent trip to Lake Tahoe California/Nevada.   I jokingly commented to my family that if I only had a shovel, I might be going home with one of these gnarly trees.  I didn’t get any laugh but rather dirty looks,  they know I’m crazy enough that I might do it.   But rest assured, I didn’t do that, instead, I took some photos.  The photos however will not do justice to translate the awesomeness of this place.  I saw many ponderosa pines, manzanitas, very old cedar (incense cedar), oak type of shrub with beautiful crackling bark.  There were trees that would have taken very little work to make them into a beautiful bonsai.   In fact, there is a place I will visit before leaving Tahoe, it’s called the “bonsai rock”.  I will include…

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40th Mid-America Bonsai Exhibi

Valavanis Bonsai Blog

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The Midwest Bonsai Society held their 40th annual exhibit on August 18-20, 2017 at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL. Having attended, exhibited and selling all 40 of the exhibits (except for two when our home burned down seven years ago) I can say the quality of the trees is improving, especially with the professional category in my opinion. There are many more companion plantings displayed with the bonsai and this year there are many more suiseki on display.
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Best of Show: Twisted trunk pomegranate by Dr. Gary Andes
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First Prize in the professional division: Kahima Japanese maple by Wm. N. Valavanis
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Second Prize in the professional division: Japanese black pine by Mark Fields
Kathy Shaner from California spent considerable time, all day on Friday, judging the bonsai and making comments for improvements for the exhibitors.
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The many parking lots were full on Saturday, but crowds visiting…

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Travels Down Under

I’ll be on my travels again in November, this time heading to Perth in Australia. I’m staying with family and will be travelling south of Perth on a camping trip. I’d be keen to meet up with some bonsai enthusiasts while I’m there. I also want to visit some big/old trees on my travels. Anyone following this blog who lives or knows the area, can you help with a few pointers? Private collections, clubs, it doesn’t matter, I just want to see bonsai and trees Aussie style.