Last Sunday I traveled to Melbourne to attend the Bonsai Society of Brevard’s monthly meeting.
My friend, Ed Trout, was the guest artist and I was looking forward to the demo. The tree he was working on is a buttonwood.
He looks like he might know what he’s doing. Or putting on a good face for Ronn at least.
Being entertained by Ed wasn’t the only reason for my trip (believe me, he is informative and funny, and he has the same dry humor I have). I had ulterior motives.
The Brevard club is hosting a Multi-Club auction on September 27 (it sounds like a Tolkien event; The Auction of the Many Clubs) and I was here to get my marching orders.
Last year I was in charge of the silent auction and I was volunteered for that task again.
The Brevard club is also spearheading the 2015 BSF convention and I, being the 2nd vp of BSF and, therefore, the official liaison , have to keep them in line (the slackers!).
I was also there because I haven’t seen some of my friends since the last convention.
Solidarity, my bonsai brothers!
After all that business was finished, the members who brought trees got up and had a show and tell.
This is my friend Bobby, of whom you’ve read about in the blog before.
He had just repotted a massive ficus microcarpa.
Next is a tree from the lovely Portia, a Fukien tea penjing.
Donny also brought a big ficus.
His made an observation about how his trees, after the few years he’s been doing bonsai, are beginning to look like trees.
There’s is definitely a cycle one goes through in bonsai.
You get your first one and you think it’s the cat’s pajamas (love that phrase).
Then you start researching and seeing real bonsai and it’s discouraging, it even makes some people want to burn their pitiful little trees.
Then, if you’re serious and want to learn the art, you start to apply some of the basic techniques and design principles.
But you get frustrated because it’s taking so long to achieve the “bonsai” look you’re going for.
Be patient, it takes time.
Like this buttonwood that Ronn showed.
The trunk and deadwood are incredibly old looking but the foliage pad is very immature. He knows this and described his plan for the tree; even though it’s a small bit of green, he’s imagining at least another two years before it’ll be really nice.
That’s why finished bonsai are so expensive, it takes thousands of minute bits of work to make a tree.
We who sell them are really selling the fleeting moments of Joy that we’ve had with a tree, the slow grains of sand falling away with each second of our lives.
Each hour we spend on a tree is an hour we can never retrieve as we grow old. Cherish the time and hoard the moments you get to spend on this art and your trees.
Speaking of old, let’s get on to Ed and the demo.
As I sit watching the demo, trying to see with all the glare from the old guys bald heads….
…I realize that it’s great to be able to sit and enjoy a show without having to worry about organizing it.
At my club I’m the Vp and that means setting up the demos and workshops, and it seems that I never get to sit.
Ahh, good times, good times.
I sat next to my buddy Mike, who can always bring a smile to my face.
If that pic doesn’t do it to you, you must be constipated or something.
Bonsai clubs are more than just places to learn bonsai, it’s an opportunity to meet odd people who also like little trees. To feel not so alone in your journey.
While I sat and pondered the ultimate aloneness of the human experience, Ed continued on, unaware of my existential crisis, and styled the buttonwood.
Since I was lost in my soul searching I’m not sure what Ed was trying to say here….
…but I’m sure you can think of at least a few jokes to caption the photo.
Before I show you the finished tree I’m going to plug the Multi-Club auction and invite anyone who wishes to make the trip to it.
Here’s the press release:

BSOB Bonsai Picnic/Auction In The Park

The Bonsai Society of Brevard will be hosting a multi-club picnic luncheon/auction with Central Florida Bonsai Club, Kawa Bonsai Society, and Treasure Coast Bonsai Society on September 27 at the F. Burton Smith Regional County Park. The park is located about 4 miles west of I-95 at 7575 Hwy.520. The event will be held in the large Karberg Pavilion. It is a beautiful park with lakes, playground, volleyball court and a wildlife nature trail and fishing allowed. There is plenty of close parking and very large clean restroom facility. The pavilion is very large and provides good protection in case of rain. This will be a great time to enjoy an end of summer picnic with all of our close bonsai friends who have the same passion for the Art of Bonsai and a chance to pick up a great deal on bonsai trees and items.
BSOB will be providing hamburgers and hot dogs for the picnic. They will also be providing dinnerware, cups, ice and drinks. Please bring your favorite covered dish or desert to share.
A bonsai auction consisting of any bonsai related item you may choose to bring will be held following lunch. The auction will include a live auction as well as a silent auction. The method of payment will be by check or cash only. We ask that members be limited to 10 items each in the bidding auction for the sake of time, but no limit of items will be placed on the silent auction. A 10% donation will be asked for all items auctioned to help cover the cost of the event. Checks will be mailed to sellers the next week following the picnic.
A youth bonsai competition will be held during the auction and the prize will be a nice bonsai pot. The participant shall bring their own tools for the competition. The trees will be provided and the participant will keep the tree. BSOB will provide wire for the competition. The judging will be based on the best bonsai technique and styling. The competition will be limited to 10 folks under the age of 18. Contact Don Emenegger it will be first come first serve.
Schedule of events:
10:00-11:00 – arrival
10:00 – 12:00 – set-up volunteers are welcome, fun in the park, playground for children, nature trail hikes, fishing, volleyball court
10:00-12:00 – please bring items to be auctioned so the auction can begin immediately after
lunch, the earlier the better, this will give people a chance to check out items.
12:00-1:30 – lunch
1:35-? – silent auction, live auction
1:45-3:00 – youth competition
Please contact Donnie (address above) or Ronn Miller to let us know how many of you plan on attending by the 15th of September as we would like to have an idea on how many supplies we need to purchase.
Additionally, if you have any questions, contact Donnie or Ronn.

Sounds like an awesome day, right?
And now, what you’ve been waiting for, the finished buttonwood.
Sweet, isn’t it?
Ed is truly a Master, I recommend booking him if you’re a club president looking to schedule events for your calendar. And if you have a chance to see a demo, do it, you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you Ed and all my friends at the Brevard club for letting me sit in on a great demo.
See you at the auction.

5 thoughts

  1. Thank you Adam… was good to see you ! I always enjoy The Brevard Club, one of the most active, dedicated, and talented clubs in Florida. It was a nice day !


  2. I really enjoy your blog-been a steady stalker for some time now-but could you explain the leaf cutting he did in the demo-is that for back budding?


    1. Do you want me to reveal Ed’s secret growing techniques?! Gasp!!! There are those who would say that you should have paid for the demo and attended, you moocher…..
      Seriously though, Ed talked about this.
      What he did was basically cut the leaves in half. This process is as good as a defoliation (which he would have done normally at home, but he wanted there to be some illusion of foliage for demonstration purposes). By defoliating a buttonwood (and most tropical trees) you will build secondary branching at the leaf bases that you are removing. It’s a way to push the tree into growing and ramifying faster.
      So, yes, it is


      1. Thanks I figured as much, I’m not new to bonsai but am to button wood and tropicals. Didn’t know if it was just a buttonwood tang


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