Held on the second Thursday of every month at Olbrich Botanical Gardens (3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI), meetings start at 6:30 and end at 8:00 pm
(NO PUBLIC MEETING IN January or July).
Information on the upcoming BBS Monthly meeting
… this is now being kept up-to-date !
In addition to monthly meetings, which cover a wide range of subjects of interest to bonsai enthusiast, many special events are held. These include workshops, lectures, demonstrations, exhibitions, collecting trips and instructions on the art of bonsai. These activities ebb and flow over the years with the make up of the members. For a current list of activities see the meetings and activities list below >
Most workshop instructions are free, but you will be required to pay for the material you use. At times we are able to get a master or instructor for a special workshop or demonstration, and there will be a fee for those events. We try to keep the cost down so everyone can afford to join in. Typically a workshop is limited to ten people and will cost between $25-100, depending on the materials used.
(red activities or dates are still tentative)
last updated July-5-2020
2020 Current Meetings and Activities
January 9 (at Imperial Garden restaurant):
Annual membership dinner … no normal meeting
• review North American collection of National Bonsai Museum
• Discuss 2020 meeting / event schedule
• Ikebana (Japanese art of flower arranging)
• discuss new concept in meeting events / membership participation
• final update on Feb-polling of North American collection
• due to COVID-19 … NO MEETING in April … instead we will have on-line activities announced on the website and via April-newsletter
• Ranking of Japanese Collection
• due to COVID-19 … NO MEETING in May … instead we will have on-line activities announced on the website and via May-newsletter
• BBS Annual Show … Sat May-16 and Sun May-17 at Olbrich Gardens
• virtual demos and presentations
• MABA 2020 … CANCELED due to COVID-19 (but re-scheduled to June 10 – 13, 2021)
No Membership picnic in July, instead doing a Zoom virtual meeting on Thursday Jul-9th at 6:30pm, and probably last to between 8pm and 8:30pm
• Potential Olrich Gardens physical meeting … TBD
• information table at Olbrich Gardens event
• election of Officers for 2021
• TBD … maybe discuss Suiseki & review Viewing Stones collection of National Bonsai Museum
2019 Current Meetings and Activities
Annual membership dinner
• Kintsugi (Japanese art of fixing broken pots)
• Creating light-weight rocks
• “Niwaki, Bonsai, and manhole covers”
• making bonsai soils and using moss
Non-Meeting Activity for April (updated)
• A three (3) session course on Bonsai, begins Thursday Apr-4th; with session 2 on Apr-18th, and the final session 3 on Apr-25th (each from 6pm to 8:30pm at Klein’s Floral and Greenhouses, 3758 E. Washington Ave, Madison, WI 53704. Full details can be found at this link.
• Red Maple Grove workshop (using club supplied trees)
• BYO Workshop
Annual Show: Sat May 18 and Sun May 19
May 18, 9 am – 4:30 pm (demos at 11 am and 1:30 pm)
May 19, 10 am – 4:30 pm (demos at 11 am and 1:30 pm)
• Three club veterans will show their creativity
July: (Sunday, Jul-21st)
Club Picnic; with “white elephant” exchange — bring items for sale / swap / giveaway
No Public Meeting in July
July Non-Meeting Activity
• July 28th — field trip to Rotary Garden (Janesville-WI) and Anderson Gardens (Rockford-IL) … see details and RSVP info in July-2019 newsletter
• Succulents (hopefully by a guest speaker)
• recap of July picnic and July-28th field trip
• discussion of watering times
• MABA call for topics
• Bonsai Styles
September / October Non-Meeting Activity:
• Sat Sep-28 and Sun Sep-29 — Milwaukee Bonsai Society 49th Annual Show in Hales Corners-WI; with guest artist Tyler Sherrod
• TBD — field trip to Mayflower Nursery, Hobart-WI
• Slab making workshop — date TBD
• TBD — field trip to Davidsan’s Japanese Maples in Illinois
• American bonsai masters and examples of their work
• Maple identification
• Tropical workshop; BBS elections; ideas for 2020 programs
• Suiseki and Daiza making
• review 2020 program ideas (submitted at the Nov-meeting)
Past 2018 to 2014 through Current Meetings and Activities
Past 2013 Meetings and Activities
February 14:Pottery; pick the right pot for a bonsai
• Garden Expo Exhibit
Pottery; pick the right pot for a bonsai
• Repotting party / repotting, root pruning and soil (Olbrich Gardens, 3.16)
• Garden Expo Exhibit
Pottery; pick the right pot for a bonsai
• Repotting party / repotting, root pruning and soil (Olbrich Gardens, 3.16)
April 11:February Newsletter
Water and nutrients
Preparing your trees for display
• Amur Maple Forest Workshop (4.20)
• Nursery Crawl (4.27 – Details in February Newsletter)
Olbrich Gardens, Evjue Commons
May 18, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
May 19, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Pests and Pathogens
• Summer workshop (date/topic/location TBD)
Club Picnic Meeting
No Public Meeting in July
Wiring: gauge, application & removal
• Chicago Show meet-up
If you are headed to the show in Chicago, tell your fellow club members and meet up and enjoy the show together.
Fall Show for meeting
Preparing for Winter / end of year tasks
Official business, elections
Past 2012 Events:
January 12: Time once again for the annual dinner.
February 9: Time to start thinking about the upcoming Bonsai season. This month we’ll overview a handful of basic equipment and discuss how to get started on the right foot.
March 8: Time to repot. Last year we went in-depth into our soil. This year we’ll get back to techniques. We’ll try to answer the how’s and the why’s.
April 5: April will be a good month to review the different styles of bonsai. This will be somewhat of a general overview. The goal will be to understand how bonsai can represent “wild” trees.
May 10: In preparation for the annual show, we will examine Bonsai judging and consider what makes a tree great. This will build off of the April’s lecture on the styles and provide insight on how to refine a tree once it begins to take form.
May 19 and 20: Workshop
May 19 and 20: Annual Show
June 14: Workshop. (Bring a Tree to work on)
July: Annual picnic meeting.
August 9: Workshop. (Bring a Tree to work on)
September 13: Show and tell. Club show and critique.
October 11: Preparing for winter, as usual.
November 8: Officer election time.
December 13: Holiday party at Olbrich.
Past 2011 Events:
Annual Dinner at Imperial Gardens.
As is customary, we will meet at Imperial Gardens West at 6:00 for drinks and fellowship, and then eat at 6:30. This is a “member and guest” event. Several small door prizes will be raffled out during the evening.
Tools and tool care.
We will focus on the name and function of Bonsai tools and discuss and demonstrate proper care for them. Please bring all tools to meeting. Someone might sharpen them for you.
Feature element: Tools.
The focus will be on media and technique. Also a brief discussion of hydroponics and pre-bonsai is very possible.
Feature element: Maples.
Show preparation, what makes a bonsai display complete?
Nursery Hunting part 1; introduction, the goal. We will discuss what to look for at you local garden centers, possibly plan a field trip. We will discuss growth characteristics and common suitable species.
Assignment: bring a nursery plant to the next meeting.
Feature element: Accent plants
Nursery hunting part 2; The Trees, Choosing a style, when to repot.
We will briefly introduce and discuss our “diamonds in the rough” and consider general styling and requirements per tree.
Feature element: boxwood
May 14, 15:
Annual Show at Olbrich Gardens!
Ficus or Schefflera root over rock demo.
Two tropical species that are great for beginners and have fairly hardy roots.
Feature element: Ficus
(no public meeting in July)
Bring a tree workday.
Get advice and/or a fresh perspective. Having trouble deciding what direction to take with a tree? Maybe we can help, any tree, any style, bring it.
Feature element: Pines
Natal Plum Part 2; further development
Bring in you Natal Plum from last year. Be prepared to talk about it and get advice for the next year. Don’t have one? Start a new one.
Feature element: Natal Plum
Winter preparation and indoor environments
Oh, winter. Let’s discuss techniques we can use to help our trees survive in Wisconsin. Let’s also talk about the indoor trees and artificial environments.
Feature element: Autumn colors
Officer elections and other club politics
Feature element: Junipers
Holiday snacks and fun!
Feature element: Your best holiday treat to share.
Past 2010 Events:
“Drawing Your Bonsai Attitude”
What is Your Bonsai Attitude? Drawing while keeping styling in mind. How does the tree grow? The roots, trunk, branches and foliage masses. Pay attention to balance of the tree – whole presentation. (by Mark)
Wrapping copper or aluminum wire around branches and trunks allows the bonsai designer to create the desired general form and make detailed branch and leaf placements. Slide show presentation and hands on. (by Tim)
Bonsai are repotted and root-pruned at intervals dictated by the vigor and age of each tree. They are often repotted while in development, and less often as they become more mature. Learn the basics to ensure a healthy tree. If you are participating in the Burning Bush workshop on May 13th, now is a good time to pick your tree and repot it. (by Ron)
“Forest Planting Workshop”
This will be a paid participation event held at Olbrich Gardens from 1 p.m. – 3p.m. We will keep the cost below $25 for the plants and pots. Limited to members only. (or those who signed up on March 11th). Contact email@example.com for more information.
“Burning Bush Workshop pt. 1 of 2 and show preparation“
Burning Bush(aka Winged Euonymus or Spindle Tree) Euonymus alata “Compactus” Trees will cost $25
“Annual Public Show” Olbrich 9 am – 4 pm
All members should bring at least one example from their collection. Attendance is free, donations are welcome. Demonstrations will be held both days at 10 am and 1 pm.
More information is available in the 2010 Annual Show page.
“Phoenix Graft (Tanuki) Demo”
In Japanese folklore, tanuki (狸?, alternatively タヌキ), the Japanese raccoon dog, are shape-changing tricksters.
Tanuki bonsai are sometimes known as Phoenix Grafts in the West. In Tanuki bonsai, a very young tree is taken, and put into an interesting piece of deadwood, that has had a groove carved into it. The sapling (which is usually a juniper) is affixed to the deadwood, until the young tree has grown into the deadwood. Then the nail, screw, or other affixing device is removed, and then the tree is grown with typical bonsai techniques.
Many Westerners consider Tanuki a true bonsai technique, however in Japan it is not considered as such. Japanese do make Tanuki bonsai, but they are not considered true bonsai, and would never be seen at a Japanese bonsai show. (by Ron and Devon)
“Yearly Picnic Meeting”
OPEN TO MEMBERS ONLY – Private invitations to be emailed to members.
Location to be determined. It WILL NOT be held at Olbrich Gardens
This month, we will have a natal plum workshop (Carissa). Ten to 12 plants in pots will be available first to members and then leftovers to whomever would like them. Exact amounts, prices, and availability are still being figured out. We are thinking around $20, but that is not an exact figure. More information can be found in the September newsletter >
“Fall Clean Up and Winter Preparation”
Leaves are falling all around… clean up your bonsai and get ready for winter. Being ready for winter storage and dormancy by Thanksgiving should be your goal. The larger your bonsai collection, the earlier you should start.
“End of Year Business/Officer Elections”
This is the yearly business meeting for the club. We hold nominations/elections for officer seats. We will also begin mapping out the 2011 activities calendar.
“End of Year Wrap Up”
Wrap up any unfinished club business, the next year’s events and of course Holiday Cheer
Past 2009 Events:
Ron showed club members various carving techniques using hand and power tools.
“Soil and Repotting”
At the March meeting we will focus on repotting your trees and the different soil make-ups for different types of trees. We will also discuss the benefits of proper fertilization, and the components that make up common plant fertilizer.
“Bring what’s thawed out”
As spring starts to pop, some trees are ready for attention. Bring in your tree(s) to work on in a group setting. Ask questions, get advice & have fun. We will also discuss proper dressing of cuts/wounds and the benefits of cut paste and wound sealer.
“Propagation Techniques; focus on air layering”
Air Layering is a time honored form of plant propagation. Ron, club president, will give a demonstration on one of his Japanese Maples. Also, as we get ready for our annual show on May 16th and 17th, we will discuss proper display for bonsai shows, how to clean your pots and any last minute business before the weekend show
May 16–17th (Annual Show)
On May 16th and 17th the club members will be displaying their best trees. Demonstrations by club members will be held at 11 am and pm both days. All visitors will be offered the opportunity to vote on their favorite tree. Results will appear here. Admission to the show is free; however, we do accept donations. More Information…
The club will hold a workshop this evening that will run until 9 pm. Participants can purchase plant material to work on – either Kingsville Boxwood (Buxus microphylla compacta) or Shimpaku Juniper (Juniperus chinesis). The event will be open to the public, but club members have priority seating. If you are not working on a tree, this is still a wonderful opportunity to watch others as they prune, style and wire trees. However, it’s also a chance to get your hands on mature bonsai material. The boxwoods have an estimated age of 15-20 years old and the boxwoods are about 5-10 years old. The trees were lovingly brought up as potential bonsai at Brussel’s Bonsai Nursery in Olive Branch, MS. These are not shrubs that you’d want to put in the ground, they have been given extra special attention to their pruning from the time they were seedlings in order to send them on their way to becoming bonsai masterpieces.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. Materials can be bought on site, the cost for trees is $80 each – SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED.
Note:This workshop will be focusing on pruning and styling only. We will not be repotting (that is recommended for March or April). There will be a follow-up meeting early next spring when we will repot these trees into proper bonsai containers
July – no meeting
“State Fair Field Trip”
For August, the club will be taking a group trip to the WI State Fair in Milwaukee. The state fair has a bonsai display in the Horticulture Building with approximately 20-30 show quality trees. MEETING AGENDA: View and critique the Bonsai on display, observe the judges critiques and try to see what the judges saw. Hope to see you there!
“Work on your own tree(s)”
Please bring in your own tree(s) to work on. With fall just around the corner, September can be a good time to do some last minute pruning, wiring and winter preparation. Remove wire before it cuts the bark, remove undesirable branches to conserve energy next spring. All club members are encouraged to bring at least one tree to work on and visitors are welcome to bring in a tree and ask for advice. This is a great opportunity for novices to pick up new skills and information.
“Discuss Winter Preparation”
Bring in your own tree(s). Leaves are falling so the cold is coming! In October, we will discuss overwintering techniques for WI bonsai. What might work in California just won’t keep a bonsai alive through a Wisconsin Winter. And remember, next moth is officer elections. October is a good time to put your name in the hat for next month.
“Officer Election/Year End Business/Plan 2010 Events”
This is the yearly business meeting for the club. We hold nominations/elections for officer seats. Our club president is stepping down from his post after 2009, creating a unique opportunity for someone to fill the roll. We will also begin mapping out the 2010 activities calendar.
Join us as we take in the holiday cheer and try to shake off the cold. If you haven’t offered your bonsai protection from the WI winter, do not delay any longer! As most things are frozen solid in Wisconsin during December, we bonsai enthusiasts are left to do things like eat cookies and talk about next spring. Sure, there’s tropical plants to work on, but who wants to risk the elements?*