Ugh! 6 am. Gotta get up, Don will be here at 6:45. I told him 7, but he’s always early.
Mmmmm, hot shower…. Do I want to shave? No.
Ahhhhh! 6:30!
Of course, he’s here waiting on me.
At least he’s volunteered to drive. I get to sit back and relax.

This is Mary’s most famous buttonwood. But we are not there yet.

Here is Don.
We have 2 hours of this

And this


This last is an orange grove. You could be drinking orange juice from this grove right now.
I live in Orlando and we are going to Lake Placid FL. Our route is west on Interstate 4 and south on US Highway 27.

We took route 1.
Two hours and a pit stop later we made it.
Mary immediately brings me to see the big boys.

Senryu. So named by John Naka

This one was already claimed by a certain Oregon bonsai artist making a name for himself recently. This is an impressive tree. I can’t wait to see what he does with it.

Mary’s not only known for her buttonwoods. This is her famous nea buxifolia.

This is an impressive ficus retusa with a magnificent nebari.

This is what we call an Australian pine
(Casuarina equestifolia).
This was in the Epcot show in 2011.

This is a detail of the dead wood. She carved that herself.

Great cascade buttonwood.

Another great buttonwood.
That’s what we’re here for.
Let’s see what’s for sale and who else has come.

Here’s Juan. Waiting for me to take his picture so he can take one of his own.

Don on his scooter.

Steve Smith of Smitty’s Bonsai.

Some more trees. And Alan and Betsy’s legs. Sorry guys.

This one’s cool

This one too.
Mary always feeds and waters (beers) us while we’re there.

Hot dogs and beans. Sorry Don. It’s a long drive home. I make these long trips to my bonsai friend’s houses and some of them, like Mary or Erik, have trees for sale. But the reason I go is to see my friends.

This is Mary telling us about her ordeal during hurricane Andrew.
She used to live in Homestead (near Miami) and she rode out the hurricane with her favorite trees in her house. Amazing woman. She’s still collecting and doing it better than anyone in Florida.

Here’s Juan again. I love candid shots.

Alan, Betsy, Steve, and his wife Jean.

The only well behaved dog of the eight that Mary has. They are all rescue dogs. She says that she can’t watch a dog go hungry. Maybe that’s why she keeps telling me to have more to eat.


Back out to the trees. Look at that deadwood!



I almost got the last one.
Time to go home.
I got to take a nap but I got this one pic

It’s Lake Clay.
I got these two trees


I just fertilized the first one but the second one I’ll do a little work on.

Pretty flowers.
This little tree has great movement but little deadwood so I’ll introduce some.

And I’ll tilt it a bit for now

Just so I can see it.
I’ll repot it next year

At this angle here.
Two cute little buttonwoods from The Queen herself.
To all of you (you know who you are!) who didn’t come along; next time you should. Mary is truly a gracious host and worth the 4 hour round trip journey to see her and hear the stories she tells. She is one of the last originators of American bonsai. It was a good day.


14 thoughts

    1. I’m sorry Cal, I don’t really ship trees. There are too many disappointed people out there when they buy a tree from pictures online. If you were to come by I would ship it home for you.
      Mary doesn’t ship either I don’t believe.


      1. Mary would love to hear from u,just bought aplace in Lorida ilove the area u may not remember me,I collected lumpy the sea grape all the people are gone in South Dade except Miami tropical and Alva is in
        Mayberry,. Thanks. Larry Kreh mike Rhoades is my girlfriend’s son ,


  1. i rarely disapoint what i get
    i work with what ever people send so could you send one. i am trying to get shoin one for my wife for our 20th she loves them


    1. Your best bet for a buttonwood being shipped to you will be Erik Wigert. He has many that would fit your needs. Or try Jason Schley. He might have something too.
      They both ship out of state.
      Good luck


      1. i have a buttonwood know and i live in mass how would i winter. can it come inside my for winter or is there a number for mary madison i can ask her. ty cal from mass


      2. You can bring it in.They need high light so you have to get a light for it. Hydroponic shops are your best bet for the lights. Watch your water too. They like a lot but if they’re not using it root rot could occur. I suggest asking either New England Bonsai or Bonsai West, who are both in Massachusetts what they do for buttonwoods.


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